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The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance (The Lively Library Series) Paperback – 2016
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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.
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A reluctant Nayan inherits his father’s library, but vows to honour his memory through a re-launch with great fanfare. He conducts a guided tour of the library and the visitors are “intrigued by an aura of mystery and delight” within, an aura that lingers on throughout the narration of the book. For a person who starts off as a disinterested librarian, Nayan puts forth some unique ideas – the white board, the Librarian’s Desk and the Read Until You Drop concept.
Even as each bookish character “struts and frets his hour across the stage” every name strikes a chord – Kapshi/Pakshi, the ‘Book Man’, the wise MookBonk, the principled Hiriya Halepu, Pu. Nayaka, Bookokie-star and Akshara. The Lively Library is under a powerful boon that restores “the invincible soul hidden in each and every book.”April 23rd is a significant day in the world of books as “at the dark nocturnal hours, they came to life, breathed and reveled in their discreet existence.”
Equally enthralling is the description of the book dating season, “a season when the books reveled in their mutual love and the joys of discovering the love.” The two books that, thus, fall in love are amazed at what they have in common. “Their origins were different, but the stories they shared struck a deep, everlasting chord in each other.” When they are separated, an impressive ‘bogya’ (a portmanteau word combining ‘book’ and ‘yagya’) is held to invoke Helmine, the resolute protector, who smells “of the rich flavour of old books” and appears in “her whodunit avatar”. Even as Ryan and his sister, Nithya, play a part in re-uniting the book couple, Helmine, in true Hercule Poirot style, proceeds to solve the mystery of “the threat of their unseen, faceless enemy” who is threatening to destroy the library.
Towards the end of the book, as the book couple is united, a singular truth is revealed. Books are capable of having good hearts, of dreaming big, and of fulfilling those dreams. The book ends with a message to the human world of book lovers, again deceptively simple, but one of great significance.
Niranjan weighs his words with care, and puts them together, filling them with his philosophic ideas that take this book beyond the realm of a book for young readers. Since this is the first book in a series, it will be interesting to see where his fertile imagination takes him next!
"Lucky are those who have hearts,
Blessed are those who dream,
Heroes are those who believe in fulfilling those dreams!". which I have taken to heart and hope to become a Hero!
Now coming to the story. The entire essence of the story is captured so beautifully in this little paragraph: "The rest of the books rose to a happy sunshine. The covers of a few books portrayed poignant smiles accompanied by a sense of accomplishment. These were the books who visited a few lucky readers in their dreams." What a mind, and what a flair for the written word, Niranjan!
Nayan is a very powerful character. I would put him right up there before Kapshi and Ryan, in that order. Nayan is an overpowering influence, but you still let the books remain the key protagonists in your novella. Thank you, for writing this, thank you for looking into the soul of a bibliomaniac / bibliophile to capture that absolutely incomparable love for the written word.
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