Friday, November 1, 2013


A novel or a short story has two essential ingredients, a strong plot and equally appealing characters. Some books keep you interested because of their amazing plot. Few others live in the readers’ memory forever because of their unforgettable and real characters. These powerful characters blur the thin line between fiction and reality. The two genres to rule the Indian writing industry off late are crime thrillers and love stories. There are also informative books on various subjects flooding the market. The one common link which is the core of any successful book is its language and presentation. I have seen several books which received thumbs down due to usage of poor language and grammar in spite of a strong subject and story line. What if you found a book which employs language as the central theme, webs a story around it by creating real life characters to enhance the vocabulary? Sounds interesting. Isn’t it?

Manish Gupta’s English Bites has bitten me several times during its read. Its sting injects fresh words into one’s brain. And relieves oneself of the hidden baggage of several misconstrued words and their meanings. It also enlightens the readers with interesting trivia related to the origin of several commonly used words. I can never forget how ‘piggy bank’ came into being. The book takes the readers on an unforgettable journey. Penning down such impeccable, intricate volume with such a tremendous clarity needs enormous patience and research. Rightly so, it has taken the author a couple of decades to come up with this book.

Apart from adding new vocabulary to ones database, the book also dwells upon interesting tricks to remember them and in the process clears the misconceptions. Information related to banking, railways, ships, wines, automobiles, emergence of some of the top brands, the interesting history of coffee and tea and the medical terminologies which we use in our routine life and many more topics serves the necessary general knowledge, while the reader cruises on his vocabulary improvement/ addition spree.

English bites is also a story of a boy who after having completed his schooling in vernacular language, goes on to master or rather explores the alien English language, and publishes a book on the same with remarkable authority. This book will be helpful to all those who feel the need to improve their language and are aspiring to compete in competitive exams. Caution: the book doesn’t teach you grammar. It is helpful to the students’ community since it is a live example of what perseverance and dedication can achieve. This is not a book which you would read and forget. This book has the potential to be one’s companion and I am sure many would keep referring to the book even after they have finished reading it. As far as rating points are concerned, it would be an insult to English, if anybody attempts to rate the book. Would you ever rate an Oxford dictionary or an Atlas or a Word power made easy? I was looking for something similar to improve my vocabulary, when I thought of taking some break before writing my second book. I am lucky to have chanced upon English bites. It really bites!

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