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5 very intriguing, diverse books are recommended to us by the author - extraordinary reads that sustained her through 2020.
5 very intriguing, diverse books are recommended to us by the author – extraordinary reads that sustained her through 2020.
2020 was bizarre, unbelievable. When the pandemic hit, I was unable to concentrate on my writing or painting. I lost my appetite, even lost a few kilos. Reading was the only thing that made sense. My habit of reading never left my hand.
I am a very impatient reader and have this odd habit of leaving books unfinished if they don’t interest me by 60-70 pages. I have yet to finish my first read of 2021, and can you believe I have already abandoned a book?
Thankfully, I have read some really good books last year. Mostly by women authors (Yes, I am biased towards women writers and strong female leads). And I am so pleased to share my 5 wonderful reads by women writers, for your reading pleasure in 2021.
So, here it goes:
Catherine Ryan Hyde
‘Love is when you can make the following statement, and mean it: “What’s best for her, even if it doesn’t include me.”’
This book is about Anton, of course, and Edith. And the agonies they’re bound to carry, and the joy they’re fortunate enough to embrace. And the moments they missed.
Anton has just turned 18 and he is trying to recover from a terrible past. His parents leave him alone for Christmas holidays, with a telescope as a gift. And then, he, accidentally, saw something in a window. A woman.
The woman – Edith, 15 years older to him, is dealing with an abusive marriage, and Antony has witnessed it.
They meet, connect and a beautiful bond burgeons. He has deeply fallen in love but, to keep her safe, he had to let her go.
The storytelling, the character development, the development of emotional bond, everything is so effortless. And the credit goes to the writing. I love the writing style. It’s beautiful and engaging. The author has made every scene, every conversation so meaningful, interesting and heartwarming.
Apart from being interesting, engrossing and endearing, it’s also progressive in so many ways (even though it’s mostly set in 1965-1981). Conveys several messages in a subtle way, so subtle that you don’t even realize it’s a message.
My Name is Anton is a pure, poignant, unique and heartwarming love story. Too good to be true, maybe, but I absolutely don’t mind!
Buy it here on Amazon India and Amazon US
Have you ever read a strange book? A strange book when you don’t know whether you like it or not; or you don’t really understand what going on, so you find it a little tiring but you don’t want to leave it unfinished because it’s quirky and there’s something about the writing style and storytelling that grip you?
Block Seventeen was that kind of a book! Well, this book was a difficult read in the beginning. But I am so glad I stayed patient while reading ‘Block Seventeen’ because it turned out to be a striking, mysterious and very engrossing read. And, when I finished I felt a sense of loss.
Akiko (A Japanese-American) aka Jane’s mother is missing. Well, not missing, as she appears only online and it bothers Akiko. Not satisfied by her texts or voice messages, Akiko frantically looks for her mother but is unable to find her. Meanwhile she is struggling with some strange events in her apartment.
Block Seventeen is also about Akiko’s relationship with her fiance, Shiro –it’s about their love, understanding, their future as a married couple and the struggles.
Apart from Akiko’s story, set in 2012, the book also tells a story of a little girl, set in 1937-1943, with a backdrop of World War. This story appears infrequently for short moments but it’s important, kind of the gist of the story.
As I said, there’s something about the writing style ___it’s, as the blurb says, melodic. It creates vivid imagery. The characters are so distinctly different and significant, even though they appear for a brief moment. The narration so engaging, and after certain point, it turns unreliable and that makes you curious, and the story somehow unpredictable.
It’s a beautiful story told in a smart manner. It’s poignant and heartbreaking (Yet hopeful). The ending is satisfying, an apt closure to this unique tale.
“I can see him so clearly. It’s like he exists, like I’m being allowed to watch.”
“His life … his mind …”
Leith laughed , shaking her head. “You think I’m mad?”
“Yes and no. You’re a writer.”
If you’re a writer or a reader, you can understand the bond we develop with imaginary characters. In this book, this bond is way too deep.
The book has a fascinating plot.
Madeleine is a Lawyer and a crime writer. She is working on her new manuscript that tells the story of Edward. Edward is a literary fiction writer and he’s writing about Madeleine, a happily married (or she believes so) woman who is a lawyer and a dedicated crime writer.
So yes, they both are writing each other and they’re a little too obsessed about their protagonists. So obsessed that they start to materialize, they converse, begin to fall in love with each other, eventually.
So, who is the actual writer? Who is the protagonist? And who is the killer in Madeleine’s crime fiction? Would Edward be able to solve the mystery? And what about Madeleine’s married life?
The writing style is very interesting and unique. It’s barely noticeable, but sometimes I could even differentiate the writing styles of these two writers (of two different genres).
It’s a crime fiction, which is interesting, however predictable (at least I predicted it but it didn’t disappoint me as it still kept me interested). But it’s a fascinating love story, as well. I found this strange relationship between these two writers/protagonists very endearing. It’s like their cozy, exclusive, little space. Their conversations, their understanding, their much needed availability, the emotional connect…I found it ‘somehow’ relatable.
Was it a complicated read? Initially, yes. I found it a little difficult to adjust to this narrative but you get use to it. It gripped me, in a very intriguing and endearing manner. The characters and their world they have created for each other is so interesting and convincing.
It’s different, eccentric, one of a kind. Loved it!
‘There is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart.’
The blurb of the story says, and it’s the gist of the story.
It’s mainly about these three women: their life, their struggles and their bonding. I found this story delightful, heartwarming, intriguing, full of warmth. It’s dark and sad, at times. It’s about love, bonding, betrayal, destiny, and most importantly, letting your past/secrets/guilt go.
As the author says, ‘Secrets and guilt get very heavy to carry after a while.’
The setting is so charming, and the writing style very engaging. A lovely, engrossing read.
Something terrible happened two years ago, and Alexa is unable to recover. Her marriage is falling apart. Her only solace is her little daughter. And she is overly dependent on her sister, Carrie, as she thinks her sister is the only person she could trust, especially when it comes to keeping her daughter happy and safe. But her husband doesn’t trust Carrie.
When Carrie is suspended from her job as a head nurse, accused of a terrible crime, Alexa’s life upends. Can she really trust her sister?
It’s a psychological thriller, cleverly crafted and smartly executed. Sometimes it felt, ‘Oh, it seems easy and predictable.’ But it wasn’t. There are several weird twist and turns. There are no unnecessary incidents, and although there are so many characters, every character has their own importance.
The writing style is very engaging and crisp. The story is told from multiple points of view. I mean 6 points of view. I’m not really a fan of multiple points view but the author has handled it so well that it doesn’t confuse you; in fact it makes you curious. It was a wonderful, unputdownable read. So gripping, so poignant at certain points (especially the last letter) and uplifting.
So, what’s your wonderful reads by women writers?
Tarang Sinha is a Delhi based writer, translator and painter. She's the author of We Will Meet Again. She has translated a book titled 'Don't You Quit' published by Westland Books. Her articles read more...
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
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Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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