One of my blogging resolutions for 2023 was to share a regular reading update. The latter half of 2022 hadn’t been too kind and I had dropped the ball midway. 2023 too has been eventful with work taking priority and the body in rebel mode. I have been rather picky with the books this year and DNF-ed the ones that weren’t working for me. All in all, I read some excellent books that I cannot wait to share.
Long overdue and better late than never, here is another attempt to continue with the series. Wish me luck! Read on as I share what I have been reading for the last few months. As always, I hope you find some that appeal to you too.
Books I read:
Not Quite a Disaster After All by Buku Sarkar
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Fiction, Format: Review copy / Hardcover
Two strong yet fragile women. Two women who couldn’t be more different from each other. Two women in search of their identity. Interweaved with two cities, Calcutta and New York. Calcutta felt claustrophobic for one. New York represented freedom for both.
The charm of Not Quite A Disaster After All is the evocative prose that draws you in. The anxieties. The rebellions. The wins – big and small. By no means a light read, this debut book makes you uncomfortable. A book that makes you think. If you enjoy layered characters and narrative, do pick up the book.
Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Historical Fiction, Format: ARC Ebook
The Mountains Sing is a vivid and gripping account of Vietnam’s 20th-century history. One of the first to showcase the Vietnamese perspective.
The author’s sophomore novel, Dust Child, captures the heartache and trauma during and after the war. The Amerasian children, the soldiers on all sides, the villagers, the city dwellers, and people who had nothing to do with the politics of war.
One of the most anticipated reads of 2023, the book did not disappoint. It is definitely my favorite pick of the year. I cannot recommend it enough. An all five stars read.
The Forest Keeper – The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Rina Singh, Ishita Jain (Illustrator)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Format: ARC Hardcover
Can one person with limited resources single-handedly plant a forest? The teenager Jadav Payeng did precisely that. He proved that all it takes is one individual and the determination to make a difference. Today, three decades later, the dense Molai forest (bearing his nickname) has grown into a flourishing one of almost 1,300 acres.
Picture books are an excellent way to introduce young children to ecology and environmental stewardship. All of 40 pages, The Forest Keeper fits the bill if you are a young Indian parent.
The Blue Women: Stories by Anukrti Upadhyay
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Short stories, Format: Kindle ebook
Her recent collection of short stories, The Blue Women, is no different. Some disturbing. Some quirky. Some relatable. Some riveting. But all about women who refuse to be cast in a mold. Who are as flawed as they come. 12 stories with characters that stay with you long after.
Do pick it up if you haven’t already.
Everyday Revolution: Finding clarity, conviction and joy with Feminism by Amrita Purkayastha
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Non-Fiction, Format: Kindle ebook
What exactly is feminism? And how does it work in everyday life? Career. Family. Balancing traditions. Smashing patriarchy. Why we need feminism now than ever more.
Set across five themes – childhood, marriage, motherhood, beauty and work – Everyday Revolution explores the meaning of feminism in the current context. A research with 100 women across age, class, caste, and geographies. A wholesome read with prompts at the end of each chapter for some reflection and introspection. Go pick it up already.
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Contemporary fiction, Format: Audiobook
Some books feel like a warm, fluffy blanket and a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter day. The Authenticity Project is one such book.
After some emotionally draining reads, I was looking for a light pick and this could not have been more perfect. Similar to the author’s The People on Platform 5, a varied bunch of strangers all connected through a green notebook. Each putting up appearances but trying to be their authentic self.
A book that is sure to leave you with a smile on your face. 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.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Contemporary Romance, Format: Audiobook
Harriet and Wyn, the not-so-perfect couple (they broke up six months ago), need to put up a facade for their friends at the annual trip to the Happy Place. But they aren’t the only ones with secrets.
Happy Place is quintessentially Emily Henry with second chances, found family, and flawed but lovable characters. Just don’t go in looking for a light-hearted, feel-good romance since it has a lot going on. Some that can be triggering.
It is a heartwarming read nonetheless about what being an adult is all about. Definitely recommended.
My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories by Madhulika Liddle
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Short stories, Format: Kindle ebook
Deliciously twisted stories you cannot get enough of! My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories is a collection of 12 short stories that are laced with dark humor. Revenge, comeuppance, or just plain evil. All with a twist in the tale. Although at times predictable, enjoyable reads nonetheless.
The book was recommended by Tarang Sinha. She is my go-to for Hindi book recommendations but this was a winner as well. I am looking forward to reading more books by the author.
The book is available on Kindle Unlimited and definitely recommended.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Format: Audiobook
Move over aunties! Vera Wong is here! Nosy, opinionated, your very own regular 60-year-old Asian aunty with all the trimmings. And a super sleuth in the making.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is a madcap. A cozy mystery about an old eccentric widow who decides to take matters into her own hands after a body is discovered in her quaint yet dated tea shop. Armed with all the information she needs from shows such as CSI and the like. Add a varied bunch of suspects and you’re sorted.
I really enjoyed listening to the book and definitely recommend it. Go for the story and not necessarily the mystery.
I am currently listening to Yellow Face by R.F. Kuang. It is a dark pacy satire about the publishing industry, plagiarism, racism, POC, white privilege, social media blowups, and the cancel culture. You name it and it’s there. A kind of book that works for you or doesn’t. And I am quite enjoying it.
I am also reading Calcutta on your Plate by Nilosree Biswas. If it is about food and about my second hometown, how could I miss it?
I haven’t really stuck to my TBR lately but one book that I am looking forward to reading is the ARC for the highly anticipated Much Ado About Nada by Uzma Jalaluddin. A second-chance romance inspired by my favorite Jane Austen book – Persuasion.
I am also hoping to finally get to How Creativity Rules the World: The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold by Maria Brito which has been on my shelf for a while. More so since have an audiobook now.
Last but not least, I plan to pick up a few Asian queer books for Pride month.
The reading challenges are well on track with 20 books up until now.
Most of my reads this year have been frontlists or 2023 publications. I read My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories and The Authenticity Project for the Project Backlist challenge. Everyday Revolution for the non-fiction challenge. And made a slight dent in the bingo challenge too.
On the Blog
I have Blogchatter’s #WriteAPageADay campaign to thank for the content I have shared on my blog these past few months. It is a great way to build up a bank of draft posts.
Apart from the reviews listed above, there has been a mix of guides, discussion posts, and listicles. And the launch of a new series, Blogging 101.
March to May 2023 Reading Wrap-Up: Summer Reads & More #BlogaberryDazzle #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
What have you been reading lately? Which book from the list are you planning to pick up soon? Do share in the comments below.
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