You know sometimes you are so hyped up about certain books and authors and get all excited to read it only to find it's definitely not your cup of tea. That happened during this reading phase. The pandemic situation was still a bit far away, only getting confusing news from China and Italy, and WHO was yet to declare the scale of the situation. So my reading speed was like any other year. I was yet to subscribe to my audiobook apps and life was pretty easy? No, wait my cousin's wedding was on cards and we were very excited!
Here goes my list of 10 books that left me with mixed feelings!!
SULA by Toni Morrison-
This is one of those rare times I am having a hard time to write down about a book that's hauntingly beautiful, raw with human emotions, a book that holds the power to give you sleepless nights and make you ponder over and over again. Sula speaks about being unapologetically you...just you.it screams through your blood and makes you uncomfortable. I went through the same emotions when I read gone with the wind. I had a hard time understanding Scarlet in the beginning... I had a hard time understanding Eva, Hannah, and Sula of course. So much so that the actions more powerful than the interactions. Only a master can make look deaths so beautiful and relationships so wounded... Sula is a piece of art...you want to read it again and again and let yourself sink into it.
INSIDE A DARK BOX by Ritu Vaishnav-
According to the 2018 WHO survey report, conducted by NCMH, India ranks first to the greatest burden of mental and behavioral disorders followed by China and the USA respectively. With an ever-rising number of teenage suicide, where again India bags first position, and the rising rate of mental health disorders among corporate employees, it's shocking that the society as a whole behaves that everything is alright. Along with that, it's imperative to know that most of the cases go unreported due to factors like societal stigmas, taboos, lack of proper knowledge. Even after all of these someone who wants to seek help comes the problem of unavailability of finding a psychiatrist. While it's easier to find professional help in metropolitan cities the situation is blick in the sub-urban and peripheral regions. We often seek help from our friends and family during these times it's saddening how sometimes they fail to understand the gravity of the situation. Mental health can be compared to diabetics for example, both are a silent killer and both at their advanced stages have a devastating effect, then why is it so that we still lack basic awareness?! Filing to understand that both our mind and body are deeply interconnected to each other and issues with any one of them have their impact on the other. While reading this book I felt like visiting someone's mind like visiting someone's home and trying to know how the person is like in their private world, what goes inside the mind of someone who is constantly battling with their demons. The simple and sincere effort of the author and the illustrator in deciphering a complex- heartwrenching issue is worth mentioning here. The tiniest book of just over 18 pages ensured a lasting impact on the mind and think about depression and how a person is trying endlessly to find peace.
NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER by Arun Nath-
A story of two Millenials Gehna and Eram, one with a dysfunctional rich family, coated with gold foil, and another living with a father suffering from Parkinson's disease. While Gehna lives a normal college party going life, Eram is a nerdy high school dropout aspiring to be a pro poker player. While everything is well and good until Gehna discovered she is pregnant and adamant to show the baby light of the world. Life turned out into one hell of a rollercoaster ride with emotions all over the places, understanding the oscillations of life, as they embrace their new journey with responsibilities they are alien about. While there are certain setbacks in the plot especially the poker part didn't interest me much, the ending caught me off guard. It was surprisingly beautiful yet sad and something I didn't dream of. As a whole, it was a good YA fiction to pick up.
THE SECRET OF PALAMU FORT by Razi-
Set in the historical fort of Palamu, the story begins with the mysterious murder of a historian who was trying to unravel a riddle that holds key to an ancient treasure chest. In a flowing simple language, the author weaves a chasing narrative about how detective Robin with his cousin Neil and friend Babulalji solves the crime. The trio oddly reminds me of Feluda of Satyajit Ray, cult-favorite detective of Bengalis. The gripping narrative took a chance of exploring the dark human behavior of greed and ego. The constant movement of the plot between two different periods is smooth and didn't disrupt the flow even a bit. The writing style is so addictive that I finished reading it in one complete sitting and nowhere in the whole book I found the plot was losing its speed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it was very refreshing to read a short novella like this in between my heavy studies.
AFSAANE by Ameya Bondre-
short stories are like little chocolate truffles, tiny bits, and pieces of emotions flowing through the words. Comprising of 11 stories, Afsaane shares tales of dreams, love, longings, friendship all the emotions that are near and dear to us. I love how in simple lucidity these stories gave me comfort and slowly destressed me. The stories, although at times being very predictable and lost their course like a missing note in music still kept on humming me tales of people who seem known to me. I would recommend this book to those who want to read without wearing any judgemental glasses and just unwind at the end of the day. Sometimes we need that kind of comfort read in life and this is exactly one of those books.
FEARLESS Stories of Amazing Women from Pakistan by Amneh Shaikh Farooqui and Aziza Ahmed-
Often women are shown the backseat in society and her contributions are considered as something secondary and unimportant by a section of patriarchy. "Fearless" is the anthology of stories of women across the border who speak of hope, courage, rights, truth. Her never indomitable spirit is the phoenix who rises every time from the ruins of the fire. They inspire us no matter how difficult the situation may be never to bend down in front of the world because of our sex, caste, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, color and to hold the reign of our lives not just for us but to lead the lives of many others and travel towards the light.
This review would be incomplete without saying that this book is one of the favorite books of my nephew partly because of how colorful the book is and partly because he is learning about different professions in his school and now while he reads this book he wants to be a doctor, a singer, lawyer, and a politician all at once!
ELEVATION by Stephen King-
This isn't a horror book. Such a disappointing read.. after reading King's epic novels the expectation level sky high and damn this book threw me to the ground if not deep inside the ground. The simple, easy, clear plot, and very dull and bland. Imagine food without salt? yeah, it's that kind of read.
THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett-
A multigenerational saga revolving primarily on "Conroys". the narrator, Danny, is the son of a real estate developer Cyril shares the tale of their childhood spent in a beautiful house in Pennsylvania with his bright and brilliant sister Maeve, and absentee mysterious mother. Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together.
An extremely simple yet structured in layered format this Ann Patchett novel has its beauty of its own. it can be slow and philosophical at times but gives immense opportunity to sit back and ponder upon thoughts. what I love about the characters were that they are successful and settled according to the norms of the society but they are extremely vulnerable. this sharp contrast of two different identities of each of them made the novel more than just another family drama based book.
THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern-
This can be a bit controversial since there are so many friends of mine who absolutely loved this book and I was super excited about this one. The theme, the mystery, the beauty of this book will surpass every other book I own for sure. constructing an entire world underneath another and then another world, like endless layers of Mille crepe cake but I couldn't associate with any of the characters. When I started reading this book I was absolutely loving it. the giant hallways and acolytes and their secretive rituals everything but then I just couldn't make any sense of it. Maybe in the future, I would give it another try but for now, this book isn't my cup of tea.
DEAREST GEORGE by Alicia Souza-
If one can ever read cotton candy then it must be like this book. so sickenly sweet and mushy-mushy that I might end up getting sugar coma and I am not complaining a single bit of it. Dearest George is the collection of love notes of Alicia to her beardy man where she counts literally every single gesture and ways to express her love. All the PDAs, songs, metaphors are so intoxicatingly sweet and beautiful and every illustration has this magical power to make me smile and laugh and giggle. even opening up a random page does that too! I can relate to her excessive romantic and corny gestures it somehow manages to give me comfort that I am not the only one who does or think all these! Its a perfect pick up comic books with happy vibes that next time when I have a gloomy day I am gonna start reading this again!