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Dispatches from Champaca: August 2022

dispatches from Champaca

Hello fellow book lover,

What have you been reading this month? Is there a book that you absolutely loved? 

Early this month, we had our first book club meeting for the third edition of the Champaca Book Subscription. It was a warm gathering of book lovers delving into their experiences of reading the book we sent out in July – To The River by Olivia Laing. It is an absolute delight for us to be able to host these meetings in person, and enable readers to engage with each other!

As we approach our next #ChampacaReadingChallenge prompt, which is to read a classic that you haven't read before, we found ourselves wondering — what makes a classic?

Most definitions use certain terms — books that are groundbreaking, timeless, re-readable. They also usually have a time consideration, in that they are not recent books — but how old does a book need to be for it to be considered a classic? 

In the recent past, there's been a movement to re-look at the history of literature, which has been privileged towards white male authors, by adding more diverse authors to the canon. There is such a rich history of writing from communities across the world. What could go on an inclusive list of Indian classical literature, that looks beyond a history of male, upper-caste writing, that also favours certain languages? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

And finally, we’d like to leave you with a few books we couldn’t put down this month! One of our team members, Shakti, read Seasons of Trouble by Rohini Mohan – a journalist's searing account of three survivors whose lives are caught up in the devastation of the Civil war in Sri Lanka, and its aftermath. We also loved reading The Favourite by Opehila Field, which is a passionate portrait of Sarah Churchill, the 1st Duchess of Marlborough, who was known to share an intimate relationship with Queen Anne, and then went on to become her blackmailer.

You can always find our recommendations, our new arrivals, and all updates from the store on our social media!


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