Book Review: The Lively Library & an Unlikely Romance, by Niranjan Navalgund

A mysterious world that exists inside a library… that does pique a book lover’s curiosity. I find libraries to by mysterious. The younger me would spend summer vacations there, answering the call of books to pick them up. When I read The Lively Library and an Unlikely Romance, the world that it created was something I enjoyed.

Nayan inherits a library from his father. He doesn’t want to keep that library inactive, so he refurbishes it and reopens it grandly. But not all is as it seems at the library. When Nayan leaves, the books come to life. Among the characters in the novel are Hiriya Halepu, a senior book; Kapshi, the book-man; Helmine, the protector; and MookBonk, the philosopher. Just as humans are guided by rules, the books at the Lively Library are guided by book rules too. They have their own interesting aspects which they can choose to share with other books. They fall in love, and they date. When a threat comes to their existence, they try to decipher the clues and save themselves from that imminent destruction. Can they?

I admire the author’s imagination. To create a world that’s a cross between one of my favorite places (the library) and one of my favorite movies (Night at the Museum) was excellent. The characters that he drew up were interesting, and the choice of names was as well. My favorite character has to be Hiriya Halepu, though Kapshi isn’t too far behind. To add emotion to the books’ characters, small aspects like love, jealousy or the eagerness to help a boy, that was something I liked reading. Knowing Kannada, I felt right at home reading the book. There is a glossary at the end to help others, but I feel that knowing Kannada might help keep the continuity of reading.

There is enough pace in the narration to keep the pages turning, but I’d have liked some more twists and turns. I knew what might happen, and it happened that way. So the interest wavered slightly. It’s a short book, and I finished it in a few hours. I wished it was longer though. The plot had the potential to be longer and still retain interest. The love aspect of the book was one that I didn’t expect, and the interaction between the two was enjoyable. The mystery aspect, and how Helmine unravels the clues, was enjoyable too.

The language is simple and easy to read. To incorporate philosophical ideas and still keep it simple is not easy. So I applaud the author for that. I liked the three pillars – Manasu, Kanasu and Nanasu – and how they played a part in the book, just as they do in our lives. Things like the “Preeti server” or “Akshara” etc. add a touch of humor to the read as well.

I have a feeling there’s a sequel on the cards, a couple of threads still to connect. I hope I’m not wrong. Maybe that’ll add to this novel, and get the adventure to the length it deserves. This was a book I enjoyed reading and may re-read. Best wishes to the author for this gem to be successful.


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A score of 8 out of 10
Book Details
Title: The Lively Library & an Unlikely Romance
Author(s): Niranjan Navalgund Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 01LSNI77A Publisher: Readomania

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
30th September 2016)

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Lively Library & an Unlikely Romance, by Niranjan Navalgund

  1. This one sounds absolutely delightful – never mind the lack of twists and turns. Going to look it up now. Thanks.

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