Friday, September 10, 2010

Kaleidoscope: Review and Giveaway

"Colors are the smiles of nature."
~Leigh Hunt

Having recently interviewed Sweta Srivastava Vikram after reading Because All is Not Lost, I was thrilled by the opportunity to review her new book of poems, Kaleidoscope: An Asian Journey of Colors. In the introduction of Kaleidoscope, the author says that her book, part of the World Voices Series, "delves into the implication and philosophy of colors from a Hindu woman's point of view", and that "the color she adorns herself with almost depicts the story of her life". The colors of an Indian woman's wardrobe are certainly significant; they represent her emotional state and thoughts. For example, the color red means marriage, green indicates conception, and white signifies widowhood. In the poem "Reflecting on Iridescence in Mama's Wardrobe", the author uses the colors of a sari, from pink to black, to depict the various stages of life from youth until death. The golden warmth of the third stanza is palpable:
"I hid under mama's yellow sari,
warm, as the sunrays at dawn,
so I could lose myself to words,
write an ode to daffodils,
and pretend I was Wordsworth."
While I am not Hindu, I'm particular when it comes to the color of my clothing, too. During the hot months of summer I tend to wear white, but since it was mild this year I wore blouses in the colors that I find most appealing, bright blues such as cobalt, turquoise, and purples; I rarely wear neutral colored tops because they feel too drab. I'm drawn to certain colors in clothing, and recognize the power of color to influence my mood and outlook. This chapbook goes beyond wardrobe colors, though, and mentions color in a myriad of other ways, directly and indirectly, citing her "soft lungs" and the "skies of London". Each verse is beautifully crafted, expressed in a variety of poetic and verbal forms. I dove into this book of poems quickly and eagerly, then slowed down to savor the words and the images, marveling over Sweta Srivastava Vikram's unique mix of grace, humor, and eloquence, which forms a medley of beauty and color.

Exciting news! The publisher is generously offering two books as a giveaway. This book giveaway is open internationally!
  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For an extra chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • For another bonus chance, name your favorite color or colors, or leave a comment about the importance of color in your own life.
Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, September 27. Two winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Tuesday, September 28. Good luck!

Special thanks to Victor from Modern History Press for sending me Kaleidoscope.

37 comments:

  1. Please count me in! Thanks for the chance...I'm an old follower and I posted a link of this giveaway in my blog's sidebar. My favorite color is yellow ...bummer I don't look good in it!

    Jinky is reading

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  2. Interesting - I had no idea colors were so significant in Indian wardrobes.

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  3. Jinky, thanks for stopping by and entering the giveaway!

    Kathy, prior to reading this book, I didn't know about the importance of sari color, either.

    More comments welcomed of course.

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  4. It does sound interesting Suko, great review!
    I didnt know that the colors of an Indian womans clothing had different meanings.

    I'm picky with colors also. I tend to wear gray, blue and black alot.

    The poems sound lovely!
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  5. I had no idea that sari colors were significant, either; that's a beautiful stanza. I would love to be able to read the rest of the poem ;) I'm even a follower! I wear a lot of drab & black, but tend toward the aquas and blues--looking for serenity.
    Great review, Suko. I will investigate Ms. Vikram regardless. Thank you!

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  6. Thanks for the giveaway! My favorite colors at the moment are black and red.
    iii.141592653589793238462643383[at]gmail[dot]com

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  7. This is one of my favorite blogs since I always learn something when I visit, the sari colors is an amazing fact!

    I posted this at win a book (maybe my last, after Susan reads it!)

    http://winabook.westofmars.com/2010/09/10/kaleidescope-by-sweta-srivastava-vikram/

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  8. This book sounds so interesting! I love color and wear a large variety in my clothes. It's fascinating that the colors in a woman's sari are significant. It's strange to imagine that some of the colors you wear might tell others about an important issue in your life.

    Please enter me in this great giveaway!
    Thank you!
    ~ Amy

    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

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  9. I'm a google friend connect follower of your blog

    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

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  10. Hey, Suko! This book sounds wonderful... Thanks for letting me know about the giveaway!! Thanks for hosting this wonderful giveaway, too!!

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  11. I'd love to enter the giveaway! I am a follower of your blog! :)

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  12. The importance of colours in my life:

    Being an Indian and a Hindu, I know that colours occupy a special significance in Indian culture.. Marriages and festivals means red, maroon and other bright colours.. I wore a maroon saree for my wedding. :) I love wearing green on festival days, like today, for instance. It's Ganesh Chaturthi today - and I'm going to wear a green saree. :)

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  13. I've posted about this contest on Facebook, and will be soon putting it up on my blog, too!

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  14. Wow, I knew colors were significant to me and our culture, but this is a whole new dimension; I mean the poetry!
    Thank you for the int'l giveaway Suko; and HUGE thanks for letting me know about this as well!

    I would love to enter for this giveaway! I know my fav color will be orange (a shade of it but I do not know the name of it!)! I love black too but we do not wear black to any festive occasions.
    Someday I am going to post a pix of my Saree too :)
    Like you I think the color I adorn speaks volumes about my mood at times. I like bright colors too! I like our baby wearing bright colors too! :)
    I will post this on my sidebar :)
    And I an ardent fan and an old follower of your wonderful blog!
    Thanks again!

    givingreadingachance AT gmail.com

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  15. Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.

    Please count me in. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

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  16. This looks like a beautiful book. Thanks for the chances to win!

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

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  17. Already a GFC follower.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

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  18. tweet; http://twitter.com/fredalicious/status/24197992483

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

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  19. I love all colors, but especially blue, orange, green and red. I think life would be completely boring if in black and white. Color brings the earth to life!

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

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  20. Very interesting about the significance of all sorts of colors.
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. love all of the colours :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  22. I would love to win this book, it all makes sense to me. (Second try at posting-wish me luck)


    I follow your blog with GFC.

    I love lavendars,turquoise and all shades of pinks( except the one for upset stomachs), blues,greens and yellows. When we moved and I finally had a place for my paintings, books and
    cross stitch, I spent a long time looking at different colors. I decided on a light lavendar and now whenever I go into this room, I feel very happy.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  23. this sounds like a very good book-I enjoyed your post a lot-

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  24. I would love to win and read this book!
    mkzellmer@yahoo.com

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  25. Just stopping by to let you know that I gave you an award :)

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  26. Thank you for making this awesome contest international! :D
    I'm a new blog follower.
    My favorite color is green(color of hope).

    Giada M.

    fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

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  27. Like you, I am really drawn by color in my wardrobe. I love summer, because it's a chance to pull out all my favorite brightly colored sundresses and skirts, and I don't care what anyone says, all the bright colors make me feel very uplifted! Great review, Suko! It sounds like this is an amazing little chapbook.

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  28. This sounds really interesting. Please enter me, thanks.

    ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

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  29. I agree that color can affect us in soooo many ways. I wear alot of blues & blacks...don't know why, it's just what I gravitate to.

    ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

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  30. I am game for it!

    And I am a follower on your blog. And I have you on my Google Reader list as well.

    Have already posted about this contest on my blog, facebook and twitter.
    http://pritiahuja.wordpress.com/
    http://twitter.com/pritiahuja
    FB: AhujaPriti
    http://pritiahuja.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/a-vibrant-giveaway-at-suko%E2%80%99s/

    I am a color enthusiast, if you ask me. Literally. I love the vibrancy attached to them and how they have the power to pep you up at times. Part of it stems from the fact that colors play a significant role in the lives of South Asian women. Colors play an important role in Hinduism and have been an integral part of our culture and tradition, besides being a part of our upbringing. Visit any traditional Hindu household, and you will be a graced by the very colorful and deeply fascinating ‘Rangoli’, primarily during festivals. It is an intriguing & enchanting traditional art form used to decorate the entrance of the house, to ward off the evil eye and to welcome Lakshmi Mata, the Goddess of Wealth. We, Hindus have an unsaid emotional bonding with colors and their choices are more or less occasion dependent. In fact, in India we also have a festival of colors, Holi.

    Although my personal perennial favorites have been light blue for formal wear and red for festive times, my pick of colors are predominantly occasion, season & mood based. I have a colorful wardrobe with a color for each occasion. For summers, I go in for fresh and playful colors. My pick is usually a soothing palette of pristine whites, baby pink and turquoise. This Diwali – the Hindu Festival of Lights, I am all for rich luscious tones of Emerald Green, Red, Antique Gold, Salmon, and Tiffany Blue.

    My earliest memories of colors have been the vibrant hues in my mother’s wardrobe. Those sarees in various shades of the spectrum are the best I have seen till date. I could know her mood by her pick of the color of the day. And the way her eyes light up till date at the sight of sarees in various tones & hues of blue. That’s her favorite, by the way. For me the word, color also somehow brings to mind the richly spiced up Indian Curry. Ah! There speaks my love of food and all things good and colorful! On that note, let me tell you, try out a food item in a color of your choice and see the way it peps you up! My childhood memories also conjure up an image of me prancing around in frocks of different shades. You name it, I had it. Baby pink was my pick for birthdays. I had a collection of Ladybird Fairy Tales where the main protagonist wears beautiful colorful gowns. The more colorful the book, the more I stuck to it like a bee. Give me a canvas and a set of paints, and I could probably forget the world around me. Doing up the house with a play of colors, artifacts and colorful flowers has a charm of its own.

    As I open my wardrobe today, I see an array of colors. Same counts for the refrigerator. As I look out of the window, I see gracious greenery ready to soothe my soul and vivid nature at its nurturing best. Take out a single color from my life, and it would be incomplete. I love all my colors. Colors add life, to my life.

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  31. i am Blue buff perhaps something to do with my zodiac sign i guess! Blue denotes is all around us be it sky,oceans,rivers or lakes.Blue also denotes the qualities of bravery,determination and the ability to deal with difficult situations. The stable mind and depth of character is represented as blue coloured. Lord Rama and Krishna spent their life protecting humanity and destroying evil, hence they are coloured blue.
    great review hope the book does well
    ajay Ramola
    India

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  32. Here from Priya's blog. Loved ur giveaway idea :)

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  33. Please enter me for the giveaway. This sounds like such an interesting book. I never would have thought to write about "the philosophy of colors." But once you think about it, it sounds like such a natural topic to write about.

    I tend to like certain colors in certain places. I love a warm, pale, buttery yellow as a color in kitchens. To me kitchens are warm happy places that always make me smile, and they should be bright and sunny, like my mom and I are when we're cooking. I also like sky blue, especially as an accent color or on a summer dress. I think my favorite color is the color of the sun filtering through the trees on a beautiful day.

    eeoshiel(at)uncg(dot)edu

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  34. Dear all,


    Thank you, Suko, for your generosity. And my deepest gratitude to all those who participated in the giveaway. I hope you enjoy the book!


    Best,
    Sweta

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