I have been on a mini hiatus of sorts. It had been a rather eventful 2022 with summer transitioning to fall to the Holidays with barely any give. Add to that medical emergencies and hospitalization. Glad 2022 is finally over.
I began sharing monthly reading updates last year but could not continue beyond July. Some of the posts are still stuck in the drafts folder. I hope I do follow through this year *fingers crossed*. That said, I did plan a 2022 reading wrap-up too but life had other plans.
Moving on, January as always began on a busy note. It is also a difficult month personally with reading taking a backseat. Although it was not a conscious decision, most of my picks this January have been about women written by women. It could well have been “femme January”. There have been quite a few 5-star reads as well.
Books I read:
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski & Amelia Nagoski
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Nonfiction, Format: Audiobook
Work, family, patriarchy, systemic bias, gaslighting. We often don’t realize that women experience burnout differently than men. The stressors are different. The process to deal with stress is different.
Burnout was recommended by our very own Sakshi @ Beryl B and was the perfect pick to start the year. It is so much more than your typical self-help book. As a woman, much more relatable with a lot of a-ha moments. Ever wondered why a popular self-help suggestion is not really working for you? Check out how the authors have tweaked them into more workable actions that actually work.
Highly recommended. Do check out Sakshi’s detailed review.
The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Format: ARC ebook
A serial killer on the loose. A missing bar dancer. A cop fighting his own demons. From the glitzy high life of Mumbai to its dark underbelly. The wheeling dealings and the nexus. The gripping police procedural will have you turning the pages.
The Blue Bar was one of my most anticipated reads for 2023 and it completely lived up to its expectations. Similar to her debut book, You Beneath Your Skin, this one too is well-researched. The writing is lucid transporting you to the city of Mumbai.
Highly recommended. It is the first book in the Blue Mumbai series. I am eagerly looking forward to the next in October 2023.
Devi (The Story Project Book 10) by Tell Me Your Story
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Anthology, Format: Kindle ebook
As the name suggests, Devi (Book 10 in The Story Project series) celebrates the goddess. The divine feminine energy that is not limited to gender, race, or form (even human form).
A collection of poems and short stories addressing social and gender issues. Whether it is the story of a mother from a marginalized society standing up for her daughter-in-law’s remarriage. Or a dalit devadasi transforming into the form of a furious Ma Durga to save her daughter from a similar fate.
Be sure to check out the video links at the end of the book for panel discussions. I discovered The Story Project series by in 2022 and have been catching up on them.
The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Format: Audiobook
Some books feel like a cup of warm chocolate on a cold winter day. A book that you wish did not end. The People on Platform 5 is one such book.
Strangers on a train. A varied bunch who rarely talk to each other. Who already have assumptions and perceptions. And there’s always one that loves to meddle. Doesn’t that sound familiar? We have all been there.
Recommended by Shalini @ Shalzmojo, this delightful read explores issues such as homophobia, ageism, bullying, mental health, and mid-life crises in the most subtle way. A book that is sure to leave you with a smile on your face towards the end.
I read the audiobook and the narration was the cherry on top. If audiobooks are your thing, that is the format I would definitely suggest. Clare’s Pooley’s next in on my TBR already.
The Trouble With Women by Jacky Fleming
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Graphic Novel, Format: Kindle ebook
“In the Older Days there were no women which is why you don’t come across them in history lessons at school. There were men and quite a few of them were Geniuses.”
I had picked The Trouble With Women in 2022 but never got around to reading it. I finally picked it this year and it was a fun read.
With a generous dose of sarcasm and laugh-out-loud moments, the graphic novel is a take on the history of women. But in some ways, it is also bittersweet. How women were excluded. The shocking comments from geniuses that would have been called out in this day and age. And rightfully so.
Can we have a similar one about Indian women? Pretty please! Highly recommended!
Fiction Treasure Trove: 31 Short Stories by Children edited by Sonia Dogra and Vandana Bhagra
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Anthology, Format: Kindle Ebook
The Keekli Charitable Trust held a pan-India short story writing competition last summer for young writers under the age of eighteen. The winning entries were compiled in Fiction Treasure Trove. A collection of thirty-one imaginative short stories across genres.
Although it is targeted at children, the book can be enjoyed by adults alike. The sheer creativity and the writing style of tweens and teens are sure to impress you. A range of topics from Greek mythology retelling to a talking cat to adventure to fantasy fiction to the everyday issues that might be considered “grown-up”.
If you enjoy audiobooks, the stories are also available as podcasts. Some of them are narrated by the authors themselves. I highly recommend you pick the book. Detailed review coming soon.
We are already a week into February and I have finished a couple of books. More on them in the February update. Here are the books I am currently reading.
I picked up Before Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi in January but had to keep it on the back burner due to the triggers. Reading a book on loss was not a great idea. The third book in the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series is a compilation of four interlinked short stories. Four visitors who wish to travel into the past for another chance at goodbye.
I have enjoyed author Jhumpa Lahiri’s literary fiction. I also enjoy reading her essays on the craft. As someone who has worked on a fair number of book covers, it was an interesting insight into the author’s point of view in The Clothing of Books. Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri makes for quite an interesting read too.
There are two books on my February TBR.
The first one is ARC for Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai which comes out on March 14h. The author’s debut, The Mountains Sing, was a vivid and gripping account of Vietnam’s 20th-century history. The human cost of war. Set 50 years after the war, Dust Child explores the aftermath of the war. The tragedy inherited by the ostracised mixed-race Amerasian children.
I am also looking forward to reading The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. The story of a green notebook that brings together six strangers.
In the past two years, I did not sign up for reading challenges apart from the usual ones. This year, I am dipping my toes although not putting too much pressure on myself.
As always, I have set a decent target of 24 at Goodreads and Blogchatter that I would probably update later.
This year, instead of the Beat the Backlist challenge, I have signed up for Kal @ Reader Voracious’ Project Backlist Reading Challenge. A challenge more targeted at tackling the owned TBR and pending ARCs. I’ve signed up for Committed Reader (read an owned book a month) and ARCrastinator (clearing overdue ARC list).
So far the going’s been good.
From the Blogosphere
A new year! A spanking new reading tracker spreadsheet! And Kal’s Ultimate Book Blogger Reader Spreadsheet is the best one out there. I have been using it since I began book blogging and it has been a lifesaver. Get it now if you haven’t already.
Do you reread books often or just do so to catch up on the series before a new release? Check out Nicole @ Thoughts Stained With Ink’s post on Embracing the Reread.
If you enjoy fantasy fiction, stay updated with Exciting February 2023 Releases with Sahi @ My World of Books.
What does make a good review? A glowing five-star review? Or genuine honest feedback? Do read Yvonee @ The Coyaterpillar Reads‘ piece on it.
Hope you enjoyed the reading wrap-up and have added a few to your TBR. What have you been reading in January? Do share in the comments below.
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