His passion for writing grew with him since the age of ten. Today, he is known as one of the most influential writers in Nepal. His literary masterworks, Purano Gham and Seto Dharti awarded him with the country’s most prestigious titles such as Padmashree Sahitya Samman, Madan Puraskar, and Ramraj Panta Smriti Puraskar. Yet Amar Neupane is struggling to fulfill his purpose in life.
“I dream of a country where every house has a small library and every bag has a book inside it. I dream of a country where people celebrate the culture of reading,” says Neupane. One of his many attempts to get closer to fulfilling this big dream will happen at the National Reading Mela organized by Siksha Nepal from January 20 to 22, 2018. There, he will talk about the importance of a reading culture for the development of our nation. He will also emphasize on the need for our youth to broaden their horizon on various issues. To get them started, here he picks some books he thinks everyone should read.
Basanti by Dimond Shamsher Rana
According to Neupane, this is an extremely exciting book that describes an interesting phase of Nepal’s political history. The plot revolves around the love story of Mithu, a village girl, and Jung Bahadur who belonged to an elite aristocratic family. Mithu was able to attain a lifestyle she had never dreamt of after getting married to Jung Bahadur. She had a loving husband, riches, wealth and servants working for her. But a small misunderstanding ruined both their lives.
“This beautifully written novel deals with human psychology and also describes the uncertainty of human life,” says Neupane. “Through this novel you will be able to go back into history and understand various significant political events of Nepal,” he adds.
Ghumne Mech Mathi Andho Manchhe by Bhupi Sherchan
This book is a collection of Nepali poems that are simple yet extremely powerful. “The best part about this book is that the author has tried to incorporate as many social and political issues as possible,” says Neupane. Prior to this, popular Nepali poems had deep meanings behind them and most of these poems were difficult to comprehend. But according to Neupane, Ghumne Mech Mathi Andho Manchhe is a collection of uncomplicated poems that will appeal to every age group. The social and political reality of Nepal has been described beautifully in this poetic collection.
Karnali Blues by Buddhi Sagar
“This novel is about a story of a young boy from the Far Western Region of Nepal. Sagar describes the struggles that the young boy faces when their family shifts from one place to another in search of a better livelihood,” says Neupane. In his early years, the little boy assumes that his father is the wisest person on this planet. But his perception changes as he grows older.
According to Neupane, this is a heart touching story that describes the bond between a father and a son. “This story is especially relevant in today’s times when our youths are migrating to different places in search of a better lifestyle. And they often forget the plight of their parents who are left back home. This book also teaches you to value your family,” says Neupane.
Sagarmatha Ko Gahirai by Navaraj Parajuli
“Poets these days are presented as comic characters in most Nepali sitcoms and movies. It is sad that poets and poems have become a subject of mockery,” says Neupane. According to him, this book has been able to shed new light on Nepali literature.
“Parajuli’s collection of outstanding poems was certainly the need of the hour. These poems have been written in an extremely professional manner and have given a new definition to the art of poetry,” he adds. This collection very powerfully depicts the social issues of Nepal and gives solutions to them as well. Apart from that, this collection also comprises of themes such as politics, love, and philosophy.
Radha by Krishna Dharabasi
The very famous and debated love story of Radha and Krishna in Hindu epics has been presented beautifully by Krishna Dharabasi. “The fact is no one really knows the exact relationship between Radha and Krishna. Different epics give us different stories,” says Neupane. Dharabasi writes this book from Radha’s perspective that is completely different from ones in epics. His character Radha also resembles the situation of Nepal when it was engulfed in a civil war.
According to Neupane, this fictional novel beautifully describes the physical and political situation of a person and our country.
A Very Fine Gift by Roland Barthes, Price: Rs 792
Roland Barthes, whose centenary fell in 2015, was a restless, protean thinker. A constant innovator, often as a daring smuggler of ideas from one discipline to another, he first gained an audience with his pithy essays on mass culture and then went on to produce some of the most suggestive and stimulating cultural criticism of the late twentieth century, including Empire of Signs, The Pleasure of the Text, and Camera Lucida. In 1976, this one time structuralist outsider was elected to a chair at France’s preeminent Collège de France, where he chose to style himself as professor of literary semiology until his death in 1980. The greater part of Barthes’s published writings have been available to a French audience since 2002, but here, translator Chris Turner presents a collection of essays, interviews, prefaces, book reviews, and other journalistic material for the first time in English.
The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith, Price: Rs 638
Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo comes across a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble. Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the Wehrmacht. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia rather than hand her over to the Nazis. This act of kindness leads them into the world of Partisans, random executions, the arts of forgery and high explosives, Mussolini’s broken promises, the black market and gold, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon. With Martin Cruz Smith’s trademark suspense, action, and breathtaking romance during World War II Italy, this is a gripping evocation of a beautiful nation and of two people, trapped in the lunacy of war and the bravery it can inspire.
A Hundred Little Flames by Preety Shenoy, Price: Rs 478
When 26-year-old Ayan is sent to live with his grumpy old grandfather Gopal Shanker, in a tiny village, in Kerala, he is understandably devastated. What can a sleepy, idyllic village without even internet connectivity offer a young man? To make matters worse, Jairaj, Ayan’s domineering father, has his own plans and is determined to have his way. Soon, Ayan has to come to terms with the hard realities of life and the blindness of greed as he and Gopal Shanker learn that life can sometimes unravel in unanticipated ways. A young man, whose life lies ahead of him. An old man, whose life is all in the past. And a few months that change everything. A Hundred Little Flames is a charming account of a relationship across generations and also a meditative look at the issues of old people. Preeti Shenoy’s foray into new fictional terrain is an absolute triumph.