Category Archives: Wrap-ups/TBRs/Reading Recs

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

Top Fantasy Books on my 2020 TBR!

Hi everyone!

And today I share with you all my final post of 2019, which is like a follow-up to my other post (Top 10 Books on my 2020 TBR!) In today’s post I have tried to compile a very ambitious list, of all the fantasy books I want to get to in 2020! Are you excited about any of these fantasy books?

Top Fantasy Books on my 2020 TBR!
Top Fantasy Books on my 2020 TBR!

Books mentioned:

  1. The Mortal Instruments
  2. Percy Jackson
  3. And I Darken trilogy
  4. Rebel of the Sands trilogy
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy
  6. His Dark Materials trilogy
  7. Carry On, Wayward Son
  8. Children of Blood and Bone, Children of Virtue and Vengeance
  9. Ninth House
  10. The Empire of Gold (Book 3 of The Daevabad Trilogy, with The City of Brass, and The Kingdom of Copper)
  11. Aurora Burning (Aurora Rising)
  12. Starsight (Skyward)
  13. Throne of Glass
  14. Lord of the Ring, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion
  15. The Cruel Prince trilogy
  16. Shatter Me trilogy

I have also made an IGTV video regarding this topic and I would love it if you could check it out. Click here to go to my Instagram!

Top 10 Books on my 2020 TBR!

Hi everyone!

I finally made a list of the top 10 books I want to read in 2020. These books belong to a variety of genres such as historical fiction, non-fiction, magic realism, contemporary, literary fiction, etc. What are the top books on your 2020 TBR pile?

Top books on my 2020 TBR!

You can check out my list of the top Fantasy Books I want to read in 2020 by clicking here!

So the top 10 books on my 2020 TBR are:

I have also made an IGTV video regarding this topic and I would love it if you could check it out. Click here to go to my Instagram!

Best Reads of 2019!

Top reads of 2019

2019 is almost at an end and I can definitely say that it has been an awesome reading year for me. I have finished reading 250 books so far and I know that that number will only increase until the 31st of December. So as a part of my Bookmas series, I decided to compile a list of the best books I have read in 2019! And in no particular order, the books are:

You Will Be Safe Here, by Damian BarrAn extraordinary debut that explores legacies of abuse, redemption, and the strength of the human spirit–from the Boer Wars in South Africa to brutal wilderness camps for teenage boys. It also talks about the feminine issues – both social, and historical – the suppression of women and the masculine power play over them, their objectification, etc.  The diary entries make you cry – just reading of the utter inhuman situations that they, along with so many other people were subjected to. The flashback method was also great and gives great depth to the story. One of the major themes that I saw throughout Part 2 is that of toxic masculinity. For instance, seeing Willem cry in desperation once, Jan had turned away – after all, boys do not cry. We also see domestic abuse scenario in this part. (See full review)

Check out my Youtube video here!

City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert – A delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person. City Of Girls is part memoir, and We see Vivian as a very practical, matter-of-fact woman, who accepts things as they are. Easter eggs in the book were the mentions of Gone With The Wind as well as the people associated with it. Dealing with trauma is something that is shown multiple times in the book, although very subtly as undercurrents that determine the actions of the characters. When we see Vivian and Celia get punished for their actions, we confront the hypocrisy of the society, just as the character mentions, the women are always punished but the men get away scot-free with it. (See full review)

We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Despite the tiny size of this book, the content was a vital key towards understanding what feminism is and why we should strive to be feminists ourselves. Feminism is such a controversial term and I honestly do not understand why. Why wouldn’t you want to be considered equal to the person standing next to you? We are living in the 21st century and as we move into the third decade, this issue continues to rile up so many. The book is illuminating specially if you want to understand what feminism is without going through theory books, and why we should seek for it and live it every day. I also loved the easy and interactive writing style of the author and am looking forward to reading more of her novels in the coming year.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel – The second graphic novel I ever read, and one that will rally stay with me, Fun home was a brilliant tour-de-force. While an autobiography, this work also brings to the fore, the concept of autobiofictionality – of what happened in the past and of how you actually remember things happening. The minimal colors used were juxtaposed against the complex matters in the book. We see the author coming to terms about her own sexuality while also realizing that her father had been a closeted homosexual man. There are also many repercussions to this – the mother stuck in the loveless, while convenient marriage; the father always trying to fix up the house in a way he cannot ‘fix’ himself, etc. There are also a ton of literary allusions in the book which truly establishes this as a seminal work in modern literature. 

Suncatcher, by Romesh Gunesekera – Suncatcher was a beautiful and poignant coming-of-age novel.Set in the 1960s Ceylon, erstwhile Sri Lanka, and it is a time of great political change all around. We follow the protagonist Kairo, a normal young boy whose life takes for an exciting turn when he meets the worldly and confident Jay. For all his dreams and hopes, Jay reminded me of Fitzgerald’s famous character Jay Gatsby. Another character who was very interesting was Uncle Elvin. If Jay reminds me of Jay Gatsby because of his visionary ways, Elvin seems to embody Rhett Butler in his manner of living. As for the writing, the language is descriptive and wholesome. One of the important themes was that of illusion. Be it the adults or Jay himself, everyone seems to be deliberately altering the way he or she perceives reality. (See full review)

Circus Folk and Village Freaks, by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal – Sanyal has played with magic to deliver to us a tale of absurd and unbelievable men and women, monsters and pets. The transformation from man to animal, man to monster etc. run rife throughout the “18 twisted tales” and provides an enjoyable and funny read. Under these trivial and funny stories though, lies witty undertones, which are deep and metaphorical in the essence. The various themes I interpreted in the book include, but are not limited to, issues of abandonment and finding one’s true calling, homosexuality, society’s reaction against this ‘perversion’, and suicide, identity, love, mental illness, etc. The verse is lyrical and rhyming and thus, sounds so musical. I definitely recommend reciting these out loud. It’s a magical experience. My absolute favorite poems from here are The Unlikely Love Story of Lingam, and Jeeva, The Elephant Man. (See full review)

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe – Anther book I read as a part of my course, Things Fall Apart is a seminal work in African literature. It follows Okonkwo, a man from the Igbo society living his daily life, until the advent of the colonizers. The book is also a microcosm of not just all of Africa, but also of all the people and countries, which have been colonized by the western powers. The writing style is simple and yet powerful. The fall of the people – as they slowly lose their own ways and culture under the pressure and influence of the English – is sad to read about. The story climbs up to a crescendo and the climax is a potent one, that left me reeling. This is a masterpiece that everyone should definitely read.

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye was Toni Morrison’s first novel, published in 1970, and it is a controversial novel still, for showing themes of incest, child molestation, racism etc. By the time I had finished reading the last page, I was blown away by the lyrical quality of Morrison’s writing. The repetitions sometimes sound like a mantra that beats at your mind as you read of the terrible beauty that is this book. What is important, is the psychological implications the book also portrays throughout the shifting perspectives. It is a wonder, that Morrison wrote things that still affect the human race today – in that she is a writer on the human tragedies that are eternal and everlasting. The mental space is a big motif in this book. Replete with the truest essence of humanness, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is one of the best books ever. (See full review)

Becoming, by Michelle Obama – I read this book as an audiobook and while I absolutely loved the sound of Michelle Obama’s voice and her enunciation, the content blew me away. I still reiterate that this book should be included in school curriculums because of its powerful and inspiring story of the first black First Lady of the USA. And I am not kidding when I say that this book motivated me a lot. I could relate myself to the author as I have been quite competitive all my life – but competitive with myself. It has always been a very serious game for me- I always try to be better than I was yesterday and to see the same attitude in the author, really reinforced this belief I have in myself. This is a grand gift, this time of the year, for any young cousin or sibling.

Lord of the Butterflies, by Andrea Gibson – One of the best poetry collections I have ever read, Lord of the Butterflies deals with issues such as homosexuality, being a transgender person, dealing with this as a child, and accepting this about oneself; bullying, rebellion; familial love, family drama, etc. The poet uses beautiful lyrical lines that just drive the knife deeper into the heart, so to speak – because all of the poems are so poignant and meaningful and relatable in today’s context, that you cannot help but be sucked in, to the magic. Crying while reading a fiction book is pretty common for me, but I even cried while reading these poems for myself. The poems I absolutely loved was ‘Orlando’, followed by ‘Boomerang Valentine’, ‘Thankstaking’, etc. (See full review)

The End of the Year Book Tag

End of the year book tag
End of the Year Book Tag

2019: The Year That Was

2019 is almost at an end and I am somewhere drifting amidst anxious, excited and apprehensive for the new decade. However, it was quite a good year for me. I believe I have improved tremendously and am at a great place right now. My words for 2019 were DISCIPLINE and HARD WORK. Although I could have done better with the first, I can say that I did work hard this year.

2019 accomplishments!

I will be done with my 5th semester of university in a few days, I am done with 4 internships and currently doing my 5th, I have a good GPA, I have worked on my relationships with my friends and relatives this year, and I have read a ton! I also finally shoved aside my shyness and anxiety and started uploading on YouTube – something that I had wanted to do for a long time, and I have also worked on my expenses, and I am happy.

(You can check out my Mid Year Book Freak-Out Tag here)

Book Tag!

So since it is the end of November, I thought its time I uploaded a companion post to my End of The Year Book Tag YouTube video that I just uploaded. I am tagging a few of you, and even if I haven’t, feel free to do this tag yourself, and I think it is a great way to come across new books that might interest you as well! As of November 29th, I have read 240 books in total this year. 

  1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? JANE EYRE
  2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year? SEA PRAYER and A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN
  3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for? NOPE
  4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year? FOREST OF ENCHANTMENTS, THE THORNBIRDS, and THE SECOND SEX
  5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year? NINTH HOUSE
  6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2020? YES! Stay tuned for that!

This tag was started by Ariel Bisset (check out her video here). I am also planning on doing bookmas maybe so stay tuned for that, and Bookmas was established by Hailey (check out her announcement video here).

NonFiction November Recommendations!

Nonfiction November is here and I have got some amazing nonfiction recommendations for you all! I hope you all have a blast reading these books!

nonfiction november
NonFiction November recommendations

Reading nonfiction is hard!

I feel like 2019 has gone by so fast. November is here; half of it is already gone and it is only now that I am making the #nonfictionnovember recommendations post! I know from personal experience that reading this genre can be quite intimidating for some of us. But for those of you who read non-fiction very often, I applaud you!

How to ease into this genre

Since easing into this genre may take some getting used to for many of us, I decided to compile a list of some non-fiction reads, which do not really read as such. So without further ado, here are some books I have read and some that are on my radar!

Craft!

Embroidered Life: The Art of Sarah K. Benning – a splendidly created coffee table book, Embroidered Life follows the work process of Benning. Benning is a self-taught embroidery artist nad this book is a wonderful book to leaf through. If you are looking for something creative to pick up to while the harsh winter months away, this might just be the book for you. I for one, am currently working on an embroidery project of my own, which I hope to complete and show you all soon! (Goodreads)

Sci-fi!

Lost Transmissions: Science Fiction and Fantasy’s Untold, Underground and Forgotten History – a book which I am absolutely thrilled to pick this month is this insightful behemoth. It is rightly regarded as the bible of science fiction and fantasy’s most interesting and least-known chapters.   I have very high hopes for this mixture of essays, interviews, and stunning visuals! (Goodreads)

Memoirs!

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay’s searingly honest memoir of food, weight, and self-image has been described as being intimate, vulnerable, and bracingly candour. Having read excerpts of Bad Feminist, I am pretty excited to see how this much-acclaimed memoir will be for me. (Goodreads)

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft. I decided that no matter what I write could trump this brilliant description of the King’s book. I have yet to read any of his books so I think I will change that situation by picking up this one. (Goodreads)

I’m Not Here to Give a Speech – Garcia Marquez is already a much well-acclaimed author. And I think it is an ironically named book! This is his collection of speeches span from his high school days to his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize. If you have not yet read any of Marquez’s words, perhaps this could be great for you to start with. (Goodreads)

Important works!

City of my Heart – a 4 star read for me, this book is a translation of four texts that talk about Dilli (or Delhi, as it is now known), following the downfall and the fate of royalty following the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, with the capture of Bahadur Shah Zafar. (Goodreads)

I am Malala and We Are Displaced – Malala is the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the fact that I have yet to read her books, meant I just had to get to them this month. Both of these two books are a conglomerate of the global issues of terrorism, the utter destruction it causes to the innocents of lives all around, immigration crisis, etc. It also speaks of the displacement issue that crops up with it,  war, the refugee situation, border conflict, etc.

Feminist works!

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More and Live Bolder – a 5 star read that I’d recommend to all! It was a fundamental and impactful read that I loved. It talks about the unexplainable need for perfectionism (which is prevalent in all of us), albeit a bit more obsessively in girls. Please pick up this book! It would be a shame if we fail to read it and realize the way most of us limit ourselves. (Goodreads)

Feminist Rani – Can I brag that I have already met the author and got this signed? Shamefully, I haven’t read it yet! Perhaps there is no better time than this November! It shares the stories of 15 women – women who have strived to fight for their own rights to stand as equals to men. They talk of issues such as identity, the need for the realization of selfhood, etc. (Goodreads)

A few other recommendations!

Some other books I could recommend are Becoming (I personally think all schools should make this a compulsory read), Soliloquy of a Small-town Uncivil Servant, Girl Power, Between You And Me, etc. You can also check out Can You Die of a Broken Heart?, Kashmir’s Untold Story, The Case that Shook the Empire, The Intelligence Trap, etc.

Please don’t forget to comment below and recommend the nonfiction books that you have read as well.