Posted in Books

Book Review: Three Spaces, by Heather Grace Stewart

About the author:
Trained as a journalist, Heather Grace Stewart started publishing her poetry after starting her own freelance writing & editing business in 1999. This is her fourth published collection of poetry.

Thoughts on the cover:
I think the cover is the first that attracted me to this collection. It’s a simple design with the title depicted on a cellphone keypad and beautiful scenery below it. I couldn’t understand the combination at first, but could after reading.

From the description:
A brave new collection of poetry, prose and photography. Three Spaces explores themes within our public space, our personal space, and cyberspace.

My review:
I believe poetry is powerful, and that there is a poet in every one of us. However, to understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea. So to review a collection of poems would be just as difficult. This is based on my understanding of Three Spaces and some of my favourite poems in it.

The poems, photos and short stories in this book are spread over three sections.

The first is Public Space. Some poems in this section are very beautiful. The opening poem, put on a photograph tells us to just be ourselves and shine bright, so even if we aren’t sure what we are doing, we guide ourselves because we are shining bright. That felt a right note to begin on, and very hopeful. Another poem in this section that I could understand was The River. I could relate to this as I’m always chasing a dream that the world around me doesn’t seem to understand either.

The second is Personal Space. Again, Grace begins with a beautiful note, with a poem that tells us to find a place within us where we find peace, and to stay in that place for a while. Then there’s this poem titled “This illness…” which is something I liked. It speaks out to me, saying to me… they might hide you, but you’ve to find yourself, they might throw you down but you’ve to stand up, they might not believe in your dreams, but you must… and till the last breath, live.

The third is Cyberspace. The poem which stood out is “Slow your life”, which tells us not to hurry and enjoy life a little, then answers to life might come. I couldn’t quite understand why it was put in the Cyberspace section though… might have fit more in personal space. The book ends with a poem titled “Today I lived”, which was inspirational. It’s too short to explain, but I think it’s a right note to end the book with. It’s another poem that might have fit more in personal space section too.

Overall, I think the collection is enjoyable. Few poems do stand out more than others, and some just went right over my head, like the poem “It’s Fiction”. Some of the stories were interesting too, but I loved the poems more.

Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: Three Spaces
Author: Heather Grace Stewart
Type: Kindle e-Book
Genre: Poetry (few short stories included)
Price: INR. 172


The book is a personal copy. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with the First Reads challenge at b00k r3vi3ws.

(May 20th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: When Strangers Meet, by Hari Kumar

About the author:
K Harikumar is working as an Assistant Director in the Indian film industry. He has written, acted and directed four independent projects that have been screened at various film festivals. This is his literary debut.

Thoughts on the cover:
Perhaps this might be a story of three unlikely people taking shelter at a railway station, and a friendship developing afterward. The title definitely indicates they are strangers to begin with.

Impressions from the blurb:
A drama that has a lot of genres in one plot, and that revolves around a father-son relationship. Sounds interesting, especially since the three protagonists are strangers. It’d be interesting to see how the three stories gel into one. There’s a little mystery afoot too maybe, though that is uncertain.

My review:
Right at the start, we are introduced to hot-tempered Jai, a young lad who has just had a breakup with his girlfriend Tania. Fast-forward and we’re at his home the next morning, where his father, a renowned Mathematics professor drags him to an engineering college where he wants Jai to study, giving Jai’s dreams of doing animation no regard at all. On finding out that the college wants a hefty amount for his enrollment, and his friend had been given entrance without any fees, Jai tries to talk some sense into his father, who still is adamant about his son’s future. Realizing that he is probably going to be forced into a future he’s not interested in, Jai decides to take a big step, and runs away from home. When he finds out the metro has been halted because of an accident and trains are only going as far as Ghittorni station, he takes a ticket and ends up there. Till this point, we are also given a little insight into the life of Hussain, a Pathan who has big dreams and knows he’s just won a lottery that could make all those dreams come true. He too ends up at Ghittorni as he has to go to collect the amount. At the resting room in Ghittorni, Jai tries to be by himself, but a talkative, pot-bellied Iyer comes sits with him and begins a conversation. This is the beginning of the Iyer’s story, which is really what the author wishes to share with the world. So this is where I leave my summarizing.

There are many reasons why a book appeals to a reader. Some like the cover page, some are piqued by what the plot may offer and some even take the book because it is fresh on the bookshelf. A new author definitely brings something new to the literary world. I think this book appeals to me because of its realism. The plot appealed to me personally with a father-son relationship being involved. And it touched me. What I like in this book is Hari’s narration. As a reader, I love it when I can get lost in the tale and let it take me away into its world. His narration does that. The characters I can relate to, and the story seems familiar. It’s not a big unique plot that one will make one go “Wow, I didn’t see that coming”, but even its familiarity, its simplicity keeps a reader engrossed. The twist in this tale might make one say those words though. It may be a light-hearted drama according to Hari, but I find it heavy with emotions.

The book needs some proofreading. Though the story flows fine as it is put, it’d have been even better with some editing. Also, I can imagine a father calling his son a fool, stupid, worthless or such, but I do not feel he’d call his son a bastard, or SOB (he almost did) no matter how angry he is, or how much he is irritated by the son’s actions. If I could tell Hari a place that perhaps could have been done differently, I’d ask him to give Arshad’s dream a happy ending. I know that that’s where the Pathan’s ending was headed, but a scene or two for that would’ve been nice. Jai meeting Hussain at the end wasn’t a necessary scene perhaps.

I could understand the emotions woven into the tale quite well, and I enjoyed the book a lot. I look forward to his next novel. At this price, it’s a steal I feel.

A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: When Strangers Meet
Author: K. Hari Kumar
ISBN: 978-93-80349-93-0
Publishers: Srishti Publishers
Genre: Fiction
Price: INR. 100


This book was given to me for review by Srishti Publications. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills and 3) Debut Indian Authors Month at Tales Pensieve.

(May 20th, 2013)