2,3,4,5th reads of 2022

Hello! I am bringing back book opinions it seems. Let’s see how that goes. πŸ˜€

If you are thinking why I didn’t mention book 1, that’s because I had some notes for it which are at my home and i am visiting my dad in Raipur (where he is posted currently). So, more on book 1 later.

Now all these 4 books are special as these are written by one of my favorite instagrammers, Pooja – thewhimsybookworm. I am linking her blog but you can find her on Instagram by the same name. I always knew I would love whatever she writes because of two reasons – 1) i relate to the books she likes, as in i know I’ll like them too, 2) she posts a lot of tiny stories (more like day to day events explained as stories) on Instagram and they are total page turners! My only gripe with these was that I am scared to read horror stories even though I enjoy them, but since it’s by Pooja, there was no way i won’t read them. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. All of these are short stories, so i read them one after the other pretty quickly and, needless to say, loved them to bits! Pooja’s tales, whether these or on Instagram, always engross me in their funny, scary, sarcastic and sometimes even toxic mesh! Below are some highlights from the 4 books for you to savor!

2nd of 2022, The Stranger in the Hotel Room: This is one of her finest works. Before you diss me for writing something like this for an author who has just about 4 short story books published, I’ll tell you why I said this. This book has a very vintage Bengal vibes, where there’s a colonial hotel in which a woman gets stuck, in times when it wasn’t common for women in India to travel alone. Also, the book is narrated from the pov of the author herself as she recalls her mom’s friends’ hangouts with such gossips. Despite being a scary story, it has a light hearted humourous vibe. This vibe stays through the book thus making it a scary but light hearted story. Hence, the tag of being a fine work.

3rd of 2022, A Girl Possessed: the story telling is great but once you know that a story about getting possessed is based on real life events, it always leaves you feeling sad. Especially so when it’s about a young school going girl who had her whole life in front of her.

4th of 2022, The Night of the Flood: this was the creepiest of all, as it was a mix of spookiness & something tangible at play. Totally motion picture material spanning across eras and generations and unrelated characters getting connected.

5th of 2022, Stree – Collection of 3 short stories: all good, endearing tales with woman protagonists. I only didn’t like the last one as i prefer more solid kind of endings rather than open ended ones. It also ended a bit abruptly.

This was it! A women’s day relevant post afterall πŸ˜€ do share what you are reading

When to find time to read?

Read in metro queues

Read in passport renewal lines

Read on your way to work (if you aren’t driving or else listen to an audio book πŸ˜€)

Read while on solo dates in cozy cafes

Read while waiting for someone

Read when you are out on a lunch date with self

Read in book fairs in stalls that have chairs

Read before napping in afternoons

Read right after napping

Read before sleeping

Read in parks sitting on cute benches

Read on weekends

Read when soaking sun on the weekends

Read when you can, as that is what matters. Not how much or what you read.

My Favorite Reads of 2021

Of course, what better way to kick off favorites than books. This year it’s fairly easy for me as well to decide on my favorite books of 2021 as neither the number of reads is too high nor are favorites too many. I completed reading only 13 books this year, while i totally expected me to end up reading more. So, yea, 2021 sucked in more ways than one.

Without further ado, here are my most favorite books of 2021 in no particular order –

1. The French Baker’s War: i have done a detailed post here and I am so glad this was my initiation into reading about World War. I will definitely be reading more on World War. Please leave your suggestions for books on that in the comments.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: here’s something mind boggling – i had never read Harry Potter before and a friend of mine tried to force me to read one really long ago back in school, i just didn’t get into it at that time. I have been meaning to read the series since a long time and just happened to mention it to a friend right before my birthday (seriously, i was not dropping any hintsπŸ˜€). She very thoughtfully gifted me the illustrated edition by Jim Kay. It is so beautiful that I can cry. The book was a thing of pure joy and I am so glad that I entered Harry’s world in a tensed year. More than the magic though, i loved Harry’s life in school and with his friends, it’s always lovely to read about fun childhood or adolescence stories. Very quickly i also bought me the second book, the same illustrated edition. I am looking forward to try more editions for the remaining books in the series.

3. Persepolis: again a gift from the same friend. My first graphic novel and what a great book! This is all about coming of age of a young Iranian woman in the political backdrop of Iran’s war. It’s the kind of book i would love to revisit and see how much additional i get to grasp the next time. The dry humour that the author has tried to create is also remarkable. I think it’s a must read if you haven’t already read it.

4. Alternative Realities: not really a favorite, not by any means, but a good book that I want to mention as i think this is a pretty obscure book. A friend of mine once mentioned that I read a lot of obscure books and I couldn’t agree more with him. But in that moment, i thought of this book. I found it in one of those 100 rs for a kg kind of book sales and what a discovery!

The author is a muslim native of now Bangladesh, her family settled in now Pakistan at the time of partition and she then went on to marry an Indian Hindu. Truly a child of the subcontinent. Through this book, she has tried to meet various Muslim women and other genders across the subcontinent to understand their journeys due to being womxn and being muslims, while also exploring herself as she turns more inwards via Sufism. So, this is a travelogue, memoir, biographical piece of sorts. There were times when I got bored in the book, especially the parts about author’s self reflections, but what I truly loved in this book is how diverse the people are that the author has tried to interview for her book. There’s a Pakistani writer, a Lesbian from upper middle class – a learned woman, a transgender from Sind who barely gets by, a young woman who seems like leading a pretty normal life just like young adults do until you find out that her lover set himself on fire. I especially loved the chapter on this friend of hers from Oghi, a small town in Pakistan, where she stayed with her for a month or so. Why I liked this chapter particularly was because it was a different feeling to look at a woman’s life who doesn’t have much choice in life owing to the ways things are set in stone in her family, but how she makes the most of the world that’s on offer to her.

This is it then! I am soon going to do a post on my next year’s TBR (yes, i think it’s time to up my game) so any suggestions are welcome.

Do share your thoughts in the comments if you have read any of these.

Check out more of my latest posts here:

A favorite book of 2021 – The French Baker’s War | Blogmas 13

Merry Christmas y’all! ❀️

I wasn’t planning to post today as the day is over and it was a busy one. But when I saw so many Christmas-y posts, i thought it isn’t right that even after finally doing so many posts this December for Blogmas, i don’t do one on the last day of Blogmas.

So here it is. A book review of one of my favorite books in 2021 that I found on Netgalley. I am telling you guys, if you don’t know what Netgalley is, you really need to check it out. Also, click on the below image if you wish to buy the book. (If you buy it via clicking on the image, I’ll earn a small commission. πŸ™‚)

While i expected to read a lot more in 2021, one of the things I wanted was to try stuff that I haven’t before. I have never read anything on World War. I lapped this book up as soon as i saw it on Netgalley and I cannot wait till the end to tell you that i loved reading it so much. I am so glad tha this amazing fiction initiated me into reading about World War.

Here’s why you should read it too:

1. Patisserie & the plot: it’s not an unimaginable plot but what i loved is this – the book is set in occupied France in 1943 over a course of two months during World War II when a woman who owns a Patisserie with her husband goes missing. The patisserie becomes a character in the book, it’s given a lot of emotional value by the author and, therefore, becomes a super important character. Of course, i am not going to spoil it for you by giving whys and how’s. If you want to pick this due to the cover and the word Baker in the name, let me tell you that there is a lot of reference to the patisserie, which I certainly enjoyed.

2. Characters: as it is with the patisserie, even all the other characters are very well formed. The book has its protagonists but the author has done a great job in character formation of many side characters. They have a back story that makes you want to know them better. In some books, it gets very annoying to read about multiple storylines but here the back stories of different characters become part of the story and you get attached to them. If you have read the book already, you would have fallen in love with Monsieur Dormund as well. 😊

3. The topic itself: as i mentioned, I haven’t read anything on World War and i am glad I picked this up because this has definitely made me more interested in reading about this topic. If you have read a lot of serious literature or non fiction on this topic, then I am not sure where you stand with this book but, otherwise, anyone is going to love it!

There are two things I didn’t like which I want to mention – a) the flashbacks didn’t hook me as much as the present story, b) the initial pages/chapters spent a lot of time building up and leading up to the next part of the story, which became a bit much. So i would say if I had to divide the book into three parts, the second and third parts of the book were way better than the first.

Overall, I would highly recommend reading this and you can find it on the below link. If you purchase using that I’ll earn a small commission. πŸ™‚

The French Baker’s War