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

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:

2 | The thing with Book Challenges

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Would anyone reading this like to share their experience with any book challenges that they participate in? Or, even one that they created for challenging themselves?

The thing is I like book challenges as an observer. πŸ˜› Haha, what I mean is it feels exciting to be a part of a challenge which is totally what you want to do anyway, plus there’s a bonus of having a goal in front of you. How good would it feel to have completed a goal WHILE having so much fun? Except, it has never turned out this way for me when I was participating in any book challenges. I am always rushing towards completing the challenge and that never happens, and I feel bad, and, the most important thing – I am always chasing a deadline, so I feel that I am not even savouring what I am reading. Just rushing.

Don’t know if any of you feel this way, but I’ll definitely want to know your experience in general with book challenges. I didn’t participate in any in 2018 so that I can savour my reading but I also felt like something was amiss. I think I can do with some advice. πŸ™‚