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ARCHIVE 2020 > Dhiya's 52 books for 2020

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message 1: by Dhiya (last edited Jan 16, 2020 07:50PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Human Acts by Han Kang
I have started this year with Human Acts, written by Han Kang and translated by Deborah Smith. The novel is set in South Korea of the 1970s- 1980s. It is devastatingly beautiful and poignant- you can feel the pain, hopelessness and despair through the pages. Deborah Smith has done a wonderful job translating this book, retaining the emotions and rawness very well. My personal favourite was the chapter titled 'The Boy's Mother'. It made me sob uncontrollably and I haven't done that in a long time after reading a book. I urge everyone reading this post to pick up this wonderful book- it will open your eyes to a lot of things but most importantly how indefatigable the human spirit is in the face of utter ruthlessness and horror. It shows you the depths to which we as a species can descend to- but also the heights to which we can rise through our inate humanness.

message 2: by Dhiya (last edited Jan 16, 2020 07:51PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Mythos The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology, #1) by Stephen Fry
The second book that I read this year was Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry. It's hilarious, engaging and utterly lovely. I jumped into it with zero knowledge in Greek mythology. So itself it was absolutely wonderful reading stories that were herebefore unknown to me. I loved it so much that I bought the second part titled 'Heroes' as soon as I could. I assure you, once you start reading it you won't be able to put it down till you have finished it. Now, I can't wait to read the next book!

message 3: by Lisa (last edited Jan 15, 2020 12:59PM) (new)

Lisa Grønsund (gullita) | 3273 comments Wonderful books both. Good luck, Dhiya! May you have an amazing reading year in 2020

message 4: by Dhiya (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Lisa wrote: "Wonderful books both. Good luck, Dhiya! May you have an amazing reading year in 2020"

Thank you! And you too have a wonderful year ahead :)

message 5: by Dhiya (last edited Jan 16, 2020 07:46PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
My third read for this year was 'Train to Pakistan' by Khushwant Singh. It is set in North-west India during the independence and partition period of late 1940s. It shows the gruesomeness that surrounded the messy partition that left millions dead, raped, displaced and scarred for life. It also shows how a person can redeem himself even in the most dire of all situations and how people can never be assessed as monolithic characters. However, the book is simple and easy enough to read which makes this a quick addition to your to-read list. I strongly encourage everyone to pick up this book!

message 6: by Dhiya (last edited Mar 17, 2020 12:07AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Poonachi Or the Story of a Black Goat by Perumal Murugan
My fourth read for the year, 'Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat' by Perumal Murugan and translated by N Kalyan Raman is a bitter sweet story of Poonachi who is miraculously gifted one day to an old couple by a stranger. The story is absolutely well-written and you end up feeling everything that the endearing protagonist feels, even though she is a goat. The translation is seamless and a great job has been done in capturing the heart of the story. Even though it is a fairly easy read, I'd warn you against treating the text lightly- the subtle politics and idiosyncrasies of the characters are a treat and you cannot afford to miss them. All in all, the book is a wonderful example of personification done right!

message 7: by Dhiya (last edited Jan 22, 2020 10:04AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
Just finished my fifth read for the year- 'The Far Field' by Madhuri Vijay. It's emblematic, I feel, that as I was typing this I could not, for a moment, recall the name of the author. What came to my mind instead was Shalini, the name of the protagonist of this novel. It is a pretty easy read language-wise but dense in the matter it deals with and the emotions it evokes. However, where this book wins is that it never strains itself to become something that it is not- the subtlety of the craft of writing is so nuanced that even the grave matters are hidden with layers of the naivety that is inherent in the character. The plot is quite a change from what we usually read which kept me on my toes and ensured that I did not do anything else till I had finished the book. A stunning debut novel!

message 8: by Dhiya (last edited Mar 17, 2020 12:05AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart was my sixth read for 2020. I must admit that I started it off with the trepidation that I would not be able to finish it. My previous experience with Murakami was 'A Wild Sheep Chase, which I dropped midway in exasperation. I imagined that Sputnik Sweetheart would also meet with a similar fate. However, I was in for a surprise as it turned out to be quite an easy and mildly interesting read. I have to warn you that it turns a little psychedelic towards the end of it, but all considered, it did not pull my hair out in desperation, which accounts for something. The translation by Philip Gabriel is pretty standard but I felt that it was more structured than it needed to be (I could, of course, be wrong, seeing how I can't really know if the translator did complete justice to the original as I can't read Japanese). In conclusion, while it made me happy that I finished my first Murakami without wanting to kill myself, it did leave me underwhelmed.

message 9: by Dhiya (last edited Feb 01, 2020 10:21PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Al Arabian Novel Factory by Benyamin
Seventh book of the year! Benyamin's Al Arabian Novel Factory is the utterly captivating sequel to his JCB prize-winning novel Jasmine Days. It had been a while since I had begun to admire Benyamin's writing, and so I was utterly delighted when I was gifted this book by my Professor. I immediately got to reading it and could not put it down till I had finished it. It is a beautiful book that arrests your attention right from it's beginning. It is told from the perspective of an Indian journalist from Toronto, who is sent to the City (a fictional town in the Middle East which, according to the writer himself, can be seen as a stand-in for many real life cities) as part of a research team for a novelist. We follow him as he unravels the truth behind the happy faces that surround him and sees for himself the gulf between the reality and the façade, all the while searching for his lost love and a mysterious book. The plot never slackened and the end will not disappoint you. Though it can be read as a stand-alone from it's predecessor, there are some hidden and sometimes, not-so-subtle allusions to it that made me wish I had my copy of it near me. Shahnaz Habib does a great job conveying the essence of the text through her seamless translation. I could not have asked for a better book to end January with!

message 10: by Dhiya (last edited Feb 07, 2020 11:37PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a very short and easy read but what blew me away was the beauty and simplicity of Adichie's writing, especially of such a grave and important issue. I loved how articulate it was- these were often thoughts that occurred to me in passing but seeing it on paper, so well put together, overwhelmed me. It is a must-read for anyone, feminist or not!

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Dhiya | 122 comments We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Of course I had to read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists once I finished Dear Ijeawele... How could I not? More anecdotal than theoretical, I should admit that I was more engrossed in Dear Ijeawele...than We Should All Be Feminists because of the strength of the prose in the former. Still, this is not a book to be dismissed (duh, it's Adichie).

message 12: by Dhiya (last edited Feb 13, 2020 09:27AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss was my tenth read of the year. It is a beautifully crafted novel, one that shows that love can stay with you and grow stronger each day, even when you are no longer physically proximate, even though life has pulled you poles apart. And it is not just romantic love- it is the love a father has for his son, the love between friends, the love a widow has for her dead husband...essentially, love in its various shades and moods. This is what I love about the book- it steers clear of all the cliches that have come to characterise the love that does not find realisation in real life. We don't see the woman cheating on her husband with her former lover (with whom she is still in love with), we don't see the desperate lover sleeping around with other women in search for a reprieve, we don't see the happy union of these two characters- in short, we don't get what we have come to expect. This was truly exciting- exhilarating even- for me. Though the book shifts between the voices of several characters, the one that truly gripped me was that of Leopold Gursky, the old man who awaits death at every step of the way and yet, has so much genuine love for life. When I began the book, I was a little worried that I might not enjoy his narrative voice but I was delightfully proven wrong. I cannot thank Nicole Krauss enough for bringing such a wonderfully fresh and captivating voice into the pantheon of English literature. Absolutely beautiful!

message 13: by Dhiya (last edited Feb 13, 2020 11:33PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Bara by U.R. Ananthamurthy ಯು. ಆರ್. ಅನ೦ತಮೂರ್ತಿ
U.R. Ananthamurthy's Bara, translated by Chandan Gowda was my eleventh read of the year. It was short but heavy with inner meaning and political tones. I liked the book, and the several philosophical questions that it raises are relevant even in this day and age but what really put me off is the heaviness in the translation. I felt that it was not the best effort- the italicisation and footnotes are just not what I like in a novel. However, that's just one person's opinion. The story in itself is thought-provoking in fits and spurts. All in all, an enjoyable read.

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Dhiya | 122 comments China in Ten Words by Yu Hua

China in Ten Words by Yu Hua and translated by Allan H Barr, was my twelfth read for this year. I picked it up on my Professor's recommendation and soon I was engrossed in it. Hua explains China- especially China of Mao's era- in ten words that range from writing and leader to bamboozle and copycat. It provides an interesting insight into the lives of the people of those times as well as into the general environment that enveloped China under Mao. Seamless translation makes this an easy read.

message 15: by Dhiya (last edited Apr 13, 2020 08:49AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1) by Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians was my book number 13 for this year. I was craving some good old rom-com which is why I gravitated towards this book. While it stuck close to all the genre cliches, it really opened my eyes to how crazy rich some families in Singapore are! The name-dropping of an innumerable amount of designers and Veblen goods and the descriptions of the luxurious lifestyle of the characters in over-reaching adjectives got a little annoying after a while. However, I'm definitely going to read parts 2 and 3 because of the interesting premise it establishes and of course, because of the characters that I have come to enjoy reading!

message 16: by Dhiya (last edited Mar 17, 2020 12:04AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Reshaping Art by T. M. Krishna

Book number 14: Reshaping Art by one of my favourite human beings- Thodur Madabusi Krishna (lovingly called TMK by everyone)- has been an absolutely amazing read! The ideas that he puts forth are so refreshing and the irreverence in his voice will make you stop and think every now and then. This book will engage you and make you think about art in ways that you never thought of- about caste, discrimination, and more and how these have come to define our conception of certain art forms. Will 10/10 recommend it to everyone!

message 17: by Dhiya (last edited Jun 22, 2020 09:22AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Book number 15: Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay's The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die is a novella about Somlata and the ghost of the aunt who wouldn't die that keeps haunting her. The voice of the Pishi- the ghost aunt- is so fiery and full of derision for age-old structures that I can't help but smile happily whenever she appears and feel a kind of void in the text when she disappears. The plotline of Somlata's daughter was a bit of a let-down considering that she has some of the same fire that resides inside Pishi. Translation by Arunava Sinha is absolutely perfect- it flows so beautifully that it is only when you encounter the Bangla terms for the words that signify relations that you realise that it is actually a translated work. Brilliant!

message 18: by Dhiya (last edited May 03, 2020 10:14AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Hello!

Just a quick update: I have decided to up my goal to 60 books this year because I feel like I should challenge myself a little more. Might migrate this thread to the 51-75 folder, haven't made up my mind yet :)

message 19: by Dhiya (last edited Mar 25, 2020 10:27PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel W. Drezner

Book number 16: Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a brilliant work by Daniel W. Drezner in which the author examines how the various schools of International Relations such as realism, liberalism, neo-conservatism and constructivism would react to a possible rise of the undead. I wish that this book had been allotted to me in my IR classes because of the lucid manner in which the author describes, in a nutshell, the core tenets of these schools of thought. Even though I was more than a little sceptical about the necessity of a scholarly work about zombies, I have come to realise that the observations that Prof Drezner makes are applicable to outbreaks of any kind of epidemics. Reading this in the context of the current global crisis of the coronavirus, I could identify many of the points he puts forth with what is happening around us. I would like to urge everyone-especially students of International Relations- to pick up this book!

message 20: by Dhiya (last edited Mar 30, 2020 01:25AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Book number 17: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a beautiful, heartfelt debut novel by journalist Deepa Anappara. It follows the story of three children- Jai, Pari and Faiz- as they set out to unravel the mystery behind children from their slum going missing. I could broadly see where the story was going but it did not take away from the enjoyability of the story. The author excels at capturing the voice of her child narrator so well that we choose to overlook the few bleak points of the story. I wish some characters had been explored a little further- Guru!- but these, as I have mentioned before, are minor qualms. Altogether, Djinn Patrol gave me a narrative voice that I don't think I'll forget in a very long time, a voice that refused to let me put the book down till I had devoured every single page, even the acknowledgement at the very end!

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Dhiya | 122 comments The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book number 18: The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a collection of 12 short stories that deal with themes ranging from love, loss and grief to betrayal, infidelity and numbness in the lives of people from Nigeria. The book is similar in texture to her previous novels which I did expect. Yet, I wish there were something new in it. Maybe it is because the stories are very melancholic in nature that I feel a bit blue when I think about the reading experience I had with this book. In that sense, I guess Adichie was successful in making the reader feel what her characters felt. What really let me down was the monotony of the storylines- if you ask me which story I liked the most or which one stood out to me the most, it would be a very taxing task even though I have just finished reading the book. That being said, I should say that Adichie's mastery over the craft of story-telling is stellar- even though I did not come to love the stories, she had my unwavering attention. I can't wait to read Americanah, Adichie's most recent full-length novel because I feel that it might be more to my taste than her short stories. Still, I would recommend 'The Thing Around Your Neck' to budding writers who are trying to find their narrative voice- in fact, no work of Adichie's will let you down in this regard!

message 22: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments I am all about magic this year. I hope that your reading goal is your little touch of magic.

message 23: by Dhiya (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Blagica wrote: "I am all about magic this year. I hope that your reading goal is your little touch of magic.

Haha, thank you so much! Hope it is for you too :)

message 24: by Dhiya (last edited May 24, 2020 12:52AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Book number 19: The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a gripping read for sure. I got into it during my exam week when I was supposed to work on my submissions. I promised myself that I would not read more than a couple of pages every day. Suffice it to say that I did not come even close to keeping my promise. Kang has this unique ability to write the most disturbing things and still keep you so hooked to it that you physically cannot keep the book down. Of course, I like Human Acts better but this book has something special, though it is tough to put my finger on what exactly it is. As always, Deborah Smith's translation from Korean flows very well in English.

Fair warning: The book talks about mental health issues in a way that has rarely been written so it is only natural that it might not be easily digestible for many. While I agree that it is very disturbing tor read it, I assure you that you'll be the better for it.

message 25: by Dhiya (last edited May 24, 2020 12:53AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Book number 20: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë was what I had expected it to be: gripping, tumultuous and unforgettable. Even though it is a much-beloved classic that has been amidst us for almost two centuries, I was unaware of the plotline in detail. I knew of the ill-fated love affair of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff but nothing more. So itself, I was caught unawares when I read the book and realized that their love story, like every other romantic plotline in this book, is utterly toxic. It says something about the level of toxicity in their relationship when I say that the least hateable romantic pairing in the book is that of Hareton Earnshaw and Cathy Linton who rebuke, scold, mock, curse and threaten each other.

Another issue that I flagged very early on is how certain characters are entirely hateable with not even an ounce of goodness in them. I wonder how people found Heathcliff a "romantic hero". Personally, I don't think that his devotion and undying, if obsessive, love for Catherine Earnshaw is romantic in any sense- if anything, it is indicative of a possessive narrow-mindedness that refuses to see beyond its periphery of understanding. I wish there were some complexity in his character that made me like him and hate him at the same time (Shylock from The Merchant of Venice, for instance, is a very good example of this).

All said and done, Emily Bronte deserves universal praise for the beautiful description of the moorland, for the manner in which nature reflected the inner turmoil of the characters and her delectable selection of words. I particularly enjoyed the way the character of Joseph spoke, though it took me some time to register what exactly he was trying to say in each of his scenes. Nelly Dean could have been imbued with a character of her own other than in relation to her masters while the narrator Mr Lockwood worked as a perfect foil for the grim and disturbed inhabitants of the Wuthering Heights and the Grange. I must say that at the end, Wuthering Heights has such a different set of characters from the classics that I usually read and I am grateful for that, if nothing else.

message 26: by Dhiya (last edited May 22, 2020 09:54PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Book number 21: I had imagined that The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway would be a breeze to read because of its very deceiving size. Well, to be brief, it was anything but that. I never thought I'd take up so much time to read such a short volume! This is partly because the book is very heavy with below-the-surface meaning and is a parable of sorts. However, another reason is that the first quarter of the book is quite dry and hard to get through. I know that I am no one to criticize the great Hemingway but the language was also somewhat difficult to navigate in the first few pages. That being said, the book only gets better and better as it goes. I especially loved the last few pages that described his thoughts as he sailed back home- it was filled with philosophical, rambling, unwieldy thoughts that I could resonate with. The book really brings home the idea that man is nothing compared to the magnificence of nature and that humility, and not ego, when dealing with it will take man forward. I feel compelled to add here a quote that I absolutely loved from the book: "I am glad we do not have to try to kill the stars". Isn't that just perfect? I wish I could write like that...Now I'm digressing, sorry! Anyways, do pick up this book not just because it has won the Booker Prize but because it would genuinely provide you a lot of food for thought.

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Sarah. B | 13 comments Good luck Dhiya! You seem to be doing really well. Love your reviews too. Have been meaning to read Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold but was a bit intimidated by it. Think I might try and get my hands on a copy now. Thanks :+)

message 28: by Dhiya (last edited May 24, 2020 01:15AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Sarah. B wrote: "Good luck Dhiya! You seem to be doing really well. Love your reviews too. Have been meaning to read Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold but was a bit intimidated by it. Think I might try..."

Hey Sarah,

Thank you so much! I'm glad that you found my journey interesting enough to read and comment. I really appreciate it! Do read Mythos- it is absolutely funny and enthralling. I'm sure you'll love it and that the intimidation will soon give way to pleasure :)

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Dhiya | 122 comments The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Book number 22: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler...I have so many thoughts about it but don't know if I can do justice to all of it. Nevertheless, I'll try.

I can quite confidently say that it is undoubtedly one of the most intense books that I have read this year in terms of its content. I think I stumbled across this book while researching for one of my assignments. I was a bit sceptical, of course- it is titled "The Vagina Monologues" for crying out loud. Culturally, we have been taught that vagina is a word that is not to be used outside of Bio classes, a word that is to be whispered in hushed voices. It was so liberating then to read something that talks about vaginas in a way that has not been done. I especially loved the chapter titled "My Vagina Was My Village"- it moved me and made me see a rape victim's perspective in a way that I had never imagined. I was ignorant of Eve Ensler and her pioneering work in this regard and I must say that I am in awe of her after reading this book. I am definitely going to check if a clip of her performance of TVM is available online because I'm sure that it will only add to my understanding of the book's message.

message 30: by Dhiya (last edited May 28, 2020 08:07AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Born a Crime Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Book number 23: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is heartbreaking and witty- two attributes that make this book one of the most entertaining and touching memoirs that I have read in the recent past. The book traces Noah's life in South Africa, especially his relationship with his mother and his lived experience as a 'coloured' person during apartheid. All the while, I kept asking myself how a child, who had gone through all that he had, could grow up to become such an optimistic, positivity-radiating person. It helped me to know that even after experiencing a substantial amount of trauma, you have the possibility of being happy at some point in the future. At times, I was slightly thrown off by his reaction to certain events in his life because it was incongruous with the person that I have come to see him as. In that sense, it has also taught me that people are not really what they seem to be, that they are so much beyond the boxes that we categorise them as. Though reflexively, it appears to be such a simplistic, overused cliche, it is yet to sink in to the minds of a lot of people, myself included. I would definitely recommend this book because it really opens up a completely new world and forces you to rethink the way you perceive your life.

message 31: by Dhiya (last edited May 29, 2020 09:12AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

Book number 24: The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat is an easy-flowing, often thought-provoking novel. It speaks of a woman from the perspective of nine different people, each of the section offering a little glimpse into who she is as a person. Yet, we are never told her name because as mentioned somewhere in the book, names don't really matter- she remains an enigma even after you close the book. I loved how caught up I was in the book and the feeling that I was walking and breathing in the same space as the characters- it engaged me in a way that I didn't expect to be. The ending did leave me wanting more but closure is the last thing that this book will give you because it embodies a brand of realism that sometimes can be a dash too hurting.

message 32: by Dhiya (last edited Jun 23, 2020 10:09PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Book number 25: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is one gem of a book and I cannot stress it enough. Published in 1891, it revolves around Tess Durbyfield, who is raped by her so-called cousin Alec D'Uberville. Let us take a pause here and reflect on the fact that in the 19th century, someone had the guts to write about a "fallen" woman. And not just that, the author does not, even in the slightest, pass sly moral judgments about his heroine. He is, in fact, very critical of his male characters and writes in exact, unmistakable terms how faulty their moral compasses and pretensions to sophistication are. I literally sat down with a pencil in my hand to highlight- very frequently- all the brilliant sentence(s) that intersperse this book so wonderfully. I would give examples of it but they are too many of them that I am at a loss about where to start. The characters, the plotline, the tidbits of the author's voice seeping in only add to the novel's infinite charm. I am compelled, however, to direct your attention towards one specific aspect of the book- the descriptions. I have never found it in me to enjoy lengthy, verbose descriptions about moors, vales, weather and so forth- like in Wuthering Heights, for instance- but Hardy writes about them in such a way that it becomes a character itself. He invariably hides a considerable amount of his radical thought even in the most unexpected place such that he transforms objects that would have been of little interest had it been in the hands of a less capable writer into matters of great curiosity. I honestly have no complaints about this novel except maybe that the conclusion left me in utter mental distress. I could not, for the life of me, make up my mind about whom to side with and what to believe in. Yet, the fact that the contents of the novel provoked such a strong reaction in its reader can only be seen as a mark of the true greatness of the book and the author!

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Dhiya | 122 comments Normal People by Sally Rooney

Book number 26: Normal People by Sally Rooney is hard to categorise. Really. Still, I shall endeavour to pick my brain for a fair description. The book traces the lives of Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan as they progress from high school in their small town neighbourhood of Carricklea to Trinity College in Dublin. I should be honest with you, I picked this book up after Tess of the D'Ubervilles hoping for an easy romance novel that I could skim through without engaging myself too much. How utterly wrong I was! Not only did I find myself gravitating towards the book every spare moment of my day but I also began feeling too deeply for the characters. They frustrated me, pained me, made me happy and finally left me feeling as hollow inside as they themselves. Of course, I have my grievances about the book. I wish I had seen more of Joanna, Sadie and Karen. I wish I knew more about Marianne's relationship (or lack thereof) with her family and Lorraine's past. There are so many plot points that require further explanation which would have explained why the characters are the way they are. For instance, why was Connell so affected by the death of Rob, a friend from school? Rob was barely mentioned once before his death (not in a positive light either). What was the real equation between these characters then? I wish I had some more clarity. But in every other sense, it is a book worth reading- it is a slice-of-life, romantic drama that keeps you rooting for the characters because you know they deserve a chance at genuine happiness.

message 34: by Dhiya (last edited Jul 01, 2020 08:43PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Last Jews of Kerala The 2,000 Year History of India's Forgotten Jewish Community by Edna Fernandes

Book number 27: The Last Jews of Kerala: The 2,000 Year History of India's Forgotten Jewish Community by Edna Fernandes is a personal account of the author's stay with the Cochin Jews. She has also sprinkled some historical facts in between the narrative. I must say that it was not an invigorating read as such and that many of her prejudices shone through the book. Altogether, for people who are reluctant to read a purely historical book, this might serve as a fair introduction to the Jews of Cochin.

message 35: by Dhiya (last edited Jul 12, 2020 02:11AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel García Márquez

Book number 28: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel García Márquez

I am not going to stretch the review out because I just don't feel like it today (maybe I'll edit it someday to make it more detailed). This was my first time reading Marquez and I see why everyone raves about him. His writing style is very lucid with clear prose. I won't say beautiful because I'm sure his other major works showcase an even better version of his writing. Credit also goes to Randolph Hogan who did a great job translating the book.

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Dhiya | 122 comments When I Hit You Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy

Book number 29: When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife byMeena Kandasamy. Brilliant yet a little disappointed, because of the immense hype and reviews that exalted it so much that anyone who read that could only be left wanting a little more. It is not the fault of the book or the author but just the insurmountable expectation that I had going into it. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book to everyone!

message 37: by Dhiya (last edited Aug 04, 2020 03:35AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1 (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, #1) by Philip K. Dick

Book number 30: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick is an unsettling and gripping read. It starts off as a slow burner but about a quarter way into the book, it becomes impossible to keep your hands off of it. It raises profound questions about existence, what it means to be human and empathy which leaves you thinking long after you have finished the book. I absolutely can't wait to read more of Philip K. Dick!

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Dhiya | 122 comments One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Book number 31: One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan. Was disappointed with this one. The plot line is engaging enough but the translation was a gigantic letdown! I had so many expectations going into this one but they were all squashed within a few pages itself. In fact, at one point I stopped reading the book and returned to it only after 2 months!

message 39: by Dhiya (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Book number 32: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. I was slightly confused by the first chapter as I did not really get why twisted the whole narrator bit. But, Woolf does provide a nuanced look into women in fiction and fiction-writing. Do read her especially if you are a woman who wants to go into creative writing!

message 40: by Dhiya (last edited Aug 11, 2020 03:18AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Book number 33: Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This book really showed me that there is a time to everything. I had attempted reading the book twice before but somehow, I faltered on the way. This time, however, I started the book and I literally could not put it down. It dragged a little in the middle when nothing really was happening in the plot. Looking at it retrospectively, I feel that it might also have been a clever plot device by which the author immersed us in whatever Pi Patel was experiencing in that moment (too bad that in that moment, Pi's days were all the same, I guess). And Pi Patel, oh my god. He could easily be one of the most interesting man I have ever met in a book. Utterly fascinating and enigmatic, he is wise beyond his age and has an indomitable spirit. I would love to sit down and have a proper chat with him and maybe ask him what exactly happened. Why? Because Pi Patel is also an unreliable narrator. At the close of the book, we are not entirely sure what actually happened in the boat even though we just read a 350+ page book about it. Of course, it left me wanting more but I understood why it was written the way it was and that knowledge gave me the closure I longed for.

message 41: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 09:23PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Unfortunately, I have not been keeping a detailed track of what I was reading. So, here goes my attempt at giving a short glimpse into what I was reading in the past month since I last wrote here.

Book number 34: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi- Very touching, heartbreakingly beautiful. Anyone who's interested in taking up medicine as a career option should read it as it shows the grit, determination and passion that is required to excel in the field. I will definitely remember this for a long time.

Book number 35: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders- I had bought this book a long time ago. I had read a few pages and then I quit because the format was such a shock to my sensibilities. When this book was suggested for a buddy read session, I grabbed at the opportunity to actually read the book without giving up in the early pages. What a gratifying experience it was! Brilliantly written, poignant and humorous in equal parts, this book will definitely give you a lot to chew on.

Book number 36: Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez- Did not expect such a flat story to be honest. The characters were interesting, the premise too was intriguing but the conflict and resolution, for the lack of better words, was just not enough for me. In the end, I was left wondering about what it was all about. Underwhelming, at best.

message 42: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments
Keep being awesome!

message 43: by Dhiya (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Ahaha, thank you so much for your kind wishes, Blagica!

message 44: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:18PM) (new)

message 45: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:18PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

Book number 38: No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

[review coming soon]

message 46: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:18PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Queen of Babble (Queen of Babble, #1) by Meg Cabot

Book number 39: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

[review coming soon]

message 47: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 21, 2020 02:56AM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Queen of Babble in the Big City (Queen of Babble, #2) by Meg Cabot

Book number 40: Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was refreshing to see the evolution of the love interest evolve as a person and to see the other side of the 'happily-ever-after'. However, what took me by surprise is how much the second book is disjunctured from the first book. I wish we had seen something more of a romantic tension in the scenes between Chaz and Lizzie or something that hinted that Shari is a lesbian. Honestly, these plot points seemed to be just that- plot points that Cabot thought would catch her readers by surprise.

message 48: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:17PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Queen of Babble Gets Hitched (Queen of Babble, #3) by Meg Cabot

Book number 41: Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot

[review coming soon]

message 49: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:17PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Women & Power A Manifesto by Mary Beard

Book number 42: Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard

[review coming soon]

message 50: by Dhiya (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:17PM) (new)

Dhiya | 122 comments Love Poems by Pablo Neruda

Book number 43: Love Poems by Pablo Neruda

[review coming soon]

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