Saturday, 31 August 2019

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


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! 


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. 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. 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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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! 

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