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.

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.

5 Planner and Calendar Recommendations for 2022!

Many of us are into buying pretty calendars and planners on new year these days. I mean I know its an old tradition but its got an all-new vigour due to so many upcoming artists on social media. This post is more for me than you, basically I wanted to jot down all the options I am considering for a desk calendar and thought it may help someone else too. I know we are late for buying a new year calendar, but, what the heck! Its never too late. πŸ™‚

Also, a word of caution – I am totally against buying anything one may not need, so only consider this list accordingly. For example, I am not buying a planner this year because, a) I have pretty notebooks that I am going to use, b) those pretty, bulky yearly planners get too much for me, I hardly end up using them even 25% and I have so many stickers already from my 2019 & 2021 Alicia Souza planners.

Starting my list of recommendations, a mix of planners & calendars both:

  1. The Spring Palette 2022 Calendars: My #1 recommendation as I am most likely going to get this desk calendar myself. I love this artist’s aesthetic so much and she even has notebooks, coffee mugs and a lot of other such stuff. You can find her on Instagram to shop from her website too.
2022 Positivity Desk Calendar by The Spring Palette | Table Top/Office Desk Calendar | Inspirational and self Motivation Illustrations | Perfect for Gifting

2. Odd Giraffe Planners & Notebooks: I have personally not used an Odd Giraffe Planner before, but whenever I have seen other people on social media use it, it seems like a very snug & compact form of the pretty, bulky planners. The quality seems to be great too. So, you can completely consider it if you were thinking of buying a pretty planner this year.

Odd Giraffe – Summertime Blossom | Yearly Planner with Sticker Sheet and Secret Pocket | 2022 Planner Diary | Made with Recycled Paper

3. Happy Wagon Devinity Desk Calendar: Happy Wagon as a company is doing a great job at giving platform to upcoming illustrationists and artists and their website has a ton of good stationary items. This one is a personal favorite! Look how cute and pretty it is for someone who appreciates a calendar with Indian Gods & Goddesses. Extremely worthy of a gift!

Happy Wagon | 2022 Devinity Desk Calendar | Gold Spiral Bound | Tracking & Scheduling | 12 Months | 270 GSM Sheets | 22 x 15 cm | Hand Illustrations – Digitally Printed

4. Lazy Gardener Desk Calendar: Again something worthy of gifting depending on someone’s interest. I love this kind of comics style aesthetic and I am considering this calendar for myself now although I am not that much into gardening right now.

Lazy Gardener Calendar 2022 Desk for Plant Lovers, Gardening Inspired Calendar for Desk

5. Amazon Planner: If you are anything like me now and want to go for simplistic notebooks as planners, which are easier to carry and don’t have a lot of fancy stuff going on while being pretty, you can definitely consider this one. In case you wanted to know, I am not using a dated planner this year since I don’t do a lot of daily to do lists, but rather random, flexible lists. So, I’ll stick to filling up my existing notebooks first and then move to either a notebook I got myself from Darjeeling or a handmade notebook a friend got me from Nepal.

Amazon Brand – Solimo – A5 Premium 2022 Planner (5.75 x 8.25 inches), 216 pages, 80 GSM (One Day At A Time)

Apart from all these, I highly recommend calendars by Bhuli Art & Neha Doodles, but mostly those go out of stock before the year even starts. You can go to their individual Instagram pages to see if they are still available for purchase.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on them, I may earn a commission. If you intend on purchasing these products, please click on my links (or images) and then make a purchase from there. πŸ™‚

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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.

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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