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Must-Read Summer Releases to Keep You Hooked

The international best-selling author explores the revolutions, past and present, that define the chaotic, polarized and unstable age in which we live…reports Asian Lite News

As the summer heat creeps in, are you looking for a book you can’t put down as you spend your time indoors? Here’s a list of some of the latest releases that will keep you engrossed. 

An Abundance of Wild Roses by Feryal Ali-Gauhar

In the ‘Black Mountains of Pakistan’, the discovery of an unconscious, unknown man is the first snowball in an avalanche of chaos. The head of the village is beset with problems – including the injured stranger – and failing to find his way out. His daughter receives a love letter and incurs her father’s wrath. A lame boy foretells disaster, but nobody is listening. Trapped in terrible danger, a wolf-dog is battling ice and death to save a soldier’s life. Beaten by her addict husband for bearing him only daughters, a woman is pregnant again – but can this child save her?

All the while, the spirits of the mountains keep a baleful eye on the doings of the humans. In a land woven with myth, chained with tradition and afflicted by ongoing conflict and the march of progress, can the villagers find a way to co-exist with nature that doesn’t destroy either of them? 

Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI

‘Co-Intelligence is the very best book I know about the ins, outs, and ethics of generative AI. Drop everything and read it cover to cover NOW,’ says Angela Duckworth, American author and psychologist. Angela Duckworth. Consumer AI has arrived. And with it, inescapable upheaval as we grapple with what it means for our jobs, lives and the future of humanity.

Cutting through the noise of AI evangelists and AI doom-mongers, Wharton professor Ethan Mollick has become one of the most prominent and provocative explainers of AI, focusing on the practical aspects of how these new tools for thought can transform our world. In the book, he urges us to engage with AI as co-workers, co-teachers and coaches. Wide-ranging, hugely thought-provoking and optimistic, it reveals the promise and power of this new era.

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society

A major reappraisal, by the Nobel-prizewinning economist, of the relationship between capitalism and freedom.

Despite its manifest failures, the narrative of neoliberalism retains its grip on the public mind and the policies of governments all over the world. By this narrative, less regulation and more ‘animal spirits’ capitalism produces not only greater prosperity but more freedom for individuals in society – and is therefore morally better.

But, in ‘The Road to Freedom’ Stiglitz asks, whose freedom are we – should we be – thinking about? What happens when one person’s freedom comes at the expense of another’s? Should the freedoms of corporations be allowed to impinge upon those of individuals in the ways they now do?

Taking on giants of neoliberalism such as Hayek and Friedman and examining how public opinion is formed, Stiglitz reclaims the language of freedom from the right to show that far from ‘free’ – unregulated – markets promoting growth and enterprise, they in fact reduce it, lessening economic opportunities for majorities and siphoning wealth from the many to the few – both individuals and countries. He shows how neoliberal economics and its implied moral system have impacted our legal and social freedoms in surprising ways, from property and intellectual rights to education and social media.

Stiglitz’s eye, as always, is on how we might create true human flourishing which should be the great aim of our economic and social system, and offers an alternative to that prevailing today. The Road to Freedom offers a powerful re-evaluation of democracy, economics and what constitutes a good society―and provides a roadmap of how we might achieve it.

Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present

The international best-selling author explores the revolutions, past and present, that define the chaotic, polarized and unstable age in which we live.

Fareed Zakaria first warned of the threat of “illiberal democracy” two decades ago. Now comes Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present. A decade in the making, the book is based on deep research and conversations with world leaders from Emmanuel Macron to Lee Kuan Yew. In it Zakaria sets our era of populist chaos into the sweep of history.

Age of Revolutions tells the story of progress and backlash, of the rise of classical liberalism and of the many periods of rage and counter-revolution that followed seismic change. It begins with the upstart Dutch Republic, the first modern republic and techno-superpower where refugees and rebels flocked for individual liberty. That haven for liberalism was almost snuffed out by force – until Dutch ideas leapt across the English Channel in the so-called “Glorious Revolution.” Not all revolutions were so glorious, however. The French Revolution shows us the dangers of radical change that is imposed top-down. Lasting change comes bottom-up, like the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the United States, which fueled the rise of the world’s modern superpowers and gave birth to the political divides we know today. Even as Britain and America boomed, technology unsettled society and caused backlash from machine-smashing Luddites and others who felt threatened by this new world.

In the second half of the book, Zakaria details the revolutions that have convulsed our times: globalization in overdrive, digital transformation, the rise of identity politics, and the return of great power politics with a vengeful Russia and an ascendant China. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping see a world upended by liberalism – and want to turn back the clock on democracy, women’s rights, and open societies. Even more dangerous than aggression abroad is democratic decay at home. This populist and cultural backlash that has infected the West threatens the very foundations of the world that the Enlightenment built – and that we all take too easily for granted.

The book warns us that liberalism’s great strength has been freeing people from arbitrary constraints—but its great weakness has been leaving individuals isolated, to figure out for themselves what makes for a good life. This void – the hole in the heart – can all too easily be filled by tribalism, populism, and identity politics. Today’s revolutions in technology and culture can even leave people so adrift that they turn against modernity itself.

ALSO READ-Books to Expand Your Mind Before the Year Ends

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Katie Kitamura Wraps Up Another Book, Reflects on Creative Process

‘A Separation’ is about a young woman, who has agreed with her husband that it is time for them to separate. As she begins her new life, he goes missing and she reluctantly agrees to go and search for him…writes Sukant Deepak

The conversation starts with her book ‘A Separation’, and the fact that unloving can be such a tragedy for the person who stops being tender, making him/her completely empty. Well-known American author, journalist, and art critic Katie Kitamura replies that starting the book, she thought it was about the end of marriage.

“However as I finished writing it, there was a realisation that it was about grief, and in many ways death. I was interested in a character who was initially playing the part of a grieving widow and then it lead to a a space in between the face and mask, and more than the wife, it is the widow’s identity…”

‘A Separation’ is about a young woman, who has agreed with her husband that it is time for them to separate. As she begins her new life, he goes missing and she reluctantly agrees to go and search for him. She is not even sure if she wants to find him. Adrift in the wild landscape, she traces the disintegration of their relationship, and discovers she understands less than she thought about the man she used to love.

In her last, ‘intimacies’, a woman is caught between many truths. An interpreter at the International Court. She gets pulled into an explosive political controversy when she’s asked to interpret for a former president, accused of war crimes. A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court.

“The guilt of the person can be carried out by another person — it’s how when people feel something for you. Like professional mourners and how someone feels something for you. And it is in many cultures,” says the author.

But in today’s world, how relevant is an institution like the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ)? I think both these institutions are extremely important. Yes, they are flawed in a way that institutions are but I would like them to have some moral authority.

“ICJ’s recent ruling was non-binding and I want for them to succeed. I am not the person who is cheering the demise of these institutions.”

The author, who earned a PhD in American Literature from the London Consortium, and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow, there, admits that she had to unlearn academic writing to write fiction.

“Yes. It was a long process. And even now I do feel myself slipping into it, especially jargon in fiction can sometimes be a form of deflection or concealment. One thing is clear, you can only write fiction when you feel like being exposed. I do not think I have the skills of a journalist. And I make up the rules in some way when I write fiction. There are many things that are useful for a writer and it is important one writes in ways that you are not used to.”

Japan, for Kitamura, has always held a special place. Not just because her entire family and childhood memories reside there.

“It has a lot of contradictions, even aesthetically. They perceive it as minimal but if you go down a street there, it’s cluttered and there is tension. It is not all minimal and wabi-sabi. There is a lot of pleasure in the country. Yes, my first experiences of language are there and I have not lived there, so there is a strange sense of longing for me.”

Kitamura, who earlier in her life trained as a ballerina debuted as a novelist with ‘The Longshot’, which follows a former mixed martial arts star and his longtime coach over three fraught days as they prepare for his momentous comeback match, says a fight can also be existential in some ways.

“I have never been a fighter. But yes, the world becomes smaller when you prepare for the fight and then it is just the ring. You enter a different reality.”

The author admits that her style changed quite substantially, when she started writing in first person and became interested in trying to find a voice that was less concerned with a kind of riddled down style, but in conveying the movement of the mind including all the repetitions.

“And with a book that is written in third person, you have a different perspective. And in first person, it has a certain looseness to it,” asserts Kitamura, who was also at the recent Jaipur Literature Festival.

And when does she ‘know’ that the idea is ready to take shape on paper?

“Well, Hillary Mantel said that you can ruin a book by writing it at the wrong time and that is so true. The early stages of a book are delicate. I sometimes stop when I feel it is not quite ready. You do feel it is opening up at some points, but that can be found out only by writing,” concludes the author, who has just finished writing another book.

ALSO READ-Bengali Translation of ‘Stalin’s Couch’ Wins 7th Romain Rolland Book Prize

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Bengali Translation of ‘Stalin’s Couch’ Wins 7th Romain Rolland Book Prize

This year’s winning title was originally published in French as Le Divan de Staline. It was longlisted for the prestigious Goncourt Prize in 2013 and later adapted for the cinema by Fanny Ardant, with Gérard Depardieu playing Stalin. ..reports Asian Lite News

The French Institute in India, in collaboration with Apeejay Trust, announces Pankaj Kumar Chatterjee’s book “Divan Staliner”, a translation of Jean-Daniel Baltassat’s Stalin’s Couch, wins the 7th Romain Rolland Book Prize. This Bengali translation has been published by New Bharat Sahitya Kutir.

Elated about his win, translator Pankaj Kumar Chatterjee said: “I am delighted as my first translation from French into Bengali has been honoured with the Romain Rolland Book Prize. I am grateful to the French Institute in India for their support during the past two years – from arranging funds under the PAP Tagore programme to my selection as the awardee. I expect that more and more French books will be translated into Bengali. I promise to do so.”

Priti Paul, Director of Apeejay Surrendra Group said “I extend my good wishes to Pankaj Kumar Chatterjee, a very deserving winner of the Romain Rolland Prize for his exceptional Bengali translation of Jean-Daniel Baltassat’s Stalin’s Couch. It is my sincere hope that his recognition inspires more translators and publishers to continue their invaluable work in introducing the richness of French literature to Indian readers. At Oxford Bookstores, we understand the vital role that translations play in enriching the literary landscape, exploring new cultures, perspectives, and ideas, and breaking down barriers while fostering a deeper appreciation for the diverse beauty of global literature. We are delighted to support the prestigious Romain Rolland Prize, a prize which not only acknowledges the efforts of Indian translators and publishers but also nurtures a love for literature that transcends boundaries.”

This is the second time that a Bengali title has received the prestigious award, following the translation of Kamel Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête as “Myorso Birudhyo Saksho” by Trinanjan Chakraborty, and published in 2022 by Patra Bharati.

This year’s winning title was originally published in French as Le Divan de Staline. It was longlisted for the prestigious Goncourt Prize in 2013 and later adapted for the cinema by Fanny Ardant, with Gérard Depardieu playing Stalin. 

The story revolves around a singular episode in the life of Stalin. With three years left to live, Stalin comes to spend several days in his native Georgia, in a decadent palace in the middle of a forest. In the ducal study where he sleeps is a couch that resembles the one Freud has in London. At night, his long-time mistress, Vodieva, plays the role of a psychoanalyst. During the day a young painter, Danilov, a prodigy of social realism, waits to be received by Stalin to present to him the monument of eternity that he has designed to his glory. Insomnia, infinite questioning, infinite waiting. Stretched out on this couch, Stalin plays with the ghosts that haunt his dreams: his mother, his wife who committed suicide, his years in Siberia, and Lenin, the greatest of the lying fathers.  

Jean-Daniel Baltassat imagines the intimate life of the Soviet ruler, and far from rehabilitating Stalin as being tender and affable, portrays him as a ruthless man who evokes terror and demands submission. He approaches Stalin as a writer with a remarkable evocative power, where imagination takes over from historical truth.

Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Counsellor for Education, Science and Culture, Embassy of France, and the Director of the French Institute in India added, “Jean-Daniel Baltassat belongs to a tradition of French writers excelling in the art of historical fiction. With the Romain Rolland Translation Prize, we aim to bring contemporary French literature to the forefront, and award the efforts made by Indian publishers and translators to make these works available in India.”The winning publisher will be invited by the French Institute in India to the Paris Book Market in May 2024 and the winning translator will be invited to the Paris Book Fair in April 2024.

Established in 2017, the Romain Rolland Book Prize awards the finest translation of a French title into any Indian language, including English. The prize aims to promote and acknowledge the efforts of Indian translators and publishers in introducing the richness of Francophone literature and thought in all its diversity to Indian readers. Ms. Priti Paul, Director, of Oxford Bookstores supports the Romain Rolland Prize through the Apeejay Trust.

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Dr. Alka Pande’s ‘108 Portraits’ Book Collection Launches

The set of books features historical, cultural, and visual exploration of subjects ranging from Objects, Dance, Food, Architecture, Printmaking, Crafts, and Music to Photography, Sculpture, Design, Traditional Art, Textiles, Modern & Contemporary Art, and Vernacular & Indigenous Art…reports Asian Lite News

Art historian and curator Dr. Alka Pande has written a set of 14 collectable books titled “108 Portraits of Indian Culture and Heritage” that puts the spotlight on 14 disciplines ranging from art, architecture, objects, crafts, and more. The immersive collection set is an encyclopedic work looking at the development and history of Indian visual culture through various eras of history to the contemporary world.

Complete with anecdotal personal stories, the author has employed the lens of Indian art and aesthetics to unpack the rich cultural history of the country’s illuminating art, architecture, and cultural landscape. The subject of each book unfolds in a visual and textual story of 108 narratives. Since the number 108 is of immense significance in Indian art and it also emerges from the Upanishadic tradition of Indian philosophy, it has emerged as a connecting thread among the set of books through which images and histories of the subject engage with each other.

The set of books features historical, cultural, and visual exploration of subjects ranging from Objects, Dance, Food, Architecture, Printmaking, Crafts, and Music to Photography, Sculpture, Design, Traditional Art, Textiles, Modern & Contemporary Art, and Vernacular & Indigenous Art.

Each book begins with a personal story by the author who reflects on how her childhood impressions and exposure have been pivotal in introducing her to the rich and myriad cultures of India. She reminiscences about her first brush with ‘Kumhaars’ (potters) at her maternal grandmother’s house in Meerut in the ‘108 Portraits of Indian Crafts’ book which soon delves deeper into the beauty of glazed pottery of the Indus Valley Civilisation and eventually takes readers through the craftsmanship of varied Indian states.

In the book ‘108 Portraits of Indian Objects’, the author delves into the designs of utilitarian objects and examines how they are both functional and pieces of aesthetic art. The ubiquitous pot or lota is a recurring motif in this book.

The cultural significance of food in the form of prasad, customs, or rituals is documented in ‘108 Portraits of Indian Food’. The reader is taken through a journey of food in literature, and painting before taking a deep dive into examining the broader culture of food across the globe. Archaeology of raw and cooked food is looked at, and the reader gets inside the heart of royal kitchens and regional Indian cuisines before illuminating the modern version of fusion cuisines.

Indian textiles have a long, rich, and layered history. The reader is taken on a fascinating exploration of the complex warp and weft techniques in ‘108 Portraits of Indian Textiles’ but also delineates costume styles. Finer points of draped clothing and the stitched costumes of stylish ‘Chooridars’ and Mughal Angrakhas, luxurious silks and cotton, natural pigments and dyes, brocades, and zardozi, complemented with a finely curated selection of visuals of ancient sculptures, paintings, and textiles are discussed.

In ‘108 Portraits of Indian Music’, various styles including the contributions of Amir Khusro to qawwali; Swami Haridas and Tansen to dhrupad; ancient Sanskrit and Tamil treatises, Purandaradasa, and the renowned “Trinity” to Carnatic music; Pandit Bhatkhande’s treatise on Hindustani classical music; and Rabindra Sangeet are discussed. This fascinating story is richly complemented by descriptions and images of performers and instruments.

“Indian culture and heritage are vast, diverse, and deeply rooted in history, spirituality, traditions, and art forms. Attempting to encapsulate the entirety of Indian culture within a single book has indeed been a monumental task. But it has equally been enriching to see how the set of 14 books encapsulates the enriching historical and contemporary journey of each discipline succinctly. This set of books is my humble attempt to create an encyclopedia for each discipline to help readers understand the development of a particular subject from its beginning to the present,” says the author who was at the recently held Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival.

Additionally, each book comes with a takeaway –it could be in the form of a recipe (Food), a masterclass in making your Jama (Textile), or an insightful read on different types of Aipan and creating your own (Traditional Art). The idea of including these nuggets of information and activities at the end of each book is to drive engagement and learning.

The books have been published by the Artshila Trust and will be launched on February 18.

ALSO READ-Books to Expand Your Mind Before the Year Ends

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Asia After Europe: Sugata Bose’s Insights on Japan-China Conflict

Bose avers that during the 1910s, Tagore and fellow poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal had been shocked by the carnage triggered by European rivalries fuelled by intense nationalism. The decade of the 1930s showed that Asia was by no means immune to the virus of nationalism…reports Asian Lite News

Celebrated historian Sugata Bose, who holds Harvard University’s prestigious Gardiner Chair of Oceanic History, has said in his latest book that the “Asian Dream” remained unfulfilled because of two major events that unfolded in the last century.

The first was Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 and the second, China’s incursions into India that led to the 1962 War.

In his new book titled ‘Asia After Europe: Imagining A Continent In The Long Twentieth Century’ (HarperCollins), Bose, who also served as a TMC MP in the Lok Sabha between 2014 and 2019, writes: “Japan’s invasion of China undermined the idea of Asia as never before.”

He notes that Rabindranath Tagore, who kept a close watch on Japan, was dismayed because of the invasion and in his correspondence in 1937 with the Japanese poet Yone Noguchi — who had visited him in Santiniketan in 1935 — revealed the chasm in their interpretations of the Sino-Japanese conflict.

Bose, who’s also Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand nephew and director of the Netaji Research Bureau, Kolkata, writes that although the Congress, then led by Netaji, sent a medical mission to China under Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis as a gesture of Asian solidarity in the face of Asian aggression, the Japanese invasion was the first big crack in Asian cohesion that did not heal.

Bose avers that during the 1910s, Tagore and fellow poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal had been shocked by the carnage triggered by European rivalries fuelled by intense nationalism. The decade of the 1930s showed that Asia was by no means immune to the virus of nationalism.

He writes that one of the most dramatic manifestations of this trend was the dissolution of the bonds of the much-trumpeted brotherhood between India and China that culminated in a brief but bitter border war between the two countries in the autumn of 1962.

“Yet, even at that moment of rivalry and conflict between Asian nation-states, an intellectual quest began to discover what a Japanese scholar of modern Chinese literature, Takeuchi Yoshimi, evocatively called in a 1960 lecture ‘Asia as method’,” Bose notes.

Given all the faultlines between Asian nations, economic interdependence among Asian nations has grown rapidly between 1979 and 2019 with East, Southeast and South Asia conducting more than half of their international trade among themselves in the 2010s, compared with one-third in the 1980s.

“Cultural flows have been enhanced contributing to fresh synergies in the domains of Asian arts and humanities, the pace of intra-Asian migration quickened with people on the move across the vast continent in numbers unimaginable between the 1940 and the 1980s,” Bose writes.

He writes that the dream of Asian universalism had been shattered in the twentieth century by the conflict between Japan and China. “Its fate in the twenty-first century will depend to a significant extent on the ability of China and India to peacefully manage their simultaneous rise,” Bose says.

He writes that both Asian giants are beset with internal problems of inequity and their ability to address those may be just as important as the state of their mutual relations.

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Amish Tripathi on His Multifaceted Writing Journey

Talk to him about fascinates him about mythology, and he asserts it is India, its traditions and culture that fascinate him no end…reports Asian Lite News

Ask author Amish Tripathi about what he has been working on lately, and the list seems almost endless.

Even as his latest ‘Idols: Unearthing the Power of Murti Puja’ (HarperCollins India) which he authored with sister Bhavna Roy released recently, he adds, “My non-fiction one which was released a few months ago is doing well. I am currently working on a book on Emperor Rajendra Chola which will be published this year, besides the fifth and final book of the Ramachandra series, which I will start writing this year. I also host and produce documentaries now, and did two for Discovery TV. We just finished one on the Ram temple in Ayodhya.”

The fastest-selling author in Indian publishing history, known best for ‘The Shiva Trilogy’ and ‘Ram Chandra Series’, says there is a lot inside him, and he just cannot wait to write more. “The first fiction I wrote was ages ago and all of my books are thick. There is a lot of research involved. Sometimes I feel it would be unfair to take credit for all I have written as it is only owing to Lord Shiva’s blessings that I have managed to achieve all this. I cannot credit my creativity for that.”

Talk to him about fascinates him about mythology, and he asserts it is India, its traditions and culture that fascinate him no end. “And I am extremely proud of them. My effort is to present them in a way that they resonate with the young,” he tells during the recently concluded Kerala Literature Festival (KLF), Asia’s biggest literary event.

Tripathi finds it unfortunate that those who talk and write about Indian culture and its magnificence are immediately branded as right-wing. “I find it unfortunate. Frankly, this (right and left-wing) debate does not apply in India considering every party now supports welfarism. The real difference is between those who are globalists and the ones who are rooted. But let me be clear here, I am not against the West — there is so much to learn from there. However, my core is rooted. In my heart and outlook, it is Indianness that I relate to most,” says this IIM-Calcutta graduate who worked for 14 years in the financial services industry.

While there is a tendency to take writers working on mythology casually, Tripathi feels that it is best to remain unaffected by people who do that. Stressing that some may look down while others may look up to authors writing in this genre, the author, who served as Director of the Nehru Centre, London and Minister (Culture & Education) at the High Commission of India in the UK from October 2019 to October 2023 adds, “Frankly, I prefer not to react at all. For me, it is important to be respectful and polite, even with those criticise me.”

Believing that it is important for an author to pay attention to marketing his/her book, Tripathi opines that many books could have done exceptionally well had they been marketed better.

“But remember, no matter how good your marketing skills are, a bad book would not work. So, you need both solid writing and good marketing. It cannot be either of the two,” says the author whose books have sold seven million copies and been translated into 20 Indian and international languages since 2010.

Tripathi feels that literature festivals are important for writers as they get to meet their readers as these gatherings are also about coming together of diverse writers. “I need to listen to different points of view. It does not matter if you agree or disagree with their thoughts,” concludes the author who will next work on ‘Rise of Meluha’ with his sister Roy.

ALSO READ-Bollywood and UK stars join Amish Tripathi for book launch

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Turkish Ambassador Firat Sunel’s Love for Cycling and Writing

Adding that he can cycle 40-50 km a day, he adds that it is paramount that countries develop not just political relations but also cultural ones…Sukant Deepak

When the Turkish Ambassador to India, Firat Sunel, is not working or writing, he is busy cycling.

The first thing he did when posted to New Delhi was to buy a bicycle and discover the national capital.

“Getting to know the city on two wheels can be enigmatic. Discovering labyrinths, the happenings there, gives a peculiar view to the mechanics of how a city functions and how its character shapes,” he tells.

Adding that he can cycle 40-50 km a day, he adds that it is paramount that countries develop not just political relations but also cultural ones.

“And I can say Turkey and India are very close culturally. People-to-people contact and acquainting one another with each other’s culture can be instrumental in strong friendships. Both our countries have stood with each other in times of crisis. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkey supplied the required medical equipment. India on its part demonstrated its commitment to our relations by sending rescue teams and equipment during the devastating earthquake in Turkey.”

This diplomat-author, who was recently part of the recently concluded Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) and will be in conversation with Meru Gokhale on his novel ‘The Lighthouse Family’ (Penguin) during the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) has written ‘Salkim Sogutlerin Golgesinde’ (‘In the Shade of the Weeping Willows’), which inspired a TV series called ‘Buyuk Surgun Kafkasya’,’The Great Exile Caucasia’, ‘Izmirli’, ‘Izmirli, My Last Love’, and ‘Sarpincik Feneri’ (‘The Lighthouse Family’). His novels have been translated into several languages, including Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada in India.

“While diplomats write a lot as it is part of their profession, they also get to meet and interact with a lot of people. Contact with diverse people provides me with much inspiration,” he says.

Talking about ‘The Lighthouse Family’, which has recently been published in Malayalam, and will be released in English at JLF, the author says Indian readers will easily relate to the book.

“It is about a family’s tragedy through World War 2, and how wars affect people and their families, even though they live in a faraway lighthouse. I do have a lot of feedback from Turkey and critics really liked it and it will be received well,” concludes Sunel, who likes writing historical fiction and makes it a point to devote at least three hours early morning to writing.

ALSO READ-Dive into India’s Rich History with These Must-Watch Shows and Films

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Winter’s Literary Retreat

Here is the list of five books curated by British Council Digital Library to transport you to captivating settings during the perfect winter days…reports Asian Lite News

In the tranquil embrace of winter’s frosty breath, an inherent charm invites us to retreat to the comfort of an inviting home. Outside, a subtle winter chill lingers, while indoors, the ambiance exudes warmth and coziness. The air carries the aroma of freshly brewed tea or hot cocoa, complemented by the delightful scent of baking cookies or the rich flavours of a simmering soup on the stove. Wrapped in blankets or seated by a crackling fire, the allure of delving into a captivating book intensifies in this snug haven. With each turn of a page, the immersive worlds found within literature harmonise with the wintry setting, inviting a sensory and intellectual journey amidst the quietude of the season.

As the outside world grapples with wintry breezes, the expansive digital repository invites individuals to explore a diverse collection of books, offering an array of captivating narratives and insightful stories that complement the serene tranquillity of a cozy winter day. Here is the list of five books curated by British Council Digital Library to transport you to captivating settings during the perfect winter days.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

This historical novel follows Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of King Henry VIII. Mantel’s intricate storytelling vividly portrays the political intrigue, power struggles, and complexities of Tudor England, offering a compelling insight into Cromwell’s life and the tumultuous era in which he lived.

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

After Tequila Leila’s death, her mind continues to function for ten minutes and thirty-eight seconds, recalling her life’s memories. Set in Istanbul, Shafak’s novel intricately weaves Leila’s past experiences and the vibrant characters she encounters, shedding light on societal taboos, friendship, and the marginalized voices of Turkey.

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

In this introspective novel, Charles Arrowby, a retired actor and director, retreats to a seaside cottage to reflect on his life. Amidst the backdrop of the sea, Murdoch delves into themes of love, obsession, and the complexities of human relationships, offering a contemplative exploration of the protagonist’s inner world.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Set in rural Poland, the story follows Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman who becomes embroiled in a series of mysterious deaths in her village. Lloyd-Jones crafts a gripping narrative that delves into themes of justice, the human-animal connection, and the dark underbelly of a seemingly tranquil community.

Possession by A. S. Byatt

Blending elements of mystery and romance, Byatt’s novel intertwines the stories of two academics as they uncover a secret love affair between two Victorian poets. As they delve into the past, the book navigates themes of literary scholarship, passion, and the complexities of human relationships across time.

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Kedaya Antharvahinikalude Yard: A Poetic Revolution with AI-Driven Creativity

‘Kedaya Antharvahinikalude Yard’ transcends conventional boundaries by constituting a collection of post-modern poems that delve into the multifaceted conflicts experienced by individuals…reports Asian Lite News

Abin M. Devasia’s ‘Kedaya Anthatvahinikalude’ Yard stands as a pioneering work in Malayalam literature, marking the inception of a novel approach that integrates Artificial Intelligence (AI) creatively into the realm of poetry. This innovative initiative not only breaks traditional barriers between literature and science but also reflects the omnipresence of AI in shaping various aspects of human life, from thought processes to daily routines. At the same time, this initiative gives us the realization that ultimately it is human beings themselves who are controlling the AI.

We are giving it instructions, and it is acting according to that. This work is an example of how AI can be used in the creative space. It is more like an experiment, after all, using AI-generated illustrations for each of his poem. The intersection of literature and science has historically been confined within distinct disciplinary boundaries. However, in contemporary times, AI has permeated every facet of our existence, influencing our cognition, decision-making, and even our aesthetic sensibilities. This makes us think about how we can use AI rather than it using us.

Devasia’s work, with its utilization of AI-generated illustrations for each poem, signifies a groundbreaking convergence of literature and science. The process involves providing prompts that encapsulate the implied meanings of the poems, thereby guiding the AI in generating illustrations that complement and enhance the literary experience. It is noteworthy that the iterative nature of this creative collaboration ensures that the final output undergoes multiple refinements, highlighting the dynamic interplay between human intent and machine-generated creativity. Today, Prompt Engineering also has many possibilities for people out there who have knowledge in both language and AI. To use AI for poetry, we need to have the ability to convey the meaning of each poem to a non-human entity. Every picture used in this book is the result of multiple attempts at giving prompts.

‘Kedaya Antharvahinikalude Yard’ transcends conventional boundaries by constituting a collection of post-modern poems that delve into the multifaceted conflicts experienced by individuals. Each poem in this work has life engraved in it. It talks about freedom, religion, caste, women, regionality, nationalism, childhood, art, and so on. His way of expression is more connected to his way of life. He takes poetry as a tool to voice against the nuances of society. Each of his poems makes the readers think about the changes happening in their life, society itself. It is more like a political act. This work is an experimental act of exploring how literature and technology can be intertwined without losing its aesthetic sensibility. We should understand the challenges and limitations of making a machine understand human emotions and giving an output according to it.

The illustrations used for each poem are an attempt for this. It paves the way for more people to explore this interdisciplinary approach, not only expanding the horizons of literary expression but also underscoring the transformative potential of integrating AI into the creative process. Devasia’s work can be viewed as a scholarly contribution that challenges established paradigms, offering a nuanced exploration of the symbiotic relationship between literature and AI. By intertwining human agency with technological innovation, ‘Kedaya Antharvahinikalude’ Yard not only expands the canvas of Malayalam poetry but also serves as a significant milestone in the ongoing dialogue between the humanities and emerging technologies.

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Books Parenting Woman

‘The Parents I Met’ By Mansi Zaveri: An Anthology of Conversations With Parents of Successful Individuals

Featuring interviews conducted by Mansi Zaveri, the founder of the award-winning parenting platform, The Parents I Met is an anthology of her authentic conversations with parents of successful individuals who made it big against all odds. What was it that they did right while raising their kids to create the person their child is today? A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International

Mansi wants parents find their voice through these stories. “It is important to read stories of people you don’t know as their journeys are inspiring and interesting too. As parents to Gen Z and Gen Alpha, it will take a lot for us to unlearn that education is no longer the game changer and our kids will choose paths that may not be built on the foundations of a formal education system. They will learn differently and they will embrace learning styles that are best suited for them. Their role models will also evolve and it may not be someone brilliant in one field like academics, sports, Bollywood or politics like it’s always been. 

“This book gave me a new perspective on parenting, and on the way we should listen to our kids”, said author Mansi Zaveri. Through the collection of stories, “The Parents I Met” unveils invaluable insights, guidance, and validation for every parent navigating the complexities of raising children in today’s world. 

“The Parents I Met,” published by Penguin Random House, is available on online portals and bookstores for readers to explore the captivating stories of successful individuals and the parenting journeys that shaped them. 

“I always believe that we are all products of our childhood and our self-portrait, as we present it to the world, is a polished and curated version of who we want to be, but our parents are the only people who ever get to see the real us. They understand us more intimately than we know ourselves. They have known us even before we knew ourselves. And as a mom of 2, my experience has taught me that parenting is different, yet the same for everyone. So, I set out on a journey to learn what it takes to raise an outlier from the parents who raised successful outliers. Every single story is different, just like yours and just like mine. This book is not going to give you rules or any tips but it will surely give you lessons, stories and experiences that will bring a small impact in the way you see parenting and the way you see your kids”, stated Mansi as she signed off. 

About Mansi Zaveri:

Mansi Zaveri is the founder and CEO of India’s most trusted discovery platform for parenting and childcare,, which boasts a digital reach of 20 million people per month. She was also featured in Exchange4Media’s Content 40 Under 40 list in 2020. In June 2013, this mom of two decided to combine her passion for digital medium and her parenting journey to become an entrepreneur, leaving behind her corporate life to empower parents to make informed choices. 

Mansi is a certified Conscious Parenting Coach and works with families, educators and stakeholders to build healthier and happier families. Her first book The Parents I Met, published by Penguin Random House continues to top the charts on Amazon for Families and Relationships & True Accounts. She has successfully filled a void in the Parenting section across bookstores with her latest book. 

She hosts 2 podcasts one for kids and the other for families that continue to rank among the top 30 podcasts in the Kids & Family category on Apple and Spotify with over 20 million + listens. Mansi is the voice of the New Age Indian parents and has emerged as one of the most popular influencers in the parenting and baby care space. With a whole lot of passion and hard work, she has built into an enormously successful brand that today hosts online courses for parents, kids and women entrepreneurs. Her first book, 50 Indian Meal Plans, ranked no. 1 on Amazon in Food and Encyclopaedias in 2020. The Kids Stop Press (KSP) Awards, which celebrates excellence in parenting and baby care, is her brainchild. 

A yoga student and sustainable living advocate, Mansi lives in Mumbai with her two daughters, husband and family.