Praise Song for the Butterflies … a review

Here is another book that is shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. The author is Bernice L. McFadden, who is American and has written a number of novels. I must confess, I had never heard of her. But now I am glad I have.

Praise Song for the Butterflies is the story of Abeo Kata, a young girl who lives in the fictitious West-African country Ukemby. Life for her is perfectly normal until misfortune befalls her family. Her father is accussed of corruption,  and her Grandmother, a modern day Mrs Danvers, convinces her son, Abeo’s father, that their bad luck is because of his daughter. And to right this wrong, her father takes Abeo in the middle of the night, and unbeknownst to her mother, deposits her as trokosi. Trokosi sounds like a fictitious practice because it is so brutal. But turns out, it is alive and well in certain African countries as the ritual sacrifice of young girls to a ‘shrine’ to atone for the family’s misdeeds.

At the shrine, Abeo is tortured, mistreated, and raped. She is one of many girls in this shrine, but hundreds of such shrines exist. McFadden’s writing is deliberate and sharp, there are no wasted words, no euphemisms. As Abeo’s life takes her all the way to America, eventually, the story comes full circle. The style of prose reminded me of two other books. The first was The Secret Life of Bees, because of the cult-like shrine that Abeo was trapped in. And the second was Of Love and Other Demons, as the damaging effects of bigots. This is a fantastic piece of fiction, with a unique and heartbreaking theme.

One Lovely Blog Award

I’m always overwhelmed when someone gives me an ‘award’. I find it hard to keep at this blog a lot of the time and every bit of encouragement helps. Thank you to the lovely Cleopatra of Cleopatra Loves Books

Here are the ‘rules’ for award:

Thank the one that nominated you.

Put up the picture for the One Lovely Blog Award.

Tell everyone seven things about yourself.

Nominate seven other people and tell them that you’ve nominated them.


1. I am looking for a job and it is stressful and frustrating

2. I love the cookie dough flavour of ice creams

3. I think I will participate in NaNoWriMo next year – that gives me a year to tie the ends of my plot in my head

4. Sometimes I feel guilty of not liking books that everyone likes!

5. I love travelling, especially in Scotland

6. I have never coloured my hair

7. This Christmas, donate to a charity, please. If you cannot, consider volunteering for one

I volunteer the following blogs. I know many of you do not ‘do’ awards, so just accept this as a token of my appreciation.

Al from A Mixed Bag

The gardener from A Northeast Ohio Garden

Christine from Readerly Musings

Cristian Mihai

Alysia from Literary land of Alysia

Dravite’s Books and Cauldron

Jessica from The (Mis)Adventures of a New Mom

Please go and visit all these wonderful bloggers!

Musing Mondays (October 14)

My Musing:

Most of you may have heard of Alice Munro winning the Nobel for Literature this year. While I was slightly disappointed that Murakami didn’t win, I’m also willing to give this lady a fair try. So, if you too are interested, this is where you can read some of her short stories. I am going to sample them to see if I like what she writes, if I do, then I’ll buy her books.

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Describe one of your reading habits.
Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Another Award

A few days ago, Deanna from The Book Lover’s Attic nominated me for the Shine On award. People on Blogosphere are kind and it’s always touching when someone somewhere thinks of you.


Here are the rules of the award:
1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.
3. Share seven random, interesting things about yourself.
4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

7 things:

1. I spent 23 years in India and never felt at home, it took me less than a month to realise Scotland was my home.

2. I think I might have been a sailor in my previous birth.

3. I want to be a Unicorn in my next birth.

4. My favourite perfume is Lancome’s Poeme

5. The latest present that I’ve received is a green apple coloured jumper

6. I have started drinking Whittard’s Dreamtime Instant tea at night

7. I have some writing related news that I’ll share with y’all soon!

I nominate:

A Mixed Bag

Lori Lipsky | Poetry Patio

Dravite’s Books and Cauldron

Solemn Diaries


You guys rock!


BookMark talks to Tanya Peterson (Leave of Absence) Part 2

This was Part 1.

BM: I could see why PTSD, from your earlier experiences… but why schizophrenia?

TP: I’m glad you asked! Schizophrenia is one of the most negatively stereotypes and misunderstood of all the mental illnesses. (Each disorder, though, does indeed have its stigma and stereotypes.) There’s a common belief that schizophrenia means split personalities. It doesn’t. There’s also the belief that people with schizophrenia are violent. They’re actually no more likely than anyone else to be violent, but they are often victims of violence. Then there’s the Hollywood stereotype of the “paranoid schizophrenic.” Indeed, one type of schizophrenia is paranoid, but that subtype doesn’t apply to everyone. The term “schizophrenic” is used generically, too, the way “crazy” or “insane” is used casually. All of these things are very hurtful and only increase the stigma and isolation felt by those who experience this serious mental illness. That bothers me, so I wanted to address that in Leave of Absence.

BM: What are the most tragic misconceptions about mental illnesses that you have come across?

TP: The misconception that people with mental illness are unstable, violent, and unreliable is very, very sad. These beliefs keep people from employment and make it hard to find friendships. And it’s so unnecessary because these things just aren’t true.

BM: For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

TP: There’s a wealth of great non-fiction books available, but I’d actually recommend starting online. Not everything online is accurate, but there are reputable groups whose sites are very accurate and helpful. Here are some good ones:

Each of these has a wealth of information. NAMI, Psych Central, and the Mayo Clinic have factual information about the various mental illnesses, and NAMI, Time to Change, and Bring Change 2 Mind focus on reducing stigma. (There’s overlap among all the sites). These are all credible and offer a nice introduction to mental illness and to specific disorders.

BM: What is the one thing people need to know?

TP: Just like someone with asthma is more than a lung disorder and is still worthy of living life fully and both giving and receiving compassion, so is someone with a mental illness. We no longer refer to someone with asthma as “an asthmatic,” and for the same reasons, we shouldn’t refer to someone with schizophrenic as “a schizophrenic.”
(I’m going to sneak in one more thing: Leave of Absence has a message, but it’s not heavy-handed and preachy!! I promise!)

BM: What do your plans for future projects include?

TP: Lots of things! In order to continue to increase understanding and compassion, I have some online radio interviews lined up as well as presentations and book readings. I’ve been invited to speak about isolation and mental illness at the annual conference for the Mothers of Incarcerated Sons Society, Inc. And I have a new novel in the works! This one, while very different from Leave of Absence, also explores mental illness. The story is in my head, and I’m in the boding-with-my-imaginary-friends-who-I-treat-as-real-people stage. It’s fun!

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The talented Zunaira Afzal who writes some fantastic poetry at Solemn Diaries has nominated me for an award. Thank you, my dear. This was perfectly timed for when I have been having doubts about the existence of this blog 🙂

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Post the award image to your page.

3. Share 7 facts about yourself.

Facts About Me:

a. I prefer tea to coffee some times of the day and coffee to tea at some other times.

b. I’m an Electronics engineering student. It would have been easy for me to not be if I wasn’t good at it!

c. I love animals, although I have never had a pet.

d. Reading keeps my world turning. Reading a few pages of a good book, underlining, and making a few notes is singularly the most brilliant pat of my day.

e. I want to write a book someday.

f. And before that, I want to publish my poems 🙂

g. I believe in sun signs.

Now the 4th rule:

4. Nominate 15 other blogs and inform them about it.

I have 8. This is because these are the ones that really inspire me. Here they are:

Dilettante Artiste



The Story People

Alastair’s Blog

The (Mis)Adventures of a New Mom

Ute Smile

Lori Lipsky | Poetry Patio

My Second Star

I just got my second star for the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ from the lovely lady behind the blog Solemn Diaries. Do visit her, she writes and writes well. Thank you!

The following still apply:

1.  Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – read here.

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award – read here.

3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5. You can now also join the award’s Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience if you choose to

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

100 Posts and another Award!

I finished 100 posts on this blog. It started on a whim, as all good things do, and so much has gone on in my life since then. I like having this space. I enjoy the comfort of all your company knowing that even if I don’t post for a few weeks, when I haven’t been reading, that I will come back to it and your readership.

Thank you. All of you. Keep reading!

Coincidentally, with the 99th post came another blogging award, the  ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award, no less! My very good blogger friend and a very talented man Mr. Forbes, of Alastair’s Blog nominated me. He is a kind man 🙂

This award is different as you collect stars for it. Each time you receive the award, you gain another star up to six in total.


Here are the rules for accepting this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join their Facebook page – click the link here ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Award and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Right, so… I’ve been nominated once so I get one star.

Here’s my list:

daniella marie

Little Brown Pen



Vicious Virtues

The Story People

Dravite’s Books and Cauldron

Life After Delhi

 The Eye of Reason

Failed Experiments & Experimental Failings

Life on the Muskoka River

Puri Subzi

There are more, and as you are remembered, you will be added!