Book 10 of 2022 | The Mountain View Murder: A Wintergreen Mystery by Patrick Kelly

Another day, another book post! Continuing with my streak of posting my views on all the books I read, here’s my 10th one from this year. You can find more of such posts from me here.

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. You’ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

And now, here are my thoughts on The Mountain View Murder:

Why I chose this book?

I was browsing Netgalley for the first time when I came across this book. Yes, it has been more than a year since Netgalley let me take this book. I think its fairly obvious why I chose this book, its name screams cozy, mountain murder mystery. That was it, then. That itself was the reason.

What I liked:

Everything. There, I completed the opinion before even saying anything! This book is about a retired detective Bill O’Shea who moves to Wintergreen, a mountain resort in North Carolina, to spend his life post retirement. The police chief there, Alex, is a temporary chief who doesn’t have a lot of experience with this sort of work when someone dies. So, he ropes in Bill to help him solve the case. Alex, rest of the team and almost everyone in the story believes that its an accident, but Bill wants to track every clue to figure out what it actually is – murder or accident. What then ensues is your typical whodunnit and all the characters are very enjoyable in the story. The suspects, of course, with their motives keep giving the book fun dimensions with every flashback into their lives. However, the main character, i.e., our detective Bill and his supporting characters add a lot to the experience. There’s Bill’s new love interest, Cindy, who approaches Bill right when he moves to his condo, Mitch, the young policeman who works with Bill, Krista, the policewoman who has a very fun, outgoing and charming side to her while being amazing at her job, Kim, the Wintergreen gossip journal who also adds to the whodunnit once giving it a fun twist!

To top it all, the setting of the book, i.e. a mountain resort from where multiple hiking trails pass through, make for a fun ride. I enjoyed reading this so much and after this I downloaded so many mystery books on my Kindle!

What I didn’t like:

I really don’t have anything, except I wish the book went on for longer! πŸ˜€

A huge thanks to Netgalley for giving me the chance to read this book!

Book 7 and 8 of 2022 | Two books I didn’t realise would be so related

Every year, I try to read at least one book from some literary prize shortlists and almost every time, I end up disliking the book. This year I picked the JCB 2021 winner – Delhi: A Soliloquy. I was in for a surprise. Before we get into that, something about my reading habit.

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. You’ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

And, now, here it goes:

Book 7 of 2022:

Delhi: A Soliloquy

Why I chose this book? I pretty much mentioned the reason in the first paragraph.

What is it about? This book is a narrative on Delhi through the years from a Malayali person’s standpoint, with the backdrop of various wars that happened in modern day Delhi, starting from the war with China in 1960. Sahadevan, protagonist and also the narrator, is convinced to come for a job to Delhi by his known person from his native – Sreedharanunni, a communist person who loses his life when Delhi is attacked by China (yes, the irony). The book then has multiple characters who grow up and old in Delhi, all from Kerala and everything happens from Sahadevan’s point of view against wars like the 1965 one with Pakistan, 1970 one with Bangladesh and so on. The riots after the murder of Indira Gandhi were hair raising, and to know that this is not just a book, but rather something that actually happened, is something else.

What I liked? The book has so many characters but i found it in me to love most of them, they all held some place in my heart and i don’t even know how. Usually, books with multiple storylines get really annoying for me but, here, i waited for every character’s chapter to come up again. A lot of good work has gone into giving ample character building to each character. i think it also has to do with the fact that the narration is uniform, told from a single point of view. All the events were based on historical events (various wars in modern Delhi) but there were some that stood out for me. For example, reading about emergency riots was like watching a tragedy happening on screen. Very well written. i usually don’t enjoy the introspection kind of parts in any book, but Sahadevan’s monologues with himself were also worth looking forward to. the book is essentially a growing older of Sahadevan as Delhi grew up with him too.

What I didn’t like: I can’t think of anything honestly, because I went in with no expectations. Additionally, I have been reading a lot of war fiction these days, so it was a natural pick at the time.

Book 8 of 2022:

Prelude to a Riot

Why I chose this book? can’t say why i am going from one war book to another but I am and i am just into that right now.

What is it about? Coincidentally, this book was also based in Kerala, so the Malayali community basically. It’s about different perspectives of various characters as the Hindu Muslim divide begins to be “seen” in Kerala. primarily focusing on three friends and their respective perspectives, it also has many characters like the previous book and each one stood out. It’s a great thing that I don’t remember right now how this book ended but I do remember most of the characters. The most endearing part of the book is how the three friends one out of whom is Muslim start falling apart due to their changing perspectives and the ongoing events at that time.

What I liked: Obviously the fact that how relevant it is in current times. Also, how true to its name is the title of the book – it was really a prelude to what was to come, i.e. riots between two communities/religions. it highlighted the kind of differences or stigma that one starts associating with another community because of the propaganda. The book was scary, because it felt close to home.

What I didn’t like: Why was this book so short? I can totally see it to be intentional but can’t figure out why. It could have been so much more detailed and that would have made it all the more lovely. i hope a sequel is planned.

Life of Srish has now moved to lifeofsrish.com!

Took advantage of the long weekend to make this move and I cannot wait to do better things with it. However, the main reason I took this plunge was because I wanted more storage space, but turns out the promised storage space was inclusive of the space I have already used on WordPress.com. πŸ˜› Oh, well. Some suggestions from all of you are welcome on this topic!

In case you are still not subscribed to my blog yet, here you go, its all the more legit now πŸ™‚ : https://lifeofsrish.com/

Book 6 of 2022 | The Pothunters by PG Wodehouse

Continuing with my streak of posting my views on all the books I read, here’s my 6th one from this year. You can find more of such posts from me here.

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. You’ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

And now, here are my thoughts on The Pothunters:

Why I chose this book?

I had never read anything from PG Wodehouse & have been meaning to for a while. Just to know what its all about. I saw this for free on Kindly Unlimited and just picked it.

What I liked:

Well, difficult to say, since I pretty much didn’t like the book from the get go. When I started this book, I didn’t know that it is PGW’s first published novel. I usually don’t like getting too much into “what a book is about” before I read it if I am not picking it specifically for that very reason. So, I get to know these tiny details afterwards only. Now that I know its one of his first works, I may need to read more of him to decide whether I like them or not. πŸ˜€ This was about boys in a boarding school and it had that signature Brit humour of his tied to school jokes. It also had a mystery angle which I think was good but since I wasn’t invested in the book since the beginning, I couldn’t follow that a lot. I think the only thing I liked was the sort of nostalgia that you associate with school stories, even if its not your own school story.

What I didn’t like:

I think I just couldn’t invest myself in it since the beginning. So many characters, joking around in school, it took me some time to get used to the way he has written this.

As a final summary of sorts, I didn’t enjoy reading this book, but I am up for reading more of PG Wodehouse still.

Book 1 of 2022 | Queeristan by Parmesh Shahani

Keeping up with sharing of what I read, and also my wish to ‘read with more intent’, here are my thoughts on my first read of this year. I mentioned here that I didn’t post about my first book of the year because my notes were somewhere else. I got hold of my notes finally and here’s my opinion on my first read of 2022.

But before that, I wanted to share something fun with you (fun if you like to read). Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I don’t have a good memory with books and I don’t like the fact that I mostly forget what I read. Hence, I decided to be active with a book journal, basically a place where I make notes while reading. Today, I came across an awesome Instagram post about how to read more mindfully, which gave me pointers to better my notes. For example, from now on, I’ll also write why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience more. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

With that out of the way, here are some thoughts on Queeristan, my first read of 2022. Still pretty fresh in my mind due to my notes. πŸ˜›

First of all, why I chose this book. That’s because it was available for free in one of the sales and I wanted to get my hands on something queer. I went into it without knowing that this is not a book to acquaint you with why you should support queer people, but rather a queer person’s view in a corporate leadership position in one of India’s top FMCGs on how one can make use of their privilege in corporates to improve lives for queer people. Fair enough. However, the book sort of became a compilation of author’s own and other entities’ efforts towards improving queer lives. In the end, it sort of feels like a record keeping, than a book. Had it been an article, it would have been okay to read, but you know how it is with reading this many pages of just factual details on efforts. Some stories, of course, were very engaging, especially since they are real.

What I liked: I essentially liked two things in the book. One, the author’s zest for life and his recognition of his own privilege. If you were to draw a character sketch of the author from the book, he feels like someone full of life, which is great for him! The other thing I liked is kind of related to this first thing. The first part of the book is all about how he leverages his position in the corporate world to further his queer agenda. I think its a great thing to recognize your position & leverage it for betterment of society. Although how exactly he is helping apart from making inclusion & diversity policies better in offices , that’s not too clear for me. Another thing I liked was how he tried to explain that hiring more queer people is not just beneficial to the queer people, but business & society as well.

What I didn’t like: Second part of the book is more on referencing to conferences, initiatives etc which feels a lot like record keeping. The book didn’t touch upon why becoming an LGBTQ+ ally is needed. I understand that was probably not the intent, but for a book about how LGBTQ+ allies help improve lives of LGBTQ+, it should be called out I feel.

As a final summary of sorts, I didn’t enjoy reading this book, but it was informative for someone like me with limited context.

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