IN XANADU. A Quest

Author: William Dalrypmple.

Genre: Travelogue.

Rating:  4.5⭐

Xanadu, now Shangdu, is located in Inner Mongolia, northern China. It was the first capital and the summer capital of the Mongol Empire in the 1263. Xanadu was famous for its palaces, gardens and waterways and was Kublai Khan’s favourite summer palace.

Kublai Khan was the grandson of Genghis Khan and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century China. He was the ruler of the Mongol Empire for 30 yrs. During his reign, Xanadu flourished, making it one of the richest kingdoms. After Kublai Khan’s death, however, Yuan Dynasty started to decline, thus changing the face of the once prosperous city to shambles. Xanadu was believed to be so beautiful, that ‘Xanadu’ term is still used as a metaphor for opulence or an idyllic place.

In 1270s Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant, explorer and a writer travelled along the Silk Route with his father and his uncle and reached Xanadu where he served the court of Kublai Khan for 17 years. Though he was not the first European to reach China, Marco Polo was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience. His travel book inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers. Author and his companions are one of the many who decided to retake this path once taken 7 centuries back. They started from Jerusalem to reach a tedious route with multiple ethenic diversities, landscapes and overcame diplomatic complications, struggled for basic comfort to finally reach Xanadu. This travelogue takes us through two timelines, 1270s and 1980s with the glimpse of the history compared to the present . He has collated his observations with that of Marco Polos, adding his own version about the aspects which were either not present or overlooked by the later.

It does take a moment to get into the book if you don’t know the background of the topic. I had to do my own research to understand the scene. Nevertheless, it improved my knowledge and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this hilarious travelogue. It has its ups and downs but never a dull moment.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.

Author: Fredrik Backman.

Genre: Contemporary fiction novel.

Elsa, an almost eight year old is a special child. Or as her Granny says “smarter than all those lunatics out together”. She has no friends, but her Granny who teaches her to be “all the different she wants”, coz only those who are different can change the world. So, before her Granny dies, she leaves for Elsa, a treasure hunt. She leaves a series of letters for Elsa to find and deliver apologising for the wrong she did.

Oh, how I loved this book! Everything about it is just wonderful. The story is about an extremely smart little girl, her crazy Granny and her fantastic fairytales, her parents and their respective partners, and a few demented neighbours. As Elsa goes around solving the treasure hunt she realises that there is so much about her Granny that she doesn’t know. As the story unfolds, the characters that are interwoven, blossom into a relatable neighbourhood drama.

I am a huge fan of Fredrik Backman’s books. With every book it gets better and better. His forte is people, relationships, society, surroundings and their reactions. Struggle of an extraordinary child, her difficult life in school as well as at home, her fight to cope loss is expressed beautifully.

Read this book! It is warm, mildly crazy, usually adorable, heartwarming as well as heartbreaking.

BLAHMAN AND THE TERRIFYING TERROR OF JESICA

The book is a comic read.  The book is filled with comic moments and laughters without any logic.  However,  the comedy doesn’t need any logic.  This book is 3rd in the series but its my first read and being impressed with this read, i am really fascinated towards the other two.

As the title justifies,  the story revolves around the main protagonist Blahman where he along with his sister and Aven are trapped in a cube by Jessica. They are in search of a way to get out.

The paperback version  also includes the colouring part and a cutout bookmark.
The language and narration is subtle and simple with jokes and laughs.
Overall, a pleasurable and funny read.

Hello Bastar.The untold story of India’s Maoist movement.

Author: Rahul Pandita.

Genre : Non-fiction.

Ratings : 3.5 

About the book:

Maoism is a form of communism developed by Mao Tse Tung, a Chinese communist revolutionary & the founder of the People’s Republic of China. It acts upon the ideology to capture State power by armed insurgency, mass mobilization and strategic alliances. Such people are called Maoists.

Naxalism is an ideology of the militant political organization with the claimed legacy of Communists Party of India ( Marxist- Lennist) founded in 1967. The name is derived from region called Naxalbari in West Bengal. It was here that the Naxal peasants revolted by siezing and harvesting the land owned by the landlord’s without keeping a single grain behind. These people are Naxalites.

Initially, the movement had its epicentre in West Bengal which then gradually spread to less developed areas of rural southern and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

What started as a rebellion against the social evils and unjust government policies against the uneducated, poor Adivasis/tribals turn into the power hungry political war. The initial aim was equal distribution of resources and opportunities, soon turned out to be a vengeful multidirectional attack on the totalitarian, autocratic government policies. Many leaders used Naxal movement as a political ladder to form government promising rights but soon were forgotten and tackled by force which in turn was retaliated with equally. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, had referred to the Naxalites as “the single biggest security challenge” for India.

This book gives us a detailed analysis of the movement from its inception to its current state. Though, in some places I found the narrative one sided as if the violence is justified, I did learn a lot about their systems and their issues. The facts are presented with factual references which makes this book credible but very monotonous. Only if you are keen to know about this topic, dig in this book.

Cybercrime Victimisation|BOOK REVIEW

Book: Cybercrime Victimisation.
Author: Dr. V Henry Terome SJ

Book cover

Isn’t it amazing how internet has changed the society, has done marvelous wonders in the world. The whole world is connected to each other through internet. No doubt there is numerous benefit of the growing technology but in the same time crimes are increasing rapidly due to the misuse of this technology. The number of Cyber crimes in India is constantly increasing which is disrupting people’s life.

Cybercrime is also called computer crime, the use of a computer for committing fraud, violating privacy , stealing identities etc. This process victimizing people is cybercrime victimization.

This book starts with basic knowledge on cyber crime, about digital crime and understanding the Global and Indian scenario of cybercrime. It will make you understand about specific forms of Cyber crimes ,about the victims and the impact of Cyber victimization. Psychologically the victim undergoes a resentment, humiliation and anger against the offender. They lack personal confidence. Moreover the social impact would include effects on work, life and relationship. There are many data on victimization in this book.

It also discusses about the statement of the problem, its objective, scope ,about the reporting behaviour of victims and the need and expectation of victims of cybercrime.

The author has mentioned the complete methodology , research design, the variables examined, hypothesis, data processing, analyses, detailed description of the statistical tools on the cybercrime victimization.

This book is recommended for the youth who wants to lower down the case of cybercrime victimization, who are passionate about serving the society against cyber crooks. I think the young generation who use internet on daily basis should read this book and be aware about the rising cyber crimes.

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