Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction Volume 1, Edited by Rakesh Kanna, Translated by Pritham K. Chakravarthy

Source: Goodreads
The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction: Volume 1
Editor: Rakesh Kanna
Translator: Pritham K. Chakravarthy (from Tamil)
Originally published 2008, I read 2011
400 pages, pulp fiction (crime, noir, science fiction, fantasy)

Curious about the super-popular but untranslated books in other languages?

Have you ever wondered about the popular books in other languages, the ones that don't normally get translated into English but sell thousands or even millions of copies? This anthology of short pieces of pulp fiction gives you the opportunity to access those stories from one of the major South Indian literary scenes. These are the books that you could buy at the grocery store or gas station if you were in South India and spoke Tamil, all presented in wonderfully readable English with a spunky gun-toting heroine on the cover.

The collection covers a wide range of genres, so there is something for everyone who likes pulp! My favorites were "Matchstick Number One" by Rajesh Kumar (a tale about family and political corruption), "The Rebirth of Jeeva" by Indra Soundar Rajan (a college student on a field trip discovers the truth about her past life!), "Dim Lights, Blazing Hearts" by Ramanichandran (a sort of Pride and Prejudice love story where the woman makes assumptions and acts on stereotypes), and "Sweetheart, Please Die!" by Pattukkottai Prabakar (a mystery about a college student's disappearance).

First few pages available from the publisher.

Buy from Amazon: 

The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh

Source: Goodreads
The Calcutta Chromosome
Amitav Ghosh
Originally 1995, I read 2009
320 pages, speculative, historical fiction

Fevers and Delirium 

What is the connection between a malaria-ridden Egyptian computer engineer in near-future New York, the Englishman who discovered the malaria parasite in Victorian Calcutta, and a young female reporter in 1995 Kolkata? This fascinating novel explores a web of investigations to discover the truth of a conspiracy theory about the discovery of the malaria parasite in a shadowy world where nothing is quite as it appears... or is it?

Read a preview from HarperCollins:

Buy from Amazon: 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Source: Goodreads
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
Originally 1969, I read 1993
291 pages, Memoir

A Lyrical Memoir

A beautiful memoir in which Maya Angelou recounts her experiences growing up in the American South before the Civil Rights Movement, from her earliest years until she has a baby three weeks after graduating from high school at the age of 17. Contains some explicit material about childhood sexual abuse.

Read a sample or buy from Amazon: 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dil Chahta Hai, directed by Farhan Akhtar

Source: Wikipedia
Dil Chahta Hai
India (Hindi), 2001
183 minutes, drama/ romantic comedy
Director: Farhan Akhtar

Dil Chahta Hai (2001) on IMDb

Three friends graduate college, go on a trip together, find girlfriends, have fights, but come back together at the end. Friendship is awesome!

Watch the full movie on YouTube: 

Buy on Amazon: 

Dil Chahta Hai

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Story of the Weeping Camel, directed by Byambasuren Davaa

The Story of the Weeping Camel 
Mongolia, 2003
93 minutes, docudrama
Director: Byambasuren Davaa

A family of nomads living in the Mongolian desert are in the midst of camel birthing season. After a long and a difficult delivery, the last mother in the herd refuses to recognize her calf, a rare and valuable white camel. When the family's attempts to reconcile the two fail, they send their two boys to find a violinist who can perform a ritual. The trip to town and exposure to technology that they have never seen before (especially television) are a treat and learning opportunity for the younger of the two. Finally they find a violinist, but will they be able to save the calf?