5 INDIAN MYTHOLOGICAL FICTIONS ONE MUST READ

India has a very rich and diverse cultural heritage. If you study India’s history, you will see the lavish lifestyle of the people back in the days. But it is not limited to recent few centuries only. This richness goes way back to the times of gods and goddesses. All this is recorded in the books of literature of the Indian heritage. 

India also has a wide range of books and scriptures one can read if they are into Indian mythological genre or simply mythological genre.

It is a country famous for its wars and folklores and hundreds of things that make Indian history quite an interesting subject. Most of us have grown up listening to these stories by our grandparents. 

Some of the authors have revamped these stories in their creative imagination. Some characters are taken from the most famous stories of Indian history and represent a different aspect of those stories. These have been widely appreciated and loved. Here’s a list of top 5 Indian Mythological fictions one must read at least once:

  1. The Pandavas series by Roshan Chokshi:

An amazing book for the youngsters that tells the story of a young 12-year-old girl named Aru Shah. Her family runs the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in America. Things turn around for Aru when her friends force her to rub an ancient lamp which releases a sleeping demon. Next thing you see is Aru on an unexpected adventure to set thighs straight by finding the reincarnations of the Pandavas and her journey through the kingdom of death. The series has not yet been completed. But is humorous and full of adventure. The author subtlety and cleverly connects the ancient world to the modern world. 

  1. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni:

You might have heard the epic of Mahabharata many times. But have you heard it from the perspective of the one major cause behind the war, Draupadi? The Palace of Illusions tells this epic from the perspective of Draupadi, her feelings, how she struggled to find a loving home all her life and how she felt when she might have felt when she was gambled away in a game of chess by her five husbands. The book sums the story in 360 pages and tells her side of the story.

  1. Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi:

One of the most beloved books of people, the Shiva trilogy is a must on this list. Amish Tripathi is known for his storytelling and lucid writing. He intertwines the story of Lord Shiva with a fictional background. He beautifully narrates how a common man because of deeds and karma become a God for people. The first part is The Immortals of Meluha, the second The Secret of  Nagas and the third is The Oath of Vayuputras. This is a must-read for all the Shiva as well as mythological lovers. 

  1. The Ramchandra series by Amis Tripathi:

Another brilliantly written series by the author Amish Tripathi is his second expression into the world of mythic-fiction. Like his previous work, The Shiva Trilogy, The Ramchandra series is also a bestseller. This time Amish explores the epic of Ramayana, each book from the perspective of the three main characters the epic revolved around. The series consists of two books Scion of Ikshavaku and Sita: Warrior of Mithila. This series is much better than the Shiva Trilogy in terms of storytelling and plot. The first part, i.e., Scion of Ikshavaku is from the perspective of Lord Ram, the second part, Sita: Warrior of Mithila is from the perspective of Sita, Lord Ram’s wife. Now the third book of the series is awaited which will be from the perspective of Ravana. 

  1. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan:

Anand Neelakantan is famous for his books on the two most famous epics of Indian history, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The story follows the original storyline of the original Ramayana but what is different about this book is that it tells you the story from the perspective of Ravana. It gives you the story of the other side, the side which is never told while telling the Ramayana. It is a fresh approach towards the epic of Ramayana and is a page-turner.

There are several other books which are worth giving a read. The list could go on and on. These Indian authors have brought a different perspective of the stories we have heard like a hundred times before.

These books are worth your time. After all who wouldn’t love to divide into the royal, fantasy land even if you only get to experience it through a book and your imagination.

10 Books One Must Read At Least Once in their Life

Reading is a great way to keep your mind active. It gives you thousands of reasons to sit back and think about numerous things. It also helps you escape reality and travel to a different world.
 

Reading fills you with little pieces of knowledge that stay with you for a long time. You never know when something might come handy. You come across new words and they start slipping in your vocabulary. It makes you well-articulated and well-spoken. You read something and it gets stored in your brain. Thus it also helps to improve your memory.

There are countless benefits of reading and there are thousands of books to read. But some books are “evergreen”. They are written by some of the greatest literary minds of all times and are known as “classics”. You can pick them any day and they give you the same fresh feeling as it gave you the first time.

A list of 10 books that you must read at least once in a lifetime:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee:

This book was published in 1960 and appears in almost all the lists of the best books. It explores human behaviour and the collective conscience of the Deep South in the early 20th century. It also revolves around the themes of prejudice, hatred, hypocrisy, love and innocence. And is delicately woven with humour. Anyone who has read it counts it as one of their favourites. 

  1. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling:

Those who have read the Harry Potter books or have even watched the movie are still waiting for their Hogwarts letter, including me. J.K. Rowling takes you on an amazing journey filled with magic and mystery. She introduces you to the world you will never want to leave. You grow up with Harry in this 7 books series.

  1. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkein:

Another series that takes you into the world of hobbits, dragons, monsters and gods. This book allows you to escape from reality and go on unimaginable adventures. The book revolves around the themes of fantasy, evil and innocence. This series comprises three books in total. 

  1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen:

Jane Austen is said to be one of the most famous writers in English Literature and Pride and Prejudice is one of her best works. It is a story of the courtship of two opposite characters in a world where manners and courtesy are of utmost importance. The book leaves you with the message that “love knows no barriers and finds its way”.

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank:

Almost everyone is aware of the story of Anne Frank during the German Holocaust. The Diary of a Young Girl is a raw account of her life as she hides from the Nazis. She teaches the readers a valuable lesson that we should keep believing that people are good at heart and situations to change. She wishes to change her life too. The book is spin-chilling and tear-jerking as it reveals how the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

  1. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak:

The book is set in Germany during 1939 when the Nazis were ruling Germany and the Jews were being brutally killed. It revolves around a girl named Liesel and how she rescues books from the wrath of Nazi rule. The story also features an unusual friendship that is formed in the most unusual situation. Like The Diary of a Young Girl, this book also gives you a view of the cruel Nazi rule.

  1. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien:

Another fantasy fiction by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit was originally written as a short storybook for children. Later it was made into a long series of movies. It features the story of Bilbo Baggins and his journey to the Middle East to challenge a dragon. The book gives a strong message of bravery and takes you into a fantasy world just like the Lord of the Rings.

  1. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott:

The story of four sisters, set in 19th century New England. Each sister has their own significant personality trait. The book gives you an account of their struggles and their flaws and how they turn into strong young women. The book is a pure joy to read.

  1. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte:

Jane Eyre is the first prose fiction to focus on its protagonist’s moral and spiritual development. Jane Eyre is one of the strongest fictional heroines of all time. It is a story of a girl who fights social criticism in a society with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core. It depicts a strong, unbroken woman despite her troubled childhood. 

  1. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini:

The story revolves around Amir and his journey to find his one true friend. He has to abandon him due to ethic and religious differences that existed in Kabul, Afghanistan. It also highlights the theme of guilt and redemption. It is a story of true friendship and atonement. The book has been awarded as the New York bestseller for two times in a row. 

These were some of the books which one should definitely read once in their life. These books never lose their essence and will surely blow your mind with their brilliant storylines.

Happy Reading!

VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE: BOOK REVIEW

“Veronika Decides to Die” gives you an impression the book is depressing, right? I can assure you it isn’t.

Paulo Coelho, the best selling Brazillian author brings another beautifully woven story. It is bound to make you sad and leave you happy by the end. The story does begin with a depressing tone but takes a twist no one expects.


The story revolves around a 24- year-old girl, Veronika. Veronika lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia and has everything one asks for in life. She is beautiful, has loving parents, a lover and a job. But a feeling of fear that everything will go downhill for her after 24 takes over her mind. So, one evening she sits near her window with a bottle of painkillers. As she starts talking one pill at a time, she takes a look at all the things outside which she sees every day. Slowly, she started getting sleepy but death had not yet come.


The plan to kill herself fails and she woke up to find herself in a mental hospital, Villette. The doctor tells her that her attempt at suicide had failed and her heart had taken the toll of it. She finds out that she has a week only to live. Her world had taken an unexpected turn.


Coelho then goes on to explain how he came to know about Veronika’s story. He relates to her story because his parents also admitted him into a mental institution for his “unusual behaviour”. But Coelho appears in the story for a brief moment only.


Coming back to Veronika, shocked and resistant to live in Villette she tries to find a way out of there. But she fails at this too. Reluctantly she becomes friend with Mari, who suffers from panic attacks. Later she claims that she might have fallen in love with Eduard, a schizophrenic. Somehow she slowly gave in and accepted her reality. She decided to live the last few days of her life to the fullest.


Dr Igor, one of the main characters of the stories gives Veronika series of shocks to test his medical theory. He wants to prove through his experiment that he can shock someone into wanting to live again by convincing them that their death is around the corner. That is exactly what he did with Veronika.


Veronika finds herself on a journey to discover herself before she dies. She rediscovers her passion for piano. She played the piano every evening that lifted the spirits of many at Villette. She suffered a heart-attacks throughout the week, she found her desire to live again.


Coelho, makes you rethink your decisions and your routines. Just like all his other books, this book also successfully connects with its readers. Like Veronika, all of us have had moments in our life where we thought the only way out is to die. Paulo gives his readers a new hope to live. You will reevaluate your reasons to continue living. He leaves a hidden message that there a number of reasons in this world to live and suicide is not an option. A moment can change your life.


I recommend this book to everyone especially the people who have been suicidal some time in life. Veronika decides to Die is not a long read. The stories winds up in around 200 pages. By the end of the book, it will leave its readers happy to be alive. Paulo focuses on the fact that even the slightest of change in perspective can make a broken person stronger.

Books on Indian History which You Must Read

Indian History has been the theme for many books. Whether its fiction or non-fiction, there are plenty of books which deserve to be on the list of must-read books written on the topic of history. These books give one a detailed understanding of India’s history.

Be it comprehensive historical books or fictional accounts of a historical incident, there are many options for you to choose from. If you are a person who loves both reading and history then the following 5 books are just the right choice for you.

The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen is an Indian Economist and writer who had won the Nobel Prize in 1998. This book is a collection of essays and it will help one understand the Indian polity. It focusses on the importance of public debate, argument and intellectual diversity in the Indian civilization of the past. Sen writes about his view on how and what will lead to the success of democracy in India.

India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha is an Indian writer and researcher whose areas of interest include society, politics and history. India After Gandhi is a book describing the journey of modern India, from post-independence from the British in 1947 until the 1990s. The book will provide one with a thorough understanding of India’s social and economic spheres. It covers the country’s political history over the later part of the 20th century.

The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple is a Scottish historian, writer, critic, art historian and curator. He has won several awards and prizes for his writings. The book is a comprehensive description of the time period when the Mughal empire started declining in India. It will be a treat for people who love reading history. It is about the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, and it provides an account of 19th century India with the tale of the emergence of the British Raj.

Another famous book by him is White Mughals which is his fifth major book, it tells the story of the love affair between James Achilles Kirkpatrick and Khair-un-Nissa Begum at the backdrop of nineteenth century Hyderabad.

The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s first prime minister and he wrote this from 1942 – 1946. This book was written by Nehru when he was imprisoned by the British. It is a tribute to the rich cultural heritage and legacy of the country. It provides an account of all major developments in the subcontinent from the period of Indus Valley Civilization to the last years of the British rule.

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning writer, novelist and poet. The book is about the tale of the epic Mahabharata, written from the perspective of Draupadi (Panchaali). It tells the story of the woman who fights, endures a lot living in a patriarchal world. It is a historical fiction which traces the historical tale and the life of Panchaali.

4 Tips for Effective IELTS Preparation

To migrate or study in English speaking nations, one needs to give an IELTS test. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assesses the person’s ability to speak, write, listen, and read in English. The test is designed to understand how you will use English in your daily life such as in university, workplace, or other social situations.

Before providing the tips on how to do the preparation, here is the breakdown of the types of IELTS test. There are two types: Academic and General. The IELTS Academic test is for those willing to pursue undergraduate or post-graduation or join a professional organization in an English-speaking nation. Second, the IELTS General Training test is for those who want to train or study at below degree level, to work, or to emigrate.

The formats of these two tests are a bit different, but the test assessment will still be on four skills: Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking.

Reading Test: This will include a wide range of reading skills such as attention to detail, a general sense of the passage, meaning derived from it, understanding of writer’s opinions, attitudes, and how will you understand the development of the argument.

Listening Test: It assesses how well you recognize opinions, attitudes, the purpose of the speaker, and also factual information and general ideas.

Writing Test: The Writing test is designed to measure the wide range of writing skills including grammar, vocabulary, how you can write responses, organize ideas, and recognize mistakes.

Speaking Test: The IELTS Speaking Test assesses how fluently and accurately you communicate in English. You can be asked to speak on various topics and express your opinions.

Getting back on how to crack the IELTS exam, just like any other test IELTS to needs some preparation. These four tips can help you ace the IELTS exam.

  • First and foremost, Read! Read! Read! Whether it’s a book, newspaper, magazine, or any written material. While reading, always have a credible English-English dictionary with you. This way you will work out the meanings of the new words making sure you don’t translate back to your language. You can also read an English newspaper every morning and listen to English news channels. It will enhance your reading and listening skills as well as keep you updated about the happenings in the world. Sounds good?
  • Improve your vocabulary! The more words you are exposed to, better will be your vocabulary. Jot down the words you have heard recently or you don’t know and highlight them with a marker. Check out its meaning in the dictionary and then start putting these words into daily speech. Using new words frequently will help in making your English fluent. As a fact, it takes from 10 to 20 repetitions to make a word part of your daily speech. Do see its pronunciation online if not sure. Speak those words while talking to your parents, friends, or somebody on call. This will increase your confidence and you will be well versed on the day of your exam.
  • Listen to English radio, shows, or news channels. After that try to write them down and analyze. Also with that, separately write words or sentences that were appealing to you. Use them while you write essays or speak. Don’t watch videos online since you can pause or rewind them. This won’t help as it will break your flow of listening. Hear it once only. After you are done repeat whatever you recall from the show, use stress and intonation appropriately. Make sure you record it so that you can find out your mistakes and improve accordingly.
  • So far whatever words you have learned, phrase them into sentences and then into paragraphs. While writing always set a timer. This will keep you at pace and improve your speed during the exam. Check for comma mistakes, full stop, and grammar. See-through the sample papers and find out what is the word limit given in the writing paper. Accordingly, write if say the set limit is 200 words don’t write just 150 words. This will lead to losing marks. Generally, a person is ok reading, speaking, and listening but they have a hard time writing, in that case, while practicing start with your favorite topic. Start with as basic as possible. Suppose you like chocolate ice cream, write on that. Sooner or later, you will get used to and can start with difficult topics. When you plan your essay, always have some spare time in the end to check your work.

Taking the IELTS test can be stressful so don’t forget to put these helpful tips. It will equip you to be ready for the exam. Commit and practice thoroughly. With this, you’ll feel more confident and be able to tackle the test and get the desired score.

 

The Kite Runner – A Book Review

Author – Khaled Hosseini

Publisher – Riverhead Books

Country – United States

Language – English

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a historical fiction which is set in Afghanistan and America at the times of the Soviet Afghan War. It is one of the most loved books by readers across the world. The Times describe the book as “Heartbreaking”. It was a number one New York Times bestseller for over two years, with over seven million copies sold in the United States. It has also been made into a motion picture after being a best selling novel.

The book is a beautiful and endearing tale of two friends, Amir and Hassan who grew up together in ”a peaceful but prejudiced Kabul”. They share a beautiful bond of friendship but the surrounding social prejudice intervenes in it. During their childhood years, they spend their days flying kites along the streets of Wazir Akbar Khan district. Amir occupies a special place in Hassan’s heart and he expresses his love for Amir in a few words, ”for you, a thousand times over”. These words happen to be the book’s most iconic lines. Hassan who was the servant’s son was a Hazara and suffered tremendous social and cultural discrimination for that. During a kite flying event, an incident changes their relationship forever. Eventually Hassan and his father move out of their house.

Their lives change dramatically when the Taliban arrives in Kabul and the Soviet Afghan War changes the entire atmosphere of the country. After 5 years, Amir and his father escape the country and move to America to start a new life. Amir continues to suffer with guilt for the past. It is after he grows up to be a successful writer that he receives a call from a familiar voice of the past and goes back to Kabul. The story takes a different turn at the end when Amir discovers the truth that his relationship with Hassan was deeper than he realised.

Born in Kabul, the author draws inspiration from his own life as well but the plot and characters of the book however are fictional. The characters of the book are beautifully woven and the story is unforgettable. Several conflicts within the plot makes the readers fall in love with the characters. The book created some controversy within Afghan readers as it portrayed Pashtuns as prejudiced towards Hazara people. The racial and religious extremism is deeply saddening and the violence is frightening. The kite has been portrayed as an important symbol which represents Amir’s guilt for his betrayal towards Hassan and thus he does not fly a kite after that incident until the very end.

The book encourages its readers to look at the world in a new way and provides a different perspective for a country which has long been stigmatised. The message conveyed by the book towards the ending offers some hope for its characters and also for war torn Afghanistan as well. The book is highly recommended and it is sure to make a lasting impression on readers.

Reading Habit

One of the many goals which we want to achieve in life, developing a reading habit should be one. It may seem tough at first but with time and practice, everyone can achieve it. While some have mastered it, others might be struggling to be consistent with it. Many of us have tried reading at some point of time and failed to keep at it consistently. This may happen because of a number of reasons but none of them mean that we can’t start with it again and give it a try. One of the most common ways in which people start reading is starting with a list of “Good books to start reading with”. The internet is flooded with such lists and many people have shared their suggestions. A book which has some literary value, is easy and engaging is a great choice to start with. According to many bloggers and writers the following list of books can help someone who has been trying to start reading for a long time.  

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

While it may work for some, others may not find it helpful. One of the common things which we fail to notice is the fact that most of us can’t bring ourselves to sit down with a book. This may be due to lack of time. In the middle of a busy day we fail to make time for reading. External factors like a proper surrounding can also be the reason for us getting distracted and impatient. So for people who can relate with these, a few suggestions can work. First of all, set a separate time for reading. Look at your schedule and take out a time which may be ideal for starting a new activity. Setting aside a specific time of the day for reading will help you focus more and be attentive.

Second, create a good reading atmosphere. Clean your surroundings and de-clutter everything around you. Attention depends a lot on external factors and an unkept background can often make you inattentive and disturbed.

Third, make a reading list. Write down all the books which you want to read next and keep ticking them off once you’re done. This will be like a to-do list and will motivate you to read. You can also take up reading challenges like ‘Ten books in a year’ or ‘One book a month’. Remember to start small and go one step at a time.

Fourth, start reading with a friend. Select a book and make a plan to discuss with your friend once you complete it. You can also start talking about it among yourselves and discuss about what may happen next. This will make you definitely finish the book and also speed up your pace.

Fifth, be consistent. Make it a point to read everyday. Even a small 15 minute would do. Once you skip a day it will become a habit and you’ll start repeating it. The same goes for the opposite. Once reading everyday becomes a habit you have developed the habit of reading quite well. So happy reading!

Thinking through Act

“Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”

Acting is basically an art of imitation or reflection or representation. It is the quality of utilizing your own spirit body and mind in being someone else. Actors on the stage do not show themselves up there, but they show the character they get into to people.”  Acting is equivalent to forgetting the original self.

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Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.

Benefits of acting

There are many benefits of acting :

  1.  It is a self-cleansing art.
  2. It helps us to forget ourselves, our worries, or goals, our life pressure, etc for the same time.
  3. It helps us to “be present”. Through acting, we enjoy “the moment”. We are at “the moment”.
  4. It helps us to understand the small little worlds as well as the big worlds of various people around us.
  5. Every act gives us a different perception that adds to build our character.

Methods of acting

  1. Stanislavski/Strasberg/Method: It uses affective memory considering our past. We need to relate to our past events. It draws situations from real life and there is an “emotional recall” as we get in touch with your emotional self.
  2. Meisner Method: It is the method based on the usage of imagination only. We need to enforce us to ask questions to ourselves. We ask the questions “what if”. We need time to contemplate under what situation will I be like this and considers the hypothetical future.

Voice Acting

Our emotions come out of our voices. Talking to a person over a voice call, we can immediately interpret if he is happy, sad, angry, guilty, lonely, or anything else. The Voice of a person gives a strong sense of the feelings of a person. Therefore, in addition to bringing the character by our body movements, we also need to bring out the character through our voice. Indeed, the voice acting is so powerful that it has opened up a separate domain for artists. Voice acting by podcasts are becoming popular day by day. It is easy to access and very interesting helping listeners to create a world of their own by listening to the voice artists. In addition, in these difficult times of pandemic, where shooting is difficult due to the rules of social distancing, podcasts are the way for artists.

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Irrespective of the form of acting, the main trick is to make your character your best friend. We need to study up on character traits; read testimonials, interviews, or watch videos. Then, we need to try to bring the traits through voice. Traits, in general, depending on age, geographical location, any distinct characteristic, or disability. There is a need to develops a culture of responsive acting. It is also important to tackles self-consciousness. It is an effective way of creating the world around us. An actor is an energy bank, always excited about his character and his story.

“Acting is a sport. On stage you must be ready to move like a tennis player on his toes. Your concentration must be keen, your reflexes sharp; your body and mind are in top gear, the chase is on. Acting is energy. In the theatre people pay to see energy.”

Online Classes During Pandemic

COVID-19 began in the month of December in 2019 and soon it grew into a pandemic, leading to several losses of lives and locking down of many cities. Social distancing became the key to escape out of this problem. But, with this solution came other problems. We are able to follow social distancing by keeping us locked in our houses but this stopped students’ education too. But we can’t just stop everything due to this COVID thing. We need to find an effective solution to continue the education of students. We need to continue the functioning of schools and colleges.

Online Classes

In the times of the internet, the one and the only solution are online classes. The online way to share knowledge and information now is the internet. It has proved to be a real miracle these days, connecting millions and making information access fast and easy. Be it school, college, tuition, or coaching classes, knowledge is now being delivered to students who are sitting at their home and can learn things sitting there only. Students now need a mobile or desktop and fast internet connection to attend their online classes and learn things. It is not possible for a pandemic to stop students from learning.

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How it is a different experience?

This way of learning is totally new to everyone, be it students, be it teachers or be it parents. We were already involved in some small ways of e-learning but a complete shift towards this type of mode is  something new and challenging to everyone. Teachers are continuously involved in finding new ways to make e-learning more interactive and interseting for students. They are continuously evolving their way of teaching and trying to give them a class-type of feeling. Teachers are also learning to adapt with new softwares and explore things. Students are learning how to deal with online homework submissions, doubt-sessions and examinations. But, the problem is that the medium of interaction is always an electronic device. Hence, students are subjected to fatigue and mental stress. They seem irritated and develop body pain sitting still at a particular position holding their phones or laptops. Students are also developing stress on eyes. It is quite difficult for them to adjust with all of these. It seems that this way of teaching costs their health, both mental and physical. Besides this, internet is not available to all the areas of the country and to all the students. Poor students can’t afford high speed data. This method of teaching, is thus, a barrier between poor students and education. It is a harsh truth that they are left behind. We need to work together towards this to make education available to underprivileged students also.

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5 Books To Read Before You Die

Losing yourself in a great book, is one of the most endearing and satisfying joys. Every book has a different style, different attitude, different perspective but every book teaches and leaves you with a different feeling. It is hard to choose a favorite but let’s talk about 5 books that you must read.

  1. To Kill A Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee- A novel before its time, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prize winner addresses issues of race, inequality and segregation with both levity and compassion. While To Kill a Mockingbird could be a favorite book of just about everyone who has read it, it is important to recollect that it continues to be subversive and challenging to the establishment. The story revolves around the cute, lovable kids, Scout and Jem, and undoubtedly one of the most loved character in literature, Atticus Finch. Most of the characters within the book are marginalized by the facility structure of their town — a structure that also exists nearly everywhere — where wealthy white men control the lives of everyone else, and even the members of that group who want to use their status for something honorable, cannot win against the flattening wave of power.

2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak– Set in Germany during 1939, The Book Thief follows a young girl, Liesel, growing up in Germany amidst World War II. Liesel is living with foster parents, Hans and Rosa. Throughout the story, Liesel steals many books. At first, she doesn’t even know how to read, but she knows that the book is important. Hans notices and teaches her how to make sense of the letters, as she rescues books from the tyranny of Nazi rule. Meanwhile, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter in their basement and death looks down on the family, narrating our tale. Experience bravery that is rarely found in the world, and friendship that is formed in the most unlikely of situations.

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger- It only takes one sentence, written in the first person, for Salinger’s Holden Caulfield to announce himself in all his teenage nihilism, sneering at you for wanting to know his biographical details “and all that David Copperfield kind of crap”. The Catcher in the Rye is the quintessential novel of the adolescent experience, captured in deathless prose. 

4. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy-Roy won the 1997 Booker Prize with her debut novel, a powerful inter-generational tale of love that crosses caste lines in southern India, and the appalling consequences for those who break the taboos dictating “who should be loved, and how. And how much.” Sex, death, religion, the ambivalent pull of motherhood: it’s all there in this beautiful and haunting book. 

5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood– Atwood’s classic dystopian novel of a terrifying (and terrifyingly plausible) future America has rewarded rereading like no other book; I’ve probably read it 30 times by now. the globe of the narrator, Offred (from “Of Fred” — women not have their names), is chilling, but she could be a magnificent survivor and chronicler, and also the details of everything from a mundane way of life to ritualized sex and violence to her reminiscences of the time before (our contemporary reality, as seen within the ’80s) are realistic. The novel is as relevant today as ever; feminist backlashes still wax and wane, but women’s rights remain within the spotlight. And despite its scenarios of great despair, The Handmaid’s Tale is ultimately a hopeful book — Offred, and others, simply can’t be human without the chance of hope, and therein lies the strength of the resistance. All of Atwood is worth reading, but this book best exemplifies the cultural and psychological impact that a piece of fiction can create.