Book Review – Kissing the Demon by Amrita Kumar

Writing a book is like sailing through unchartered waters – you never know what might show up.

I have been putting off reviewing this book for a while now. I began reading Kissing the Demon and quickly realised it was not to be read lightly. So I picked up a red pen and read it from the start again; Making notes, underlining and highlighting as I read.

There may be a few many different books on the topic of how to write, but Kissing the Demon by Amrita Kumar stands out amongst the lot. Primarily, I would say, because it is for the Indian market.

It is hardly surprising that Amrita Kumar manages to give us such in-depth knowledge of the industry and the process of publishing, but what really mattered, to me, were the sections on writing. The technicality of it, understanding and underlining all that went into getting an idea into the format of a book.

I would say this book is not just for those looking for a how-to on writing fiction, but anyone who wants to write blogs/articles/reviews would be greatly benefitted by Kissing the Demon .

For writing to exist, it has to get written down.

Honestly though, Kissing the Demon has been a bit hard for me to review. I could write about the language, research, detail etc in the book, but then it is a given that these are to be found in near perfection in this book. And to say it is a guide to writing is an understatement as well. What then should I say the book is?

Well, I think it is beyond a guide for writers. It is a collection – of experiences and quotes from authors and a massive collection of books that one needs to read to understand the different ways in which words make a world come alive.

Kissing the Demon is perhaps a book that can coax out a book from anyone willing to succumb to the urge.

Highly Recommend It.


Kissing the Demon: The Creative Writer's HandbookKissing the Demon: The Creative Writer’s Handbook by Amrita Kumar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews


Reading for a writer is as demanding as writing.

I know I said Kissing the Demon has some amazing books listed in it, I made the effort to list them out here. Just so I can also have a future reference and share it with the world. Of course, most of the books have already been read by seasoned readers. Here goes (in alphabetical order)…



A Beautiful Mind Sylvia Nasar
A Brief History of Seven Killings Marlon James
A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
A House for Mr Biswas V S Naipaul
A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway
A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth
A Time to Kill John Grisham
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Caroll
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
An Atlas of Impossible Longing Anuradha Roy
Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt
Animal Farm George Orwell
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
Atonement Ian McEwan
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter Mario Vargas Llosa
Back When We Were Grownups Anne Tyler
Behind the Beautiful Forevers Katherine Boo
Beloved Toni Morrison
Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy
Bonfire of the Vanities Tom Wolfe
Brick Lane Monica Ali
Bridget Jones’ Diary Helen Fielding
Can you Wave Bye Bye Baby Elyse Gasco
Carrie Stephen King
Chronicle of a Death Foretold Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Crane’s Morning Indrani Aikath-Gyaltsen
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
Cry, The Peacock Anita Desai
Curfewed Night Basharat Peer
Disgrace J M Coetzee
English, August Upamanyu Chatterjee
Finnegan’s Wake James Joyce
Five Point Someone Chetan Bhagat
Flight Behaviour Barbara Kingsolver
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe Fannie Flagg
Gertrude and Claudius John Updike
Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
Good Earth Pearl Buck
Hamlet Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J K Rowling
He’s Just Not That Into You Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo
How to Be Both Ali Smith
In Cold Blood Truman Capote
Intimacy Hanif Kureishi
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
Maximum City Suketu Mehta
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
Money Martin Amis
Odysseus Abroad Amit Chauduri
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Orpheus and Eurydice
Paradise Toni Morrison
Past Continous Neel Mukherjee
Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens
Plot and Structure James Scott Bell
Possession A S Byatt
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Red Earth and Pouring Rain Vikram Chandra
Red Riding Hood
Rules of the Game Amy Tan
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen
Serious Men Manu Joseph
Sleeping on Jupiter Anuradha Roy
Snow Orhan Pamuk
Snow White and Rose Red
Solo Rana Dasgupta
Sula Toni Morrison
Sun after Dark Pico Iyer
Tender Morsels Margo Lanagan
The Art of Fiction John Gardner
The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Nirad Choudari
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler
The Bridges of Madison County Robert James Waller
The Catcher in the Rye J D Salinger
The Chicago Manual of Style
The Color Purple Alice Walker
The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank
The Elements of Style William Strunk, E B White
The English Patient Michael Ondaatje
The Everest Hotel Allan Sealy
The Exorcist W P Blatty
The Far Pavilions M M Kaye
The Gathering Anne Enright
The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy
The Godfather Mario Puzo
The Great Gatsby Scott Fitzgerald
The Green Road Anne Enright
The Ground Beneath Her Feet Salman Rushdie
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Inheritance of Loss Kiran Desai
The Lord of the Rings J R R Tolkien
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri
The Mayor of Casterbridge Thomas Hardy
The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
The Reader Bernhard Schlink
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Mohsin Hamid
The Rosemary Tree  Elizabeth Goudge
The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories Christopher Booker
The Torrents of Spring Ernest Hemingway
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera
The White Tiger Aravind Adiga
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion
Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse Nirad Choudari
Thy Hand, Great Anarch! Nirad Choudari
To kill a MockingBird Harper Lee
True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey
Vardiwala Goonda Ved Prakash Sharma
Vernon God Little D B C Pierre
Waiting Ha Jin
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
Watership Down Richard Adams
What I Talk About When I Talk About Runninh Haruki Murakami
Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
Writing Down the Bones Natalie Goldberg
Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


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