“In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.”
I have always been an avid reader, so much to the point that I turn absolutely clueless when I’m supposed to focus and write on a particular topic related to books. Because the world of books has always been so diverse, that I just cannot end up talking about a particular thing. And since I’ve read umpteen books till date, I couldn’t bring myself to review a single one. Hence, I started to think about the books that I dislike. Yes, being a good reader doesn’t mean you are supposed to like every book that’s ever been published. And when I thought about the ones that I totally dislike, several came into my mind. These are the Indian love-stories that have been lately getting published in India. Theoretically, a college student comes up with an idea of getting his love life published, he writes a book which is full of grammatical errors and gets it self-published. Anyone can get published these days and the funny thing is that the book doesn’t even make a remote bit of sense. The market of book publishing is getting diluted with these small-time writers and while, books outside sell in the entire world; our books only become a National bestseller. And to be clear, I’m only talking about love stories.
So what is exactly that goes wrong with these books and why they fail to become an International bestseller. According to me, the basic problem lies in the content. It’s not that writers outside India do not publish books based on love stories, but there is something extraordinary about each one of them. Some of them may seem abstract, like ‘Thanks for the memories by Cecilia Ahern’ or some of them may have a background story attached to them like, ‘A thousand splendid suns’. But there’s something that connects with the readers and these books have better sustaining abilities. When you compare the love stories published in India with those published abroad, you will clearly see the following areas where the Indian ones go wrong.
1. Stereotypical characters and stories- Who do people read books? They read books so that they can escape from their normal routine and delve into something new and interesting. But if books fail to provide them with characters and a story that is not different from their normal life, what will be the point of reading them? Almost 70% of the love stories written in India are based on college students. That said, these books are hence not read by 24+ readers. Books like, “Anything for you ma’am”, “Of course, I love you, till I find someone better” are only famous amongst students. Are only college students supposed to fall in love?
2. Unnecessary eroticism- The other day I started to read this book, ‘The Equation of love and its parameters”. Once I was done with two pages, I kept the book down, deciding to never read the book again. I had the same reaction towards ‘Of Course I love you, till I find someone better’. But out of my habit of never leaving a book incomplete, I read it throughout. And I was highly disappointed. I’m pretty sure if you read this book, you will pretty much lose the respect you have towards love and relationships. This book and almost every other book published by ‘Srishti publications’ focuses on sex alone. There is no love and characters which are supposed to have erotic desires turn out to be lecherous monsters. In fact, ‘Of Course I love you till I find someone better’ highly talks about how college students in Delhi are obsessed with sex. I, as a Delhi student have never observed sex to be as overt as it is shown in the book. In actuality, people are more concerned with fulfilling their dreams, getting successful and finding a partner who they truly fall in love with.
3. Lack of magical elements– Love is supposed to be enchanting right? Something that is out of the world, isn’t it? While movies like ‘Rab ne banadi jodi’ boldly promote the idea ‘There’s always an extra-ordinary love story behind an ordinary couple’, the love stories that are getting published these days in India fail to follow the same. There is nothing, simply nothing that is even remotely magical about the plot. For example, ‘Thanks for the memories by Cecilia Ahern’ has a very interesting plot. The main characters of the novel are Joyce and Justin. They were two strangers who became acquainted with each other because of a blood transfusion. Justin ends up donating blood out of social service and it reaches Joyce’s body who was getting hospitalized. The interesting thing is that along with blood, all of Justin’s memories and experiences which his mind had carefully preserved inside it, passed on to Joyce. And then, destiny brought them closer. Eventually, they end up being together. The book- its language, lucidity, captivating plot and no stereotyping has made it an international bestseller. At the same time, various books by Nicholas Sparks have all been international bestsellers and many of them have been converted into movies. Magical elements should be introduced in Indian love stories, of how two people met, managed their relationship along with professionalism and handled Indian society’s orthodox opinions at the same time; I think it would lead to a much better story than the stuff that’s being published these days.
These books don’t even cost much. Their cost ranges from 100 to 150 rupees only, thus making the worth (which is hardly anything) of these books even more apparent. I observed many grammatical and spelling errors in ‘One week with her’ which means that the editing of these books is not done properly either. I guess it’ll be better if a person approaches a ghostwriter for writing his/her book if they have a strong plot. Else, probably nobody is interested in reading about a person’s relationship. Unless it’s an extraordinary love-story of course.