Book Name: The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance
Author: Niranjan Navalgund
About the author:
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.
Unknown to Nayan, the library he inherits from his deceased father, is a mysterious place. Hiriya Halepu, Pu.Nayaka, Kapshi and 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.
First of all, I feel thankful to Niranjan Navalgund for writing this book. It’s the perfect tribute for all the books in the world. Every bibliophile should cherish this book. You would surely find a message or two, written especially for you. This book has instigated in me a yearning to read ‘books about books’. Doesn’t that sound exciting? To read books about books gives the best feeling in the world.
Moving on to the story, The Lively Library is a story about a library which comes to life at night. During the day, a librarian named Nayan takes care of it and tries to solve the mysterious happenings in the library (maybe he’d solve them in the sequel 🙂 ). Some of the book characters in the library are Hiriya Halepu (Senior Old Book), Kapshi (Book Man), MookBonk (Philosopher) and Helmine (Resolute Protector). I loved each and every book’s characterization. Every book in the library had depth in them and conveyed some valuable lessons through their conversations. Especially when the books go to the MookBonk for a shrink talk, he has to be paid using beautiful words in return for his answers. How amazing is that! The books in the library represent us – yeah, human beings. Just like us, there are seniors, juniors, philosophers, fake ones and even highly intelligent ones. What’s more! The books emote just like us. You can find every kind of emotion – love, affection, anger, resentment, fear, sorrow and happiness.
These books are supported by their three pillars – Kanasu, Manasu and Nanasu. These stand for dreams, heart and fulfillment of wishes. Don’t we have all these things? Niranjan weaves these three intricately and presents us a concoction of love, wisdom and mystery. There are also codes in the story which Helmine solves intelligently. You can also have fun solving them before you get to know the answer. One more aspect which I liked about the story is Niranjan’s ingenious way of naming the books and the various terms. He creates a near-perfect parallel universe which has everything in it – like Gods, councils, search database, secret chambers, messengers and rituals. Please do consult the glossary as soon as you encounter a bord (book + word). You can definitely increase your bookabulary. 😀 It seems that I’ve acquired the book lingo after reading this book. 🙂
Niranjan also peppers the entire tale with copious amounts of wisdom. Like this one:
“We are an overwhelming concoction of thoughts and ideas who capture the mornings, nights and midnights of our writers. We are the manifestations of their dreams, spinning off in the written pages.”
Who could’ve composed such beguiling definition for books? Only an ardent book-lover can do. I loved another line too. Here it goes:
“The book legends believed in the extraordinary power of the Blank Page. They believed that the Blank Page was the source of Genesis or Creation. In it, the books were believed to have been born and to sustain their lives.”
How true is that! As a passionate writer myself, I consider the Blank Page to be sacred. The blank page is what turns a writer into an alchemist.
Well, I could not find any visible flaws in the book. The only thing which made me feel bad was the length of the book. When I had read the synopsis a few weeks before, I hoped the book to be a full-fledged novel. But, it turned out to be a novella. The reason behind my disappointment is, the story is so good that it has left me craving for more. Hope Niranjan pens the sequel soon. 🙂
Overall, The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance is a charming tale about books that would surely enchant you right from the beginning.
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