Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
This year I have read, and read, and then read some more. The pile of books on my shelves never seems to decrease, and I have had to reboot my Kindle many times because of the load on it. Reading to review brings with it some pain as well. Sometimes I get late in posting a book review, and feel the author’s pain….other times it is a challenge to write a good review for an ordinary book. Some books are so gorgeous that I fear my review will never do them any justice!
I only wish I had more hours in the day to read more and share amazing books with people.
My favorite reads for the year have to begin with a mention of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcias Marquez. The book draws me to it, and every year, I re-read it and make notes on what new stuff I stumbled upon in the latest round. I have had to buy a new print version this year because the other one is 15 years old, heavily underlined and full of notes I can’t read myself. This is one book I cannot read on the Kindle… I need to feel it and its pages.
My favorite reads for 2015, in no particular order, are
What can I say about this book? That I love it so much, read parts of it to make a point about Darjeeling teas, have gifted it to my tea loving friends, and yet have not written a review on it!! Not to mention that the questions that I thought I had sent to the author sat in my drafts for months-and he was gracious and adorable to send the answers back promptly!!My first review in 2016 will be this one!
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
This book held my attention, much in the manner that Marcus Zusak’s book The Book Thief did. I wanted to rush through each chapter to know what would come next and I did not want the book to finish!
The Spinner’s Tale, Omar Shahid Hamid
Such a smart book and a chiller thriller! Is Ausi really the dreaded militant Sheikh Ahmed Uzair Sufi? Does he destroy everything in his path and are the stories about him true? A chilling thriller!
Half of What I Say, Anil Menon
Durga Dhasal, the teacher, mentor and activist is killed by Lokshakti, and his death throws the life of many around him in a tizzy. The book is a fascinating read. I read many books this year where authors showed off their terrific observation skills and their knowledge of other literature, people and places but the attempt to fit them into their stories was gauche and inept. Anil Menon however does it brilliantly. An intelligent, superbly written book!
In the recent years, the narratives on Kashmir are making their way into fiction. Curfewed Nights by Basharat Peer changed my perspective on Kashmir forever, and the following two books broke my heart.
Red Maize, Danesh Rana
A heart wrenching story of a Kashmiri mother and her three sons caught up in the web of intrigue, lies and danger spun by the Indian army, the militants and those trying to survive!
The Book of Gold Leaves, Mirza Waheed
Mirza Waheed spins a beautiful tale of love and romance in one of the most conflict ridden places on earth. The love story of Roohi and Faiz,the plight of the Kashmiris and Kashhmir make one think ‘What If’!
The Gita, Roopa Pai
I never quite got a grip on the Bhawagad Gita before I got my hands on this book. Roopa Pai does a brilliant job of deconstructing the epic poem and explaining it in bite sized portions that I find easy to refer to and understand!
In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
Julia Alvarez’s fictional account of the famous Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic who protested against the dictator Trujillo and three of who were slain by his men. A brilliant book on family, society, of fighting for what is right, and of being scared even when one is brave!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
The book reminded me how waves of immigrants to the US have struggled with the same issues of poverty, ignorance and loneliness in the new land, to create a life for themselves through hard work and resourcefulness. Francie Nolan is hard to forget! And when I do get to the Brooklyn Bridge, it will remind me of Francie’s account of it!
Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women’s Writing, Annie Zaidi
The sheer breadth and depth of this book is daunting. Selected from hundreds of novels, memoirs, essays, short story collections and volumes of poetry that were either written in English or that have been translated into English, the pieces in this collection include the most distinctive and powerful voices from every era.