Category Archives: My Soulmate Is A Book

Whirling Dervish

Reading Elif Shafak makes me feel like I’m frequenting a world that is not mine and it makes me miss my real place. It makes me look at people and situations I’ve dismissed, with fresh light. And it makes me wonder why I’m chasing the ones I am.

I feel listened to, between the stories of an unwed mother, a talentless poet, a tattooed nihilist, a Sufi mystic and a bored housewife. These are the people I have been, will be, the selves I am.

While life goes on endlessly barrelling forward, I skid, screeching brakes, pause, stop, slow down to correct that thought and say, no it does not go on endlessly. It stops. It crashes. It fades.

I pick out a description of a smoky cafe with a pretentious name, a meeting with an authority figure interrupted by a wandering dervish. And I choose it over the conversation about price points at the neighbouring table of the coffeeshop I’m at. I carry it with me as I navigate booking a cab on an app, ordering dessert on another, swiping my train card. At least the last feels closer to the world I have in my head than the other things my eyes and ears feed me.

There is love outside the paan-spattered Bollywood posters and wannabe posers I pass. There is joy beyond the neon lights and darkness past the black humour being traded for attention at open mics.

Can I still seek God where religion interferes with architecture, where faith determines politics? I must. How else can I breathe? Even as my words dance around the easily angered, the quick to violence, I realise this churning, this silent yearning, this is after all, my whirling.
I look away from my book. The image takes a few seconds to fade away. The mood, long after. The whirling, I hope never. Then I remember, nothing is endless. 

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WHIRLING DERVISH Reading Elif Shafak makes me feel like I'm frequenting a world that is not mine and it makes me miss my real place. It makes me look at people and situations I've dismissed, with fresh light. And it makes me wonder why I'm chasing the ones I am. I feel listened to, between the stories of an unwed mother, a talentless poet, a tattooed nihilist, a Sufi mystic and a bored housewife. These are the people I have been, will be, the selves I am. While life goes on endlessly barrelling forward, I skid, screeching brakes, pause, stop, slow down to correct that thought and say, no it does not go on endlessly. It stops. It crashes. It fades. . I pick out a description of a smoky cafe with a pretentious name, a meeting with an authority figure interrupted by a wandering dervish. And I choose it over the conversation about price points at the neighbouring table of the coffeeshop I'm at. I carry it with me as I navigate booking a cab on an app, ordering dessert on another, swiping my train card. At least the last feels closer to the world I have in my head than the other things my eyes and ears feed me. There is love outside the paan-spattered Bollywood posters and wannabe posers I pass. There is joy beyond the neon lights and darkness past the black humour being traded for attention at open mics. Can I still seek God where religion interferes with architecture, where faith determines politics? I must. How else can I breathe? Even as my words dance around the easily angered, the quick to violence, I realise this churning, this silent yearning, this is after all, my whirling. I look away from my book. The image takes a few seconds to fade away. The mood, long after. The whirling, I hope never. Then I remember, nothing is endless. 📸: @hairstories11 🎶: BULLA KI JAANA MAIN KAUN – Rabbi Shergill #theideasmithy #bibliosmithy #dervish #whirlingdervish #elifshafak #thebastardofistanbul #thefortyrulesoflove #books #bookreader #booksofinstagram #booklover #booklovers #bibliophiles #bibliophile #sufi #sufism #spirituality #spiritualjourney #spiritualawakening #spirit

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The Last Beating Heart

I don’t know if you ever have days when you feel like you’re the only beating heart in the world. The last real thing in the universe. Like everything and everyone around is just a prop. Paper people, hot air actions, entirely fictional situations.

And this is not a place of sorrow or pain or grief. It may be boredom, briefly but that’s only because one is used to thinking in terms of bustle and entertainment to feel alive and meaningful. Yet, if this place is to be held and beheld for a minute, the judgement shifts, the restless thoughts settle and it’s quiet. Serene, even. Peaceful. Calm. All but restless. Everything that you’ve been told life is not. And yet this is living in a very different way. Like you are all that life is and you’re keeping the universe alive.

Yesterday, I went swimming undisturbed by sunlight or crowd. I discarded paint, fabric and words by the poolside. As I plunged in, even the indistinct noises of other swimmers faded. And with every stroke, the water moved closer to the rhythm of my breathing, the beat of my heart. Underwater looks a lot like moonlight. And this night, the universe was quiet and pulsing to just one rhythm. Mine.

When I came out an hour later, the paper world stood waiting quietly for me to dry off, to forget the rhythm of my heart and to believe that all that is paper is real again. I’ll do it. Just until the next time I fall between the pages, underwater into the only real thing. Me.

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THE LAST BEATING HEART I don't know if you ever have days when you feel like you're the only beating heart in the world. The last real thing in the universe. Like everything and everyone around is just a prop. Paper people, hot air actions, entirely fictional situations. And this is not a place of sorrow or pain or grief. It may be boredom, briefly but that's only because one is used to thinking in terms of bustle and entertainment to feel alive and meaningful. Yet, if this place is to be held and beheld for a minute, the judgement shifts, the restless thoughts settle and it's quiet. Serene, even. Peaceful. Calm. All but restless. Everything that you've been told life is not. And yet this is living in a very different way. Like you are all that life is and you're keeping the universe alive. Yesterday, I went swimming undisturbed by sunlight or crowd. I discarded paint, fabric and words by the poolside. As I plunged in, even the indistinct noises of other swimmers faded. And with every stroke, the water moved closer to the rhythm of my breathing, the beat of my heart. Underwater looks a lot like moonlight. And this night, the universe was quiet and pulsing to just one rhythm. Mine. When I came out an hour later, the paper world stood waiting quietly for me to dry off, to forget the rhythm of my heart and to believe that all that is paper is real again. I'll do it. Just until the next time I fall between the pages, underwater into the only real thing. Me. ——————————————————————————- 🎶: TIME – Pink Floyd #theideasmithy #alonetime #peaceful #meditation #lifelessons #moon #fullmoonvibes #single #thoughts💭 #dream #dreamer #dreamcatcher #mood #moodygrams #swimlife #swimmer #healing #healthylifestyle #healthyliving #cancerian #magickingdom #underwater #nightswim

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.


Life is hard. Men are crap. Books are bae.

I have opened my  bookshelf after a long time. I’ve been reading on the fly the way I eat on the fly because books are as much my sustenance as food is. I’m really looking at my books and they’re scattered (though neatly because me) in so many places. I tuck away comfort and wisdom in lots of different corners of my life, just ready for me when I need them the most. So now for the questions.

What graphic novels do you suggest I drop some hard-earned money on? It’s been over ten years since I was formally introduced to this aisle. And I’ve learnt, as with so many other things, I straddle two worlds that shouldn’t have boundaries but do. Comic afficionados don’t seem to read other things, as such. And avid book enthusiasts don’t seem to actually consider comics real books. Huh, why? Graphic novels are books that are also beautiful. I am in a great place. I have tasted and know some of what I like but I’m still open to so many more delightful things in this medium. I don’t enjoy classic superhero stuff. I’ve read and enjoyed Sandman, Fables, Transmetropolitan, Lucifer. And I’ve grown away from boy-coming-of-age stories like Blankets and Y:The Last Man. Where should I take my eyes next?

Which one of you told me about Sharp Objects and swore it wasn’t as disappointing as Dark Places but maybe even better than Gone Girl? I intend to buy it and if it doesn’t live up, I will hunt you down and do a Gillian Flynn on you. I will not be a Cool Girl.

Have any of you read Kamila Shamsie or Alexander McCall-Smith’s books other than Mma.Ramotswe? Anybody? Anybody? Huh, huh? Damn. But they’re respectively joy and comfort in paperback form.

Have any of you read Crazy, Rich Asians (the book)? Is it a bit like The Joy Luck Club, in that it’s enjoying a moment because it’s about Asian people and representation matters? I hated The Joy Luck Club TBH. I mean, I get the value of a book talking about Asians, yes. But it was so depressing and angsty and worst of all – monotonous. Memoirs of a Geisha was better but then again, I read it as a teenager and now that I know about white saviour complexes and co-opting narratives, I may think differently. Reading as a woke adult means thinking about these things too. And if it’s just about representation, American Born Chinese (a graphic novel) does a decent job putting Asian faces into literature. Lovely illustrations, too.

Who still remembers and loves Milan Kundera? I feel like he and Murakami were neck to neck in the hipster reader stakes a decade ago. I went the Moody Euro way while popular taste went with Weird Japanese. Am I standing alone with Identity, Ignorance, Slowness, Laughable Loves and The Unbearable Lightness of Being?

And now I’m just going to randomly name books and authors that I fell in love with at first page and have never wavered since.  The Fault in Our Stars. Richard Bach. The Time Traveller’s Wife. Louis Sachar. S.E.C.R.E.T. Dream Angus. Erma Bombeck. The Kite Runner. Spider Jerusalem.

Does anybody know why PG Wodehouse books dropped their old cover art style of orange spines, white frames and outlined colour drawings for these pastel-ey full page watercolour thingys and can I get a little commiseration please? I miss the good old days. 

#BaBaLubabaBooksBooksBooks

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Watching Sunsets

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An Old Book

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

BOOK REVIEW: Turtles All The Way Down – John Green

Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down by John Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s possible that John Green enthusiasts already come steeled to deal with heavy duty emotional toil, given that his past books place teenagers in cancer, fatal accidents and parental neglect. Still, this book is a different kind of monster and it’s a shock when you encounter it. The last time I felt so desperately bleak was when I read 13 Reasons Why and that’s a book that really should be restricted reading. Should this book come with trigger warnings? Yes. And here they are: Mental illness, OCD, Child abuse. These are spoilers but I think the need for trigger warnings trumps the need to entertain the reader.

My complaint with John Green is his stock characters. Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns were both about the same confused, entitled girl and a confused, enamoured boy. This book arguably gives you again the starring duo from The Fault in Our Stars except instead of cancer, one has OCD and the other has some kind of parental neglect-triggered anxiety. There is even the high-strung best friend you feel sorry for, except this time it’s a girl and she’s poor, not blind.

Still, if you like your familiar characters and can handle teenagers in horrific situations, this book reads quite nicely, showing off Green’s strengths. Say what you will, but the man is good with his words. The conversations feel familiar but never trite. All his characters seem overly obsessed with literary references but they’re vulnerable and grey.

True to his formula, the book does not end on the expected happy ending but still on a positive note. Also, if you’re wondering what the title means, you get the reference in the last quarter of the book (again on formula, just like Paper Towns and The Fault In Our Stars). Maybe teenagers and other audiences for YA novels need a certain level of formula, especially to deal with the kind of gristly themes Green takes on. And in that, he manages to pull off another successful story that warms your heart, makes you cry a little and wish the world were kinder and then get up and move on.

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BOOK Review: A Column of Fire [Kingsbridge no.3] – Ken Follett

A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge, #3)A Column of Fire by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book for an honest review and my first thought was about its physical form. 919 pages are crammed into tiny font on thin paper in a voluminous paperback that makes it really uncomfortable to hold and hard to read. If this had been a standalone book, I would not even have picked it off the bookshelf. But I read and enjoyed ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ and the slightly less romantic ‘World without End’. As book 3 in the series, I had to start this one and once I did, true to Ken Follett style, it had me gripped.

‘A Column of Fire’ is set in the 1500s in a Kingsbridge now torn by conflict. Here’s where you get to see how religion goes from being a spiritual guide to a dangerous political machine. In the past two books (and centuries), monarchs battled over land, property and wealth. In this one, they begin to battle over something even bigger – people’s belief and loyalty. Protestantism and Catholism go head to head in vicious, intolerant massacre. Overlaying these are the political machinations of the surrounding regions like France, Spain and Scotland.

History buffs will enjoy the references to the major Queens of England. Kingsbridge, having grown from the little village of the 1100s of The Pillars of the Earth, is evidently a bustling city by the 1500s and it produces several people who go onto play key roles in the fates of these kings & queens (Mary of the Scots, Elizabeth of England, Felipe of Spain, James of England). The Pope & the Catholic Church come across as just as powerful political forces as each of the monarchs.

These fictitious characters play major roles with Mary, Elizabeth and the others being support characters. That said, the Kingsbridge books have started to feel less and less about intimate stories of ordinary people and more about chronicling history in a fictional setting. While ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ was about small, unimportant people (of their times) like a stone mason, a woman of the forest and a monk, ‘A Column of Fire’ deals with the decisions and tribulations of successful traders, landed peers and political advisors.

I also saw a few modern phrases/references slip in which seemed incongruous to the timeline of the story. For instance, Page 99 had a mention of ‘a few Native Americans’ when I’m not sure if they were called that in the 1500s before the colonisation of America.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous two (especially the first!). The plot seemed more important than the characters and I found it easy to skip past entire pages. Given how long the book is, at some point of time it became about identifying what parts of the story were going to meander into things I’ve read about in history already, rather than where the plot itself was going to take me next. I do however want to mention that this is an extraordinarily clear-headed look at the exploitation of women & other races by a white male author. It’s also good to read a book that doesn’t pull any punches when it addresses the unfettered greed for power by the Catholic Church as well as the Protestant community, when it addresses history.

If you are new to the Kingsbridge series, don’t worry about not having read the previous two. Each book in this series stands by itself, being that they’re each set 200 years apart. But going through them in order allows you the additional enjoyment of watching regular lives turn into history and then legend and then be forgotten.

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Sex Stories

The crazy fucking of true crime
The elaborate lovemaking of literary fiction
The steady sex of drama
The quickies of comedy
The romantic touches of tragedy
The slow strokes of horror

Every story is a sex story with its reader.

Biblios

Biblios

Dreamdust will always smell like ink and paste

The library is where all dreams begin, sculpted in paper cuts

Turn the page. 

Follow my writings on https://www.yourquote.in/ideasmithy

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