Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

JCB prize for literature

October 30, 2018

JCB Prize

The JCB prize for literature is a new prize which was introduced this year to award the best Indian fiction. The winner gets 25 lakhs as the prize. I’m not sure how I was introduced to this, mostly due to my bookish friends. Indian fiction was something I used to stay away from having read too many love stories by the new generation authors, but bookstagram has made me realise that there is more to Indian fiction than those.

I would like to thank my first bookstagram friend  Chitra for introducing me to the gems of the Indian literature

JCB Prize Longlist
The longlist for the JCB was published on 3rd September and these were the chosen books

  1. Half the Night is gone
  2. Empire
  3. Jasoda
  4. Clouds
  5. The Book of chocolate saints
  6. When moon shines by day
  7. Latitudes of Longing
  8. Poonachi
  9. Jasmine Days
  10. All the lives we never lived

After the #jcblonglist was decided, a reading challenge was announced  by the  JCB Prize  and Books on Toast where we had to guess the #jcbshortlist. I was lucky to guess all 5 books correctly, which won me tickets to the award ceremony in Delhi


JCB Prize Shortlist

The shortlisted books were

  1. Half the Night is gone
  2. Poonachi
  3. Jasmine Days
  4. All the lives we never lived
  5. Latitudes of Longing

The Award Ceremony

I have never gone to an award ceremony, this was exciting. The function was at The Oberoi, New Delhi. I reached Delhi at around 8:30 in the morning, they did offer me accommodation, but I wanted to meet my friend, so I stayed with her. I was still sleepy as I just got 2 hours of sleep the night before. In the evening Smriti from booksontoast asked me to come by 7,as they wanted to interview me. Interviews are something I’m bad at, because in front of the camera was never my place to begin with.
I reached there by 7 and met Smriti, Anuya and Sharin. I got to meet Shubhangi first, she was in a rajasthani outfit and was very friendly. Once we went inside, Smriti said that I could go meet Benyamin. Me being the introvert i am couldn’t actually get my courage up to go talk to him. Later someone introduced me to him, when I told him I was from Kerala, he was happy to talk to me in malayalam. I’m a huge fan of Goat Days, it was a book which  devastated me mainly because I can’t imagine that it a true story. I told him that I read both Goat Days and Jasmine Days in malayalam and he was happy.

After sometime I was lost beacause I didn’t know anyone else, I was walking around and taking pics of the tiny JCB which they had kept along with the shortlisted books.


Of the shortlisted books, Half the Night is gone is only one of which, I have a physical copy of, the others are all ebooks. So I got the book to get a autograph, but approaching Amitabha Bagchii was again a huge task . So I met Madhavi who introduced me to a lot of people, and I got to meet Amitabha Bagchii too. I asked him for an autograph and he didn’t have a pen, but Benyamin who was nearby lent his pen to him. I did feel a bit bad because I didn’t have his book 😔, the trials of a kindle reader

Later I was standing alone, I have always felt lost in a crowd,when I looked up Amitabha came to talk to me.  It was a fangirl moment. He was like it is good you read in a world that is too noisy. He was happy that his book made into the shortlist and didn’t think it mattered or not if he won and that  book got publicity, he was saying that good publicity makes people pick up the book, if there is no publicity no one is even aware of the book.

The starters and drinks were being served, since I don’t drink I stuck with water. Then Benyamin and his friend came over to talk to me. It seems it is a great deal that I predicted the books correctly even though I never felt so. He wanted to know why I chose those books, when a strong writer like Jeet Thayil was in list. Honestly at the time of the announcement I had read only those 5 books, and it didn’t make sense choosing something I hadn’t read. Of the long list I had already Poonachi; Half the Night is gone was a b’day gift and it is my favourite ; Jasmine Days I had to read because I’m fan of Goat Days ; All the lives we never lived and Latitudes of Longing I read the sample in Kindle and found them interesting so got them. Benyamin also asked me what I do, and he was saying that people in IT sector don’t read so much. I agree, if it was not bookstagram I would have never found so many people to whom I can talk about books.


Then we had dinner, during the dinner we were shown short videos on each of the books. Vivek Shanbhag one of the jury members, was saying that for the last 6 months he was high on books, as they read 60 books to find the long-list and later the shortlist and the winner.
Lord Bamford, whose sponsored the prize invited all the shortlisted authors to receive a prize of 1 lakh each and then the winner was announced. Jasmine Days by Benyamin won the first JCB award for literature. I couldn’t believe that the person I talked to was on stage, even though I was rooting for Half the Night is gone, Jasmine Days was in my top 3 and was happy to see a malayalam book win one of the most prestigious prizes.
So after the function the guests were all given the wining book, they could also choose another book from the shortlist. Now I’m the proud owner of Jasmine Days and Poonachi. I wanted to get it signed by Benjamin, but I didn’t think I would find him, but luck was on my side and I got it signed 😍😍😍


The best part about Benyamin winning the prize, is that I could talk to my mom and mom in law about him. Benyamin is a very famous writer in Kerala 🙊

Malayali Readathon 

July 24, 2018

I’m from Kerala, one of the states of South India, and the language spoken there  is Malayalam. I studied in a English medium school where speaking in Malayalam was not encouraged and you could take a malayalam book out of the library only after you have read 10 English books (I did take one though). I’m more comfortable reading and writing in English rather than Malayalam so I have read very few malayalam books.

My dad was an avid reader so we had few of the classics  at home and mom used to give recommendations,then we had novels of Basheer to study in school, that sums my experience with Malayalam novels. Only recently, I discovered that malayalam books are available in Kindle and I decided to try them out. Rereading Pathumma’s goat this year was a great experience. I love Basheer’s writing. Last week I read The poison of love by K R meera and I want to read more of her.

So to rediscover malayalam books I’m planning a readathon of Malayalam /translated Malayalam books next month( Aug 2018). I googled and searched in goodreads and finally made this list. Please join if you find it interesting. I’m planning to do short reviews on Instagram and if time permits long reviews here




Comment below if you would like to join