My Year, so far, in Books..

blog contentPerfect by Cecelia Ahern
My first read of the year was Perfect by Cecelia Ahern, sequel to Flawed. I remember giving it 3.5 stars. It’s a beautifully conceptualised duoperfectlogy and I absolutely loved the meaning and message that accompanied the story line.

If you haven’t yet started with this duology, I highly recommend it. It’s very different from what Cecelia Ahern usually writes and that just made the story even better. I wasn’t so sure about it initially but I now find these two books in my most-liked section!

exit west.pngExit West by Mohsin Hamid
According to my Goodreads log, Exit west by Mohsin Hamid was my second read of the year. I honestly had high expectations from this one simply because of how it was pitched to the readers and all the hype surrounding it. But yes, I was just disappointed. I didn’t really enjoy it much but the symbolic magical realism. I might have liked it better had I not read the synopsis.

2.5 Stars!

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine was on my want-to-read list for ages and it was an adventure to read it! Not flawless though, it definitely had manstillhouse-lake-png-e1525971227538.jpgy loop holes and unnecessary twists at times but a great thrill overall.

Looking forward to get my hands on the next book in the series!

4 stars!

“They’re just words,” I tell her. “From small men who are brave on the other side of a keyboard and an Internet handle. But I know how you feel.” “It’s awful,” she says in a voice that sounds more like a little girl than the adult she’s trying to be. She clears her throat and tries again. “These people are vile.” “Yes,” I say in agreement, putting my hand on her shoulder. “They’ll never care whether or not you were hurt by what they said, or even if you read it; it was all about writing it for them. It’s natural to feel afraid and violated by all this. I feel that way all the time.” “But?” My daughter knows there’s a but. “But you have the power,” I tell her. “You can turn off this computer and walk away anytime. They’re pixels on a screen.”

adichie-png.jpg

We Should All Be Feminists by Adichie

I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

This is the kind of book everyone must read and the kinds read out to students specially at their adolescence. I can quote the entire book here because of how honest and crystal clear it is.

5 stars! A must read!

origin-png.jpgOrigin by Dan Brown is one of those books where you’ll get to experience and enjoy the journey without an impactful destination.. which sometimes is fine. There a lot of powerful quotes and incidents in this book and that’s what I really enjoyed even though the ending fell flat!
3.5 stars!

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz 

logic-png.jpg“Maggie was scratching at the door. I let her in. And then I thought that maybe life was like that—​there would always be something scratching at the door. And whatever was scratching would just scratch and scratch until you opened the door.”

And that’s how Dogs teach you how to live, ladies and gentlemen!
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is a beautiful book! I’m glad I got to read it with Doughie around ❤ I’m definitely going to re-read it soon and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for heart-warming, warm read!

1005-2018-082776505626122374.jpegA Cold Season by Alison Littlewood was another disappointing read this year and I abandoned it mid-way! It’s a dark paranormal set up where nothing makes sense at all.

After losing her husband, Pete, Cass and her son move to a picturesque village of Darnshaw. The mist and fog add-on to the eeriness of it all – everyone’s behaviour to the newly moved family of two and the isolated room they’re staying in.
It’s this synopsis that intrigued me to purchase a copy but I just couldn’t stand it to finish reading the book.
1.5 Stars!

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena was one of my most stranger-in-the-house-png.jpganticipated reads and it made its way to the list after I read the author’s debut – A Couple Next Door.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense and thrill in A Couple Next Door, I didn’t enjoy A Stranger in the House as much. However, I found its audiobook on Scribd and what a narration! The audio book was the only thing that kept me hooked to the book . The narration was just exceptional. Without that, it’s not that bad a read but it came out pretty ordinary, predictable and a slightly slow-paced.
3 Stars! 

I remember sharing my reaction to the audio book with Mr. Doughnut and it was pretty late at night so he didn’t care much about it!

kommandant's girl

Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff 

Sydney Sheldon’s Tell Me Your Dreams was one of the first books I started reading with Doughie and this was the last.

It took me a while to get back to reading and finish this book after he passed away.

But anyway, I did like the storyline and the characters. It showcased various complexities of human emotions and behaviour when survival instincts kick in. Set during the Nazi invasion, the book follows the life of a young Jewish girl during the dark times.

How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern
I had a long gap in reading before picking this book up but it was a decision well made. This book was a birthday gift from one of my best friends andhow to fall in love.png I just wouldn’t find the right time to read it. You know how some books just call out to you just like a wand selects its wizard? This was one of those. Even though there was barely anything in common in the protagonist’s story and my own.. there was something that clicked. So much so that I wrote a letter to the author  (pretty sure she hasn’t read it yet but I’m glad I was spontaneous)
4.5 stars!

“Where would we be without tomorrows? What we’d have instead are todays. And if that was the case, with you, I’d hope for the longest day for today. I’d fill today with you, doing everything I’ve ever loved. I’d laugh, I’d talk, I’d listen and learn, I’d love, I’d love, I’d love. I’d make every day today and spend them all with you, and I’d never worry about tomorrow, when I wouldn’t be with you. And when that dreaded tomorrow comes for us, please know that I didn’t want to leave you, or be left behind, that every single moment spent with you were the best times in my life.”

the red-haired womanThe Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

The more I think about this book, the more I understand the depth of it and the more I like it. It wasn’t a very fast paced read but it was enjoyable and intriguing throughout.

The narrator, Cem, welcomes us into his childhood when he worked as apprentice to a well-digger, at 16 years of age, in a small town outside Istanbul. Full of symbolism, we get to see the master well-digger as a father figure Cem never had a chance to look up to. Cem is also fascinated by a red-haired woman who plays a vital role in all phases of his life.
I remember taking a week or so to finish reading it and honestly, I was losing patience in between, but it was quite worth it in the end.
4 Stars!

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by YN Harari 

I can’t wait to re-read it! This book is an amazing work of dedicated re-search and I’m sure I’ll find different thing and a new perspective on reading it again. A definite must read! I have an e-book and an audio book but I’m buying myself a used copy pretty soon to be able to re-read it and do my own extended research alongside. sapiens5 stars!

“Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.”

“Biology enables, Culture forbids.”

“Voltaire said about God that ‘there is no God, but don’t tell that to my servant, lest he murder me at night’. Hammurabi would have said the same about his principle of hierarchy, and Thomas Jefferson about human rights. Homo sapiens has no natural rights, just as spiders, hyenas and chimpanzees have no natural rights. But don’t tell that to our servants, lest they murder us at night.”

After the Crash by Michel Bussi 

I was really excited to read it ever since I bought it but somehow I’d never find myself in the mood for a dark thriller mystery specially because I wasn’t in a patient frame of mind. However, I did enjoy it at the end!  3.5 Stars! 

after the crash

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly 

A middle-grade book that accompanied me during my morning art classes (we can listen to music or anything while making our artwork and I chose to listen to an audio book) that proved to be a warm, fuzzy hug. It’s a heartfelt story of four people – different personalities – and how their lives come together one fine day. It has some beautiful quotes and sayings and I absolutely loved the character building! enjoyed the narration!

hello,universe

“Crying is good for the soul. It means something needs to be released. And if you don’t release something, it just weighs you down until you can hardly move” -Ruby”

“If you didn’t have bad things, you wouldn’t have good things. They would all just be things. Did you ever think about that?”

“Bayani, of all the things you ever tell yourself in life, never say, ‘There’s no chance'” -Ruby

“Okay. It’s too late, then” -Virgil

“That’s even worse” -Ruby”

star-wars.pngI did an Instagram review on The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein on 4th May (get it?) and I’ll share the same here!

“As the lives of their characters develop, they end up on paths that writers could not possibly have foreseen—and hence give the impression of agency, even to their authors. William Blake wrote of his works “tho I call them Mine I know they are not Mine,” and characterized his process of writing as a kind of dictation, “without Premeditation or even against my Will.” Musicians sometimes speak in exactly the same way.”

When you watch and make movies, like Star Wars, a part of your childhood and growth.. You often wonder all that went behind even the first thought that their creators would’ve had. What must they be doing, thinking, experiencing that brought them to conceptualise such a series!

I got an insight to some parts of that while reading The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstien. The book is a collection of Cass’s perspective, understanding and analysis of the mega series and all that must’ve influenced its making. It feels like you’re at a quaint Cafe, sitting with the author while he converses with you.. Sharing all that makes him – like million others – a fan boy.

It’s fascinating to see how some of the simplest yet extremely impact full experiences in George Lucas’s life that influenced character and plot building. And how in another sense, his characters created him.

4 Stars! 

nevermoor.png

I would’ve enjoyed Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend better had it been more original and not so heavily influenced by Harry Potter. However, if anyone picks this up before reading about the Potter world will enjoy it more than I.

“The point is—as far as the Society is concerned—if you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”

3 Stars! 

Another middle-grade audio book that I listened to during my art classes was Pax by Sarah Pennypackerpax.jpg and it was a yet another delightful, heart-warming read.

“It’s a Buddhist concept. Nonduality. It’s about oneness, about how things that seem to be separate are really connected to one another. There are no separations…This is not just a piece of wood. This is also the clouds that brought the rain that watered the tree, and the birds that nested in it and the squirrels that fed on its nuts. It is also the food my grandparents fed me that made me strong enough to cut the tree, and it’s the steel in the axe I used. And it’s how you know your fox, which allowed you to carve him yesterday. And it’s the story you will tell your children when you give this to them. All these things are separate but also one, inseparable. Do you see?”
4 Stars! 

the other side of the sky

And the latest book I’ve read is The Other Side of the Sky: A Memoir by Farah Ahmedi. It’s not that easy to rate it since it’s on the author’s life and true events but it definitely takes the readers through the dark times the author had to go through as a child and as an adult.

On losing her legs to a land mind at the age of 7, Farah feels more at home in a foreign land during her treatment than on returning to her homeland after. While she’s welcomed with a team of doctors dedicating their hours in helping her out, her homeland welcomes her with a war.

I’ve read quite a few similar stories now but each time it sends a chill down the spine wondering about the number of people going through similar situations on a daily basis.

So these are the books I’ve read so far. I’ve been busy with a lot of work and hence reading pace has slowed down but I’m currently reading Home fire by Kamila Shamsie and will update on how it goes on my Instagram and here! Let me know if you’ve read any of these, are looking forward too or if you spotted a book you liked/disliked.. I’d love to have a bookish conversation! 

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