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

Book Reviews, reading

Science Fiction in India

I joined a readers group on Facebook last year. It’s a very active group that has a vast number of well-read and articulate readers. A recent post on this group lamenting the lack of good science fiction in India inspired this post today. Allow me to present the science fiction books I have read that have come out of India:

  1. Satyajit Ray’s Professor Shonku series
  2. Anil Menon’s The Beast with Nine Billion Feet
  3. Samit Basu’s Turbulence
  4. Vandana Singh’s books

There are a few literary journals too that publish SF with an Indian or Asian influence.

  1. Indian SF

Sadly this site has gone defunct but the quality of stories published was quite high and the archives are worth browsing through.

This is an international science fiction and fantasy magazine that often features stories with an Asian influence.

Papercuts by Desi Writers’ Lounge is not focused primarily on science fiction/fantasy

Published by the renowned Kitaab Publishers, and featuring a story by (ahem!) yours truly!

Science fiction and fantasy is picking up in India in a big way. Here are a couple of links I found interesting:

The unbelievable meteoric rise of Indian SFF

3 Indian works of Science Fiction

Have you read Indian science fiction? Please do recommend some of your favourite stories/books in that genre! �0

reading

Marie Kondo and the 30-Book Challenge

The internet has been abuzz with Marie Kondo and her Tidying up, and especially the part most relevant to writers and book lovers all over the world has them in a tizzy.

Her philosophy of ‘spark joy’, i.e. pick up an item (in our case we will consider a book) and if it doesn’t spark joy, then dispose of it.

The suggestion to throw away books that we will cherish forever even if they don’t tantalize us in the moment is what caused the controversy. Twitter, the blogosphere and a number of thinkpieces have erupted on it, essentially outraged at the seemingly sensible advice.

She clarified later that you don’t really need to toss your books, you can also donate the ones you don’t want to keep anymore.

Over on Writers Digest, Robert Lee Brewer has issued the “30-book challenge” in response to Marie Kondo’s tidying up advice.

I already declutter as much as possible and have, several times a month, stood facing my bookshelf with a critical eye, trying but failing to home in on titles I don’t mind disposing. I don’t ever throw away my books – I don’t know any reader who would do that – but I donate them to the library near my house who always accept the bounty gratefully.

Even if I tried to keep only 30 books and give away the rest, I don’t know how I would go about it.

Here’s just a tiny snippet of the books that sit on my shelf:

Harry Potter – 7 books

Artemis Fowl – 7

Agatha Christie – 14

Georgette Heyer – 12

Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series – 9 books

Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street Series – 9 books

Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions Series – 3 books

Jasper Fforde – 3 books

As you can see, that totals to way more than 30 (64 if you’re counting), and this is apart from the all standalone books I’ve acquired, and the nonfiction titles I cherish like Houdini’s biography, Eat Pray Love, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and even Capote for that matter. This also doesn’t take into account the 100-odd books lying on my Kindle, some read, some (ahem!) unread.

So, 30 books? Make that 300 and I’d still be wringing my hands about how many you’re making me throw away. Make it 3000 and then maybe I could consider the matter.

What’s your take on Marie Kondo’s “30 books” advice?

reading

World Book Day #Shelfie

In honour of World Book Day today, here are a few #shelfies to celebrate! The books don’t belong to me, unfortunately, and neither does the bookshelf. Both are the property of the erudite owners on whose property I stayed recently. They wisely kept the bookshelf locked! If they hadn’t, I am sorry to say I might have tucked a few under my arm and run off with them!