All posts filed under: Books

Book Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

“They say a witch used to live in these woods, a long, long time ago…And there, she bore the wolves who chase the sun and moon. They say she went to Asgard and was burned three times upon a pyre and three times she was reborn before she fled. They say she loved a man with scarred lips and a sharp tongue; a man who gave her back her heart and more. They say she loved a woman too, a sword-wielding bride of the Gods; as bold as any man and fiercer still. They say she wandered, giving aid to those who needed it most, healing them with potions and spells. They say she stood her ground against the fires of Ragnarok until the very end until she was burned a final time. All but her heart reduce to ashes once more. But others say she lives yet.” The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec is a reimagining of Norse mythology’s end of the world, Ragnarok, and how it came to pass. It is told from …

greenlights ebook with leaf, cars making the traffic lights, and moon locket

Book Review: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

“Great leaders are not always in front, they also know who to follow.” I knew this book would be eccentric; I just didn’t realise how much. Matthew McConaughey Oscar winner actor is anything but your regular cup of tea, and this memoir of sorts just gives you a glimpse of that wild life. Greenlights is not a tell-all book. He hardly discusses any of the movies he worked on and doesn’t talk about anyone he filmed with or dated. It’s a book about his upbringing, his experiences and explorations, and what he’s learnt along the way. So if you’re here looking for some gossip, this is not for you. Greenlights is part memoir and part life guide. He has a few insightful observations which have shaped the way he lives his life. Just go for what you want and be true to yourself. The universe will give you green lights as you move ahead. Take a break on yellow lights when you need it, and watch out for the red lights. “The inevitability of a …

collage of book covers of biographies

7 Must-Read Biographies

I love stories. These stories become even more meaningful when you know they’re true. I’ve not always read non-fiction, and I started reading biographies even later. Since then, I’ve read stories from people’s lives that are inspiring, heart-breaking, and relatable.  I cannot classify the stories I’ve read into good or better stories. Each book brings its own charm. However, some books are well-written, and some books pull you in and make you pause as you feel each word that’s penned down. This is a list of those books. Decoded by Jay-Z It gave me a refreshing perspective of the hip-hop culture and rap music – a genre I always overlooked. The lyrics have been beautifully written and explained and is comparable to pure poetry. That is not to say that there isn’t some lousy hip-hop doing the rounds (pointless violence and sex), but good rap, as Jay Z points out, is very powerful and has several layers. Even the cover of a Rorschach blot is a stroke of genius…just like rap music, it conveys different …

baby with a book

Raising a Reader

I love reading. I’ve loved it ever since I can remember. I don’t remember where I picked up the habit because no one else in my family was interested in or had any time for reading as a hobby.  When I started college, I first came across people who romanticised reading. You’d never catch them without a book with them. They’d pride themselves in how many books they carried on their travels because they’re more important than clothes or shoes! Then came the Internet memes asking boys to find girls who read over every other type (whatever that means). I’ve seen parents proudly showing off how their kids are glued to books at the dinner table and prefer the company of books over people. Let’s not even get into the topic of book hoarding. I love books, and I have done all of these things mentioned above. But I am also a practical person. I’m not going to carry a book unless I know I’m in for a long wait. On my travels, I would …

2 kindles with the covers of the books the henna artist and the secret keeper of jaipur, both by Alka Joshi. They're laid out on colourful cloth with jewellery

Book Review: The Henna Artist Jaipur Series

This is a combined book review of Alka Joshi’s The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. These books are part of a trilogy, with the final instalment yet to be released. I am not waiting with bated breath for the final book – I doubt I’ll read it. Read on to know why.  The Henna Artist Review The first book, The Henna Artist, came highly recommended as Reese Witherspoon had chosen it for her book club, and it has also topped many Bestseller lists. Goodreads also rates it very highly. My opinions differ significantly. The book started off well enough. I had good hopes for a mystery or even a romance. She aimed for a bit of both but lost my interest mid-way through the book. The writing is not excellent, and the story gets predictable very soon. The characters are not fleshed out, and we know them only superficially. I did not feel for any character in the book.  The protagonist, Lakshmi, is portrayed as an empowered, independent woman with progressive ideas …

My Top Recommendations for Biographies with Animals

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.” John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog Every story becomes better with an animal in it. In books and movies about violent deaths, the animal’s death is the most painful (for me, at least).  Since I’ve started reading biographies, I’ve come across some amazing stories about animals and how they’ve impacted the lives of people around them. Each one is a tear-jerker – happy and sad.  Here are my top recommendations for biographies with animals. Marley and Me by John Grogan  I fell in love with Marley’s pure and goofy heart from the start. His joy refused any limits on his behaviour. His love and loyalty were boundless, too. It is also a story about Marley’s parents, who adopt him as a young couple. Marley shares their heartbreak over a miscarriage and joy at their first pregnancy. He grows old …

5 Best Audiobooks on Audible

I have previously written about my preference for audiobooks while I work. If you need to commute long hours or go on a trip, I highly recommend taking an Audible membership. I know people who prefer to listen on their walks and while cooking as well. Here are my top 5 Audible recommendations that are epic. They draw you into their worlds with enchanting stories and enigmatic storytelling. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: This has to be one of my favourite books and on top of my list just for how it is told. It’s a novel I enjoyed immensely. The characters and events actually seemed real to me. The idea of a man voluntarily being under house arrest for an indefinite period in a fancy hotel seemed complicated and unrealistic to imagine. But somehow, Towles succeeded in making his book realistic—and endearing! The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: Check out the full review here. I recommend the audiobook over the written book mainly because of all the beautiful Vietnamese verses …

woman on a chair reading a book with a cat on lap

Around the World in Books

I got the idea from a newspaper article about a teenager reading at least one book from each country in the world. What a novel thought! Why hadn’t I thought of that? All my life, I’ve read about the adventures of various White kids and adults.  We’re told how Enid Blyton books are quintessential childhood stories even though my childhood didn’t resemble it in any way. Even contemporary writers widely available in my adulthood were White. I have written previously about my quest to diversify mine and my son’s bookshelves. Here, I talk about this in detail. I’ve also added my list here, so if anyone’s interested in expanding their reading list or even help me with recommendations.  What I learned about what I read When I started paying attention to who I read, I decided to make an Excel Sheet by region and country. I was pretty surprised by what I saw, although I shouldn’t have been. The UK and US columns overflowed, while the India column was relatively modest. Even within the UK …

Books by Ismat Chughtai on a blue backdrop with a gold necklace

Book Review: Ismat Chughtai

For someone who loves to read and has studied English literature in school and college in India, it was very disappointing to learn about writers like Maanto and Chughtai so late in life. It enrages me that we teach a handful of English writers and completely ignore great Indian writers. “Faith is one thing, the culture of one’s country is quite another. I have an equal share in it, in its earth, sunshine and water. If I splash myself with colour during Holi, or light up diyas during Diwali, will my faith suffer an erosion? Are my beliefs so brittle and judgements so shaky that they will fall to pieces?” Ismat Chughtai – the story-teller Ismat Chughtai was a contemporary of Saadat Hasan Manto. They wrote during the time of India’s independence. Both were put on trial for indecency in their writing then finally acquitted. However, it put a downer on both their temperaments.  Chughtai’s Lihaaf or the Quilt was considered quite progressive for its time, talking about female sexuality. She has also written screenplays …

Gajapati Kulapati series of 4 books

Book Review: Gajapati Kulapati

Ganesh Chaturti is the perfect time to talk about our favourite elephant. The Gajapati Kulapati series by Ashok Rajagopalan, published by Tulika Books, is a favourite in our house. We bought the first one when our son was about a year old, and now five years later, we have the complete set and still love reading them. The story is simple and hilarious. Each book is about an adventure Gajapati Kulapati has with his friends in the village where he lives. The sound effects will make kids and adults giggle with delight. There are four books in the series. We meet the same characters in each book and love to see how they’re getting on. Tulika Books publishes these books in Indian regional languages as well. They’re sure to delight young readers for a long time to come. Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you.