Friday, March 24, 2017

The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance - Book Review

The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance
By Niranjan Navalgund
Review By Ila Garg

The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance, a novel by Niranjan Navalgund, is published by Readomania. The cover is in an apt sync with the title as it shows a glimpse of a library. I loved how the books are personified on the cover, especially the sight of the book with a walking stick on the back cover. The book on the front side reminded be of peek-a-boo. I was excited to read the book.

Niranjan Navalgund is a young chess professional who derives great pleasure in learning about life through the game of chess. He is a former National U-17 Chess Champion and a Commonwealth Silver medalist in the U-18 Category. He has been conferred with ‘Indradhanushya’ (2007) ‘Giants International Award’ (2009), ‘Kreeda Ratna’ Award (2010) and ‘Belgaumite of the year’ Award (2012) for his achievements in the field of Chess. He is a lover of words and occasionally tries his hand at writing stories and poems. He believes that writing is a wonderful exercise for the soul. Being a bibliophile, he harbours a special interest in the New Age Philosophy. Unusual stories excite him. He hopes to visit the Panda Zoo, someday. Niranjan lives with his family in Belagavi.

The blurb reads as, “Unknown to Nayan, the library he inherits from his deceased father, is a mysterious place. Hiriya Halepu, Pu.Nayaka, Kapshi and many others live there. They have a secret world with celebrations, romances, pangs of separation and conflicts. This is the Book-World. As two souls in this world fall in love, they encounter a strange predicament that separates them from each other. Things go from bad to worse when an unknown enemy sends a threat of destruction to this whole mysterious world. They call their resolute protector, Helmine, who unravels many unknown facets of this world, in an attempt to save it from the danger. The lovers struggle to find each other, and Helmine tries hard to decipher the threat messages. But will she be able to save this world from destruction? Will the two souls in love be united? There are no easy answers. Because, this is no ordinary Library, this is the place where books come to life.”

The book throws light on the mysterious world that breathes inside a library. It is a surrealistic description of a library where the books come to life when it is all dark. It reminded me of a short story that I read during my graduation days—‘Squirrel’ by Ambai.

Being a bibliophile, I was intrigued. For every book lover out there, books are the best friends, libraries are the places where they feel calm and with books around they don’t feel alone or any need of a real friend. And imagine, if the books actually come to life and start talking back; I don’t think I would ever need a friend again if that happens! Anyway coming back to the book, when I read about the books coming to life in darkness, I was amazed.

That library is inherited by Nayan from his father. He got it revamped and gave it a grand opening. During the day time, he took care of the entire library and during the night, the books came to life. Soon, Nayan got suspicious and tried to figure out the mystery while taking care of the library in the morning. He however, remains unsuccessful.

Some of the main characters in the library are Hiriya Halepu (Senior Old Book), Kapshi (Book Man), MookBonk (Philosopher) and Helmine (Resolute Protector). These books are guided by book rules. It is through the conversations that these books have among themselves that the readers get to learn so many lessons. The author surely has a wonderful imagination to be able to create such intricate details.

The descriptions in the book are quite detailed and therefore the readers will feel very much connected to the book characters. The language is simple and easy to comprehend. Nowhere will a reader feel any disconnect. It’s so well-written that once you pick up, you cannot keep it down without finishing it off. I found it quite engaging. The subject is tackled beautifully by the skillful author.
How the books come to life, how they have book rules that they follow, how they have problems that they discuss with each other, how they fell in love with each other and so much so that they actually go on dates, how the books are personified, will Nayan find out the truth are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance.

Further, this 96-page book is one of its kind in the market as much as I have read so far. It’s a compelling book that gives you enough to reflect on and be in the awe of the author’s unique and innovative idea and approach.

Ratings: 4.5/5

Buying Link: Amazon

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