Here are few of my favourite quotes by John green to dust your souls
When Tulsi first meets Madhav, she is irrevocably drawn to his chiselled good looks and charm. Although wary of his many dalliances and the string of broken hearts left in his wake, she is surprised by the intense desire that Madhav arouses in her. And before long, she forsakes her family, her prospective career, her fiancé–all for the love of this inscrutable man. But love can be like poison. And nothing can prepare Tulsi for the heartache and betrayal that lie ahead. Years later, Tulsi escapes to the ancient city of Vrindavan, seeking redemption amidst the cries and prayers of its anguished widows. However, when her past catches up with her, old wounds resurface with dramatic consequences.
It is the kind of book you’ll enjoy if you love beautifully written stories that you and I might interpret in our own ways, a story that might sting but makes you feel something. A kind of story that you might have read in the eyes of many women you have met and know, women who are alive but hardly. A story, parts of which you might have heard as an advisory in hushed voices to young women. A story which is fiction but might be a reality. A beautiful story of a smart young woman who leaves everything behind for love to end up in a emotionally and mentally abusive relationship,filled with gaslighting which ultimately poisons her and everyone she loved. It’s a short story so I’ll not spoil it.
** If you loved ghachar ghochar, this book would be a define recommendation**
Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.
Recently read this amazing little book about why Danes are considered the most happiest, I was deeply fascinated by how hygge-fundamentalists the whole society is it is seen as part of the national identity and culture and I couldn’t stop wondering why we don’t talk about it so much, give it preference in our everyday lives. May be because we are still very far from the basic amenities for a huge part of our population.
The four editions of the World Happiness Report which have been published so far are packed with evidence of the link between relationships and happiness. Family and friends and close personal relationships with loved adults explain the greatest variation in happiness. Except in the very poorest countries, happiness varies more with the quality of our relationships than with wealth.
The welfare state/govt there is really good (not perfect, but good) at reducing extreme unhappiness. I mean they have Universal and free health care, free university education and relatively generous unemployment benefits go a long way towards reducing unhappiness. Of course, if you can’t afford to eat or struggling to make ends meet money is of the utmost importance but once the basic needs are done some we tend to invest towards happiness.
The Danes look for happiness in different ways though in food, good lighting, good company. According to the book the people would rather ride a bike than get an expensive car. Hygge is appreciating the simple pleasures in life and can be achieved with less money, the author has given the example of board games and cooking with friends which I quite like.
As an Indian reader somethings were defined very far from what I can do but we can always find something apt for own environment but I would definitely suggest reading this book to everyone especially people like me who are always overwhelmed by the amount of things they take on, but a must read 4💛/5
Does it ever happen to you that, you feel low for days and then some small positive thing happen like someone compliments you or you get a sweet email or message from an old friend or even a gift and you feel like may be life isnt all that bad. The world somehow seems more bearable.
For me this book was that small positive thing that I needed to make my day. It’s funny, it’s the sort of darkish comedy that I seem to have started loving with time.
This book was on my most anticipated fictions list of the year and to me it totally lived upto the expectations. If you have read Fredrick Backman you might know that, this guy is capable of making mush out of people’s heart and he did it again.
The story is of a bank robber who seems like an anxious idiot who tries to rob a cashless bank then runs away from there and crash an apartment viewing and unwillingly takes everyone present there as hostages and I’m saying unwillingly because the hostage idea was first brought up by one of the hostess and not the ‘bank robber’. Also the apartment is across a bride where a man ended his life almost a decade ago( yes it has importance in the story)
Coming to the hostages, they are as we say in hindi “sare alag rang ke” means everyone is a total different colour and then there are the police officers Jack and Jim, the father and the son duo trying to sovle the crime.
The story runs back and forth in between hostage interviews with police and the scenes that happened in the apartment, slowly revealing the interwined lives of all.
The story line does dwindle in to things that I didn’t understand like banking, capitalism but the wit kept me hooked. Speaking of writing style, it’s my favourite, it’s felt like peeling layers of onion, finding something new everytime at every layer. I’m not taking much about the characters because I’m trying not to spoil this wonderful book and would like you to meet them for yourselves.
This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.
Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.
As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.
Before I comment on the story, it is important to know that this was written by a woman in pre-independence India 1942, by a woman. The controversy surrounding Lihaaf emerged due to the representation of unadulterated female desire, sexuality, and queerness.
Ismat Chughtai was an Indian Urdu novelist, short story writer, and filmmaker. Beginning in the 1930s, she wrote extensively on themes including female sexuality and femininity, middle-class gentility, and class conflict, often from a Marxist perspective.
Ismat Chughtai was Urdus most courageous and controversial woman writer in the twentieth century. She carved a niche for herself among her contemporaries of Urdu fiction writers Rajinder Singh Bedi, Saadat Hasan Manto and Krishan Chanderby introducing areas of experience not explored before. Her work not only transformed the complexion of Urdu fiction, it brought about an attitudinal change in the assessment of literary works. Although a spirited member of the Progressive Writers Movement in India, she spoke vehemently against its orthodoxy and inflexibility. Often perceived of as a feminist writer, Chughtai explored female sexuality while also exploring other dimensions of social and existential reality.
The protagonist, a young girl is sent off to live with her aunt ‘Begum jaan’ the lady of a rich household who is married to an older man who is known to be a ‘good man’ as he never visits prostitutes or even looks at other women but when inside the house the child realises that the husband Nawab Sahib directed all his attention at funding the education of “young, fair and slim-waisted boys” and meanwhile Begum jaan is constantly down with body aches, which are eased by a only a massuse named Rabbo and the child who sleeps in Begum jaan’s room seems to be scared of formation of shadows behind the lihaaf (veil) during one of these massage sessions. I started to get uncomfortable here with Begum jaan’s interaction with the protagonist which seemed to be pedophilic. (Parts in the quotes below)
Come here and lie down beside me…” She made me lie down with my head on her arm. “How skinny you are… your ribs are coming out.”
She began counting my ribs. I tried to protest. “Come on, I’m not going to eat you up. How tight this sweater is! And you don’t have a warm vest on.” I felt very uncomfortable. “How many ribs does one have?” She changed the topic.
I wanted to run away, but she held me tightly. I tried to wriggle out and Begum Jaan began to laugh loudly. To this day, whenever I am reminded of her face at that moment. I feel jittery.
Now the story is clearly about homosexuality with tones of feminism with a women taking charge of her sexuality and life. But the whole story travels under the ‘lihaaf’ as it is shown from a child’s eyes and hence no judgemental or obscenity is there. Things are as they are, not good, not bad, the author has not tried to make any judgement or justification out of the story, and have choosen to just make it humane.
At a time when writing by and about women was rare and tentative, Chughtai explored female sexuality with unparalleled frankness and examined the political and social mores of her time.
A breath of positivity much needed in 2020.
This book is written with multiple concepts like space-time continuum,time slipping, life after death sort of things without going into too much depth of the technicalities I would suggest reading it as a story of coming of age with emotions and real life situations.
This book is definitely a worth read for people who live inside there heads more than anywhere else. People who often think “what if” and am I living upto my full potential rather than in terms of ‘carpe diem’ living the happiest possible and TBH I’m ‘those people’ and this book was such a beautiful reminder to be happy and try to look for the light at the and of the tunnel as you can always find it, even though it seems impossible in the moment but as they say ‘this too shall pass’.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
Do you ever have that feeling of just wanting to escape from the current situations (especially as preteens and Teenagers, because that age is hard and there are way too many things to figure out)
Just imagine yourself after one of those bad days that suck all the happiness out of you. You come back home tired and sad and there you look at some cat sitting in the sun, stretching it’s limbs ever so gracefully without any trace of a single worry in the world and somewhere deep down you feel ‘i wish I just could he cat’ but then you carry on with your day as usual and nothing happens but what if you could actually exchange places with a cat or any animal?
This book explores that possibility in a very funny and warm,fuzzy sort of way via life of an average twelve year old teenage boy Barbey.
His parents divorced a while back, he lives with his mom who is always seems to be in superspeed mode and his dad has gone missing since an year, he is bullied at school and to make it worse his head teacher is always ready to get him.
He does have a best friend who deeply cares about him and his dog a Charles spaniel who is very fond of him, but rather than that there’s nothing else, untill one day…. he somehow exchange places with a cat and as you would expect, discover a whole new world of cats and humans, this is sort of a children’s book with illustrations and everything but it still gets a little dark at some points, but not too much.
I won’t go all book review over the plot and writing style because it’s not that kind of book, it’s the kind of book that you read in a day or two, it cracks you up, makes you smile and sometimes frown and even though you kind of guessed what’s the ending is going to be you stay with the book till the very last page, because it’s that good.
Touching the heart strings rather than ticking the conventional boxes. Just a sweet book about friendship, family, growing up and learning to accepting yourself. I would definitely recommend it to young readers or readers like me who never seem to grow up.
Barney Willow thinks life couldn’t get any worse. He’s weedy, with sticky-out ears. Horrible Gavin Needle loves tormenting him – Barney has no idea why. And headteacher-from-hell Miss Whipmire seems determined to make every second of Barney’s existence a complete misery! Worst of all, Dad has been missing for almost a year, and there’s no sign of him ever coming home.
Barney just wants to escape. To find another life… Being a cat, for example. A quiet, lazy cat. Things would be so much easier – right?
Barney’s about to discover just how wrong he is. Because he’s about to wake up as a cat – and not just any cat. Gavin Needle’s cat…
A fast, exciting story from the winner of the Gold Smarties Award, with illustrations from the brilliantly dark and mischievous Pete Williamson.
So I’m a fan of true crime documentaries and shows like crime patrol, date line and BuzzFeed Unsolved (#teamboogara). Actually there is this thing about grotesque things,you can’t look away. But if you would like to know more about why you are obsessed with true crime I’ll plug a very informative blog post here
Okay so now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about true crime books, as this is a book blog, so here are my few favourite true crime books
Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London – the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.
For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.
Mafia queens of Mumbai
Smuggling, gun-running, drugs, terrorism for many decades, Mumbai has lived under the shadow of the Underworld. Dawood Ibrahim, Karim Lala, Varadara- jan Mudaliar: these are names that any Indian would recognise. Analysed in print, immortalised on film, their lives, their gangs, their ‘businesses’ are out there for anyone who wants the information. But there have been women, too, who have been part of this murky side of the city, walking along side, sometimes leading and manipulating men in the Underworld to run their own illegal businesses. Here, for the first time, crime journal- ists S. Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges explore the lives of some of these women, and how, in cold blood, they were able to make their way up in what was certainly a man’s world. From Kamathipura to Dongri, from assassins to molls, this is a collection that tells the stories of women who have become legend in Mumbai’s streets, lanes and back-alleys. Absorbingly told, impeccably researched, Mafia Queens of Mumbai reveals a side of Mumbai’s Underworld that has never been seen before.
This is a book of revelations – what is life like inside Asia’s largest prison? What happens when a man is hanged, but his pulse refuses to give up even after two hours? Did Nirbhaya’s rapist, Ram Singh, commit suicide, or was he murdered? For the first time we have a riveting account from an insider who breaks his silence about all he’s seen. How the most poorly judged and infamous in contemporary Indian history, the least known and most chastised criminals and conspirators in the subcontinent, the guilty and the framed – from Sobhraj via Afzal Guru – lived and died. Award-winning journalist Sunetra Choudhury has captured an extraordinary life lived in a most secretive institution.
Here my detailed review of the book https://drficticity.home.blog/2019/12/06/black-warrant/
Queens of crime
Dysfunctional families, sexual abuse, sheer greed and sometimes just a skewed moral compass. These are some of the triggers that drove the women captured in these pages to become lawbreakers.
Queens of Crime demonstrates a haunting criminal power that most people do not associate women with. The acts of depravity described in this book will jolt you to the core, ensuring you have sleepless nights for months.
Based on painstaking research, these are raw, violent and seemingly unbelievable but true rendition of India’s women criminals.
Here’s my detailed review of the book https://drficticity.home.blog/2019/09/14/queens-of-crime/
A nation with a national religion became a religious Nation and all from other religions became second class citizens. This book is one of my toughest read of this year, and to be honest I thought I might non finish it, let alone writing a review but here we are. I might have never read it TBH if it wasn’t for Mridula’s book club, do check out her content her Blog – I would plug her blog here https://ecstaticyetchaotic.in/
I would highly suggest reading this book not just as a piece of literature but as a reminder of why democracy and equality are so important,why no one person or community should have more than other, because humans are known to prey on everyone they feel are in a more vulnerable state. *But as a fair warning, it has too many incidences of violence of all kinds, in graphic details, paired by real life data of such crimes so it can be really heavy at times, pick the book knowing so.
The book covers the aftermath of the Babri mosque demolition in a Hindu minority Bangladesh. Mostly revolving around the Duttas, a Hindu family who remain loyal to their land even after being let down again & again,they refuse to flee their land.
Sudhamoy the patriarch of the family, is a doctor who comes from a very wealthy household but leaves all it behind to move to the city from his home village leaving behind all his luxuries to settle in to a small rental house after his six year old daughter is kidnapped ( later released )
He is honest and truly the most patriotic character & he does everything to prove this & refuses to leave his country at all costs and his fate is truly heartbreaking. To see him break slowly and slowly both physically and mentally throughout the book to the point where he reaches by the end of the book was haunting for me.
Sudhamoy was ashamed to say it, his voice trembled, yet he spoke of going away because the strong mountain that he had built inside him had gradually begun to crumble
Kironmoyee his wife and the mother of his children is the perfect partner to all his faiths and practices. From giving up her sindur and shell bangles and dreams to live with her side of the family across the border to selling her jewellery to keep the food in family’s belly and a roof over their heads. Her character is reminiscent of all the mothers who silently keep on compromising their own needs and wishes for those of their families.
Suronjon,the son on the other hand I found very annoying, he is 33 year old jobless son, who used to be kind of a responsible guy in the past, but now he just lounge around all day and food and tea is served to him. An annoying male chauvinist who takes his frustration out on a Muslim prostitute after his sister is taken away and he is unable to find her.
His patriotism, atheism and values also feel kind of a defence mechanism of sorts to me contrasting with his father’s deep rooted and honest one. He do score some compassion as he shows his more vulnerable side with the evolution of story.
Maya who was once abducted as a kid, is now a hardworking individual, she has the strongest will to live and love, to be financially independent and is the responsible child in contrast to Suronjon but her fate is honestly the most tearing one.
Suronjon stayed in his room all day—lying in bed. He did not feel like going out anywhere. He did not even feel like talking to pass the time of day. Should he go and look under the bridge for Maya’s rotting, bloated body? No, he was not going anywhere today.
The Duttas – Sudhamoy, Kironmoyee, and their two children, Suranjan and Maya – have lived in Bangladesh all their lives. Despite being part of the country’s small Hindu community, that is terrorized at every opportunity by Muslim fundamentalists, they refuse to leave their country, as most of their friends and relatives have done. Sudhamoy, an atheist, believes with a naive mix of optimism and idealism that his motherland will not let him down…
And then, on 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in India is demolished by a mob of Hindu fundamentalists. The world condemns the incident but its fallout is felt most acutely in Bangladesh, where Muslim mobs begin to seek out and attack the Hindus… The nightmare inevitably arrives at the Duttas’ doorstep – and their world begins to fall apart.
This is quite a controversial book, A nation with a national religion became a religious state and all who were from other religions became second class citizens.
The humiliation of Hindus and the attacks on their temples did not begin with the attack on the Babri Masjid in October 1990. Suronjon remembered that on 21 April 1979 a man called Ayub Ali broke the image of Kali in the historic Kali temple in Saheb Bazar in Rajshahi. And after that he also destroyed shops owned by Hindus.
It is a very important book thought,first of all to understand why do counties need democracy and equality, and I would definitely recommend reading it to you but when you are in the state of mind to handle all the graphic and gory details.
The book was so difficult to read because of the barbaric things that were done in religiously charged Bangladesh. There were far too many incidence of temples being burned and demolished and literally urinated upon mentioned in here but even more hurtful was the never ending nightmare the people went through, the rapes,the bloodshed, the despair of a father when his daughter is taken in front of his eyes and to see him with that guilt, despite of everything he did to protect her and the rest of his family.
From mob lynchings, burnings and looting houses and shops, abduction and brutal rapes and murder of the women to not letting the minorities in higher positions even wth proper qualifications or not letting them to have even jobs in the first place this book is full of the demonic side of humanity and heartbreaks.
It felt like everyone was waiting for a terrible death. Now their hearts were no longer trembling with apprehension about Maya but about their own futures. They were all alone and when the people they knew, Muslim friends and neighbours, came to visit, the visitors did not say: ‘All of you will certainly be alive like us. Don’t be hesitant. Don’t retreat into yourselves. Walk bravely, work without trouble, laugh heartily and sleep peacefully.’
This book was something I struggled to put down, being daughter of a psychologist studying medicine this whole theme spoke to me at many levels but I would rather not go in to the whole therapy part and stick to the literary part.
The story revolves around Alicia Berenson, her life seemed perfect, a rich artist married to an equally famous and good-looking fashion photographer, living in the high end of London. Everything seems perfect but one evening gunshots are heard from her house, she is found there with a gun, her husband is dead and she goes totally silent. Her silence and the couple’s fame turn this quite open and shut case into a media circus. As it happens with one dead and other facing the murder charge, their previous works become more and more ‘in-demand’ and expensive.
Alicia slowly fades away from the public eye, years after the murder she is residing in a psychiatric facility and still haven’t said a word.
Theo a psychologist has a keen interest in her case, which feels like a professional curiosity bleeding towards obsession. As Theo starts to see Alicia, she remains silent in their therapy sessions too but in these silences lies the main substance of the story.
Also Theo starts to meet more people from Alicia’s life before the silence and tries to understand her art, along with Alicia’s diary which she kept around that time her character starts to come together like a intricate puzzle.
Although the story is a narrative from Theo,with every page he starts to feel creepy and creepier to me, finally revealing his true interest in Alicia’s silence which was very subtly dropped throughout the book but the whole picture didn’t comes truly together till the very end, you know like a good thriller.
Alicia’s character is very much the main pillar of the book, I have even read reviews calling this book a character study of sorts for her which honestly I don’t mind, her story is a slow burn which keeps you intrigued till the very end. One chapter she feels like a violent psychopath and in others like a victim of her bad childhood and just overall bad circumstances.
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
I would give this book 3.5⭐ and definitely recommend it if you have loved gone girl, girl on the train and those sort of psychological thrillers.