Category: Snippets

Book Title Drops – A Project

Book Title Drops is my latest side project where I snap title drops in books and post them on Instagram. Here’s the account. The process I follow is to simply record instances where the title of the book is mentioned in the book, click a picture, and upload it with details. These include the page number (or sometimes location if it’s an ebook), edition year and publisher, type of book (paperback, hardcover, or Kindle version), and genre.

The Idea Behind Book Title Drops

The idea behind this project is to record title drops in books as a way to appreciate authorial craft. I believe that when writers mention the title of their book in the script, they are having fun. This project is just my way of celebrating and extending that sentiment.

I have always been fascinated by this practice and it is only recently I found out that it is called a title drop, synonymized as name drop. Title drops in movies, TV/web shows, and video games are more popular. According to TV Tropes, they aren’t always deliberate and either way I just get a tinge of excitement whenever I come across one. It definitely helps me make more sense of the book and retain more of the story. And I haven’t put much thought into it from a literary device angle despite myself. For example, here’s a recent one, a favourite, in Celeste Ng’s 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere. Without giving you spoilers, here it tells me a tad more about the context in which the title’s meaning is to be taken. And would you believe the title drops right at the start of the story, at page #8?

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#titledrop on page #8. Spoken by a character, Lexie. “The firemen said there were little fires everywhere.” In “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng Fiction – Penguin, 2017 edition, Kindle

A post shared by Book Title Drops (@booktitledrops) on

I originally started this recording side project on Tumblr but then realized Instagram is a more worthy platform where it will get more eyeballs. It is not much right now, but hey, I have only started. History tells me it’s always good to start and not worry about how it develops.

If you are into reading and share my excitement about book title drops, please follow the account on Instagram. TN.

Here are a few more:

Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2018 (Critics’ Choice)

Although over 150 Malayalam films released in 2018, only a handful of those were deemed watchable by industry critics at large. Out of this handful, 15 titles were selected based on their cinematic brilliance and without considering their box office success.

Ee Ma Yau poster
Ee. Ma. Yau is the best Malayalam film of 2018

This is a list of the 15 best Malayalam movies of 2018, as selected by eminent critics of the Kerala film industry.

  1. Ee. Ma. Yau (dir. Lijo Jose Pellissery)
  2. Sudani from Nigeria (dir. Zakariya)
  3. Sexy Durga (dir. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan)
  4. Varathan (dir. Amal Neerad)
  5. Kayamkulam Kochunni (dir. Rosshan Andrrews)
  6. Koode (dir. Anjali Menon)
  7. Carbon (dir. Venu)
  8. Eeda (dir. Ajithkumar)
  9. Aami (dir. Kamal)
  10. Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil (dir. Tinu Pappachan)
  11. Njan Marykutty (dir. Ranjith Sankar)
  12. Aalorukkam (dir. V C Abhilash)
  13. Padayottam (dir. Rafeek Ibrahim)
  14. Poomaram (dir. Abrid Shine)
  15. Maradona (dir. Vishnu Narayn)
Varathan Malayalam film poster
Varathan has polarizing reviews but still came in at #4

The method of selection as well as other details about individual titles can be found over at my IMDb list here. My annual tradition of creating best-of lists/video was not possible because I could not catch all the films in 2018. (A punishment for not living in Kerala.)

Carbon film poster
Carbon stars Fahadh Faasil and Mamata Mohandas in the lead

Most of these are available on DVD or VOD. If none of these interest you or if you have already seen them, consider my personal favourites:

  • Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal (dir. Sooraj Thomas)
  • Uncle (dir. Gireesh Damodar)
  • Theevandi (dir. Fellini T P)
  • Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri (dir. Jean Markose)

Or, go for some of the underdogs of 2018:

  • Bhayaanakam (dir. Jayaraj)
  • Kaly (dir. Najeem Koya)
  • Joseph (dir. M Padmakumar)
  • Lilli (dir. Prasobh Vijayan)
  • Kammara Sambhavam (dir. Rathish Ambat)
  • Njan Prakashan (dir. Sathyan Anthikkad)

While you decide which film to catch this holiday season, also check out my list of the best posters of Malayalam cinema in 2018. A few of my other similar lists related to Malayalam films can be found here (best of 2017), here (best of 2016), and here (best of 2015). TN.

David Ehrlich’s 25 Best Films of 2018

Video countdown of the 25 best films of 2018

I always look forward to Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich’s annual countdown of the best of world cinema. For me, it acts as a starter to the month-long celebrations leading up the New Year, which mainly involves best-of lists about almost everything.

I just completed skimming through Kottke’s 2018 gift guide (helped me for my Secret Santa activities this year including Redditgifts), the New York Times’ list of best films of 2018, and Goodreads’ list of best books.

I know there are many more to come, but for now, let’s get overwhelmed by this 13-minute video extravaganza. The film at #1 is a surprise for me, but then I have not always agreed with Ehrlich’s lists. For me, it’s about getting a rush of creativity by just watching it – the visuals, the music, the vivid shots all sewn together like a masterwork. I have tried to mimic this a few times in the past. (This one for The Review Monk in 2016.)

I’m glad to have caught at least couple of these films at MAMI 2018 (which I’m yet to summarize, by the way), especially Roma and Widows. I also watched Burning, Madeline’s Madeline, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. And that’s just only five.

Enough of me talking, now go and spend 13 minutes of your life watching this brilliant encapsulation of world cinema of this past year. And maybe wait for my own rendition of the best of Malayalam cinema. Maybe.