reading

Chipping away at the TBR Pile

I’m on something of a reading spree these days, having finished 4+books in the last 6 weeks. Granted, two of them are nonfiction books on writing, but that’s how I read anyway. Consuming some writing advice always inspires me to write more and to just keep writing.

The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright

A funny, heartwarming, female-oriented book centered around three mom-bloggers and the fierce competition between them. I read this pretty quickly and enjoyed it a lot, but I had to overlook the unlikely coincidence that all three women are related in some way or the other (this is not a spoiler – its revealed pretty early in the book).

Unladylike: A Memoir by Radhika Vaz

I read this book almost in one sitting! I found it quite a quick and easy read, and extremely funny! The most hilarious parts dwelled on her childhood and growing up in different places. I’d have liked to read more about her journey into comedy but that is somewhat glossed upon towards the end. Overall a great read!

Show Don’t tell by Sandra Gerth

A handy guide for writers that illustrates the old adage of ‘Show Don’t Tell’ using examples to show both how to do it and how not to do it. I know most of this stuff already, but seeing it laid out specifically to show both how to do it and how not to do it.

Releasing the Words: Writers on Writing by Various Authors

I am mainly browsing through this book so I can dip into the nuggets of advice it contains, on a variety of topics pertinent to writers, from conquering the inner critic to battling writer’s block.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’m reading this now, and it totally deserves all the accolades it’s got so far! I’d never imagined that a novel featuring serial killers could be so darkly comic! If you haven’t read this yet, please do so now!

Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale

My second current read, a complete contrast from the other one, features all the drama that happens in an apartment building in Mumbai. Its familiar and interesting and another book deserving of all the accolades coming its way.

I’m really enjoying my reading these days, and I’m so glad I’ve fallen back into the reading habit with such ease. The rush of reading and finishing a good book is unparalleled.

What are you reading now? Any book you would like to recommend?

reading, Writing

Writing Resources Roundup

It’s been a while since I did a roundup of useful and exciting writing-related articles on the web. Here’s the latest I’ve been reading:

Ten Writing Resolutions

If you’ve ever followed any kind of resolutions for writing, check this post. It offers a completely different set of resolutions, not the usual goal-setting kind.

How to Outline a Novel

The brilliant Roz Morris has a new post on Ingram Spark that details the various ways one could outline a novel. I am very much a plotter for long fiction, though I move into pantser mode for short stories. This article gave me a few good ideas on how I’d plot my next novel (even if the previous one lies unsold :D)

15 Exercises to Strengthen your writing

Searching for prompts to practice your writing and beef up some of those writing muscles? Look no further than this article from Writer’s Relief.

The Anti-Procrastination App from Hell

Ever yearned to watch your words evaporate in a wisp of virtual smoke? Then try the world’s most dangerous writing app! It will delete everything you write if you stop typing for five minutes. Frankly, I’d prefer that option, because under that kind of pressure anything I wrote would be super-crappy.

Why and Where You Should Start Submitting Your Writing This September

Once you’ve made your resolutions, tackled the prompts, outlined your story and overcome the dangerous writing app, you might have a finished story that you would want to start sending out to suitable venues. Check out this post to read a helpful guide to submitting, and it also includes links to markets. And while you’re there, subscribe to Authors Publish! It’s one of the best resources for writers filled with links to literary journals and publishers accepting submissions.

And bonus exciting news – Margaret Atwood’s book The Testaments is out! This is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, a book that terrified me but was a brilliant read.

Do you have any exciting writing-related links or news to share? Drop it in the comments below!

reading

The Grand Georgette

If you’ve been reading books for any respectable length of time, you would have encountered the works of Georgette Heyer, even if for some reason you haven’t read them. (Why haven’t you, by the way!)

Georgette Heyer is the final word in Regency Romance, though she did write detective novels as well that were equally funny and brilliant. She wrote her first book while in her teens, and churns out the wittiest dialogues in her novels.

Her books are often thick and published in tiny print, but I have read them all to ragged shreds and would never part with them.

My favourite books of hers include:

The Unknown Ajax

This is not the most popular choice even for those die-hard fans of Georgette. Most of her books feature lavish balls in London and plenty of shopping, but this has none of that and instead focuses on intrigue and mystery.

Cotillion

The rare book in which (spoiler alert!) the heroine unites not with the handsome devilish rake but the well-mannered and stylish hero. Freddie and Kitty are one of my favourite couples from all Georgette Heyer books.

Venetia

An unusual one in which the heroine does fall in love with the rake but is the rake as rakish as he appears? I didn’t mean to turn that into a tongue-twister but that’s essentially the plot.

Frederica

Another unusual one in which the heroine is not the prettiest girl, her younger sister is.

The Devil’s Cub

This one is more of a conventional romance with a rakish hero who, we hope, will mend his ways by the good influence of the feisty heroine.

Georgette Heyer remains one of my favourite authors whose books form my set of comfort reads. Whenever I want to read something funny and literary but I don’t want to tax the brain with the intricacies of a brand-new plot I reach out for my good old stack of Georgette Heyers and they never fail to disappoint.

Check out this website dedicated to her and her books.

Have you read Georgette Heyer? Which of her books do you love most? Or is there any other author who’s your favourite?

reading

What I’ve been Reading

Every so often I compile a list of my latest reads, inspired mostly by Nina Badzin who maintains an enviable collection of books she’s finished reading.

Here’s the latest on my pile:

Name, Place, Animal, Thing by Vrinda Baliga

This is a beautiful collection of extremely well-written short stories by my friend Vrinda Baliga. Each story throws up little gems that the reader can savour. The title story could almost be a novella with the multiple aspects and sub-plots within. Though I loved Bonsai and Preparing for Life in a Dead Man’s Home and many others, my favourite remains Stranger Anxiety. The different POV but simplicity of the story and the subject held me riveted, and when it ended, I felt just a little sad, both for the protagonist and for myself.

A great collection, highly recommended. Read it and enjoy.

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

I’ve read this before but long ago, enough that I can partake of the beauty in the writing and the storyline. If I remember correctly, I’ve even seen the movie version starring the brilliant Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson as well.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

I’ve just started on this number one bestseller, and it’s a fabulous literary read so far.

The Productivity Project: Proven Ways to Become More Awesome by Chris Bailey

I try to mix at least some nonfiction into all the fiction reading I do, and this came recommended from multiple sources. I’m halfway through and finding it useful if not groundbreaking.

All this reading has helped me reduce my ever-burgeoning TBR pile just a little, but not much! I’m eager to read more of the books I’ve purchased recently.

What have you been reading lately? Any particular book you would like to recommend?

reading

Tsundoku

I recently learned about the practice of Tsundoku, which means hoarding books in vast numbers, more than you ever intend to read.

I admit – I’m guilty of this. The appearance, the smell and the touch of books excites me so much. Even the sound of the spine of a hardcover being cracked open!

If I don’t have a big TBR I don’t feel life is worth living. The large list of books I want to read practically gives meaning to my life! I live and love to read them one by one and knock them off my list.

Despite having hundreds of books in my shelves, I still maintain a huge list which I plan to wade through whenever my kids allow or after they sleep. Both of them suffer an unfortunate tendency to tear out the last few pages from my books, which makes reading crime thrillers or suspense thrillers a somewhat unviable enterprise.

For a few years in between I quelled my urge of buying new books by getting hooked to the neighbourhood library, but as the quality there started dipping, I renounced my membership and now manage with KU and Prime reading memberships only.

Now I maintain my books read and to-be-read on GoodReads, which I’ve resumed updating. This works out pretty well.

Check out my new bookshelf in the image above! As you can see there’s plenty of space in it and it’s only a matter of time before books are spilling out of it. �

Use this link to connect with me on GoodReads! I’d love to see what everyone else is reading.

reading

What I’ve Been Reading #WorldBooksDay

On the fabulous occasion of World Book Day I thought I’d share the names of the books I’m reading which is coincidentally the post I was working on next anyway!

I usually read 2 or 3 books at a time, two on Kindle and one print book. Usually I go for a mix of fiction and nonfiction. I try not to read fiction in the same genre that I’m writing, but anything by the master is always welcome.

The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty by Kavita Kane

I recently finished reading this book, my first by this author. Though I knew a lot of the story beforehand I enjoyed reading it and I plan to add more books of hers to my ever-burgeoning TBR pile.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Several readers in the readers group I’m a part of recommend this book. I picked it up and though I’m only a quarter of the way through, so far I find it a fascinating look at how our species came about.

The Four-hour Workweek by Tim Ferris

I had been curious about this one for some time and finally ordered the print version. I am not a great fan of self-help books in my adulthood, having consumed tons of them during adolescence. I’ve made good progress on this one and I’m halfway through now. It has thrown up some good ideas which I intend to try out in the near future.

Men without Women by Haruki Murukami

I needed a break from all the nonfiction I was reading so I chose this and of course I don’t regret it. His stories are inexplicably simple and well-written and thought-provoking at the same time.

What have you been reading lately?

Image by Gellinger on Pixabay

reading, Writing

This Week in Writing and Publishing News

The last few weeks have seen have quite some excitement in the world of books and publishing. Each of the news pieces I’ve mentioned below are fascinating to read about.

A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions

AJ Finn’s novel Woman in the Window became a huge bestseller last year. It followed the trend of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. But how much do you know about the author? This article on the New Yorker tells a long and absorbing tale of a writer whose personal life offers more drama than his books. Don’t miss this – worth a read despite the length.

YA author pulls debut novel due to accusations of racism

Author Amélie Wen Zhao had to pull her YA Fantasy novel after early reviewers dismissed the book as racist. This and other instances has created the need for sensitivity readers, though their impact on books and publishing is something we’ll observe in the years to come.

Jeff Bezos exposes Dan Pecker before he exposes him

I think everyone must have read about this one by now. The news was hardly out when McSweeney’s had a riposte ready. Check out I Am Jeff Bezos: Man Of Principle, Champion of the Exploited

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

Not a news-related piece, but an excellent one nevertheless on livening up your nonfiction using storytelling techniques.

If all that wasn’t enough, here’s something to tickle your funny bone:

Eat Your Feelings at These New Restaurants for Writers“From the Memoir Bistro to the Rejection Café, we’ve invented 8 dining establishments for the literary”

All these articles gave me more than enough food for thought over the last few days. Anything else that caught your eye but missed mine? Let me know in the comments! ac