25¢ a Cup

Finding Paris in India

Non-Fiction - Travel
269 Pages
Reviewed on 02/01/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Paris of the 1920s, complete with its bohemians and artists, may no longer exist – at least, not in Paris. But, perhaps this ideal image of Paris does exist in another part of the world like Calcutta, India. Author and multimedia artist Brian Thomas ventured to India in search of a cup of coffee for 25 cents. What he found was worth much more. We hear a lot these days about white privilege, but to really experience, to really define who you are and where your place is in this world, a deep look at the dire living conditions of the majority of Calcutta’s population will set you straight. Using photography – all black-and-white images that are both metaphoric and stoic in their representation - this author/artist explores a world very foreign to the rest of us. He explores it first pre-pandemic, with considerable historical references to the distant past, and then really experiences the inequity of life when the pandemic hits. Calcutta is shut down and those who do the menial jobs, living one day at a time, are set loose to live (and often die) on the streets, or to walk many miles to their hometown and the families they were supporting with their meager income, carrying with them the deadly virus.

Brian Thomas’s book, 25¢ a Cup: Finding Paris in India, is a collage of ideas, adventure, travel, art and so much more, portrayed in black-and-white images and eloquent words of wisdom in the fine art of storytelling and creative nonfiction. Part memoir, part travelogue, entirely reality at its most profound, the author leads the reader on a journey to a world so foreign to even the most seasoned traveler. While telling his story, the author provides insight into an impoverished land full of people who are the poorest of the poor. He makes friends amongst missionaries and Indian residents at all levels of prosperity (or lack thereof). And everywhere he looks, in each photograph he takes, there’s another story to share. This is a fascinating read, very thought-provoking and poignant. One of his comments from his closing summed up his intent: “I have not written a book about Calcutta, but about what privileged people from the West can learn about their world and themselves in India.” Brian Thomas went for a 25 cent cup of coffee but, more importantly, to work. As he worked, he felt humbled and discovered an entirely different world within himself and beyond. To put it simply, this book is engaging, insightful, informative and powerful. I love the black-and-white photographs - so much contrast and depth of perspective.