There are books that attract you with their covers, some because they have a strong blurb, and some others, just because of the title. This, again, is nuanced, because there are beautiful titles and then there are titles like this book, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone that makes you think, “Huh! I NEED to know HOW!” It’s a bold statement to make though, and more often than not, the book ends up being a damp squib. But this one lives up to what it promises. Everyone in the protagonist’s family HAS killed someone and we’re about to find out how.
Some books let out war cries as they make their point, some are mere noise but no impact. Some books are quiet as they pack a punch that you will remember until the end of your days, and some are quiet and lazy, giving you a much needed respite from everyday life; they are like vacations in a seaside resort – scenic and calm, but put you in touch with yourself. But yet others are so quiet, move so slowly, and make no overall point whatsoever that it just gets on your nerves. The adventure that you seek in reading, in literature, seems to be missing from such books. And one of my recent reads, Mieko Kawakami’s All the Lovers in the Night, is a prime example of that last type.
Celebrities’ lives are always beyond what we can even begin to comprehend. What we see in the media is such a small fragment of what their lives actually are like. The pressure to perform, to look good, to have that perfect balance or at least look like it – all this, while staying true to themselves is one that simmers under their smiling, picture-perfect facades. And there’s one author – among the many, I’m sure, but my favorite of them – who does it amazingly well: Taylor Jenkins Reid.
It’s always a shock when a series – be it book or movie – ends but we lose some much-loved characters as it does. Yet, we know that it was necessary for the plot, because without these events, the story wouldn’t have progressed. But what of when the author decides to do something about it by continuing the series? To give the reader hope that, oh, there is a possibility! That if the author has started on this path, then the characters will most likely be back? This is the case with the Frank Carter series by Yashesh Rathod. The third book in the series saw two important characters die. But with book 4, the author is putting the possibility of them coming back out there.
We’re in an age where the world has decreed that making noise is the only way to be noticed. Social media has made it easy for us to do this, even though half the time, the noise is unnecessary and on the wrong side of the line. But it’s there. And in times like these, it happens very rarely that we come across a book that’s as hard-hitting as it is quiet. And isn’t that a truth of life? That some of the most hard-hitting things in life creep up on you quietly and some of the most intensely wise people are the quiet ones. A king among these things is this book, Tin Man by Sarah Winman, a fitting, winning rhyme if ever there was one.
In 2021, a subscriber and now friend suggested that I read the Heartstopper graphic novel series by Alice Oseman. So I read it and this way, found one of my favorite series of all time. In hindsight, 2021 was a great year for finding favorites. This one especially touched a part of my heart and filled it with warmth and goodness. When the TV adaptation came out earlier this year, I knew I had to watch it, but I couldn’t at the time. Months went by and plans of rereading the series and watching the show were razed to the ground because of our move to Sydney.
Earlier this year, I had the extremely transformative experience of reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. I didn’t think it would affect me the way it did, especially since Woolf’s To the Lighthouse was a disappointing one for me. But as I progressed with A Room of One’s Own, I was consumed by it. I read in awe as Woolf detailed the sexism that women writers face in a time when women didn’t have the freedom to do as they wanted. So many scathing points written sometimes with detached politeness, other times with undisguised annoyance, and at yet others narrated stoically – they sit with you for all of eternity, like they’ve settled down in my mind.
And what a way to condense the book into one sentence:
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
There are some books that enter your life just like that but leave lasting impressions on you. They might not be what you’d prefer to read but they’re strong enough and sure enough in themselves and the lessons they are giving you that you appreciate them for what they are. I came across one such trilogy a couple of months ago when I read the All for the Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic. The name of the trilogy might seem all easygoing, all in fun. But trust me, it’s got the heaviness of a thousand truckload of bricks raining down on you.
If you’ve been following me on social media – at least since 2021 – you’ll know that I found one of my absolute favorite series of all time that year. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve gone on adventures, I’ve smiled in understanding, I’ve experienced the characters’ pain – everything – as I read the fantasy series, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. There’s footage of me crying like a baby and there was more that I didn’t add to that video where I was even hiccupping because I was crying so hard. Sabaa Tahir has that quality in her writing where she makes you feel a world of emotions. And call me a masochist or whatever, but I am someone who loves books that make me emotional.
“This is the thing about life. If you are a nobody, you are free. The day you become somebody, attain power, you lose your freedom forever. Power and fame come at a price, which is accountability and peace of mind. The more public you get, the more answerable you become.”
It is a universal truth that man is a fickle and impressionable being. And this quote from Abhaidev’s newest release, The Gods Are Not Dead, perfectly summarizes what a man is and what he is capable of. It is also self-explanatory, for it captures the soul of the book it appears in.