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1. My social experiment seems to indicate that Anuja Chauhan's appeal does cross international borders, but also that her work especially resonates with other Asian-identity sharing readers. I've been updating the post linking to all the reactions to her books, so now there's quite a collection of people pleased by her - The Anuja Chauhan Reading Club.

2. The books have mostly left the US, and are winding their respective ways across Europe and Australasia. So if you are a non-US, non-Indian resident who wants in, and can promise to read the book in a month, write a review, and mail it on internationally, you can sign up for a turn here.

3. My friend [profile] troiroyaumes has generously bought a box set of all three of Anuja Chauhan's books, and donated them for the annual Con or Bust benefit auction. So if you'd like to get the books to keep, with no strings attached, and also support a good cause (that I personally benefited from), please consider bidding for them over here. (I haven't offered anything since I still owe blog posts from over two years ago, but if the bidding goes over some extravagant amount, I could consider doing a post-it notes commentary of the books like I did for previous auctions, if anyone would like it.)
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I have been having one of the most stressful, unhappy weeks this year so far, and it doesn't seem to be headed anywhere good. HOWEVER, I needed to claw out time to make this quick update post, because of how much delight these pictures brought me.

See, when I designed my unwhitewashed (LESS RACIST!) cover for Chasing Shadows, I was kind of hoping other people would care about the issue too, that it might become a thing people talked about the way that other book covers that Racist Gremlins have attacked have become. But nope, people went on talking about how beautiful the racist cover was and how much they loved it, and I kept seething in my little corner.

Then [personal profile] kingrat commented asking if I had a hi-res version he could print off to use for his actual, physical copy of the book, and I was so stressed out with other things that I went a little nuts and spent three hours working on my dinosaur-age combination of Picasa and MS Paint to produce a full book jacket. Since I didn't have a copy of the actual book, or for that matter a printer, I just made wild guesses as to size and dimensions, but from that, [personal profile] kingrat managed to produce the glory that is...
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Today is the day a book called Chasing Shadows officially releases. The book and I go a ways back, since the author--Swati Avasthi--is a friend, and I've talked about the novel with her and read it in draft. Because I make for a biased reviewer of the work, suffice it to say that I think she has maintained the complexity of character and plot that she displayed in her first book Split, which a bunch of you appreciated when I passed around an ARC of it. You might like it if you enjoy books about female friendship and grief and loss and madness and the importance of stories and scaling rooftops and superheroes in graphic motion.

This post, however, is about the cover.

TL;DR version, the publishers issued a racist, whitewashed version so I made my own. Want, Take, Have. )
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As the reactions to my Anuja Chauhan passing the parcel experiment trickle in, I'll update this post. When people have made public posts, I've linked to them, when they have emailed me their reactions I have quoted them here (with permission, obviously). Spoilers will go under a further cut.

The Zoya Factor (2008)
Blurb )

[personal profile] laurashapiro says:There were some awfully funny bits, and some bits that made me quizzical. )

[personal profile] oyceter says: "there's just something really fun about Chauhan's narrative voice, from the toinnnnngggg commercial to the two sports announcers and the assorted excerpts from gossip magazines.

[personal profile] troisroyaumes says: the other part of the story I found interesting was the underlying theme of superstition and luck.

[personal profile] glass_icarus says: I don't often read chick lit, but Chauhan's narrative voice is incredibly entertaining.

[personal profile] via_ostiense says: Zoya/Chauhan have great senses of humor, there were many parts where I cracked up laughing out loud. )

[personal profile] samvara says: I loved this, it's fresh and funny with believable and likable characters.

[personal profile] illariy says: The book is an entertaining romance; I really enjoyed both the lucky charm and the Nikhil/Zoya plot aspects.

[personal profile] rmc28 says: The writing is exuberant, funny, full of Indian English and Hindi slang, and I adored it.

[personal profile] glinda says: On the whole I'd recommend it if you like chick-lit, Zoya's job and relationships with both colleagues and family are well-drawn, I loved the code switching and the observations on the relationship between sports and the media.

[personal profile] kaberett says: The first time I burst out in delighted cackles was at the top of page two, and I kept on laughing all the way through.

[personal profile] delfinnium says: The author had a delightful turn of language command that not only flowed beautifully from standard English to Indian-English, but it seemed natural, and it was especially GOOD because I could FEEL and HEAR the culture in it.

Battle for Bittora (2009)
Blurb )

[personal profile] laurashapiro says: The author draws many memorable characters and indulges in the supposed sin of writing in dialect to excellent effect. )

[personal profile] troisroyaumes says: The whole novel works excellently as a satire of political campaigns, but like the best satires, it has a sincerity about the topic it parodies.

[personal profile] dorothean says: In short -- the funniest, most thoughtful, sweetest, and overall best chick-lit novel I have ever read.

[personal profile] afrikate says: I felt the book was very accessible to a Western audience )

[personal profile] oyceter says: Definitely recommended, and in case I made it sound serious and unfun, it is hilarious and includes a scene with Jinni putting a condom on a large wooden penis. For politics, of course.

[personal profile] glass_icarus says: As with The Zoya Factor, Chauhan conveys the feeling of being swept up in larger social currents incredibly well, but my favorite aspect of this book was the family dynamics.

Connie L. says: Overall, I thought the book was fantastic )

[personal profile] rmc28 says: I do appreciate the way the book sets up stereotypes and then shows It's More Complicated Than That, and does it all with the same humour and exuberance as I loved in The Zoya Factor.

Eve says: Jinni’s dynamics with the other characters, as much as the campaigning antics, were what kept me reading.

[personal profile] delfinnium says: Beautifully done!

Those Pricey Thakur Girls (2013)
Blurb )

[personal profile] troisroyaumes says: "It's been a while since I've come across a book so engaging that I've sacrificed sleep on a weeknight"

[personal profile] afrikate says: Overall, I think this book would need some more background for non-Indian readers. )

[personal profile] laurashapiro says: Overall this felt like Chauhan's most mature book )

[personal profile] oyceter says: This is my favorite out of all of Anuja Chauhan's books and feels very much like what I've been waiting for.

[personal profile] glass_icarus says: Family dynamics are probably Chauhan's best narrative strength. Also, there simply is no humor quite like the wacky family hijinks kind.

[personal profile] starlady says: It helps that the Thakurs are pretty hilarious, and that Chauhan has an eye for the telling and comedic detail.

[personal profile] rmc28 says: There is a large cast of distinctive, vividly-drawn characters. There's a lot of humour and witty dialogue.

[personal profile] kaberett says: I enjoyed this. I enjoyed this a lot.

[personal profile] via_ostiense says: its sense of humor makes it entertaining and affecting at the same time )

[personal profile] delfinnium says: wow, Thakur girls blew me away!
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
It's funny how in a whole bazaar of inhumane and outrageous things, sometimes just one ordinary, seemingly small item can jump out at you and pierce your heart.

Nivedita Menon recently posted Gender Just, Gender Sensitive, NOT Gender Neutral Rape Laws on Kafila, which is a statement signed by so many people whose feminist work I admire.

And I am terrified that these, the voices of some of the most publicly liberal and radical feminists who represent my interests, so stridently argue against one of the core realities of rape culture:

Woman can be rapists.

Female-identified people can sexually assault and sexually coerce and sexually violate another person. Their victims can be child or adult, male or female.

And this is not even touching the appalling lack of acknowledgement of transgendered and transexual identities, which are even more vulnerable to sexualised violences by status as marginalised and oppression minority.

This is not even about becoming the thing you are fighting by taking a push-back against patriarchy so far.

This is about wanting to take away protection from rape survivors, and denying them the legal ability to name the experience they went through with a term that states it to be as non-consensual, as violent, and as obscene as the actions a male rapist perpetrates.

Rape is sexualised violence, and violence can be perpetrated by any human being regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Female caregivers who have power over children or the elderly or the infirm, female prison wardens and policewomen and armed forces officers, female teachers and professors, these are all in positions of power that can be abused. Women who have sex with women can be abused. Men in heterosexual marriages can be abused.

There is so much these women have fought for, so long and so hard, that I am so grateful for: these endless battles against the patriarchy, against casteism, against communalism, against homophobia, against classism and capitalism and every other form of bigotry and systemic oppression that warps the world I live in. I have such a sense of solidarity and empathy and admiration for most of their words.

It hurts so much to be so divisively excluded from their cause right now.


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Deepa D.

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