Thursday, 31 December 2015

Farewell 2015.


2015. 

A year of 220 + books.
Of over 120 films. 
Of 2 months of travel. 
Of seeing family. 
Of going back to my family owned Tea Gardens. 
Of experiencing..spring, summer, winter and monsoon.
Of coming up with and ruminating over so many story ideas. 
Of being happy with simple things. 
Of being anxious over little things. 
Of being sad over things big and small.
A year of living. Of learning. And being. 

You were decent to me, 2015. 
I bid you farewell with a smile and gratitude. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

A little something I wrote late last night on my Tumblr.
I was sitting in my bed, all warm and comfortable and looking back at the year that really seems to have just whizzed by me. 
I remember December 31st 2014 so clearly it's absurd. 
I remember being in my kitchen. Whipping up a meal for my sister and me. 
My sister had an insanely busy time at work and so I was doing a special meal to cheer her up.
Latke and Chicken Cutlets. 

And now here we are a whole year later! 

I see no point in fretting over things big and small because before you know it...the time has passed on. 

2015 was a decent year for me...

The world at large, on the other hand had quite a chaotic year.
War.
Terror Attacks.
Racism.
Sexism.
Violence. 
Unkind words and actions. 

But there was also goodness, kindness and helpfulness in abundance. 

And I hope 2016 brings more joy and brightness along. 

We could do with some gentleness in this world of ours. 

I hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve. 

And I hope 2015 was a nice year for you. 

:) 

2015 Favourites: Top 5 Indian Books of 2015.

Hello! 

I love reading Indian books. 
Well...duh! You already knew that! 
And I am Indian so why not read and love from my own country? 

I read a lot...a LOT of Indian books this past year. More than books from any other country or region. 

And I had a very hard time picking my top 5 reads. 

But here they are my favourite Indian reads of 2015. 


1. Drowning Fish by Swati Chanda: A book I picked up ever so randomly and was really sucked into the story and the lives of the women in this family. So good. Such a ride and really emotional as well. It deals with East Pakistan, the formation of Bangladesh and love and loss and tragedy and family and holding on to the past. So very good! A full review can be found HERE. 


2. Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh: A genius. A conclusion to a trilogy this was a magnificent book. A full review can be found HERE. So good. Read Ghosh and just fall in love with his writing and story telling.  




3. The Weight Loss Club by Devapriya Roy: A book I picked up on a day I was sad and this book sounded like a fun read that would cheer me up. And it did. Not only was it fun, it was also poignant and realistic and packed with absolutely wonderful characters. So good! A full review can be found here. 


4. 1/7 Bondel Road by Gautam Benegal: A book I read in the very beginning of the year and fell in love with it. The stories set in one lane of a Calcutta neighbourhood was charming, nostalgic and just comforting. Plus set in one of my favourite cities in the whole entire world. I adored this book and this was once again a random pick that I wasn't really expecting the world from. A glowing review can be found HERE. 



5. The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan: This is the second book in the Taj Trilogy. A historical fiction book series set in Mughal India which is utter captivating and immersive. I am a huge fan go Sundaresar's writing and this book was no exception. I read this 400 pages + book in one day flat. I could not put it down! It was that good. I highly, highly recommend this series and any of Sundaresar's other books. I never did a full review since this is a second book in the series but I loved this book from start to finish. 

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Top 5 Reading and Blogging Fails.





Hello! 

While I was listing all sorts of Top 5 books of the year. I began to think of things I wasn't as kicked about and things I had not done nearly as well as I would have liked to. 

I had many plans and hopes for my blog and I did so many of those things while others I failed dismally. 

So let's see what they are shall we...

1. Monthly Wrap-Ups: I really wanted to a month end reading wrap-up on the blog. Thereby, talking about every single book I read and do a little review on it as well. I did precisely 2 posts of this nature and then just let it go. I don't know why...actually I kind of do.I read over 15 books in a month and the very thought of talking about alll of them gives me the heebie-geebies. :( I guess I feel a little lazy listing all of the books and talking about them. And honestly there are some books that I have nothing to say about...heh! I might try and do better with wrap-ups next year.

2. Project 365: This one breaks my heart.
I really wanted to document my life, things big and small and have picture a day for the entire 2015. But...I got to week 32 and then just stopped.
The thing is at the beginning of 2015, I wanted to use my camera more and take a picture a day.
I did well for most part.
Then in August our laptop crashed and every, EVERY SINGLE picture I've taken this year was gone.
I was heartbroken and angry and felt like the one thing I wanted to do this year was just gone.
And because of this I was so off with project.
But this is something I most definitely want to do this project in 2106 and I want to document my entire year.
Wish me luck!

3. Reading Classics: This is more a reading letdown I've had. I have always meant to read more classics. And God knows I have motley collection of  classics to choose from. Yet I've read a dismal number of classics this year. Something I absolutely need to amend this next year. And read more classics and make a dent on my Penguin English Library books. And read more Modern Classics as well.

4. Not Re-Reading: What is the point of having a personal library if one doesn't read old loves? I re-read...like 1-2 books this year properly and then I read some of the Feluda stories again. I definitely need/want to re-read some books on my shelves.



5. 15 Books in 2015: I made a list in the beginning of the year. Of 15 books I must read in 2015 and you know what? I didn't read even a single book on that list! :) Not one! For shame!!!!!!
I might make a similar list in 2016 and I will share it on the blog to document it and may be that will make me want to stick to my list and do better on it.
Let's see.

I don't want to be very hard on myself and list more and more things I've done wrong with my reading and blogging. I do these things because I love it and it makes me happy. I don't want to hold myself to some standard or rules. I want to do both of these things- reading and blogging- in my way and do them in a way that makes me happy.

:)




Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015 Favourites: Top 5 Short-Story Reads of 2015.

Hello! 

2015 has for me been a year of reading and loving Short Stories. 
I love Short Stories for a variety of reasons...

  • They are great for busy days. Dip in and out.
  • Great for when you don't want to get into a full fledged novel.
  • A great way to try a new author. 
  • A great way to try a bunch of authors in case of an anthology. 
  • Great option for reading in travel.. again dip in and out and not get too caught up. 
Here are the short-story books I loved best in 2105...in no particular order.
Since I read a lot of Indian Writing in 2015, most of these books are by Indian writers. 


 1.My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories by Madhulika Liddle: I adored this collection of stories with a twist. Great writing and stories that leave you with a gasp. So good and such a fun ride. Read the full review HERE


2. Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by Various Authors: This was my Halloween Read for the year and such a fulfilling read. Scares, spooks, mysteries and twists and turns. So good. Even if you aren't a YA reader I'd recommend this book to you. Read a full review HERE.  


3. Another Man's Wife by Manjul Bajaj: I loved this collection of short stories, enjoyed the writing. The range of the stories and all of the wonderful characters. I didn't do a full review but a mini-review is up HERE


4. Falling in Love Again by Ruskin Bond: A sweet and very charming collection of stories by Ruskin Bond. This was a summer read that I immensely enjoyed. I am not the most avid reader of romance stories but this was in typical Bond style very soothing and comforting and very charming. I rated it 4/5 but somehow forgot to do a review it on the blog. 


5. Karma and Other Stories by Rishi Reddi: Such wonderful stories set in both India and within the Indian diaspora in America. Stories of families, changes and adjusting to new life and lifestyle. Also how gorgeous is this book?! Read the full review HERE

I hope to read more short-stories in 2016.

Monday, 28 December 2015

2015 Favourites: Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads of 2015.

Hello! 

When it comes to books I am a fiction reader through and through. 
I have always been drawn to fiction books and for years I didn't read any non-fiction. 
But in the last few years in a bid to read from other genres I have turned to non-fiction titles. 
I especially enjoy memoirs and true life accounts. 

I don't read as many non-fiction books as I would like to but here some books I really enjoyed from this genre in 2015... 


1. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore: A newish read for me and one I read in one sitting and really enjoyed. It was utterly charming. I did a full review on this book, which you can read HERE


2. Aarushi by Avirook Sen: A sensational case that to this date remains shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories. I might not agree with everything the author has said in this book but I enjoyed this book immensely and it got me thinking. And I read this book in one sitting as well. A full review can be found HERE. 


3. The Old Man and His God by Sudha Murthy: Real life stories full of inspiring and every day characters. Real and genuine and heartfelt and such an inspiring and enjoyable and light read. So good. I always enjoy Sudha Murthy's writing and this was such a comforting and soothing read. A did a mini-review on this book HERE. 


4. Mrs. Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna: This was such a funny book. And entertaining and such a fun ride. I don't read a lot of Twinkle Khanna's articles in the papers but this book was so good. I highly recommend it. A full review is HERE.



5. Something Happened on The Way To Heaven, Edited by Sudha Murthy: 20 inspiring stories written by real people dealing with everything from an acid attack, death of a loved one and even the Partition. Really good and enjoyable. Read the full review HERE. 


Monday Moods: December Diary Part- II.








Hello! 

Another December Diary...of things and bits that made up this month for me. 

1. Christmas presents wrapped up so beautifully. 

2. Winter means cozy pyjamas. These pjs in particular are really old..like from 2004 and they are super soft and comforting. 

3. Christmas nails. Red and Gold. 

4. Nivea loving...winter means newer skincare regime and Nivea is simple but effective and so good! 

5. My dad's birthday...and yummy chocolate cake. :) 

6. My Christmas read this year..Harry Potter! So perfect! :) 

It's been a good December so far. 

Hope your December is going well too. :) 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Currently Reading: Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling and Illustrated by Jim Kay










Hello! 

The moment I got this book in my hands I knew this would be my Christmas Read of 2015.
Harry Potter in general is a perfect reading material for the holiday season. 
And this illustrated gorgeousness is perfect in every single way. 

The story is a classic and the illustrations are just darling. So good! 

Each page is making me smile and sigh deeply and relish this story all over again. 

So good! 

My current reading life is a very happy one. 

If you haven't bought this book yet do it. It's so worth it.  

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas 2015.

Hello! 

Hope your Christmas was a Merry and Bright one. 

Mine was a quiet one. Just how I like it. 
Time spent with family. 
Eating yummy grubs that my Maa cooked. 
Eating guava cheese. 
Watching Home Alone and The Martian. 

A good Christmas. 









Can't quite wrap my head around the fact that Christmas has come and gone. 

And in a few days 2015 will be done with. 

I hope the last few days of 2015 go well and all of you have a festive last few days of the year. 


Thursday, 24 December 2015

2015 Favourites: Top 5 Literary Fiction Reads of 2015.

Hello! 

Today it's time to list some of my Literary Fiction Top 5 reads. 
We, the sister and I, were really lucky to have read some amazing books this year. 
And while choosing the Top 5 contenders for this list we actually came up with more than just 5 books. 
Not a bad thing at all. It just means we read great books and just couldn't narrow down the list. 

Let's see the books we loved in this genre...in no particular order! 




1. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: A spectacular war story. Full of wonderful characters and some lovely writing. This Pulitzer Prize winner is a gorgeous novel that I highly, highly recommend. A full review can be found HERE


2. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler: A simple, easy and very engaging story about a few generations of a family and their lives and loves and conflicts and so much more. A book I loved immensely. This was on the short list for the Man Booker this year. A full review can be found HERE




3. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: A book I wanted to read since I first heard about it. A book about friends through the years. About growing up and so much more. Love, suffering, abuse, healing, hurt and pain and kindness and friendship.  I loved it. It was hard to read. It might be the most depressing book I've ever read. Yet I am glad I read it. This though in all honesty is not a book I'd recommend to anyone. It is not a book for everyone. And you've got to be in the right frame of mind to read this book. 
An in-depth review can be found HERE. 



4. Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh: One of my favourite authors of all time. This book was the conclusion to the Ibis Trilogy. A fantastic end to a fabulous trilogy. If you haven't read Amitav Ghosh, do it now. He is a spectacular writer. A full review is HERE.  



5. Code Name Verity:  A story of friendship, War and secrets and truth. An astonishing novel about feisty female characters, bond between friends and the hardships and suffering during the War. So good. Read the full review HERE


6. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: Ishiguro is a very gifted story teller and this book was a gem. A story of a butler and rapidly vanishing way of life in Post-War Britain. Subtle, moving and a treat. A review can be found HERE. This book won the Man Booker Prize and it is such a well deserved win. 

I couldn't just stick to Top 5 books and had to squeeze in an extra book. 

:) 

Also a Very Happy Christmas Eve to you. :) 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

2015 Favourites: My Make-up Favourites of 2015.

Make-up Faves


Maybelline beauty product
295 INR - asos.com


Mac cosmetic
nordstrom.com


Inglot
1,390 INR - macys.com


Bobbi Brown Cosmetics lips makeup
1,790 INR - macys.com


Mac cosmetic
1,455 INR - bloomingdales.com


Mac cosmetic
1,095 INR - belk.com


L Oréal Paris black eye makeup
1,765 INR - nelly.com


MAC Cosmetics matte lipstick
1,125 INR - belk.com


MUA Eyeshadow Palette Heaven And Earth
395 INR - superdrug.com





Hello! 

I love make-up and beauty and have always been an enthusiast in these matters. 
So while I was listing all of my 2015 bookish faves I couldn't help but make a list of make-up bits I've been loving all year round. 

Some of these, like my Painterly Paint Pot from MAC are old favourites and some like my Primer from Inglot are new loves. 

See Sheer was my most worn and most loved Lipstick and I also adored my Bobbi Brown Brown lipstick. 


The Ingot primer saved my life...ok atleast it saved my make-up from melting. So good, a perfect save for people with oily skin. 


I am so happy I went back to my MAC Studio Fix Powder. It's so good. Great coverage and it goes on so smoothly. This was a re-dsicovery and one I am glad to make again. 


MUA eyeshadow palette in Heaven and Earth is an affordable dupe for the Urban Decay Naked Palette. The shadows are lovely and the colour pay-off is also decent. 


What Make-Up have you loved in 2015? 


Something you think I ought to try? 


Do tell.