Saturday, 31 August 2019

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: Indian Books in August. 2019.

Hello! 

Here we are on the very last day of August, which honestly has just whizzed up. I still feel like the first week of August was just yesterday. 
I suck at doing proper monthly wrap-ups, its one area of my bookish life I fail miserably at. But this month, I wanted to be better and document my month of reading only Indian books. It's one of my favourite reading months of the entire year, one that I look forward to and plan for months in advance. 

So let's just jump into it. 

I have read 16 books in total. 
Which is good...kinda...I was honestly expecting to read way more, but August was oddly busy and I didn't read nearly as much as I thought I would, mainly because I read Indian books wayyyy faster than books from anywhere else in the world. 
But..I read some amazing books, so I am not complaining. 


1. The Adventures of Kakababu Vol. I  by Sunil Gangopadhyay: I started my reading month with a slice of Bengal and adventure and mystery. Two novella length stories make up this volume and it was thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining and took me Kashmir and the Andaman Islands. What I like about Kakababu's adventures is that they are a little bit different than your average mystery tales, the crimes themselves are a little bit different with a hint of history and archeology and science even. 
So good. I cannot wait to read more of these stories. I can finally talk to my cousins about these stories, these stories were something all of them read as kids and I used to feel so out of loop. Thank God for translations! 

4/5 

2. The Deadly Dozen by Anirban Bhattacharya: 12 of India's most notorious serial killers. This was right up my alley, only thing I knew about most of these killers in detail, given my interest in the area. But I still learned more about some of these monsters, especially the Thugs. So entertaining and interesting and a quick read. Give it a read if this topic interests you as much as it does me. 

3.5/5 

3. The Far Field by Madhur Vijay: This book landed in my hands at just the right time. Kashmir has been in the News since August 3rd, and this book was read soon after. It made it even more poignant and relevant and necessary. It's amazing, not perfect or flawless but amazing. 
I did a full review of this one. 

4/5 

4. Bhaunri by Anukrti Upadhyay: This book had me from the word go, its so different than anything else I've read. Set in a world so different than mine. It was odd, obsessive and brimming with undercurrents and passion. It's a short but intense read. 

4/5 




5. & 6. A Closetful of Skeletons & Before You Breathe by Tanushree Podder: My sister and I spent a lovely weekend binge/buddy reading these mystery novels. Set in the hills and full of murder and mayhem and old secrets coming to haunt people. Fun, entertaining and atmospheric and largely nicely done. Perfect books for rainy days or winter afternoons and if you are in the hills on holiday. Give it a shot. 

3.5/5 for both books. 

7. Unusual Tales about The Trinity by Sudha Murty: A collection of some not so run of the mill stories about the Hindu Holy Trinity. I raced through this book and really enjoyed these stories. I also learnt some new things and being in this world took me back to my childhood and spending afternoons with my Grandma. 
Great for kids and grown-ups alike. 

4/5 

8. The Nine Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat: Nine people talk about the same girl/woman at various points in her life. Nine people who love her or have been loved by her. A really unique premise and one I enjoyed throughly, for most part. Now, let me get this out without sounding nasty, by story 5-6 I was like "OK, what's so darn great about this woman that every single one of these people are out of their minds in love with her?" I began to find it a little OTT and a little bit extra. But the writing and the treatment kept me invested and this very original approach to what is essentially a character study was pretty darn neat. Also, there are so many cats in this book. Always a good thing be. 

3.5/5 

9. Once Upon a Curfew by Srishti Chaudhary: Hmm..ya, this one just didn't do it for me. Set during the years of the Emergency, this one is essentially a love story. I just didn't warm up to this one. I didn't grow to care about the people nor fall in love with the writing. Not for me. I was expecting so much more. 

2/5 

10. The Night of Broken Glass by Feroz Rather: Another book I had high hopes from. Inter-connected short stories on Kashmir and I was hoping to for so much more than what this book and these stories ended up being. I didn't really like this...the writing was alright, I think the author 100% had the best intentions but something just didn't click with me. Not for me. Some stories I did like, a lot. But for most part this was a mixed bag at best. 

2/5 

11. Home by Salman Rushdie: Oh man. I really should read more Rushdie. This was my Independence Day read and I loved it so much. 

4/5 

12. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy: Oh boy! THIS BOOK! I had this sitting on  my Kindle for over 2 years and never even thought of reading it. I am so glad I waited till right this moment to pick it up. It is amazing. One of the best, absolute best things I've read in a long, long time. It's brilliant. Just the best thing, read at the perfect time. So, so good. 
Full review coming soon. 
Pick this up if you haven't read it yet. It's so good and so much better than the plot summary makes it sound. 

5/5 

13. The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee: Another odd but oddly gripping read. A book about a strange sorta relationship, a throuple if you will. I haven't ever read a book about polyamory, so this was definitely a little different. But not in a scandalous or vulgar way. I loved that this was just love. Three people coming together and finding something a little unorthodox was it works..mostly. 

3/5 



14. Queens of Crime by Sushant Singh and Kulpreet Yadav: Stories about some nasty women doing some terrible things. Dons, drug dealers, killers and thieves and serial killers. The writing was strictly average. But I did enjoy the wide scope of the crimes. 

2.5/5 

15. These Hills Called Home by Temsula Ao: Short stories from Nagaland, most of them covering the turbulent decades and their struggle for Independence and the underground movements and their repercussions. Well-written and haunting and simple and sincere. So good, I had heard so many amazing things about this book and they all turned out to be true. 

3.5/5 


16. Black Rose by Buddhadeva Bose, Translated by Arunava Sinha: My last read for this month and one I am currently still reading and loving. It tells the tale of a fairly unlikable man- Ranajit Datta, looking back on his life and loves. His childhood and coming of age in Dhaka, right around pre-partition, and his eventual turning into a cynical and sceptical person. 
So far, so good. I hope to hunker down and read this today and end my month with a high. 


So there it is 16 books read and most of them were such a good reads. 
An excellent reading month! 

Did you have a good month of reading? 

You were good August. 

Come back soon! 




Whimsy Wear: For the Love of Chikankari.



Hello! 

In case you didn't know this about me I have lived in Lucknow for five years. 
The land of chikankari. When we first moved to Lucknow, in the first year itself we went bananas for chikankari and bought all kinds of things with the intricate and sublime embroidery. Frocks, kurtas, cushion covers and sarees for Maa. We were in love. 
I remember my first ever chikan kurta, it was baby pink and so pretty. Over time I think I've had every colour they had on offer- pale pista green, light blue, purple and yellow. My sister had an even larger collection, especially when she moved to Delhi for college. 

Then we moved back to Bombay and eventually I grew out of all my chikankari clothes. Dad would sometimes go to Lucknow for work and get us a kurta once in a while.

I always took my chikankari clothes for granted, it was such a staple from my childhood. 
And then years later I would see chikankari in Fabindia or in fancier boutiques and the price tag on those clothes just blew my mind. I was just not willing to pay that kind of money for things I had got for so much cheaper from the place of origin. 

My love for this gentle and subtle art form always had a place in my heart. 

Earlier this year, my sister went to Lucknow for work and was there for 3 days and found time to hit up a few shops and buy us some beautiful chikankari kurtas. 
She went to Ada and fell in love with their kurtas and the range. 
You can also find them online and on Amazon as well. 


These are the ones she picked up for me. 

A yellow, my favourite colour. 
A cream/light brown one. 

So pretty! 
:) 

My sister got herself 3 full sets in chanderi, which she plans on wearing for Pujo. 
She got an aqua/mint one, a purple one and a peach one. 
They are all gorgeous. 


I am so in love with this yellow beauty. 
I plan on pairing it with a white palazzo. 


A pretty pairing. 


I adore this larger style of embroidery. The dainty and delicate style is great but this larger and more prominent style is my new favourite. 



I plan on wear this with off white palazzos and wear gold toned jewellery and maybe pearls and a silk duppatta. 


Friday, 30 August 2019

Haul: Bookmarks from The Ink Bucket

Hey everyone!

Wanted to share some new bookmark loves from The Ink Bucket. These are tiny and cute and have pompoms! So, what's not to love?!








This is a set of 5 botanical/ floral-themed bookmarks and they are so pretty and well-made!
They are not tall, more like 3.5 inches tall, but the pompoms lend themselves well to be stuck out of the book, so that you don't lose your place in it!

Hope you have a lovely Friday, peeps! :)


Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.





Book: The Turn of the Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Pages: 337

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Read On: Kindle

How Long it Took Me To Read: 5-6 hours

Plot Summary: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Things I Liked: 

1. Between my sister and I, we've read all of Ruth Ware's books. You could call us fans. Her books are usually fast paced and entertaining and gripping and overall a good time. Some are spookier than others but all of them are well-written and engaging, all things I look for in a thriller. This one was so different. 

2. The premise, the setting, the atmosphere of this book are all very, very interesting and kind of eerie. The author builds up the events in a suspenseful and sinister manner, which, much like the inspiration/ hat-tip for this book (The Turn of the Screw), makes you wonder if Rowan is imagining things or is the house, indeed, haunted. Between the Smart Home system acting up inexplicably in the  middle of the night and footsteps being heard over Rowan's room, where there is, supposedly, nothing, the book starts getting spooky right from the get-go. 

3. The writing is very on-point and non-meandering, which is always a nice thing in books of this genre. The author wastes no time in jumping into the weird dynamics of the Elincourt family- the eight year old Maddie, who does not want Rowan to be there and is being as difficult as she can possibly be, five year old Ellie, who does whatever Maddie tells her to, the complicated Smart Home system that is impossible to figure out without assistance, a toddler in the midst of her Terrible Twos, Rowan not getting much sleep every night because of bizarre things happening- all of which build this sense of stress and fatigue. As a reader, you feel Rowan's frustration and helplessness. She has been left to care for 3 kids under 8 without even a single day of overlap with the mom! The book does a great job of building up the tension and fatigue as one bizarre event after another unfolds on a daily basis.

4. There are a couple of plot twists in the book. You may see them coming. You may not see them coming. I saw one coming a mile away. The other one was a shock. So, yeah, that is always a good thing. 

5. The actual death of the child and the circumstances leading to it are all nicely depicted. Even as Rowan describes that night to the lawyer in her letter, you are left wondering (as she is) about who could've killed the child?! That bit is also nicely done. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. I wouldn't say "didn't like", more like "I wish it had been done differently" is the ending. I won't go into more details here, but I wish the ending was different. I could empathise with the outcome, but there was one aspect of the ending that I wish was different. 

Rating: 4.5/5 
This is a good, fast-paced thriller. Perfect for an afternoon of nothing-ness with a cup of something refreshing! 

Monday, 26 August 2019

Planner Pages for August 2019.

Hello! 

I love decorating my planner pages at the stat of a new week. It's one of the most grounding and calming practices I do without fail. Sit down, pull out my planner supplies, my planner and get started. Make the pages pretty and also fill them with things I need to do and things I've already done. It's both my planner and my journal, a way to document my days. 

Here are my pages for August. 


My main things///

Planner from The Ink Bucket 

Pens held snuggly in a pen slip from Lyra And Co. 

Pencil Bag from La Dolce Vita.

Stationery Pouch from Cute Things from Japan. 

Pens from Zebra Sarasa, Lamy, Pilot and Zebra Mildliner. 
Bought from various places, but mainly Etsy shops. 

On the Pages Now. 


August started with this beautiful quote from Rumi. 

Added a sticker on the Goals and Intentions Page. 


Stickers on hand to make my pages pretty as can be. 

The girl stickers are from Bon Bon Stickers

The floral ones from from Wish. 



Aren't they just gorgeous?! 


I love that this planner comes with so many beautiful floral illustrations. 
:) 
So dreamy. 
I added a girl in a similar coloured outfit to match the flowers this page. 


August Week 1. 

Some of these larger floral stickers are from Ali Express and these I use relentlessly and most commonly in my planner. These are big and pretty inexpensive, so I don't feel too guilty about using them all the time. 



I used this page to make my August To Do list. 
I like how the girl here looks like a total Boss Babe. 


More pages and a sticker-y mess. 



Each week in this planner ends with a page to note your weekly highlights, track your expenses and make plans for the upcoming week. 


These are the pens and highlighter I used throughout August, I change the contents on this pen slip each month when I change my coloured pen+ ink pen + highlighter, black pen remains the same. 


Here are all my planner beauties :) 
Essentials. 
Favourites. 
Loves. 



Sunday, 25 August 2019

Weekend Reads: The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee and The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Hey, hey!
It's another weekend! Happy Janmasthami, if you celebrate it!
We had a nice little celebration at home with prayers and mithai (sweets)!

My sister and I have picked out our weekend reads and here's what they are....


I am reading The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee. 

Plot Summary: Mira is a teacher living in the heart of Suryam, the only place in the world the fickle Rasagura fruit grows. Mira lives alone, and with only the French existentialists as companions, until the day she witnesses a beautiful woman having a seizure in the park. Mira runs to help her but is cautious, for she could have sworn the woman looked around to see if anyone was watching right before the seizure began.
Mira is quickly drawn into the lives of this mysterious woman Sara, who suffers a myriad of unexplained illnesses, and her kind, intensely supportive husband Rahil, striking up intimate, volatile and fragile friendships with each of them that quickly become something more.

Thoughts: This is an interesting yet odd book. I have never read a book about a throuple (a three-people relationship) and I like how the book takes a non-sensational approach to it. The book also touches on the connection between physical and mental illness- all thinks that my shrink heart loves! The story is quite interesting so far and I am excited to read it. 


My sister is reading The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.  



Plot Summary: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Thoughts: My sister has just started reading it and it has a whole sinister vibe, which she is quite enjoying. 


Weekend Binge



Last, but certainly not the least, we have also started binging The Terror on Prime Video. It is a supernatural horror show partially based on true events. In 1845, two British naval ships belonging to the Discovery Services set off for the North Pole/ Arctic region to map out the area and to discover an alternate route to get to North America. The two ships Terror and Erebus were never seen again! The show is a reconstruction of what could have happened to the crew of the two ships. 

Now, this show is really creepy and wonderful and just perfect if you enjoy horror shows, especially, those that have a grain of truth in them! 


Friday, 23 August 2019

5 Binge-worthy Crime Thrillers on Netflix

I've been trying to explore Netflix a bit more in an effort to find new and interesting shows to watch. In that process, here are five new (to me) crime thrillers that are totally binge-worthy!

In no particular order:

Mindhunter 




If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you'll know that we love Criminal Minds- the TV show set in the Behavioural Analysis Unit of the FBI. So, when we learnt that Mindhunter is the story of the actual Behavioural Sciences Unit started interviewing serial killers to learn more about their psyche and what triggers them to commit acts of brutality that were so new, scary and unimaginable!
The show is absolutely fantastic! The build up of the narrative, the little parallel glimpses that we are getting into the genesis of one notorious serial killer and the actual re-creation of the interviews with convicted serial killers themselves! Highly, highly recommend!


Marcella




Marcella is a police detective just getting back to work after the tragic death of her baby and her impending divorce. There is a killer committing crimes similar to an old case that Marcella had worked on but never closed. The killer is back and getting bolder. Marcella joins the investigation and struggles as she is dealing with debilitating black outs, memory loss and the emotional fall-out of her marriage ending. Through all of this, she manages to see through the obfuscation and catch the real culprit.

This show has a bit of a slow build-up in the first season and, between you and me, Marcella is really annoying sometimes! I wish they'd focus less on her personal drama and more on the case, but well, that's the premise, so what can you do?! The crime and case itself is quite interesting and I stayed with the show for that very reason.

Definitely worth a watch, but you just need to be patience.


Hinterland



Set in the utterly (and bleakly) scenic Wales, Hinterland is a police procedural show. Each season tackles 5 cases and so, it is quite a treat if you don't have the patience to watch the same case unfold over multiple episodes!

The characters are interesting, the cases are not-very-easily-guessable and overall this show has a very Nordic Noir vibe to it, which fits the Welsh landscape perfectly!

Definitely worth a watch. Netflix has 3 seasons of the show, so that is a long weekend all set for you!


Border Town

Border Town is a Finnish language show and is a police procedural as well. It is very, very Nordic Noir in treatment and each case runs for 3 episodes.

So, if you enjoy Nordic Noir and crime fiction with a lot of detailing, then this is the show for you! I've just binged the first three episodes and I quite like it.

On a lighter note, the lead detective (Kari Sorjonen) has been very "inspired" by Cumberbatch's Sherlock! :D He has a 'memory palace' and uses a lot of the same observation and rapid joining of the dots type techniques that Sherlock used in the series!


The Chalet



The Chalet is a French TV series about a group of childhood friends re-uniting in a distant hamlet on the Franco-Swiss border for a wedding. However, soon a mysterious hooded figure starts killing members of the wedding party, starting with the groom himself.

So, this is a pretty fast-paced slasher style crime thriller and is really quite interesting! Highly recommend!


Thursday, 22 August 2019

Book Haul: Books of July 2019.


Hello! 

Hope you are doing super duper well this fine August day! 
Isn't August just rushing by?! 
So I figured it's time to share all of the beautiful books I bought in July, some of them, four, I've already read. 
I am particularly happy with these bunch of books, but I say that every month!
But still...a gorgeous bunch of books that I can't wait to read sooner rather than later. 

BOOKS BOUGHT///

1. Bhaunri by Anukrti Upadhyay 

2. Daura by " 

3. The Night of Broken Glass by Feroz Rather 

4. The Adventures of Kakababu Vol. I by Sunil Gangopadhyay 

5. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay 

6. The Teenage Diary of Jodh Bai by Subhadra Sen Gupta 

7. Friends from College by Devapriya Roy 

8. How the Sea Became Salty by Sudha Murty 

9. The Confessions of Frannie Langdon by Sara Collins


Read. Loved. 
It's odd, short and intense in the best way possible. 
So good! 
Also, this is such a beautiful book. 



Can't wait to read it soon. 
I started and stopped because I wasn't in the mood for this at the moment, but I am keen on getting back to it, possibly this month itself. 



Stories about Kashmir, yes please. 



Delightful.
Read and loved. 



Another gem that I've already read and loved and reviewed. 
This one was kindly sent to me by the publishers. 


This sounds like such a cute way to present historical fiction/titles. 
I am happy to sample it and see if I want to get the others. 



My sister has read and loved and reviewed it already. 
I may read it soon too. 



Another kid lit for the month. Puffin sent this my way and I loved it so much, reviewed this one already. 


This one was a cover buy, I am not even going to pretend otherwise. 
Isn't it just gorgeous?! 
I sorta DNF-ed it but I intend to get back to it at some point.