The Gaysi Zine: Issue 3

The Gaysi Zine Issue 3 It was an evening of fun. It was an evening of telling stories, of listening to stories and it was about the Gaysi Zine and the launch of their 3rd edition in Mumbai. I think more than anything else it was about solidarity, of the community being represented by its voices and their stories to tell. I never thought I would be a part of the zine and write for it, but when Priya asked me to, I was more than eager to and so somewhere in the zine is my piece as well. Now to talk about the zine.

This zine is perhaps like none other than you would have seen or read. The Gaysi Zine – 3rd Edition is fantastic. It has stories, it has visuals, it has a world that is marginalized and voices that will be heard, no matter what. I remember holding the Zine for the first time in my hand and being all ecstatic, well perhaps because I wrote for it, but also because it seemed monumental to me and not because I am Gay, but because it breaks boundaries and barriers in so many ways.

The pieces are all in black and white, in fact the entire edition is in black and white and that is what makes it even more special. Emotions are always black and white I guess, maybe that’s why the context. The Gaysi designer and the person who sketched this entire edition by hand gets more than a kudos from me – a big giant hug for when we meet.

Now to the content: my favourite pieces in the Zine are: 1000 Days to Love, Letters in Monsoon, Rosabel and States of Arousal. These connected to me like no other pieces. Let me also tell you something: Emotions thankfully have no gender and neither do voices. They aren’t queer or straight or transgendered. They are there. Waiting to be acknowledged and to be loved. The Gaysi Zine Issue 3 is something else. It is a labor of love. It is voices merged. It is a Zine which you should not miss. A universal language of love, according to me.

Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra

Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra Title: Bonsai
Author: Alejandro Zambra
Publisher: Melville House
ISBN: 978-1612191683
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 86
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Not all good novels have to be long. There are times when you read a book and wish it was not that short. I have read “Bonsai” by Alejandro Zambra a couple of times. This was another time that I had to re-read it. “Bonsai” is a love story. It is a story on art and life. It is about life and its misery. It is also about how one can live and how one does. Alejandro Zambra’s debut novel (or actually a novella) is profound and yet funny in some parts. It is a story that is meant to be simple and ends up being extremely complex.

Julio and Emilia are two Chilean university students. Julio loves Emilia. Emilia loves Julio. They both are avid readers. They lie to each other about having read Proust. They read in bed. They are grand when it comes to love and also doubtful and unsure about their love. They drift apart. Emilia then disappears from Chile without a word and that is when the story begins, merging the past and the present. There is also another story within this story and one more which will leave the readers spellbound.

Bonsai of course does have a major role to play in the book and that I will not speak about in my review. Each word is essential. Everything is in place. The writing is accessible. It is melancholic and superlative. This is the kind of book that shows you that you do not need too many words to say what you want to. The tragic end of the story and the way it begins is enough for the reader to know that he or she is sold. The book is edgy, will be a treat for literary lovers and for those who want to explore the different side of fiction.

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The Pilot and the Little Prince : The Life of Antoine De Saint-Exupery by Peter Sis

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis Title: The Pilot and the Little Prince : The Life of Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Author: Peter Sis
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 9780374380694
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Pages: 48
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

“The Little Prince” somehow makes it to some list or the other. It is also almost every reader’s most beloved classic. It is fondly remembered by both – the young and the old. What makes it so special? Why does the world recommend it to be read? The magic lies not only in its plot but also in the way it was written and illustrated by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. I did not know much about Saint-Exupery while reading “The Little Prince” or even after that, till I bumped into “The Pilot and the Little Prince” by Peter Sis online and knew that I had to own this book.

“The Pilot and the Little Prince” is about Antoine De Saint-Exupery, who was born in 1900, at the turn of the century when everything was new and progressing. Everything was developing. The world was in constant change mode and full of new inventions and technology, not to forget the most important invention of them all – airplanes.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 1

Saint-Exupery always dreamed of flying, far and wide and beyond everything else. So much so that he learned how to fly against his mother’s wishes and decided that all he wanted to do was fly. So much so that he would even tie cloth to his bicycle in the hope of it flying someday.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 2

The book is about a man’s discovery of who he wanted to be and what it sometimes takes to be who you want to be. “The Pilot and the Little Prince” juxtaposes the lives of both, Antoine and the little prince and how he got to writing this book.

What is also most surprising is that this was not his first book (contrary to popular belief) and also the fact that his other works are equally good if not more. What struck me most about the book is the way Peter Sis has encapsulated his life in forty-eight pages. Page after page, the reader is treated to the blue of the ocean, to the glow of the sky and also to the blood of the German’s assault on France in WWII, where Antoine was enlisted as a war pilot.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 3

From his plane, he reflected on life and what lay before him. He thought of things magical and life that went beyond the ordinary. Antoine also read books on his plane. He just wanted to fly and write about his experiences and in 1943 of course his masterpiece, which we all know as “The Little Prince” was published.

On July 31, 1944 he took off for a flight to photograph enemy positions east of Lyon and never returned. That was the end of a writer, an aviator and a human being who only wanted to talk about what he saw and observed.

The Pilot and the Little Prince - Image 4

“The Pilot and the Little Prince” is a delightful book. It is brief, beautifully illustrated and yet takes a lot of time to read through and sink in the marvelous illustrations. This is a book meant for both children and adults. It is the kind of book that will warm your heart and yet leave you melancholic.

Here is a trailer of the musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Weber of “The Little Prince”:

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387 Short Stories : Day 320 to Day 325

Here are the six stories read till the 30th of October 2014:

Day 320: 25th of October 2014: The Writer by Ellis Sharp
Day 321: 26th of October 2014: The Faber Book of Adultery by Jonathan Gibbs
Day 322: 27th of October 2014: I Arrive First by Emma Jane Unsworth
Day 323: 28th of October 2014: Private Tuition with Mr. Bose by Anita Desai
Day 324: 29th of October 2014: Izzat by Ashapurna Devi
Day 325: 30th of October 2014: The Hijra by Kamala Das

387 Short Stories: Day 319: Inland Sea by Stuart Dyber

Day 319 - Ecstatic Cahoots

Today was Day 319 of the 387 Short Story Project. I read a unique story, written by a unique writer. I had not heard of him earlier and I am glad that I did now. Stuart Dyber is a writer who is full of empathy and wit at the same time.

“Inland Sea” is a story which is short and extremely short at that. At the same time, the story could be about anything. That is what I love about it. The story just describes a scene and it is left to the reader to interpret the plot.

Do read it. You will be marveled by it.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo Title: Because of Winn-Dixie
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 9780744578294
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 181
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

There are a lot of authors who write about animals and humans, but I doubt if any of them write as well as Kate DiCamillo does on the topic. I was first introduced to her when I read, “Flora and Ulysses” and since then I have not turned back. Kate DiCamillo’s stories are heart-warming and each of them features an animal and then the love between humans and animals is most visible.

“Because of Winn-Dixie” is a book about a girl and her chance meeting with a dog that changes everything in her life and in the new town she and her father move to. Ten-year old Opal learns 10 things about her long gone mother from her preacher father. That happens because of Winn-Dixie, the dog she finds at a departmental store and things are then never the same.

I love DiCamillo’s writing. There is of course the simplicity, which is needed for a children’s book but her books are also accessible to adults, when it comes to emotions and feelings. This book made me want to watch the movie. DiCamillo packs so much in less than two hundred pages and with every turn of the page, you either smile or choke up or both. If you want to start reading children’s books, I strongly recommend you read Kate DiCamillo.

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387 Short Stories : Day 294 to Day 318

Day 294: 29th of September 2014: Zelig by Benjamin Rosenblatt
Day 295: 30th of September 2014: Wild Plums by Grace Stone Coates
Day 296: 1st of October 2014: Willi by E.L. Doctorow
Day 297: 2nd of October 2014: A Poetics for Bullies by Stanley Elkin
Day 298: 3rd of October 2014: Redemption by John Gardner
Day 299: 4th of October 2014: Verona: A Young Woman Speaks by Harold Brodkey
Day 300: 5th of October 2014: The Ledge by Lawrence Sargent Hall
Day 301: 6th of October 2014: Water Liars by Barry Hannah
Day 302: 7th of October 2014: Least Resistance by Wayne Harrison
Day 303: 8th of October 2014: Into Silence by Marlin Barton
Day 304: 9th of October 2014: Bullet Number Two by Hannah Tinti
Day 305: 10th of October 2014: Do Something by Kate Walbert
Day 306: 11th of October 2014: The Bris by Eileen Polllack
Day 307: 12th of October 2014: Allegiance by Aryn Kayle
Day 308: 13th of October 2014: Balto by T.C. Boyle
Day 309: 14th of October 2014: Gunpowder Alley by Bill Pronzini
Day 310: 15th of October 2014: Midair by Frank Conroy
Day 311: 16th of October 2014: The Bystander by Gina Berriault
Day 312: 17th of October 2014: The Lover of Horses by Tess Gallagher
Day 313: 18th of October 2014: Rock Springs by Richard Ford
Day 314: 19th of October 2014: The Misfits by Arthur Miller
Day 315: 20th of October 2014: Akhnilo by James Salter
Day 316: 21st of October 2014: Walking Out by David Quammen
Day 317: 22nd of October 2014: Letters from the Samantha by Mark Helprin
Day 318: 23rd of October 2014: Bright and Morning Star by Richard Wright