Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RecommendedReads | Of Flies and Forevers

Copyright and Credit: Eliza Powell (14)
shortlisted for The Lord of the Flies
cover competition by The Guardian
I was almost 20 years old when I first read The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. As a literature student who paid more attention to pulp fiction sold cheap on the streets in order to avoid the prescribed texts, I started to see literature in a whole new light when I devoured it twice in the same week! And both times I didn’t really think of it as a children’s novel, even though it was about children, how they cope with being marooned on a deserted island and go a bit bananas, to put it mildly, without adult supervision.

My school curriculum didn’t have a module to introduce us to English literature, so it makes me jealous when I hear people who’ve analysed texts like Hamlet in-depth before the 10th grade or in the current scenario, illustrated the cover for a new school edition of The Lord of the Flies for a competition run by The Guardian. Between the ages of 13 and 16, these young adults have gone to town in their attempt to illustrate their vision for the book cover. Pretty, gritty and thought provoking here’s where you can find a slideshow for the short-list and peek in here if you want to learn more about the winner. (Buy a copy of the book from Flipkart here and Amazon here)

Flip open the culture section of any website, newspaper or magazine and there she is – Katherine Boo, whose book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in a Mumbai undercity is getting rave reviews. Boo seems like quite an articulate journalist –she did win a Pulitzer in 2000 for reporting on poverty in the US for the Washington Post – but to do so in a slum in Mumbai without even speaking the language must have required a lot of patience and hard work. I haven’t read the book yet so I don't know about all that she might or might not have achieved. But here are some reviewers who do. The Places in Between | The EconomistBare Minimum City | The Indian Express , Puncturing a Fable | Mint Lounge

Buy Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers from Flipkart Here and Amazon Here and then read this columnist's expedition to Annawadi for a bit of fact-checking to see whether the world described in the book was indeed real or mild exaggerations of a creative mind.

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