Category Archives: Wrap-ups/TBRs/Reading Recs

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

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!

BOOKS BY ASSAMESE AUTHORS!

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

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.

LITERARY FICTION

AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING by Anuradha Roy

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

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.

FANTASY

PATH OF THE SWAN: THE MAITREYA CHRONICLES part 1 by Charu Singh
PATH OF THE SWAN: THE MAITREYA CHRONICLES 1 by Charu Singh

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.

UPON A BURNING THRONE by Ashok K Banker
UPON A BURNING THRONE by Ashok K Banker

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)

POETRY

CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal
CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal

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)

NON FICTION

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.

T A G Q U E S T I O N S

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.

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.

The Reading Rush 2019 TBR!

So I came across The Reading Rush Challenge a few days ago and I was just so excited seeing the videos that I planned to finally do it too! Earlier it was the BookTubeathon and I have never participated in it before.

The readathon starts from today and will end at 12 midnight on the 28th! There are several prompts and I am hoping to read atleast 7 books for the 7 days of the week. For more details you can definitely check out their website and the Instagram.

The books I am planning on reading are as follows:

  1. Read a book with purple on the cover – Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
  2. Read a book in the same spot for the entire time – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  3. Read a book you meant to read last year – Africa’s Tarnished Name by Chinua Achebe
  4. Read an author’s first book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  5. Read a book with a non-human main character – King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
  6. Read a book with 5 or more words in the title – By the Brahmaputra and other poems by Srutimala Duara
  7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation – The Guernsey Literary and Potato peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (I’ll be reading this one as an e-book)

Have you participated in this readathon? And are you planning on participating in any other book readathons in the coming months? DO inform if you know of any and I’m sure all of us would like to check them out as well.

Mid Year Book Freak-Out Tag!

It is July and I know you have heard it everywhere, read it everywhere and felt it yourself too – but my god, the year has passed by in a flash! I mean it was just a few days back, it feel like, when I was preparing for the university fest in February and now, it’s the end of my 4th semester! From August onwards, I will be starting with my 5th semester and that would mean that I will have only a year left for the completion of my Bachelors degree! Whoa! I am feeling as if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed – I was in senior year just a few days ago and it does not feel like 2 years have gone by at all!

So since it is July, I thought why not jump the bandwagon and do the Mid year book freak-out tag myself! Everyone is doing well, and I think it is a great way also to come across new books that might interest you as well! As of June 30th, I have read 119 books in total.  

  1. Best book you have read so far in 2019 – Okay so I am going to cheat on this one and state the best books I read from various genres. I fell in love with LORD OF THE BUTTERFLIES by Andrea Gibson (Poetry), THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon (Fantasy), CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert (Historical Fiction), DARK TALES by Shirley Jackson (Horror), BRAVE, NOT PERFECT by Reshma Saujani (Non-Fiction), FINDING ESME by Suzanne Crowley (Middle-Grade), THE LUPANARIUM by Adele Leigh (Dystopian), and THE STILLWATER GIRLS by Minka Kent (Thriller/Mystery).
  2. Best sequel you have read so far in 2019 – for this I shall go with THE KINGDOM OF COPPER by S. A. Chakraborty. It is the sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS, from THE DAEVABAD TRILOGY, and I rated it 5/5 stars. I am very excited for the last book in this series to come out!
  3. New release you haven’t read but want to – Ah I am hoping to pick up AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this week! I have heard nothing but great reviews about this book and I am excited!
  4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2019 – oh my god! I have a really long list for this one but I’ll include a few ones which I think not very many people are talking about:
    1. WAYWARD SON by Rainbow Rowell, September 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44017627-wayward-son?ac=1&from_search=true
    2. THE WATER DANCER by Ta-Nehisi Coates, September 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43982054-the-water-dancer?from_search=true
    3. NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo, October 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43263680-ninth-house?from_search=true
    4. BLOOD HEIR by Amelia Wen Zhao, November 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38205707-blood-heir?from_search=true
    5. THE DEEP by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, November 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42201962-the-deep?from_search=true
  5. Biggest disappointment – well, I cannot really say that there was any such big disappointment. Sure, there were some not great enough reads, but thankfully, I did not come across any book i hated.
  6. Biggest surprise – I will go with POETS, ARTISTS AND LOVERS by Mira Tudor for this. I rated it 5/5 stars and had not at all expected to be bombarded by its excellence. It was an amazing and welcome surprise.
  7. Favourite new author – I am really loving Kerri Maniscalco and Maureen Johnson and I’m slowly going through all their books.
  8. Newest fictional crush – might I say Thomas Cresswell? If you do not know who he is, well, please please please do pick up the STALKING JACK THE RIPPER quartet by Kerri Maniscalco. Its a mix of historical fiction , murder mystery and romance. Amazing series.
  9. Newest favourite character – I think this has to be Vivian Morris from CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert, Angelique from THE DUCHESS by Danielle Steel and Alexandra from THE RIGHT TIME, also by Danielle Steel. I have been loving these amazing women!
  10. Book that made you cry – this has to be YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE  by Damian Barr. It is a wonderfully tragic book and I rated it 5/5 stars. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I was full-on sobbing at some points in the story. If not for the story (which is impossible), you need to read it for the social and historical perspectives. It is so very important.
  11. Book that made you happy – for this, I am going to mention CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal, a collection of absurd and weird poetry. So much so, that it is really funny and made me laugh a lot, and very happy at the end.
  12. Favourite book to movie adaptation you saw this year – I’m adding my own twist here. I don’t really watch that many movies and prefer series. So, I watched A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES,  based on the ALL SOULS TRILOGY by Deborah Harkness. Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer are amazing. Somehow, Diana Bishop’s character gives me Bella (from Twilight) vibes. But it was a great season 1 and I’m excited for the next season to come out in late 2019 or early 2020.
  13. Favourite review you have written this year – well, I have three reviews to share. I loved the books and I loved writing about them. And they are CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert, CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal and AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING by Anuradha Roy. (PS. I loved AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING so much that I even gave a class presntation on with. With reference to Indian Writings in English)
  14. Most beautiful book you bought so far this year – for this, I will go with the FingerPrint Classics edition of ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL. It is a beautiful hardcover edition with silver embossed cov er on blue, and silver edges! I simply love it.
  15. What books do you need to read by the end of 2019 – some books I hope to pick up by the end of 2019 are: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC trilogy by V. E. Schwab ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22055262-a-darker-shade-of-magic?from_search=true because I loved her writing in THE NEAR WITCH), THE THORNBIRDS by Colleen McCullough ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/830793.The_Thorn_Birds ), THE WAVES by Virginia Woolf ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/863768.The_Waves ), ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI by Kerri Maniscalco ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37539001-capturing-the-devil?ac=1&from_search=true ), and REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM: THE WOMAN ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17532.Rebecca_Of_Sunnybrook_Farm?from_search=true ) by Eric Wiggin.

I encourage you all to try out this tag!

PS. I am not the creator of the tag; I do not know who that is.

Book Recommendations for Father’s Day!

So tomorrow’s Father’s Day and I had compiled a list of books I could possibly gift him. I know it’s last minute, but here they are! (This article also got published in my State’s daily The Assam Tribune and my dad was very happy!)

I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much. – Hedy Lamarr

Now that Father’s Day is just around the corner, I was wondering what book to give my dad (I honestly, personally, only give books as gifts to people). And so I thought why not compile a list to help you all as well. Very often we take our main man for granted and I know there are many people who say that we should love each other every day as opposed to showing it on special days only. Nevertheless, to be honest, even I do not show my love and gratitude everyday – human nature is fickle, and I am no exception. Therefore, without further ado, here is a list of books that I think would go well with our heroes.

Non-fiction

Can You Die of a Broken Heart? by Dr Nikki Stamp

I know it sounds sordid but this is one of the books I shall be gifting to mine. So very often, our fathers stress and work so much, they hardly give themselves time. Self-love sessions are rare in their schedules. So this book, which is focused on the human heart – what causes it harm and what heals it, sounds like the perfect one to gift.

Between You and Me: Flight to Societal Moksha by Atul Khanna

This book is a very nagging read and provides an insight into the political, social, educational, economic etc. spheres in today’s world. Whether you agree with the writer’s views or not, this is sure to spark questions and subsequent discussions.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

This book was  actually recommended to me by my grandfather and since he loved it and I enjoyed it too, I recommend this to you all as well. This is a wonderful read, full of stories from history regarding religion, culture, society etc.

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani

This is a book about women, but it is definitely a must-read for everyone. It speaks of the need that no many women have to be perfect and this prevents them from really succeeding or affects their self-esteem. I thought this was a great read and definitely recommend it to you all. Moreover, if you know any new dads, this is a definite recommendation for them as well. I think that basically all fathers with daughters should read this one.

Chicken… made simple by Love Food, an imprint of Paragon Books

If you dad is anything like mine, he will probably love this book. There are also various other cookbooks you can possibly gift your chef of a dad, but I personally have used and loved this one.

Fiction

Fortune’s Soldier by Alex Rutherford

Adventure set in Colonial India? Check. Some great bromance? Check. A quest for power? Check! Fortune’s Soldier is a great read following the events leading up to the British victory at Plassey – the prelude to a couple centuries of British rule in India.

The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne

A murder mystery in the mountains with a professor running against time sounds interesting. Add to that a possible variable of a grizzly gone rogue and computational biology. The Naturalist is a gripping mystery thriller that is bound to keep your old man interested from the beginning till the end.

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

If your father is a Dan Brown fan, or if you think he will enjoy that author, you might opt to pick up The Book of Fate too. It has a very Dan Brown vibe and  is also already a bestseller. Moreover, if you father loves conspiracies, how does the element of the Masons included in this book, sound?

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

A witty and darkly humourous journey of a man in new India is a must-read for everyone. It is funny, but so dark and I personally rather found it inspiring at parts. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable read with just the right amount of stark reality carved in.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

It is never too late to start with Murakami. Norwegian Wood is pretty short so it might be a good place to start with and to understand if you want to continue with Murakami or not.

The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.  Antoine- Francois Prevost

Assamese Youth and Assamese Literature


As a person from Assam, a state in Northeast India, my mother-tongue is Assamese. I use it all the time to converse with my family, relatives, friends, and so on. The other languages I use verbally are just Hindi and English. That is it. But when it comes to reading and writing, I admit I am much more comfortable only in English. And that simply is because English was, after all, the first language I was taught to write while in school. I studied Assamese till class 10, and then continued to use it while reading and writing but only for my dance lessons. So that was until a couple years back.
Today, I am really trying to reverse that. I am going to make sure that I read more and more Assamese books this year- it is one of my New Year’s resolutions. I am going to make myself better versed in my mother-tongue. Because to call myself Assamese without knowing how to properly read the language is indeed shameful.

For this initiative, I have taken the help of this blog and my bookstagram account, and come up with the #readyourmothertongue reading challenge through which I will read at least one Assamese novel each month. And why only Assamese? Pick up books written in your language, if it is a different one!
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These books are ones I bought in December so I suppose this is your #decemberbookhaul2018 #part7 and the last too!
1. গল্প আৰু গল্প – দিলীপ বৰা দ্বাৰা সম্পাদিত
2. অসীমত যাৰ হেৰাল সীমা – কাঞ্চন বৰুৱা
3. বুঢ়ী আইৰ সাধু – লক্ষ্মীনাথ বেজবৰুৱা
4. মিৰি জীয়ৰী – ৰজনীকান্ত বৰদলৈ
5. জিগলো – ৰশ্মিৰেখা ভূঞা
6. মৰমৰ দেউতা – ভাবেন্দ্ৰনাথ শইকীয়া
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একেইখনৰ ভিতৰত কোনো এখন পঢ়িছে নেকি আপুন?
Have you read any among these?
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I will be picking up these books- one by one- in the #readyourmothertongue challenge!
Are you participating as well? Do join in! 😊