Recently when we were approached by Notion Press about Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore: Conversations in Every Heart Via Forgotten Art by Rimple Sanchla ; we were curious to explore it.
The title of the book is quite interesting and so does the punchline. And, the fact that the book explores a musical journey as mentioned on the Book back cover and other promotion material, attracted us more.
Fortunately, from our team I got a chance to read the paperback version of the book, and here are my unbiased book reviews for the same.
Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore
Tagliine: (Conversations in Every Heart Via Forgotten Art)
|Publishers||:||Notion Press; Published: (17 July 2018)|
|# of Pages||:||
5165 KB 314 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters||:||30|
While it is said more often than not that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and, I do believe in the same. But, no one can deny the fact that an attractive book cover plays a vital role in book reading and/or purchase decisions for sure. So, let us take a look at the cover of “Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore: Conversations in Every Heart Via Forgotten Art”.
As you can see, the cover page tries using the cheerful colors to make it attractive, and, it works positively. The book talks about music at a length and the musical notations on the book cover reflect the same quite effectively. The fonts used for the book title and punchline are not in sync. The designers have tried making them look like handwriting but the wrong fonts are chosen. It rather gives an effect of somewhere between horror and comic stuff! So, yes, the cover page has its positives and negatives both.
The book starts with the introduction to Rajvir Shikhavat, an aspiring businessman who is not born with a golden spoon but achieved remarkable success in business strictly based on his talent and hard work.
One day, when Rajvir was reading a recently purchased book he came across a handwritten letter from within the pages of the book. And it doesn’t stop there, he got more such letters from other books over the period of the next few days. Call it a coincidence or fate, the letter helps Rajvir in cop-up with the business situation also.
Impressed by the letters Rajvir starts admiring the writer of the letter. Upon searching for whatever small link it got through the letters and landed on a FaceBook group page, where he got a fantastic idea for recovering his long due payments from some of the clients.
Rajvir is finally able to get connected to the writer of the letters. However, the writer and Rajvir didn’t meet each other face-to-face. Their connection established from Facebook page lead to communicate through newly created EMail communication finally lands into chatting through interactive Internet messengers.
And yes, during the course of the story we meet Taashvi, Katherine, cousins of Taashvi and her big joint family and many other characters. But, where does the music fits in? And, why we’ve mentioned that the book talks about Music in detail?! Well, you need to read the book get the answers :).
The book is written nicely and genuinely. It is a unique book I came across. I haven’t read any book where music (be it from Bollywood movies or albums or otherwise) is weaved so nicely in the story. Of course, there is a long disclaimer at the beginning of the book about it. The credit given to the end of the book is also something not to be missed.
Regarding the musical part, if you grew up in the 90s, you will have a nostalgic feeling. And, you shall be able to connect with the book more than those who are not. Telling more than that will be about spilling the beans about the book plot, and, I want to avoid it. So, all I can tell is you will love those detailed conversations which often gets technical, historical and formal; but never uninteresting, especially, for the music lovers.
I admire the way the author has built various characters. Though I seriously feel that some of the things are filmier, and sometimes the choice of the word could have been better; but overall, the book succeeds in connecting with the reader.
The way, the author talks about Mumbai rains, will make those who’ve experienced it quite nostalgic. The author talks about Mumbai, its spirit, and the country and various situations across the country quite interestingly. The author’s detailed descriptions about the perks of growing up in a traditional and religious joint Hindu family is something not to be missed. Her words in the books are simple yet soothing.
Thanks to my family who always remind me of how blessed I am.
It reminds us that we thank others, but often forget doing the same to the ones who care of us very much. The way the author has explored the love of cousins for a specific character in the book reinforces the fact that your family will always be the most dependable ally you can have.
The author doesn’t shy away in talking about Politics, Scams, NGOs, Swachchh Bharat mission and other stuff. At the same time, the author also talks about what we lack as a citizen. The most important topic she mentioned in the book in this regards is about self-discipline. And, she gives an example of our driving habits. And, almost each and every reader will be able to connect with the same. Here is what the author says in the book at different places:
I am not an activist but a responsible citizen.
— — — —
Leaders do matter as they are the driving forces and visionaries.
The author’s take on the changing lifestyle and habits of the modern generation is quite realistic. Here is what she says about the habit of writing a letter which getting almost outdated.
Handwritten letters, a lost art, lost art of communication, expression, feelings.
I would like to mention this line from the book which talks about a harsh reality.
How people engaged with gadgets that they hardly notice they are with someone.
And yes, the author also mentions that the habit of reading is not dying at all. These days everyone reads on social media, so people are not ignoring reading, they are not much focused on the linguistic attributes of a language anymore.
The author’s philosophy about the music is evident in the following line from the book:
Music… just like LOVE… can touch your soul.
The book has many other inspirational and/or philosophical lines which are written in normal words.
You are your best friend if you are looking for a friend.
— — — —
Sometimes you should just trust your intuition, if not the other person.
— — — —
Prayers are the means to communicate with God and God communicates with us through intuition.
— — — —
Telling the truth is never the problem. What scares and stops us, is the consequences of speaking the truth and that could include facing the wrath of someone or losing a loved one or other consequences.
I like the following line about music, it reminded me of another proverb “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” :).
Music is to the brain what gymnasium is to the body.
The author doesn’t forget to add some funny lines where sarcasm meets the reality in the book:
You know in every gang there’s one person who will drink lime juice when others are drinking alcohol, I am that one person!
— — — —
Food is anytime better than food supplements.
Here is another interesting line from the book:
Jaker was as if he had got his daily dose of addiction, as if someone had just recharged his battery.
The author also refers to a discussion where people often mentioned the Einstein was failed in Maths during his school days. The author comes up with interesting names for characters. While Rajvir is the name we come across more often, Taashvi is something rare. Also, the aliases given to the two protagonists Joker and Vol-De-Mort (Thief of Deaths); belongs to the famous villains! Both of them were master of their art but used their skills in the wrong way. But, the characters here are quite opposite to them (in terms of actions). Here is how the author builds a scene and explores the emotions in the book:
Both Joker and Vol-de-mort had sleepless nights. Vol-de-mort sat on her armchair with the lights off, gazing at the sky from her window, the smile never living her face.
So, there are many attributes in the book which makes the book a worthy read. The author has used some slang etc. but hadn’t put any adult content in the book, which is also an admirable thing. Because these days we see that even popular authors are adding such stuff in their book (it is like an item song in a commercial movie) with/without having any need of the same. Just to attract a set of readers.
The author proved that a strong female character can be built without getting vulgar. The author has no prejudice against any gender and considers them equal, that is what her writing tells.
The author is a music lover (of course), and an avid reader too. Actually, in addition to human characters, music and books also play major roles in the book :). You will find reference to many books including the following in Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore: Conversations in Every Heart Via Forgotten Art.
The author and the publisher have prepared a video playlist which includes almost all the songs mentioned in the book. You can watch/listen to it on YouTube
The book has its own share of lows as well. There are many places where the punctuation marks are missing, especially in the “handwritten letters”. Also, the idea of slipping “handwritten letters” in a book, especially in new books, in a bookstore may not be that obvious. Of course, there are bookstores like “Crosswrods” where you can pick a book to read and place it back, so it is quite possible at such places.
But at a place in the book, it is also referred that the writer has putt handwritten letters inside “Harry Potter books box set”. In most of the cases, the box sets are packed inside a transparent wrapper!
Also, after buying Harry Potter box set, to re-read and re-experience the Harry Potter saga, Rajvir starts reading “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” first! If someone wants to re-live the experience, I think he will go ahead with the first book in the set!
The author has used “small-minded” (on page 268), where I think the use of “narrow-minded” could have been better.
In a letter, there is a type and “Don#t” is printed where it should be “Don’t”.
The author refers a Hindi TV Serial named “Potliwale Baba” but as far as I recall, the TV Serial name was “Potli Baba Ki”. The author mentioned “Bhauchar Mata” where it should be “Bahuchar Mata”! Like many other authors, Rimple has used the word “Anyways” more than one times in this book.
The book is a nice and interesting read. It is a little longer book, but interesting nonetheless. Music lovers, especially those who grew up in 90s will enjoy it more than the others.
7.5 to 8 out of 10.
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