Non-Reader, Beginner: Book Recommendation

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and has compelled us to stay locked in our homes. Although, by now lockdowns have been gradually lifted everywhere, people are still trying to remain in their homes as much as possible. Other than watching web/television series and films, reading books has become one of the foremost ways people are making use of this surplus time in their hands. However, not all of us are readers and some people would want to give reading a chance during this uncertain period. So, a couple of days back I went on my Instagram and asked if non-readers would like the idea of beginning to read books. Having received a positive response, I have sat down and curated a list of books (from what I have read) that can encourage non-readers to get into the habit of reading. 

1- The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga- The Booker-Prize winning debut novel traces the journey of a village boy, Balram Halwai, as he makes his way from a rural village in Bihar to urban metropolitan cities like Delhi and Bangalore. It is a fantastic book that will colour your reading experience with simple language, engaging prose and a thoroughly intriguing plot. If you wish to start reading Indian writing in English, this is the book begin with. A Netflix adaptation of the book starring Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar will soon be released. Read it before it comes out!IMG_8214

2- Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Translated by Edith Grossman)- If you wish to read a small book that will make you enthralled by its themes of love, mysticism, and magical realism, Marquez, the Nobel Prize-winning-author is the one to get started with. It is the story of a 12-year old girl named Seirva Maria, who contracts rabies but is believed to be possessed by a demon and hence, is sent to a convent to be cured. It is a 160-page book written in a beautiful language. The book is a page-turner and before you realise, you will finish it in no time. IMG_8210

3- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon- If you are on the lookout for a Young Adult book and you are wondering where to start, I would suggest you to pick up Nicola Yoon’s books. Yoon has penned down the story of Natasha and Daniel in her award-winning novel ‘The Sun is Also a Star’. Natasha’s father’s wish to lead a beautiful life in America has toppled down when they get the notice of their deportation to Jamaica in the next twenty four hours. Daniel’s parents’ wishes to see their son become a doctor are worrying them as they see Daniel being reluctant to pursue the Dream. Daniel and Natasha, both under their family’s pressure, seem to have forgotten that their Home is depleting as their families push them ahead and ahead until they are lost. ‘The Sun is also a Star’ is an easy read and a perfect pick for a contemporary YA fiction that keeps your attention gripped from the beginning to the end. The film starring Charles Melton and Yara Sahhidi released last year. IMG_8218

4- The Color Purple by Alice Walker- If you are looking for Black writers and literature written by Black author about the Black experiences in a racist society, Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’ is the one to begin with. I have known people who have actually read this book for the first time when they tried reading a book and they have been thoroughly moved by this book. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book is a novel that focuses on the life of two sisters, Celie and Nettie. The themes and the manner in which it is written will slit your heart and leave you shaken. Just so you know, it is a sad and heartbreaking book with violent themes. 

5- The Three Electroknights and other stories by  Stainsław Lem (Translated by by Michael Kandel)- The 50-page, mini-penguin edition of this short story collection has four stories from a renowned Polish author. If you are looking for sci-fiction, this mini-short story collection, in my opinion, is a good choice to begin with. The four stories features crazy inventors, surreal worlds, robot kings and madcap machines. I finished reading these in less than two hours. The stories kept me thoroughly engrossed. The Three Electroknights

For now, I will leave you with these five recommendations. I have chosen books from different genres and books that I have suggested and have been liked by people who never read or don’t read habitually. I have also kept in mind the cost while curating this list. The books mentioned would not be too heavy on your pockets and you may easily find second-hand versions of the books elsewhere. If you plan to pick any one or if you have read any, do let me know. I would be glad to hear from you. If you have read anyone of these and wish to read something similar to any particular from the list, do feel free to write to me. I will try my best to suggest others as well. Happy Reading.

PS- All pictures are clicked by me.

Friendship in Books: Recommendation

Friendship Day was a day I remember celebrating when I was in middle school. Unfortunately, its excitement and thrill has dissipated with age. However, reading and knowing about friendship has always mesmerised me. I have loved reading different dynamics of friendship in books and the way authors understand friendship at different stages of our lives. Truthfully, friendship as a theme has been present in most books I have read. After skimming through my bookshelf and Instagram, I have culled out a list of books that deal with friendship and its dynamic, both in endearing and toxic ways. (Click on the title of the book to read my thoughts on that book)

1- Clock Dance by Anne Tyler  Anne Tyler is one of my favourite writers. Tyler’s books are widely known for their focus on family, and  domesticity, however, her books like Clock Dance also focus friendship. The novel is the story of Willa, her journey from childhood to old age finding herself in the house of a Baltimorean family whom she doesn’t know. She discovers happiness, relief, and a beautiful friendship in the family that gives her a reason to feel alive among strangers in an alien place where she never imagined herself to be. It is a story of making new friendships, seeing hope in them, and realising the happiness friendships provide no matter what age.IMG_7932

2- The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (Translated by Philip Gabriel)– I don’t think we humans build friendships with fellow-humans only. The most special friendship we come to build are with animals. Arikawa’s The Travelling Cat Chronicles explores a beautiful friendship between a man and his pet animal, a cat named Nana. Not only do we see his friendship with his cat, but also with other human beings and their friendships with their own pets. It is a cosy, peaceful and heartwarming read that will make you shed a little tear and smile until the last page.The Travelling Cat Chron

3- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Translated by Ann Goldstein)– As the title itself suggests, this is a part of a quartet that explores the friendship of two girls, Elena and Lila in working-class, violent neighbourhood of Naples, Italy. Following Elena’s story right from her childhood, we meet the whole neighbourhood within which she lives, her life, her story is moulded and shaped by her best friend, Lila. However, the nature of their friendship is constantly questioned throughout the narrative. It is this that lends the novel its uniqueness. The author’s careful exploration of a childhood friendship delineates the strong pathos of competition, jealousy, and a claustrophobia that either strengthens or rips apart a relationship. In case of Elena, it was surprising to see how, despite her repulsion, she was truthful to the friendship that changed her life in such variegated ways. And I do feel friendship can sometimes have that power, they help us see such horrid yet beautiful parts of ourselves, with honesty.My Brilliant Friends

4- The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni– Although this novel is highly lauded for its attention to the voice and the theme of love, Divakaruni also explores Draupadi’s friendship with Krishna in a very intimate and beautiful way right from childhood to her adulthood, in both her happy and sad days. The book is a retelling of the great Indian epic Mahabharta from Draupadi’s perspective. The candour and elegance with which Divakaruni has understood friendship remains etched in my heart even today. The Palace of Illusions

5- Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote– If you are on the lookout to read friendship in a classic, you should pick up Capote’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. It is the novella narrated by an unnamed narrator where we follow his friendship with the vivacious Holly Golightly. Capote embarks  on a deep, psychological understanding of their friendship. It analyses friendship of two psychologically different kinds of people who have been socially excluded and have found solace in each other’s company. IMG_7922

6- Metroland by Julian Barnes– Julian Barnes explores masculine friendship in most of his works. However, Metroland is one such book wherein he enters into a more deeper and intricate analysis of male friendship right from childhood. The bildungsroman is a first person account of Christopher Lloyd and his experiences of growing up in the English suburbs. Lloyd narrates the story of his growth and the influence his friendship with Toni on his life. The novel picks out the finer nuances of masculinity, male friendships and its peculiarities and the nostalgia attached to a childhood friendship as one grows up. IMG_7921

7- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara– This list on books that talk of friendship certainly cannot be completed without Yanagihara’s powerful book. ‘A Little Life’ is a story of four friends, Jude, Wilhem, Malcom and JB. It is story of four New Yorkers who have found kindness, love, and care in each other, in the friendship they have come to develop since college. Although the novel focuses mainly on Jude and the life he has lived and continues to live, but the friendship between the four boys changes Jude’s life and that’s where the beauty of the book lies. The novel will slit your heart, make you cry, and also make you feel grateful for the life you have lived and the friendships that you have made in your own lives. CE2FB368-1CC7-4987-8FBA-1C30174FB8BB_Original

These are some of the books I would suggest you to read if you want to read a book that portrays friendship, explores its different facets in a rich and compelling way. Let me know if you have read these books or any one of them and what you feel about it. If you want more suggestions of books on friendships, do feel free to drop a message or a mail. Please let me know what are your favourite books on friendship in the comments and if there’s anything you would recommend. Happy Reading.

“the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”

-Hanya Yanagihara,  A Little Life

P.S- All pictures are clicked by me.

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro : BOOK REVIEW

“All I know is that I’ve wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I’d get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don’t want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s sky. That’s what I want now, and I think it’s what you should want too. But it will be too late soon. We’ll become too set to change. If we don’t take our chance now, another may never come for either of us.”

Kazuo Ishiguro

It is precisely after having read this quote that I waited for the whole of 2018 to get my hands on this novel. After months of stalking the book on amazon and other websites, I managed to procure it and finally read it. In all honestly, the wait has not gone in vain, my patience bore the fruits I expected from Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans.

Ishiguro, through his aforesaid novel brings into focus the period of Second World War with the help of a famous English detective Christopher Banks who is the narrator of the story. The period that Ishiguro deals has been dealt by him in his other novels like An Artist of the Floating, the story of Masuji Ono who put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into the Second World War. However, in When We Were Orphans he uses an Englishman to narrate the war from the perspective of the West. Banks is a celebrated detective in the London society; however, one case that he is intent upon solving and that has remained unsolved since his life in London began was the disappearance of his parents when he was a child living in Shanghai.

Before I delve into what I felt about the book, I would like to write something about the voice of the narrator in Ishiguro’s novels. I have read four books by Ishiguro now, and in three out of the four books male narrators have been used. All the three male narrators have been from different social setting but they have been present against the background of the Great Wars, be it the butler from The Remains of the Day, or the artist from An Artist of the Floating World, or the detective from When We Were Orphans; the three voices have had the same detached tone and listening to their stories have always made me judge them as highly complex and ambiguous. I feel that’s exactly what Ishiguro wished to achieve while he drew up the characters, and I must say he achieved it pretty well because I could sympathise with these narrators and understand their sufferings but after a point they become difficult to understand and it becomes somewhat impossible to judge them on moral grounds. The narrator in When We Were Orphans was a man of “high London society”; he has this air of arrogance and feeling of superiority around him, as we get to see how he dealt with Sarah Hemmings’ rejection when he approached her for the first time or the time he irritatingly refused to be considered as a ‘miserable loner’ in his school days by one of his classmates. Throughout the narration one gets to have a sense of how highly the narrator thought of himself and it was in a sense a representation of the English spirit at that time. The novel is a satire on the English colonial expansion; it is a story that unmasked the reality of the so-called civilised West, the narrator, like his mother, were voices in the story to denounce the imperialist nature of England that was marring the East. By referring closely to the Opium trade in China, the author shows how the English were perpetrating it for their colonialist goals and the price the East had to pay for the high society of the West, particularly the Whites. The novel is a satire on war itself, the effects a war can have by tearing families apart, and the death. Ishiguro puts his narrator right into the war field to experience war from his own eyes by making him look at people writhe in pain, scream and howl for life and taste war in every way possible. The novel is a tale of memory, intrigue and the need to return, the need to belong which war and the modern society has taken away from man.

Milkman by Anna Burns : BOOK REVIEW

‘Coffin after coffin

Seemed to float from the door

Of the packed cathedral

Like blossoms on slow water.’

Seamus Heaney

Northern Ireland has been a state fraught with conflict and violence since time immemorial. The period of The Troubles (late-1960s to 1998) has been one of the most significant periods of unrest in Northern Ireland which had its origin in the Catholic-Protestant fiasco. The former vouched for the rule of the Catholics giving Northern Ireland independence from the British rule whereas the latter believed in the goodwill of the monarchy of the ‘over the water’ in Northern Ireland. The civil war that struck the landmass had rippling effects across Europe and the land ‘over the water’ too. The magnitude and the catastrophic impact of the unrest were widely captured by Irish poets and writers. To name, Seamus Heaney in his collections North (1975) and Field Work (1979) has captured the apocalypse that had struck Northern Ireland and the loss of innocent lives due to the political turmoil engulfing the nation.

The war may have subsided but its impact still resonates in the families residing in Northern Ireland. Born and bred in Northern Ireland, and The Man Booker Prize Winner of 2018 for her book Milkman, Anna Burns excavates the political unrest and turmoil during The Troubles in an unnamed city of Northern Ireland through her 18-year old narrator in the aforementioned, award-winning novel. The novel captures the feud and its consequences in the lives of the people in the most brutal and realistic manner. The book begins with the narrator making her circumstances known to the reader- about her may-be boyfriend, her rendezvous with the milkman and her resolution to keep mum about it, however, things don’t turn out the way she intended them to and gossips of her strange meeting spill out in the war-torn society and the narration gradually starts to uncover the aspects of the social situation persisting around her.

Anna Burns’ resolution to delineate the atrocities of the civil war is praiseworthy. In my opinion, the author has covered a multitude of themes and aspects of social life in the historical fiction unmasking what a war could do to a society and its individuals in general, and a religiously orthodox society in particular. What stood out most in the story was the fiercely involved yet a peculiarly detached voice of the narrator, an 18-year old girl viewing war and society around her; I could imagine Saoirse Ronan excellently pulling off the role of the narrator if a film were ever to be made on this book. However, I would admit that in the first 150-180 pages the willingness to continue with the book would not develop and one would want to put it aside because of the world-building that goes into the narration. The narrator grasps the attention of the readers by narrating an incident taking place that moves the plot and then the narrator goes into recollection or traces the historicity of the incident and that did get slightly dry but once one crosses 150-180 pages, one gets attuned to the world the narrator has chalked out and the story starts to fall into place. The author has brilliantly mapped a dogmatic, war-torn, orthodox society and yet a society of the West by emphasising on the aspects of child marriage, teenage pregnancies leading to irresponsible parents and juvenile delinquency, sexual violence against both men and women, toxic masculinity, the mental impacts of stalking and gossips in society, exploration of the catholic faith, social exclusion, insecurity of old age most importantly, the feminine identity. Burns’ modicum to bring out the identity of the woman and a girl in society through her narrator is one of the highlights of the novel. The book deals with the status of a girl in society, the threats they are continuously posited owing to their feminine identity on a day-to-day basis, and the insecurity with losing the charm and being less attractive for the man; the author has shed light on it by the use of various characters in the girl’s narration. My favourite aspect of this book would be the love stories in the novel; some broke my heart into pieces and some warmed my heart. Alongside, the characters, Milkman and the real milkman, the contrast both the characters offered were crucial to the story and in a way both the characters were symbolic, one symbolised the turmoil killing Northern Ireland and the other represented the people of Northern Ireland and the humanity that lay underneath the rebellious, dystopic façade.

‘I who have stood dumb

when your betraying sisters,

cauled in tar,

wept by the railings,’

Seamus Heaney

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The Only Story by Julian Barnes: A BOOK REVIEW

‘True love can survive absence, death and infidelity.’

-Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

To write a review on Julian Barnes’ novel is a challenge that I shall partake in the following minutes because what more is left to say when you have read a book that pushes you into a valley of question when all you wished to do was read a story, a story about some people whose lives throws questions smack into your face. Barnes’ latest novel The Only Story published in February 2018, is a tale told in 200-pages piercing and penetrating into the life of nineteen-year old Paul falling in love with forty eight-year old, unhappily married Susan. It is a story exploring a young boy’s first love; the one that starts as excitement, fun, smiles, sex and love, lots of love which gradually develops and grows as years pass by and love starts placing demands when all he thought was love fulfilled all his demands, love starts asking more than what his youth had foretold.

The book is tender; it is a tender, delicate work of fiction that is written with different and intelligent narratives in all the three sections of the book. The book begins in a typical Barnes’ style and the voice of the narrator rings in your ear as you peruse the book and you immediately know you are in for something that’s not going to be a typical boy-falling-in-love-with-a-girl love story. The way the author develops his story through the use of flashbacks in no chronological order is noteworthy, initially I was sceptical if that would work well but one can never go wrong when one has a book of Barnes’ in hand. The themes of youth and maturity are not new in Barnes’ work. The Booker Prize Winner The Sense of an Ending does come into mind while reading Paul’s story. Paul and Tony Webster are two characters that Barnes has intelligently used to understand and map the trajectory of the process of growing up, of understanding that what we see in life at youth is something entirely different when one looks at it with the years falling down on them as they get nearer to the inevitable. In all honesty, Paul and Susan’s relationship also reminded me of Geoffery Braithwaite and his relation with his wife from Barnes’ Flaubert’s Parrot, the anagnorisis both the men experience can raise questions about human beings and their hearts; which is one reason why I believe Barnes maps the human heart in the most realistic manner. What is most touching in Barnes’ book and all his other books are the truth, the truth about human beings, the truth of our existence, the honesty that flows throughout his story which one cannot deny and at the same time is so painful for one to accept. In The Only Story, the author has very skilfully dealt with the themes of domestic violence, toxic masculinity alongside the themes of youth, love, growth and maturity. The story tore me apart; it made me cry with every turn of the page. Admittedly, the story is not something you have never heard of, it is not a story the ending to which one would not know but what makes this novel one of my favourite Barnes’ composition is the manner in which the story has been told, the way Barnes tugs right at the most delicate strings of your heart and dismantles it into tiny fragments that shall come back together but not in the way it was pulled tight earlier, Barnes changes something; for better or worse it is for the readers to decide.

‘It is only a metaphor- or the worst of dreams; yet there are metaphors which sit more powerfully in the brain than the remembered events.’

-Julian Barnes, The Only Story

 

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Our Voice Matters

‘Weakness is treating someone as though they don’t belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.’

-Yaa Gyasi

Today, contemporary literature is gaining massive importance and with that the Young Adult genre is winning hearts of youth, hence, it becomes imperative for writers to talk about long-standing social problems that don’t seem to draw to a close after years of stagnancy. Racism is one such problem that still haunts lives all around the world. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement and the death of innumerable black youth in the USA, Angie Thomas stepped into the world of book writing with her novel The Hate U Give.

The novel begins with a sixteen year-old girl witnessing her friend being shot by a white policeman when they were on their way back home. The novel traces the racist dogma that exists in the so-called developed American society where the life of a white man takes precedence over coloured folks. It traces the journey of a sixteen year old girl who sets out to seek justice for her friend and many other lives that have been erased from the pages of history.

‘We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print… We lived in the gaps between the stories.’

-Margaret Atwood

I had heard a lot about this book ever since it was published. Instagram, YouTube was flooded with praises for this book. Every so often, when this building up of hype takes place I often end up feeling disappointed after reading the particular novel. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen with this book. I loved this book; I loved how it talks about the prejudices, injustices existing till date. There was so much of truth in the story she has written, peeling out all the cloaks of sugar-coated ideas and beliefs to reveal the inherent hypocrisy deeply embedded in the system. In my opinion, this is one of the best Young Adult Contemporary books I have read till date, and I would urge authors to write books like The Hate U Give, that will make the youth think and that shall stay with the individual in the years to come. I would suggest all you readers to go ahead and read this book irrespective of any social constructs you identify with.

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Feats of Valour, Wicked Horns

‘Something, someone, some spirit was pursuing all of us across the desert of life and was bound to catch us before we reached heaven.’

-Jack Kerouac

Being born to a family in a metropolis, fortunately, I have never felt religion being imposed upon me. However, the drawback of this lack of imposition is that I have heard very few stories mentioned in the Vedas and other religious texts. Nonetheless, I believe nothing can be out of one’s reach if one is a reader. My belief was proven by an email I received from one of India’s best-selling author, Anuja Chandramouli. She blessed me with a copy of her widely acclaimed novel Yama’s Lieutenant.

The novel opens up with a scene unfolding one of  the sweetest bonds a human being ever gets to share with one another in her/his lifetime. The story starts gaining momentum when the readers are slowly brought face-to-face with the forces of hell, heaven and earth colliding and the universe heading for war and destruction. Agni Prakash, the protagonist, picks up a manuscript left by his twin sister and realises a new dimension to his life that he has never discovered before.

What does the manuscript contain?

What will Agni Prakash realise?

Will his realisations be any good for the world that is leading to an apocalypse?

‘But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?’

-Anthony Doerr

To begin with, I really liked the way the novel began and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to prepare a reader for a book packed with fantastical and mythological adventure. I was impressed by the author’s inclusion of caste violence as it seems to be an issue persisting in the Indian society since time immemorial. On the down side, I seemed to be a little confused with the story as there were a lot of characters and I had to re-read things to get it clear. Being a reader not akin to fantasy, I did feel lost in between the world-building. Admittedly, I took to the chapters in the manuscript and I loved the way the novel drew to a bitter-sweet close. Lastly, I would like to thank Chandramouli for letting me read her work as I got to know about a varied set of characters from the Rig Veda that I hadn’t known before.

 

Shifting Winds, Static Thunderclaps

The frame around which one builds one’s life is a brittle thing, and in a city of souls connected one snapped beam can threaten the spikes and shadows of the skyline.”

-Lisa McInerney

8th of July, 2017 would always be a day remembered and cherished by me because I finished reading the first series or Trilogy of my reading life. Yes, it does sound a little stupid and funny but I am proud of it nonetheless. The trilogy was none other than the great Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh.

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For starters, the Ibis Trilogy consists of three books namely, Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire, published in the aforementioned order respectively. The books are set in the Early 19th Century Asia and India in particular. It is an epic tale of a multitude of characters from different race, caste, class, sexuality, sex, nationality (basically, all the social constructs one could think of) woven intricately into a tale of wonder and adventure. Sea of Poppies sets the stage for the epic, bringing into light the various characters and the beginning of the journey on the ship named Ibis that would change their lives forever. River of Smoke takes the reader to Canton where the Opium War is fuelling up and the two boats Anahita and Redruth starts writing a different story of the characters altogether. Lastly, Flood of Fire starts preparing the reader to bring the story to an epic close when the Opium War is at its height in China and lives are at stake.

I cannot begin to describe how much I loved each book. The journey has been unforgettable and this trilogy shall forever remain close to me. The characters have made me think about a lot of things again and the author has thrown a light upon the lives of people when the English was dominating the world. I liked the amount of diversity the author has showcased in his books. I think this is what makes an author great, when you throw in characters with varying colour, religion, sexuality even when the book is set some 200 years back. It is pretty difficult for me to point out which one I liked the best so I’d suffice it to say that the three books are equally close and dear to me and I would encourage all you readers who are into historical fiction to grab these beasts soon and relish in the amount of work and research that has gone into making these word-filled pages a masterpiece of literature.

Summer Shenanigans

“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”

-Kurt Vonnegut.

June has finally come to a close and with that summer is slowly ebbing away leaving way for monsoon to draw in. Decidedly, I had kept a book aside which I had gotten last year for the summer of 2017. I intended to get it done with by May but it didn’t happen and when I realised July is about to begin in a few days I stopped piling it for the next month and picked it up. June wouldn’t have been anymore good without the queen of summer contemporary, Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone.

The Kelly Clarkson song inspired book title follows the story of Emily who finds her best friend, Sloane, missing without any notice just when summer is about to begin. Incidentally, Emily finds a letter left by Sloane scribbled with the things she has to do. Assuming the tasks would lead her to her best friend, she starts considering the tasks enlisted but…

Kiss a stranger? Umm…No..ugh

Sleep under the stars? WOW… done!

Go Skinny-Dipping? Wait… whaaaat!???!!!

All these cumbersome mileposts without Sloane to guide her or be there with her?

“…sometimes staying free required unimaginable sacrifice.”

-Yaa Gyasi

To begin with, I cannot begin to describe how much I adored the cover of this book! The cover showered vibes of summer with greenery, ice-cream, pizza, clear skies, the girls moving about giggling and the fonts; it is so gorgeous that I could stare at it forever.

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Moving toward the content of the book, I liked the story a lot. I was worried when it was apparent that I had started to reach the end because I didn’t want it to end so soon. Matson’s writing is like butter sliding along the edges of a sharp knife; it is smooth and doesn’t make you feel lost at all. Additionally, the book is pinned with a couple of playlists which kept me even more excited. In spite of such praises, I gave this book a 4.75/5 stars on goodreads because of the lack of diversity in the book. Considering the fact that it is a Young Adult Contemporary book written a few years ago, it didn’t have the theme of diversity we want authors of the present day to talk about. There was no presence of people of other colour or races other than white Americans, there was no mention of any LGBTQ characters; this was book all white and heteronormative and Christian just like all her other books which is totally a turn-off factor for a reader like me who loves books that subsume a variety of characters. Anyway, I would recommend the book despite the minor faults as it will make you smile and jiggle with happiness with every turn of the page, i.e. if you are looking for a teenage fiction with friendship, love and family.

 

 

Spectre Museum

After having read a humongous amount of books from a wide variety of genres, I have finally figured out the genre that pleases me the most. *DRUM ROLLS* No other genre of literature quenches my thirst for reading as much as Historical Fiction.

Observing the love being showered on the Pulitzer Prize winner of 2015, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, I decided to give this fiction a try. Doerr brings into life the siege, bombardments and the terror of World War II through the memoirs of his two young protagonists, Werner and Marie-Laurie. He sketches the voyage of Werner from his little home in a French countryside to tracking radio waves for Hitler’s army and Marie-Laurie’s sightless journey from Paris to Saint-Malo with the Sea of Flames.

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Needless to say, I adored the work with all my heart and I am happy to have read this masterpiece. I loved the descriptions the author paints to delineate the cruelty experienced by people at the outset of the war. Very few authors have talked about the pain France had to undergo during the war, at least I haven’t read anything related to France being victimized during the World Wars. My heart went out to all the characters in the book, be it the German or French, victims or the terrorists, because everyone had the other side to their story. Each character lost something crucial in their lives because pain never felt the need to resort to only one. However, I wouldn’t say this is my favourite historical fiction set in World War II, there are other books I liked better.  Anyway, it was a good read and I rated this book 4.75/5 on goodreads.