Category Archives: Wrap-ups/TBRs/Reading Recs

What I have read/will be reading, and some reading recommendations!

🌻A Mid-Year Update🌷Life, Books, Writing and more!🌼

Now that June is over, I think it’s an apt time to share with you all, an update of my life and how it has gone for the first half of the year! So today’s blog post is a mid-year update of my life, my writing, reading and Youtube!

Mid-Year Update
Mid-Year Update

I think it goes without saying, that the first half of 2021 has been overwhelming. But before I delve into it all, I want to ask you all how you are. How did you feel for the majority of this time? Did you have anything going on at the time – school, college or a job? How have you been coping? Do you think you need to pay more attention to yourself?

In this increasingly online world, I think we all can agree that the personal and professional have merged. The line separating them has blurred; there are no divisions. We are compelled to check our email inbox regularly. We don’t have separate family/personal time and work time, anyone, because an email or a call may come that will disrupt the difference you may have attempted to set up. And so on. So let me know. Share your thoughts. Perhaps in this way, your heart will feel lighter, as I hope mine will too, once I am done writing this blog post.

Mid- Year Life Update

On the 16th of March 2021, I completed one whole year of being in isolation. And I shudder to think that in just another six months (less than that, to be honest), 2020 will have been two years ago! I certainly cannot bring myself to believe that.

My life has been disrupted much like yours. I was dreaming of moving to a city to start my MA. I was dreaming of that ever since 2020 when I graduated with my BA degree amidst the deadly pandemic, the likes of which we had never seen before. But then, because of the said pandemic, my admission into the next phase of study life got delayed and delayed.

Usually, a new scholastic year starts in August/September. And this first semester runs for roughly six months, ending in December/January. And the next semester then runs from January/February to June/July. What I mean to say is that any semester has a definite five/six months worth of classes. But the pandemic brought a stop to that as well.

The Infamous Delay

My admissions, which ideally should have been over by August, took on forever. in fact, it got delayed to the extent that my first semester of MA, started in January 2021, an estimated six-month delay postponing it to the extent that the first and second semesters of ALL first years students (either BA or MA) had to be reduced to a period of three months, so that by the time August 2021 could come around, we would catch up to the usual timings.

So that has put a damper on everything. As students, we are questioning how much knowledge we have actually gathered in this rushed situation. But we are still hopeful. It’s going to be okay.

I have started my second semester from June onwards and it’s starting to get a little bit hectic now. But a highlight of this period has to be the fact that I just got an email from the authorities of my university, that I will be getting a merit scholarship because of my first semester results. I was simply stunned. I did not know that there was this merit scholarship scheme in my university and so it came as a wonderful surprise. My parents and very happy of course, but they hope that I will take some time off for myself.

Time for a Break?

If you told me this a few years earlier I would have laughed outright. Parents telling you to study less? Why that’s the stuff of legends! But my parents probably saw my hard work during my BA years (I finally passed summa cum laude and the hard work paid off) which was when they had first told me to “relax a bit”. Perhaps they see the same now, but while the success surely makes me high, I do need to take a breather.

Ever since passing my 12th board, I have been constantly working. I finished six internships during the three years of my BA and now I am doing another one. I am managing my Youtube, writing on Medium, updating my Instagram regularly and whatnot. Perhaps at the end of this year, I just might take a much-needed break. But that’s for later.

Mid-Year Writing Update

I have started to put down my writer’s cap more firmly on my head. You see, I have finally started to write more regularly and I am loving the mental stimulation it has been providing. At the same time, I am admittedly also taking it slow and only writing when the inspiration strikes. Based on my previous experiences, I know that forcing myself will usually backfire and I want to avoid that at all costs.

I am also publishing my works on Medium and oh what a delight it has been. Getting validation in the form of claps, highlights, amazing comments and the “Congratulations! You are a Top Writer” emails has been a constant drug I am thriving on.

A book review I wrote recently, is a favourite from my writing samples. The Dangers of Smoking in Bed was a wacky book and I am so in the mood for more!

I also dedicated posts each to my mom and dad for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day respectively!

Right now, I am doing a challenge where I am hoping to write at least 12 articles in July. It has been going well so far and so I hope I will have good news to share when I will write the end of the year update.

Mid-Year Reading Update

Oh, but where shall we start about my reading. I read a total of 146 books within the January-June period, but unfortunately, my reading was not as good as I’d like.

Currently Reading

And that is also why I decided to read less but more consciously from July onwards. I am reading two books currently – Mouthful of Birds, by Samanta Schweblin and A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. Most importantly, I am tremendously enjoying both of them!

My Top 10 Reads of the First Half of 2021

That said, I also made a list of the top 10 books I have read this year, across various genres such as Adult Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Adult Romance, Poetry and Non-Fiction.

New Books I Want to Get To

Two of these are books that I have acquired recently and the latter two are actually new releases! These are The Maidens, Plain Bad Heroines, Ace of Spades, When The Girls Are Sleeping, and The River Has Teeth.

Biggest Disappointments

I was sad that this happened, but then again, you cannot absolutely love some books, without disliking another. So the books I thought were disappointing were Jane Eyre, and Blood and Honey.

Biggest surprises

I assumed I wouldn’t really maybe like these books, but I ended up liking them more than I had expected! Those were Skim, I Am Heathcliff, I Would Leave Me If I Could, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom, The Empress of Salt and Fortune, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones and the Six, Supplicant, and the Heart Stopper series.

Mid-Year Thrillers Recommendations (BONUS!)

I also got to read/listen to some fantastic thrillers, including The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Devil and the Dark Water, The Girl Before, Believe Me, The Guest List, The Hunting Party, Every Vow You Break, and The Wife Upstairs.

Mid-Year Youtube Update

Monthly Wrap-ups

Collaborations and Sponsorships

Thanks to your support I was also able to do some amazing collaborations and sponsorship projects!


I also had fun filming a few vlogs, both in terms of reading and lifestyle.

Book Recommendations and Tips!

So as you can see I sure had a lot of fun exploring my creativity during the first half of this year! I can only hope that this continues.

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And that’s pretty much it, lovelies! If you have any thoughts about these books, do share them down below in the comments. Alternately, if you have also written a mid-year update, let me know!

Previous posts that you can check out:

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid: A Review
  2. Girl in White Cotton, by Avni Doshi: A Review
  3. Notes on Grief, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A Review
  4. The Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri: A Review

Indian Authors you need to read ASAP!

On the occasion of Independence Day, I am sharing a few literary fictions, non-fiction, poetry and other works by Indian authors that YOU NEED TO READ ASAP!

(This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at NO EXTRA COST to you)

(This blog posts also contain a few review copies that were sent to me by publishers. However, all opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced by external parties)

Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP! 1
Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP!

According to Wikipedia, Indian English literature (IEL), also referred to as Indian Writing in English (IWE), is the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India.

While I believe in the importance of reading works in your own mother tongue, I cannot overlook the vast and wonderful oeuvre of IEL that the children of the Motherland have birthed. So in today’s post on the momentous occasion of the 74th Indian Independence Day, I am going to share with you all 10 books by Indian authors, that are either recommendations based on my reading experiences or books that are in my immediate TBR piles!

Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP! 2
Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP!


I am an Assamese so can you blame me for including this whole category? Haha! But seriously, these are two books I have included in my immediate TBR and I am super stoked. Do share your thoughts if you have read these and I would love to share them on my Instagram!

UNDERTOW by Jahnavi Barua

Undertow by Jahnavi Barua

Set in Bengaluru and Guwahati, UNDERTOW is a heartwarming tale of how relationships can face a myriad of changes in the face of love, opposition, and societal norms.

Click here to BUY.


The House with a Thousand Stories, by Aruni Kashyap

Set in Mayong, THE HOUSE WITH A THOUSAND STORIES is a “bleeding and triumphant” tale surrounding a fateful wedding where secrets are unearthed, and bloody acts of violence almost lay a people to ruin.

Click here to BUY.



An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy

A book that has remained a personal favourite ever since the first time I read it, AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING is a hauntingly beautiful story of love and real estate, in a house set on the verge of decay on the banks of a once-mighty river. Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.


The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

A quintessential reading when it comes to IEL, THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS is a household name today. If you still have not heard about it (and even if you have) it is time to pick up this book and maybe join me in a buddy-read if you can!

Click here to BUY.



Two words: Buddhist Fantasy! I am super proud to say that PATH OF THE SWAN is a book by my professor and the copy I own is a personalized signed one! I am really looking forward to reading it and since I also have the sequel, I have no worries of being left high and dry on a cliffhanger!

Click here to BUY.


Another fantasy that is inspired by the epic Mahabharata, UPON A BURNING THRONE, takes a unique perspective on this classic tale we have all grown up with. Suffice it to say, it was an adult fantasy that I loved reading! Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to Simon&Schuster for proving me the review copy)



CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS is a truly unique collection of poetry that I read and enjoyed a lot. I loved how quirky it was with an amazing rhyming and poetic skill by the poet. Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to the poet for providing me with a review copy)

SAFRAN by Aishwarya Nir
Safran by Aishwarya Nir

Another poetry collection which was a wonderful union of love as well as spiritual poetry. I am so proud that it is a personalized signed copy as well! Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to the poet for providing me with a review copy)


CITY OF MY HEART by Rana Safvi
CITY OF MY HEART by Rana Safvi

CITY OF MY HEART was a beautiful translated work of Urdu narrative, which surrounds the famous Revolt of 1857, as well as the decay of the once-mighty Mughal Empire. It is a beautiful book and I loved the vivid imagery! It felt like I was in ‘Dilli’ and I couldn’t bear to leave! Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to Hachette for proving me the review copy)

SEX AND POWER by Rita Banerji
SEX AND POWER by Rita Banerji

SEX AND POWER is a definitive look at the powerful relation between sex and power (pun intended)! The author explores the idea of sexual morality, social perceptions of sex, and also modifies Nietzsche’s slave versus master morality theory! Another book on my TBR!

Click here to BUY.

And that’s it, my wonderful readers! I had a lot of fun compiling this list. I hope YOU have great fun (hah!) reading these books! Do share any books you think should have been included in this list! There is a huge gap and selecting only 10 books from across the breadth and length of India may not have been a just act by me. Nonetheless, as time goes on, you and I will enrich each other and keep on adding more books to our TBR piles!

If you want to see more such book-related content make sure to follow me on my Book Instagram page, and Youtube Channel!

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Reading Rush 2020 Wrap-up

Hey guys! I hope you had a wonderful week. I for one, was transported into an entirely different world. Or rather, worlds. The last week (July 20 to 26) I participated in the Reading Rush Readathon and had the time of my life!

Reading Rush Wrap-up
Reading Rush Wrap-up

What is the Reading Rush?

The Reading Rush is basically a readathon and the time when we drop everything else and read. There were a few prompts and one could either opt to choose one book for each or stack up.

Being me, I was of course super ambitious, and although I could not read every book I wanted to, it did go great and I read 6 books! So without further ado, let me tell you all about the different prompts and the books I read.

You can also check out the TBR video I made where I go over all the books and the synopses.

You can also check out the VLOG I uploaded on Youtube today!

Prompt 1: Read a book that is the same colour as your birthstone

Being an August baby, my birthstone is Peridot, which is lime green in colour. So I decided to pick up SEA PRAYER by Khaled Hosseini.

It was a sad and intense read. It was so poignant; despite the short length, it was full of immense longing and pain and nostalgia. I was very much moved. I had previously read A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, and this book with Hosseini’s impeccably strong and conducive writing just got to me. The illustrations were superb as well! It was a solid 4star read for me.

Prompt 2: Read a book that starts with ‘The’

For this prompt, I picked up THE ROANOKE GIRLS by Amy Engel.

This was a tale very twisted. It was mysterious and yet as I read it, I unconsciously knew the secret that haunts the Roanoke Girls. And I know this because when this stunning secret is revealed, I was not really shocked. Rather it was a confirmation of what I had already known all along. It is full of the hidden and repressed longings of the girls [due to the dominant and yet cunningly manipulative and seductive patriarchy that grants the man supreme hold over them all. This hold is not forceful but rather groomed into them since their birth. It is a twisted tale of love and oh, what love.
It is brilliantly executed and well placed. I loved it and definitely recommend it to all. It was a 5star read for me.

Prompt 3: Read a book that inspired a movie you have already seen

For this prompt, I decided on ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan.

I had already seen the movie and it remains, to date, one of the best movies I have ever seen. However, I did think that the writing style of this book was unnecessarily long and twisted as well as unnecessarily descriptive. I think perhaps the fact that I have already watched the movie, may have affected my understanding and viewing of the novel but that is not to say I did not enjoy it. It was certainly wonderful but could have been way shorter. Overall, it is a beautiful tragedy and I could definitely pick it up again, albeit after some time. I am not ready for my heart to be completely broken again. It was a 5star read for me.

It was also the second Ia McEwan book I picked up, the first being the book for Prompt 4.

Prompt 4: Read the first book you touch

For this prompt, I chose my first ever book by Ian McEwan – ENDURING LOVE.

It was as much a psychological novel as it was a literary masterpiece. McEwan has a superb mastery of language, seamlessly binding together utterly contrasting worlds of the entities of psychology, literature, and the hold over the readers’ catharsis. I was hooked from the very beginning by the story and the wonderful and seductive mix of literary fiction and psychology. It had a wonderful quality of the mystery of the unknown and fear of the known. It was a terrifying and exhilarating read. I rated it 4stars.

Prompt 5: Read a book completely not in your house

For this prompt, I picked up a wonderful anthology and read it on my grandma’s balcony.

FEARLESS LOVE was a superb anthology of works revolving around the LGBTQIA lives. These poignant and close-to-the-heart pieces from a variety of writers, in the ways that they expressed them in (short story, poetry, song lyrics, research essays, etc), throbbed with the resonance of their lives and the ways in which they matter, despite how society says otherwise. I rated it 5stars.

PROMPT 6: Read a book from your least read genre

Now this is where I started to stack up. Literary Fiction is a genre in which I have only started to dive in. As such, I believe the books ENDURING LOVE and ATONEMENT, were apt for this prompt as well.

PROMPT 7: Read a book set in a different continent than the one you are in (Asia)

Since I am in India (Asia), I felt that all the other book excepting SEA PRAYER and FEARLESS LOVE were apt for this prompt too. However, I did have an audiobook of PERSUASION from Netgalley and so I decided to pick up this classic set in Europe.

Like all of Jane Austen’s other works, this one too was a social commentary wrapped within a romance at the core. However, as is classic Austen, there is a superb intertwining of the social with the private. It is as much a social commentary as a journey into the minds of the characters and the psyche of theirs, all of which were affected so much by the social norms and expectations.
The narration was a fantastic one however I do believe the narrator could have included a bit more expression in his narration. Other than that, it was a perfect couple of days that I spent with this short yet significant read. I loved the classic Austen story and look forward to reading more of her works including Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. I rated it 5stars!

My Reading Rush Experience

I had a lot of fun this time around and if you haven’t participated in a Rush before, I definitely recommend you do. It is the best time you can have as a bibliophile, chatting and connecting with other such book lovers during this readathon!

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Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2020

Hello dear fellow book lovers! Today I will be sharing my book choices for this MID-YEAR BOOK FREAKOUT TAG!

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2020!

June has come and passed us by, tipping us into the second half of this astonishing year. I’m sure you can easily decipher this both ways – half the year has passed by so fast and yet one wonders where the six months went. As a person from Assam, India, I have seen my own share of ups and down since December of 2019 when the anti-CAA protests shook my motherland and many of us Gen X to Gen Z realized and lived through ‘curfews’. Many of us went out and took to the streets to protest and ever since then, as these state-wide protests delayed finals and pushed them into January 2020, we were convinced that that was it. We had seen our fair share and it was enough. But it was not so. The movie wasn’t yet over.

It was the 15th of March, Sunday and I was lying on my bed, sad as I had just bid farewell to my friend who had come over for a weekend sleepover. That evening things took an unbelivable turn. It was declared that all educational institutions would be closed off from the next day, i.e., the 16th of March. And that’s the way it has been so far. It is July and I can see so end to this lockdown, what with the numbers going up everyday.

I think that was a pretty long introduction for this blogpost, or a rant, rather, but the word ‘freakout’ in the title itself perhaps sanctions that. And as we all know, 2020 is no ordinary year.

Nonetheless, today I want to share my books for this awesome tag created by Chami and Ely.


1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020 – SWIMMING IN THE DARK by Tomas Jedrowski.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020 – THE VANISHING STAIR by Maureen Johnson.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to – A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN by Roseanne A. Brown.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year – THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones.

5. Biggest disappointment – none, tbh…

6. Biggest surprise – AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Kelly McWilliams.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you) – Sarah J Maas!

8. Newest fictional crush – Jason from THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST, by Abby Jimenez.

9. Newest favourite character – Bryce Quinlan from CRESCENT CITY: HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOF, by Sarah J Maas.

10. Book that made you cry – THE TROUBLE WE KEEP by Cara Devlin.

11. Book that made you happy – APHRODITE MADE ME DO IT by Trista Mateer.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received) – A FORT OF NINE TOWERS by Qais Akbar Omar.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year? – NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo, ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan, THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt, and FIND ME by Andre Aciman.

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Women-centric literature: A book list #Birthdaybloghop

“And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally this is so. Yet is it the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are “important”; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes “trivial.” And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room.”

– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
women-centric literature
women-centric literature

I recently compiled a list of books from my bookshelf, and the main theme that seemed to bind them all was the fact that they were either written by women or were about women in different spheres of life. Needless to say, many of these books, when they first came out, were often subject to various controversies, specifically because they also dealt with the themes of female independence, sexuality, intellectualism as well as female interrelationships.

Although these books all belong to various genres (literary fiction, nonfiction, bildungsroman, Post Colonial studies, dystopian, graphic novels, contemporary literature, etc), they have a common thread of continuity running through these. These follow women who are growing in one way or another (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc) and as such are often placed in contrast against the largely conservative and patriarchal society. All of these women are rebelling, in either a small or a big way, against the society that strives to repress them and their beings.

These are books that I have either read or am planning to read, specifically because of the subject matter. I believe that in one way or another, these can be great references when studying feminism, because like I have reiterated continually, they all deal with women and their rights, in various degrees. So, here is my book list of 25 books, including 3 special mentions, which I think every person should read.

  1. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin – A rich and exotic collection from the master of erotic writing!
  2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – The trials and tribulations of the March sisters during the American Civil War.
  3. The Ages of Lulu by Almudena Grandes – A groundbreaking novel of sexual exploration which was an overnight sensation and sparked international controversy!
  4. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde – A cyclical chronicle of the author’s coming-of-age and the different women who shaped her.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – A dystopian novel that is utterly convincing in its representation of a society that does not let women read and uses them as breeders.
  6. The Loves of Faustyna by Nina Fitzpatrick – A sexual odyssey across the social and political scenario of Communist Poland.
  7. Orlando by Virginia Woolf – A love-letter to Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West, Orlando is a journey across three centuries.
  8. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – A retelling of the Jane Eyre story from the eyes of the madwoman in the attic!
  9. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir – A powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness.  
  10. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – A feminist text that argues for the need for literal and figurative space for a woman to flourish and dedicate time to herself.
  11. The Awakening by Kate Chopin – One of the key first-wave feminist texts, that portrayed the stifling cage the institution of marriage was for one woman, who found respite in an extramarital affair.
  12. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – An intensely emotional read about a young girl suffering from mental health illness.
  13. The Color Purple by Alice Walker – An empowering story of a Black woman who faces multiple hardships, until she takes charge of her own destiny. Narrated via a series of letters.
  14. We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A seminal nonfiction work that serves as the most basic and relevant modern reason why one should be a feminist.
  15. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – A graphic novel that explores sexuality, literature, and the effect of shame of closeted homosexuals.
  16. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi – Often described as a Middle Eastern version of Sex and the City, Embroideries deal with female sexuality, the concept of virginity, and independence.
  17. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert – A fun read set during the years before and after the WWII, City of Girls is an exploration of one’s identity and sexuality, amidst the glamour of fashion and showgirls. Also, narrated by an old woman looking back on her life.
  18. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – The only book in this list, written by a male author, Madame Bovary is much like The Awakening in the sense that it follows a married woman trapped in her marriage, seeking emotional fulfillment in reading, spending and ultimately in adultery.
  19. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – One of the best-loved works in Victorian and children’s literature, it is about resilience and hope in the face of extreme hardships and sadness.
  20. Emma’s Secret (A Woman of Substance series) by Barbara Taylor Bradford – The Woman of Substance was a book that my aunt loved and heavily annotated, and as many would agree, a story of the indomitable spirit of a woman who with a mean entrepreneurial streak became the richest woman in the world.
  21. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – A reimagining of the Mahabharata from the eyes of Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandavas.
  22. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – A book series that was a childhood favourite of many, and was again relieved via the Netflix series Anne with an E.

Special Mentions:

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  3. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
women-centric literature
women-centric literature

This post is part of #Birthdaybloghop by Vidhya Thakkar and Neelam Sharma should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Hosts are not responsible for any infringement caused.