Sunday, 31 May 2020

May Book Haul!

Hi Readers! May has flown by! I have already boasted about how I read 12 books this month. And, May has also thankfully been the month in which I was finally able to order new books! As any other reader, I have a huge To-Be-Read List which keeps getting longer every single day, believe it or not! And, only a few of the books on my TBR match the categories of my 2020 Reading Challenge, which is why I had to do twice the research before ordering these five books! I’m pretty sure I haven chosen well. Have a look!



This one has been on my TBR for a few months mainly because it is recommended by so many people all over the world. I have already finished reading half of it. And, though it is not the greatest of all, it is quite enjoyable so far. By reading this book, I will have ticked the category of ‘Recommended by an Internet Stranger’ from my Challenge. It is rated quite highly at 4.17/5 on Goodreads. Below is the Goodreads Description:

“At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.”



‘An American Marriage’ is another novel recommended by a lot of people. It is also recommended by Bill Gates. So, if I like this book, I will put it under the category of ‘Recommended by a Celebrity I Admire’. It is rated at 3.96/5 on Goodreads & below is the Goodreads Description.

“Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward- with hope and pain- into the future.”



A while back I had started reading ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ on its e-book version & I was quite intrigued. Now, this may sound weird, but there are some books that I can easily read digitally, mainly light reads. And, then there are these books which I need to read from the paperback versions. This is why, I bought this book & being historical fiction, I’m quite sure I will like it. This book again is recommended by Bill Gates. So, either this book or the above book will go under the category of ‘Recommended by a Celebrity I Admire’ depending on which I like better! Its Goodreads rating is 4.35/5 on Goodreads. The highest of these five books! Check out the Goodreads description below:

“He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.”



‘Gilead’ is not as popular or even as recommended as the other books on this list. I will tell you the story as to how it came on my TBR list. A while back, I was reading all novels which turned out to be very disappointing. So, I was totally done with reading mediocre literature. I took the decision only to read Pulitzer Prize winning books, at least till I felt better about my reading choices. That’s when I saw ‘Gilead’ which had won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005. After reading the description, I was all for it! This is definitely one of the books I will read in near future. It has a rating of 3.85/5 (low according to my standards, but I am ignoring that) & below is the description.

“Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows "even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order" (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.”



I had always wanted to read something by Ta-Nehisi Coates, but since most of his works are non-fiction, I wasn’t very keen on it. But then, I came across this fictional novel & I knew I had to read it. When I read this, book I can finally tick the box on ‘Recommended by Oprah’ from my Reading Challenge. The Goodreads rating is 4.07/5 & below is the description.

“Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her — but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.”


So! That is about it! Along with these five, I also am yet to read ‘The Nightingale’ by Kristin Hannah, ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ by Jhumpa Lahiri & so many more!! Let’s all have an amazing month of June! Happy Reading to all!

Until next time,

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