Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Miguel Street. (Mindscape Reviews)

Hello Readers! April is about to end already, how crazy is that? I have already read 7 BOOKS this month & will most likely finish another by tomorrow, rounding it up to 8! Just like in March! I read V.S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street & it wasn’t to my likes. From my 2020 Reading Challenge, I had to read a book by an Indian author, which is why I thought I’d read this one. Naipaul’s books are highly acclaimed & so I was intrigued to read his works. I suppose I started with the wrong one! I have been told that Naipaul’s ‘A House for Mr. Biswas’ & ‘In a Free State’ are really good. So, whenever I feel motivated to read, I will choose one of those! For now, here’s the review for ‘Miguel Street’.

Miguel Street is essentially a short novel consisting of interrelated short stories revolving around the people residing in Miguel Street, Trinidad, where the author was based in his early years. The narrative is from a young boy in Miguel Street who observes all the things around him. Along with this, there is a lot of dialogue between characters all the time. Given that the story is based in the wartime period in Trinidad, the dialogue is played out naturally, as the people there would say. Which means, about 85% of the book is in incorrect English which was the most painful to read. It is a very simple book with stories of simple people.

I rated this book at 2/5 on Goodreads. It is a book where you will find people living in poor conditions and yet they have so many hopes & dreams. So, firstly, I will tell you the few good parts that I liked. While I hated the prose, I think the structure of having linked short stories was interesting. I also liked how there are so many calypsos throughout the novel. It was a nice touch, given that they are originated in Trinidad. While some stories were okay-ish, others were completely irrational. I liked how a few stories had a sad ending, which was quite realistic. But, in the overall tone of the book, I failed to find any hints of humour. It was entirely a dramatic book. And now, moving on to all its faults.

As I mentioned above, I was not a fan of the prose, that is, the incorrect English. It really made it impossible to read. Even though the idea of interlinked short stories was good, there could’ve been a lot more sentiment to it if it would’ve been implemented properly. In most of the stories you will find men beating their wives & children. Reading something like that with so many examples of misogyny was quite difficult in the year 2020. I suppose the best part was that it was a short book, which lessened the pain of reading it. Anyway, I hate reading bad books which are just not fulfilling. I took a chance on this one because it was a short book which also had a 3.94 rating on Goodreads! Goodreads sure has started to let me down. Anyway, I hope I will like V.S. Naipaul’s other books.

Currently, I am reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Untamed by Glennon Doyle & Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling! I am not at all enjoying Lolita, which is obvious, I guess. On the other hand, reading Harry Potter is giving me all the joy. And, I really hope I like Untamed. It is another highly rated novel, but my bet is that I will like it. Let’s hope!

Until next time,

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Books as Outfits!

Hi Readers! Happy Saturday Night to you all! If that kind of stuff even matters anymore. These days it feels like there is a lot of time and nothing to do. (Of course, there are things I ‘should be’ doing, but I don’t. So, technically there’s nothing to do.) This is why, I took on the ‘BOOKS AS OUTFITS CHALLENGE’. First I saw this was on Twitter. I love the book fandom on Twitter! Actually, EVERY FANDOM is better on Twitter!

Anyway, after I did a little photo shoot for the World Book Day, I was again left with very few things to do. So, that’s when I remembered about the Books as Outfits Challenge & decided to just go for it! My friend Suruchi pointed out how this was such a great idea as I have both books & clothes in excess! (Very funny.) But, while I am on that, I wanted to know if there’s any SHOES CHALLENGE? (Perhaps started by Sarah Jessica Parker? Not yet? Okay.) Because I have those in excess too & would love to click photos of them. I know how I sound & I don’t really care. We need to do what’s best for us ‘in this time’.
Enough of rambling! I decided on 7 books which would be best & for which I had similar coloured outfits! Check it out!!

Fun, right? Hope you liked these! If you are looking for some fun Quarantine activities, then you can definitely do this!
PS: Let me know about any shoes challenge though. XO.

Until next time,

Revised : 8 Things To Do in 2020!

Hi Readers! Hope you all are well & staying safe! This Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we live & work. A few weeks into the lockdown, I knew this won’t end any time soon. I tried not to think about my 2020 Goals. Now that it is difficult to maintain physical & mental stability, I just could not think about getting closer to the goals I set to accomplish in the beginning of the year.

Finally, I had a rational thought-process & took the decision to edit my ’20 Things to do in 2020’. Funnily enough, the revised edition includes ‘8 Things to do in 2020’! I know it is a lot less, but these 8 things are the ones I am definitely doing, no matter what. These include-

Write 50 Blog Posts.
Write 2 Short Stories.
Learn 25 Recipes.
Read 52 Books.
Doodle once a month.
Help Mom in Daily Chores.
Take a photo every day.
Personal – Savings.

My earlier list was a lot more passionate with specific goal setting for each task. But, now I am only focusing on things that are achievable while keeping my own sanity. To everyone out there, who had big goals this year, don’t be so hard on yourself. You need to upgrade yourself according to your circumstance. You can come up with new tasks or you can focus on just a few which you can actually see getting done.

We are all in tough situations. Let’s not put additional burden on ourselves when there is no reason to. Let’s focus on what’s important - Staying healthy & seeing through the end of this pandemic!

Until next time,

Thursday, 23 April 2020

My Top 10 All Time Favourite Books! | Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day, my Readers!! On this joyous occasion, I came up with the idea of telling you all about my 10 Favourite Books of All Time! Fun, isn’t it? You can any time check my Goodreads to get this list, but after my colleague asked me about it, I just had to write a post on it! I have rated all these 10 Books at 5/5 on Goodreads! Here we go!

I read this wondrous book ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. It just touched my heart! It has very rightfully won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction back in 2015! This is hands-down one of the best books I have read in my life. It is a beautiful story in the historical fiction genre, set in France during WWII. There are two story lines – Marie-Laure & Werner Pfenning. Reading this novel gave me a lot of hope. It’s the kind of book that you just need to read to unravel its uniqueness.

Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’ is undoubtedly #2 on my Top 10 Books! This one also won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014. Whenever I read the name of the book, I am teleported to the time I read this book; a world of literary brilliance! It is a wonderful story of Theodore Decker & the painting he stole – The Goldfinch. I think he is someone who has seen everything that’s possible to see in one lifetime. Death. Addiction. Adventure. Obsession. Fate. Life. It is incredible how many challenges he faces & how he comes out of them. At times, the book is downright emotional, at other times almost too cruel. But, when you see how it is pieced together towards the end, you will be the one feeling all the feelings possible!

I read Markus Zusak’s ‘The Book Thief’ long ago, which is why I don’t exactly remember it. But, what I remember is that I truly enjoyed reading it! I think this book is usually on every reader’s Top 10 List & I won’t be surprised by that! Similar to ‘All the Light We Cannot See’, this book is based in the time of WWII. The protagonist is Liesel who is our little book thief. What starts as a harmless theft, turns into an overgrowing love for books for Liesel. And, while she is engrossed with her books, much more intense things happen around her which end up altering her life.

This little modern-day classic by Hanya Yanagihara has captured my heart. This book won Man Book Prize in 2015. ‘A Little Life’ is the story of one person – ‘JUDE ST. FRANCIS’. It revolves around his horrific childhood, all the people connected to him as he grows into adulthood & his mental health. The book starts out as something but grows & ends up in something entirely different. This intense & powerful novel focuses on the realities of friendship. It puts forth the horrors of abuse. It is sadist and yet there is beauty in it. It is intense yet there is joy in it. It is something else & you won’t know until you read for yourself.

What can I say about this absolute treasure of a novel? I’m an ardent Khaled Hosseini fan & I love all of his books! The Kite Runner is definitely his best work. It captures so many emotions which contradict themselves giving the reader such pleasure in the whole experience. It is a wonderful & heart-warming tale of friendship between Amir & Hassan. There are a million little things that will touch your heart. This along with A Thousand Splendid Suns & And the Mountains Echoed are a MUST-READ!!

Most of the books you will find here are fiction, but Melinda Gates’ ‘The Moment of Lift’ is one such beauty which I had to include. It is the single most amazing non-fiction book I have ever read! The Moment of Lift is a book reflecting on how empowering women changes the world. It has topics such as Maternal & Newborn Health, Family Planning, Girls in Schools, Unpaid Work, Child Marriage, Women in Agriculture, Women in the Workplace & the last chapter – Let Your Heart Break: The Lift of Coming Together.

The best thing about these topics is that the author hasn’t put a lot of facts & data into it. Yes, there is data. But, it is always accompanied with real life stories. Melinda Gates has travelled the remotest parts of the world & shared it with us. She talks about how we need to focus on the people who are on the edge. We need to make outsiders feel like insiders & stop creating a world where there is an inside-outside parameter. Her experiences are remarkable & it reflects in all the stories she has written.


I am sensing a trend in my Top 10 Favourites, which is, I am a definite fan of HISTORICAL FICTION! Taylor Jenkins Reid's ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ is another novel from the historical fiction genre & I absolute love this one! I could say it is more light compared to the others on this list, but still not any less intense. This was a pick on Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club & probably the only one which I loved so much.

It’s like reading a documentary about the best band there ever was. Daisy Jones is someone who is popular for nothing in particular, until she finally starts singing & writing songs. The Six consists of 6 members of the band. They have a lot of talent, but not as much fame as Daisy. So, together, they become a perfect combo. It starts off with different chapters wherein there are story lines happening for Daisy & The Six parallely until the stories finally merge & the outcome is a beautiful song named 'Honeycomb'. It is simple. It is intense. It is glorified. It is magic. It is 70s rock n roll!


Here is another Non-Fiction Treasure! This amazing book is written by Lori Gottlieb who is a brilliant psycho therapist. As the title suggests, ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ is about therapy. The author talks about her different patients who see her for a lot of different reasons. Their therapy journey is beautifully showcased from start till end. We also get to see Lori’s therapist & their sessions. Throughout the book, there is so much character development from all these characters that is nothing but inspiring. Lori, her patients, her therapist! It’s brilliantly written & after reading it, even you will take something from it in the form of therapy.

Paulo Coelho is another one of my favourite authors! I think that putting ‘The Alchemist’ on this list is just too common, but I had to. I loved that book. It had so many giveaways! This too I read a long time ago & so don’t remember it all. Here is the Goodreads description though-
Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different, and far more satisfying, listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

Now, last but not the least is Anne Frank’s ‘The Diary of a Young Girl.’ This is undoubtedly one of the most powerful & emotional classics. I don’t think this book needs any introduction. If you haven’t read it already, you MUST!

So, this was fun. It did take me some time to come up with this list. Out of my 26 ALL-TIME FAVOURITES, I picked the above 10 & I am certain I have made a good decision! It was also fun to do a photoshoot with the book with me in it! Ever since the lockdown started, this must be the first time I dressed up for this! I’m so proud!

HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY to all of you!!

Until next time,

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

A Little Life – To Read or Not to Read? (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Readers! After a couple of weeks of intensive reading, I have finally finished reading Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A Little Life’, and boy, what a story! I finished it a couple of days back & yet I’m still thinking about it. The thing with this book is, if you get attached to it, you are bound to ignore all the problems & the little flaws that it has. This clearly happened with me. On the other side, if you don’t get attached to it, all you will see is a repetitive story line, grotesque details & an unsatisfactory ending. I should warn you, this is going to be a really LONG POST because I have a LOT OF FEELINGS TO SHARE! Also, it contains minor (not major) spoilers! Let’s get to it, shall we?

Anyone who wishes to read this book, please know that it contains a lot of disturbing things such as child abuse, sexual abuse, toxic relationships, self-mutilation, suicide, rape, drug addiction & violence. There are a lot of triggers & it is absolutely inadvisable to read for people who have suffered or are sensitive to these topics. I know it’s a pretty boring way to start the review, but I honestly don’t want people to read this if it is going to affect them in a negative way.

I did a lot of research after reading the book. Some of the reviews claim the book to be ‘THE GREAT GAY NOVEL’. Some claim it to be an ‘EPIC TALE OF FRIENDSHIP’. A few have said it is ‘TORTURED PORN’. It is neither of these. It is the story of one person – ‘JUDE ST. FRANCIS’. It revolves around his horrific childhood, all the people connected to him as he grows into adulthood & his mental health. The book starts out as something but grows & ends up in something entirely different. It’s like we can actually see the author trying to find her way through the novel. In any other case, I would have found that annoying, but in this case, it feels like it’s a secret between the author & the reader.

The novel starts with the four of them; Jude, Willem, Malcolm & JB.
Jude St. Francis with a horrific childhood later becomes a mentally unstable adult yet an intimidating lawyer. Willem Ragnorrson works at a restaurant called Ortolan but later becomes a famous movie star. Malcolm Irvine joins a firm but later starts his own business in architecture. Jean-Baptiste Marion has always been the most talented artist. Over the novel, we see how their friendship strengthens & weakens but lasts for 30+ years. Some of the other recurring friends are Richard; also an artist, Andy; Jude’s doctor, Harold; Jude’s Law Professor & Friend, Julia; Harold’s wife, Asian Henry Young & Black Henry Young; from college days, Richard & Citizen; from US Attorney Office where Jude used to work earlier, Lucein; from Rosen Pritchard where Jude works now. Yes, there are A LOT OF CHARACTERS, but it is never confusing & just adds to the beauty of it.

When you decide to read a 720-page book, you commit yourself to it. It’s not just another book. It’s something you stick to, even when the story doesn’t go your way. Pretty much like a relationship. Soon after I started reading, I found myself eternally bound to the characters. I was so attached to them. My happiness knew no bounds when Harold & Julia adopt Jude. I cried every single time something terrifying happened to Jude. I was so impressed with JB’s art that I wanted to see all his paintings & same with Willem’s movies. I wanted to visit the Lantern House to actually see Malcolm’s architectural brilliance in it. All the moments in the book I have imagined in my head & lived it along with all of them. Such is the INTENSITY of the book. You cannot not feel emotions while reading it. And if you cannot, you shouldn’t read it at all.

Many reviews mentioned how all of Jude’s friends were enablers, but I beg to disagree. I think this is the REALITIES OF FRIENDSHIP that the writer has created. All of them are real & practical to one another. Usually the ‘Friends Forever’ stuff we read in books is a bunch of crap not portraying actual friendships.

The part where Jude & Willem entirely stop talking to JB is real; it happens.
The part where initially Willem is hesitant to talk to Jude about his cutting is real; it happens.
Jude helping JB get off of drugs even though he knows it’s of no use is real; it happens.
Also, I liked how real all of their relationships were: on-off, breakups, no one wanting to have a child.
All this is real, it happens!

You mess up in friendships, you get angry at your friends, sometimes you make up, sometimes you don’t. That’s just how life is, which, I think, is depicted quite truthfully.

In contemporary books such as these, there are usually two timelines which catch up in the end, which is a component in this book as well. But in such cases, almost always, there are periods mentioned (like in All the Light We Cannot See or in The Time Traveller’s Wife), but there are no periods mentioned in this. There is NO HISTORICAL CONTEXT either. No idea what era the story is from. I thought that was beautiful in a way. The book is long enough, who needs those additional details anyway, right? This is one of the reasons I loved the PROSE. The author has done such a fabulous job. Yes, a few things could have been cropped out. But, her WRITING STYLE IS SO POWERFUL that it can make the reader cry. And, that in my opinion, is the highest level of compliment.

Now, about the characters! I really liked how there are SO MANY CHARACTERS throughout the novel. Some are important, some are recurring & some are just to beautify the story. As much as I loved the first chapter about their earlier more care-free days, I think it was quite brief. I would have loved to read about all the shenanigans they did at their apartment in Lispenard Street. I think that was the perfect start to prepare us for all the suffering that followed. (Haha, not kidding.) I also liked how all the men were so emotional & cried freely & relied on their male friends. I don’t know if this is normal, but it was nice to know that something like this could exist.

I know there are a lot of things in Jude’s childhood which are written in a quite detailed & grotesque manner. The way the author writes about the cruelties of his childhood was something else. But also, it seems a bit impossible. One person having to go through so much, it does seem UNBELIEVABLE. I think a few things could have been cut to reduce the level of abuse. Also, in other books, there is always therapy that fixes such a person, but that’s hardly the case here. I wasn’t a fan of how THERAPY didn’t work.

I was also disappointed about THE GAY ANGLE leading to Jude & Willem’s relationship. I know there was no way around it, because if Jude had to trust someone, it had to be Willem. Being in a relationship just made his feelings come out more naturally. So, I’ll let it slide.

I was also not very satisfied with the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, especially Jude’s, because there isn’t much to it. We see his entire life unfold before us, page after page. And yet, when we are at the end, it looks a lot REPETITIVE & UNWORTHY. But, the character development of all other characters, especially Willem, Malcolm, JB, Harold, Richard, Lucein is commendable. This leaves me to confess that I wasn’t a fan of the ENDING. But, I can understand why it ended the way it did.

I know it looks like there are a lot of points to not read the book, but the thing is you won’t think about these little points when you are actually reading it. It will never occur to you because you will be engrossed in the story! And, these are such minuscule details that it won’t even matter. And, I’m not only saying this because I really want you all to read the book. I am saying because it’s how I felt. Reading this book feels exactly the same way Jude feels when he keeps cutting himself. It is painful, yes, but it is also a release of emotions. Just as it keeps him from shouting, so it does for the reader. It is sadist and yet there is beauty in it. It is intense yet there is joy in it. It is something else & you won’t know until you read for yourself.

I have naturally rated it at 5/5 on Goodreads & it’s among my Top 5 Favourite Books of All Time. By reading this, I have completed the category of ‘Book with 500+ Pages’ from my Reading Challenge!

I had to wait a few days to let out all my thoughts & feelings about A Little Life from my system. Now, I obviously need to read something light. I will start reading ‘Scrappy Little Nobody’ by Anna Kendrick soon enough!

Until next time,

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Readers! As promised, I am back with a book review for Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing. I finished this book a couple of weeks earlier but hadn’t gotten to write the review till now. This review CONTAINS SPOILERS! Ok, go ahead now!

This is another pick from Reese’s Book Club & I am glad I liked this one. For me, the book picks from Reese’s Book Club are always flaky. Sometimes I love them but at other times I don’t find them too profound or worthy. It’s more of an on-off relationship. Anyway, this book is quite good! When I started it, I was quite intimidated because it has a Goodreads rating of 4.5 & not a single 1-star review. And, given my judgmental reading style, I wasn’t sure if I should read it. Because, what if I’m on the only one who thinks it is 1 star? I got over it soon enough!

There are two parallel story lines in the novel. The first story line, which starts in 1952, begins with the life story of a girl named Catherine Clark aka Kya who lives in a house in the marsh. She has a complicated family & no friends. Everybody keeps leaving her which is why she has serious trust & abandonment issues. In the other story line set in 1969, there has been a death of local man named Chase Andrews & this part revolves around solving his murder. The novel evolves from 1952 until it finally catches up with the second story line in 1969 & in all these years, we get to know Kya Clark, The Marsh Girl.

Now, let me be clear, this is a simple coming-of-age story of Kya. There is not enough crime or mystery in it to leave you at the edge of your seat. Not at all. It is a simple story. It is not something I’d usually like, but for unknown reasons, I liked it.

To read this book, you need to leave your way of practical way of thinking behind. Apart from the mysterious death of Chase, there are many unusual things that happen in the book. I really liked how Tate & Kya became friends. Kya didn’t know how to read or write. Tate taught her that. They had a cute relationship. But, it was so unusual for a guy like Tate to go off to college & then cut Kya off completely. Then there was the chapter of Chase. It felt so unnatural that a popular & handsome guy like him would want to go out with the Marsh Girl & she would instantly say yes to that. Most of all, she had been on her own since she was a kid & was able to make a living for herself. There isn’t any mention of Childcare Services either, which is odd.

I could relate to Kya’s trust & abandonment issues. But, throughout the story, it is shown how deeply it impacted her when they all (her mother, Jodie, her father, Tate & Chase) left her. It is incredible how she made a living from such a young age by selling gritts to what we can call her only father-like friend Jumpin. It’s such an inspiration how she grew up & built so much character. And, when those people (Jodie & Tate) came back, she had enough reason not to talk to them, so she didn’t. But, in the end, she accepts them. A girl who couldn’t read or write becomes an author of 3 published books! The character arc is beautiful that way, which is something I enjoyed.

As for the 1969 story line of Chase’s murder, it wasn’t that gripping. It also consisted of little content than the first story line. The Court hearing was interesting to read. In it, it was quite evidently proven that Kya (who was arrested for Chase’s murder) was guilty. But, when, at the end, I understood she had actually killed him, it felt unreal. It was an almost impossible task (exactly how the opposition had stated it) and yet it turned out to be true. That was a bit disappointing.


After immediately completing the book, I was touched by it & had rated it at 4/5. But, now that I had time to process it, I’ll revise my rating to 3.5/5! It’s a good read, no doubt, but not as good as I had expected. By reading this book, I have completed the category of ‘A Book Everyone is Talking About’ from my 2020 Reading Challenge!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am currently reading A Little Life & thoroughly thoroughly enjoying it, with all its sentiments, emotions & feelings! I am also re-reading Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, but my speed on reading it has slowed down as I am reading more of the aforementioned book! I don’t have any ideas for new posts yet, so it could be a while until I write another! Stay safe, everyone!

Until next time,

Sunday, 12 April 2020

What's in my Bookshelf!

Hi Readers! Today is Day 22 of Social Distancing for me. Having to stay at home has sure changed my routine. Apart from the few household chores, I have started doing a lot of things that I did probably just once a year or never at all. I have started cooking a bit. I am back to doodling after a gap of 4 months! I also made bookmarks recently which was fun. I’m also maintaining a Social Distancing Diary every day. On some days there is something unique and others not. But, I am doing my best for one day not to be the same as the next, in order to keep my sanity. I broke my sleep cycle when the stay at home began, but now I am gradually getting it back on track. I love waking up early. I get that extra hour or two to read in peace. I hope you all are also doing something fun, even though unproductive to stay sane!

So, talking of fun things, I always heard about these ‘What’s in my Bag’ videos that fashion bloggers or lifestyle bloggers are into. I even shot one such video with my colleagues, which was quite fun. But, now that the purpose of ‘bag’ has lost all meaning, I thought of editing the concept a bit. So, here I am with a What’s in my Bookshelf Post! I know, there are obviously books in my bookshelf, but when I reorganized my bookshelf, I thought this would be a great idea! Below are some of my book nooks! Hope you enjoy the photos!
You can see the bookshelf in the above image. So, in it, the first three shelves are mine. Fourth is my younger brother’s & the last one is my father’s. I’m only going to describe my shelves, because obviously they are the most organized & prettiest!

This nook of my favourite books has been here since I got the bookshelf. It makes me feelgood to look at these favourites together. You can also check these on my Goodreads profile. In case you’re not able to read properly, these include (L-R):
And the Mountains Echoed, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Daisy Jones & the Six, Uncommon Type, The Moment of Lift, The Goldfinch, All the Light We Cannot See, The Kite Runner, The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Book Thief, Jane Eyre, The Hate U Give, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Interpreter of Maladies, The Perks of being a Wallflower.

There was a time when I used to read NOTHING BUT YOUNG ADULT fiction. I used to think that even though these were stories with teen protagonists, the meaning conveyed was deep. Now that I have grown up, the fascination has decreased, but I still like to read some YA Fiction now and then. Needless to say, I own all of John Green’s books! Here’s a snap of my YA collections (L-R):
Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, If I stay, Finding Audrey, Five Feet Apart, Eleanor & Park, The Sun is Also a Star, Where She Went, Shatter Me, After You, Holding up the Universe, On the Come Up, Little Fires Everywhere, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, All the Bright Places, Paper Towns, Let it Snow, An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Turtles all the Way Down.
Whew, that was a lot!

I think the first book I read & liked was Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone. And, because of this, I have always read everything he has written, no matter how mediocre. I started reading because of him, so I am going to continue to read his books. There was a time when I explored a few other Indian authors who write romantic novels, but none was to my taste. I can’t believe people my age still read such books. Anyway, here’s a peek. It looks like a typical roadside seller’s gallery.

So, apart from books, I have a lot of other stuff in my bookshelf. I have these cute 4 stuff toys. I have those 2 decors given by my friend – the owl & Starbucks cup. Those faces are what I got from my trip to North India. You must have noticed these items in my book photos quite often. I love to add them in there!

I think I have all the kinds of bookmarks one could possibly have! From a teddy faced bookmark to magnetic bookmarks to Hermione-on-a-wand bookmark to Amazon bookmarks & lastly self-made bookmarks! I read multiple books at a time, so it’s nice to have choices. What can I say, I just love everything having to do with books!

I have a cute collection of diaries. I wasn’t collecting diaries or anything. But, because I love them & love to write, people often gift them to me. And, I absolutely love that! I haven’t written anything in any of them yet. Some of these I have bought, a few are given by friends & family. Keep them coming, folks!

Lastly, I have got 2 sets of To-Be-Read pile of books. All the other read books I have kept on the inside, as one shelf can hold 3 stacks of rows. The upper one is the pile I intend on reading soon & the bottom one is the pile I will read some day!

That’s pretty much it! I adore my bookshelf & thought I’d dedicate at least one post to it! Hope you liked it!
Until next time,

Monday, 6 April 2020

March Reads: 8 Mini Book Reviews! (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Guys! Hope you all are doing okay. Being at home has been good for me. So good that I got to read EIGHT BOOKS in the past month. I haven’t been this proud of myself in the recent past. What’s even better is that I LOVED THREE BOOKS, HATED TWO BOOKS & the rest THREE were AVERAGE. I don’t think I have read so many books in a month and loved at least three of those! Check out the mini reviews!

This is hands-down one of the best books I have read this year. I had bought it long back, but never took to reading it. But, when I finally started, 5 pages in, I knew it would be amazing. It was. This novel written by Anthony Doerr won the Pulitzer Award for Fiction in 2015. It is a beautiful story in the historical fiction genre, set in France during WWII. There are two story lines – Marie-Laure & Werner Pfenning. Reading this novel gave me a lot of hope. It’s the kind of book that you just need to read! I have rated it at 5/5 on Goodreads. I checked the ‘Pulitzer Prize winning Book’ category by reading this book.

Unlike Khaled Hosseini’s earlier 2 novels, this one is a little bit different. It does revolve around the people of Afghanistan, but instead of 2 main characters, it is made up of little stories of a lot of people of Afghanistan that nicely tie up together. What is common in all three is that they will have you surging with all the emotions & leave you all cried out. The story writing, as always, is wonderful. The author knows how to play with words & readers’ feelings. If you haven’t read it already, you definitely should! I have obviously rated it at 5/5 on Goodreads.

I read Khaled Hosseini’s Sea Prayer immediately after I finished ‘And the Mountains Echoed’. I just did not want to live in a world where I had not read EVERYTHING written by KHALED HOSSEINI. Sea Prayer is a piece of art with amalgamation of words with painting. It is an illustrated book which is written about the refugee crises. It’s a letter from a father to his son. The wonderful illustration are by Dan Williams. I rated this book at 4/5 on Goodreads. By reading this, I have checked the ‘A Book based on a True Story’ category.

This was my first book by Jhumpa Lahiri. It had been on my TBR for a LONG TIME. I just started reading the e-book out of nowhere & I was hooked! It is a small book with a collection of 9 short stories revolving around Indian based abroad. All the stories are heart-warming & touch base with Indian culture. I absolutely loved some, but I wasn’t a fan of 2-3 stories. Be that as it may, the writing is so beautiful. I have never quite read something so wondrous that could touch me even when I cannot relate to it. I rated it at 4/5 on Goodreads. This book checked the category of ‘A Book of Short Stories’ from my Reading Challenge. I’m keen on reading her book named ‘Unaccustomed Earth soon enough!

I had started this book & given up on it many many times. But, this time I finally completed it. I thought it was quite average & overhyped. Goodreads describes it as ‘Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.” As with most classics, I didn’t think it to be as great as most people think. I rated it at 3/5 on Goodreads. From my 2020 Reading Challenge, I checked the category of ‘A book mentioned in a TV Series (Little Fires Everywhere)’ by reading this one.

The Silent Patient is a psychological thriller & actually a debut novel by Alex Michaelides. It won the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller. It’s the dark & twisted story of a woman named Alicia Berenson. It was a good debut novel. Even though there were some obvious misses, I have rated it at 3.5/5 on Goodreads. The thing I liked was how it is an UNPUTDOWNABLE book. By reading this novel I have now ticked the ‘A Debut Novel’ category form my 2020 Reading Challenge!

I read this book on a colleague’s recommendation. It is written by a Japanese author & is translated to English. After having read 3 of Murakami’s books, I thought I will explore more Japanese authors, but it didn’t go so well. I usually love WEIRD stories, like in Kafka on the Shore. But, this one was way too weird & not for me. It is comprised of three short stories, each one more bizarre than the last. I rated it at 1/5 on Goodreads. I checked the ‘Recommended by a Friend’ category from my 2020 Reading Challenge by reading this book.

The thing that most bothered me most about this book was the writing style. What Goodreads mentions as ‘lyrical prose’ is nothing but ‘lazy writing’. It is a different style for me to read, yes. But, I am very open to new styles especially when it comes to books. This one just didn’t do it for me. The story is butchered into a million parts. It is really difficult to understand the link of one thing to other. The Atlas of Reds and Blues is not written well enough, in all terms: novel style or prose style or metaphorical style or social matters style. I cannot stress how difficult it was to read the book. It was pointless & fails to set a tone with the American or Indian or any reader. I rated it at 1/5 on Goodreads. This book was in none of my Reading Challenge categories, so I put it under ‘A book with Blue cover.’

I will write a book review for 'Where the Crawdads Sing' soon enough. I am currently reading 'A Little Life' by Hanya Yanaghara & also re-readin Harry Potter, because why not!

Until next time,

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