Now that the festive season is almost here, it’s time to look forward to the best time of the year. With the last quarter upon us, it is also time to reflect on the year gone by and begin making plans for 2024 (Already?).
September has been quite eventful but a good reading month too. As always, quality over quantity. I am back with another reading update with some excellent recommendations you should pick up.
Books I read:
Smoke and Ashes: A Writer’s Journey through Opium’s Hidden Histories by Amitav Ghosh
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Non-Fiction, Format: Audiobook
Author Amitav Ghosh compiles his research for the Ibis trilogy in a captivating narrative of the history of opium from the 19th century to its impact on the world in the now.
As a tool that played a significant role in the survival of the British Empire. Its everlasting impact on India and China. The opium wars. The contribution of Dutch colonials. Fertile plains and proficient natives rendered worthless by the ruthless production practices, the effects of which can be seen centuries later too.
Smoke and Ashes is indeed an eye-opener. I read the audiobook narrated by Ranjit Madgavkar and it is indeed an engrossing one.
Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Format: Audiobook
Think you know the person you married? Think again…
A couple sets off on a weekend getaway to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate their tenth anniversary. But nothing is what it seems like on the surface. Although it is an attempt to save their marriage, neither plans to return back home with the other.
Rock Paper Scissors deserves the hype. It gets off to a slow start but that killer twist more than makes up for it. I definitely didn’t see it coming. I highly recommend the audiobook. The narration by Richard Armitage and Stephanie Racine was the cherry on top.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Format: Audiobook
Another book that deserves the hype is Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow. I buddy-read it with Siddhi Palande @ book_gobbler and it is always a joy discussing a book with a fellow book lover.
A coming of age novel about two game developer friends Sam and Sadie across decades. Friendship, love in all shapes and sizes, grief, professional and personal jealousy, and lots more. Coming in after reading Lessons in Chemistry, it did make me more partial towards Sadie and the lack of recognition of women in the workplace. It would have been a 5-star read for me if not for the penultimate chapter that quite felt like I had switched to another book.
That said, if you enjoyed Normal People, this is the book for you.
Blue Mumbai Stories: A Mumbai Short Story Collection by Damyanti Biswas
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Short Stories, Format: Kindle Ebook
While we await the second installment of the Blue Mumbai series, The Blue Monsoon releasing on October 24th, author Damyanti Biswas gives us an insight into the backstories of characters from the series.
Blue Mumbai Stories began as prompt-based writings with the author’s monthly One-shot gazette. Compiled into a short book of just over 50 pages, they give a voice to some characters with a generous dose of Easter eggs.
Although it can be read stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the two books from the Blue Mumbai series first.
The Book of (More) Delights: Essays by Ross Gay
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Memoir/Essays, Format: ARC Ebook
A project to pen down daily delights for a year. Some basic rules – write daily, draft them quickly, and write them by hand.
Following the success of the New York Times bestseller The Book Of Delights, author Ross Gay returns with Book The Book Of (More) Delights. Sharing a new chronicle of small, daily wonders.
True to its name, the book is truly a delight to read. Consider it a book to turn to when you are having a bad day. To be comforted and affirm the joy in the world. It hones your own delight radar to appreciate the simple joys of life. Some essays make you introspect. Some make you nostalgic. Some bring a smile to your face.
Woman to Woman: Stories by Madhulika Liddle
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Short Stories, Format: Kindle Ebook
Woman To Woman is a collection of twelve hard-hitting, no-holds-barred, women-centric stories. Honest, thought-provoking, quintessentially woman. Be it sex trafficking, infertility, abandonment, ravages of age, or soft targets of terrorism.
I read the book in one sitting. If you enjoy reading short stories, do pick it up. You will definitely not be disappointed.
Madhulika Liddle is a master storyteller and I am looking forward to reading all her books.
Box of Lies: A Love Story, Without Love by Ekta Kumar
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Fiction, Format: Kindle Ebook
A love story, without love.
Box of Lies is a gripping tale of greed, lust, fear, and hope set in the chaos of the independence era. The story of Raseeli from the dark corners of a brothel to a radio star. The story of Sitara, a neglected wife struggling with the weight of expectations.
Well-etched characters and an engrossing narrative, this debut novel hits the right buttons. Switching back and forth between timelines, it is an insight into the lives impacted by the freedom struggle, independence, and beyond. And lives where little changed.
I am currently reading The Museum of Failures by Thrity Umrigar. It is a slow read and I hope it picks up soon.
I am also reading the highly recommended All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir. It is a difficult read and true to its name, fills you with rage. I will probably be picking up a few romances soon after completing both books.
I am taking a break from setting up a TBR this month and probably going forward this year too. I am a mood reader and still have quite a few from the past months to get to. I have also cut down on blog tours given the start of the Fall/Holiday season where work takes priority.
The one book I will definitely be picking up is The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers which includes writings from some of my favorite authors from the community.
The number of books read this year stands at 39 now with a record number of DNF. I have read some excellent books this year and hope to continue the streak.
Finally, we have a bingo! The challenge is complete but I am still going to continue with it to see how many more bingos I can get to. It seems I will be acing the backlist and non-fiction challenge too.
On the Blog
It has been a relatively quiet month on the blogging front.
I had been planning to write a post combining my two favorite topics – books and food. All thanks to Cindy D’Silva’s Blogaberry Creative Challenge and the September prompt “Sweet/Spice”, I launched the series “On the Spice Trail” with On The Spice Trail: Exploring The Magnificent World Of Indian Food Through Books to an amazing response.
I also reviewed The Book of (More) Delights by Ross Gay.
September 2023 Reading Wrap-Up: Must-Read Books To Add To Your TBR #BlogaberryDazzle 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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