Ghachar ghochar

Blurb

From a cramped, ant-infested house to a spacious bungalow, a family finds itself making a transition in many ways. The narrator, a sensitive young man, is numbed by the swirl around him. All he can do is flee every day to an old-world cafe, where he seeks solace from an oracular waiter. As members of the family realign their equations and desires, new strands are knotted, others come apart and conflict brews dangerously in the background.

My views

Loved this book, masterfully crafted, capturing the so much substance in such few pages without compromising the storytelling.

(Minor spoilers ahead)

The book starts in first person and with our unnamed narrator, a guy who regularly visits a coffe shop to kill time, away from his family chaos but as the story starts to unfold we realise that the main theme of the story is the recurring phrase “blood is thicker than water.” Also he is particularly fond of a waiter Vincent, whose words have an ominous value in the story.

The narrator recalls his days growing up in a lower middle class joint family with his parents,uncle chikkappa and sister malati, the family is barely keeping it together with the job of his father as a spice salesman, who is later forced to take an early retirement.

‘It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.’

This quote personifies the family, as they make their overnight fortune ‘Sona Masala’. With investment from his father’s retirement money, uncle chikkappa manages every part of the businesses, as it skyrocketed, they move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house on the  upper side of Bangalore, and try to adjust to a new way of life the family dynamic begins to shift.

“Appa enjoys our current prosperity with considerable hesitation, as if it were undeserved. He’s given to quoting a proverb that says wealth shouldn’t strike suddenly like a visitation, but instead grow gradually like a tree.”

The impact of the new found fortune starts to realign the behaviour of all family members towards themselves and others. Malti’s marriage is arranged and falter, meanwhile narrator’s wife Anita enters the household and her set of values constantly clash with that of the family, brewing ominous conflict in the background making things “ghachar ghochar”—a nonsense phrase uttered by Anita, which means something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied.

“When you have no choice you have no discontent either”

And that’s where the author leaves us with a close and open ending, it’s amazing you’ll have fun reading it and connecting the dots (A hint – focus on Vincent’s less but important lines)

Kim Jiyoung Born 1982

Blurb

The story-line centres on a housewife who becomes a stay-at-home mother and later suffers from depression. It focuses on the everyday sexism the title character experiences from childhood.

Boys are like that,” the teacher laughed. “They’re meaner to the girls they like. I’ll give him a talking-to. Why don’t you take this incident as an opportunity to become better friends instead of changing desk-mates on unfriendly terms?”

He likes me? He picks on me because he likes me?Jiyoung was confused. She went over the series of incidents that she had suffered because of him, and still couldn’t make sense of what the teacher was saying. If you like someone, you’re friendlier and nicer to them. To friends, to family, to your pet dogs and cats. Even at the age of eight, this was common sense to Jiyoung.

The teacher tells this to Kim Jiyoung when she complaints about being bullied by a classmate

She watches her grandmother & mother, her sister and herself going through the patriarch society as just passer-by.

Of the four sons she raised thus, Jiyoung’s father was the only one to carry out his duties as a son in her old age. Unwanted by her ungrateful children, Koh Boonsoon rationalized this sad outcome with an incoherent logic: “Still, I get to eat warm food my son made for me, and sleep under warm covers my son arranged for me because I had four sons. You have to have at least four sons.”
Oh Misook, her son’s wife, was the one who cooked the warm food and laid out the warm covers for her, not her son, but Koh Boonsoon had a habit of saying so anyway.

Koh Boonsoon is Kim Jiyoung’s grandmother

From being less favoured then her younger brother,being harrassed by a guy on public bus, not getting recognition at her job while working the same as her male counterparts, taking responsibilities of all the domestic tasks and so many litlle things that slip in to everyday lives of women.

My views

A little while ago a video went viral of a woman walking down streets of New York and the hundreds of men who catcalled her,
(if youbhave notnseen the video I’ll plug it here – https://youtu.be/b1XGPvbWn0A

Most men had a very expected reaction to the video, they were unaware, because it never happens to them they didn’t know it can. Somehow many of them have missed to connect the dots from ‘satis’ in the east and ‘witch-burning’ in the west to modern day microaggressions.

This book reminded me of the hundreds of women who go through their day with these microaggressions just in their everyday lives without even mentioning them because they are so many,women have learned to live their lives crossing this maze of patriarchy.

The unbelievably meager wages from working day and night, popping caffeine pills, and turning jaundiced went toward sending male siblings to school. This was a time when people believed it was up to the sons to bring honor and prosperity to the family, and that the family’s wealth and happiness hinged upon male success. The daughters gladly supported the male siblings.

Kim Jiyoung’s mother & her aunt’s worked as the male siblings went to medical school & got High paying jobs but the sisters never get any chance to enjoy any privilege or even appreciation for their contributions

This book is in a way life of every woman who has been born on the face of this earth and dare I say “lucky ones” because these are the things we ignore and there are much worse things happening to women in all parts of the globe.

We don’t talk about it enough,even women, we don’t want to come across as “too feminist”. We don’t respond to all the casual sexism because “How will I be able to get anything done if I’ll snap at every casual sexist comment and wierd stares but it does affect the mind of the person deeply even if they don’t say it, the victim feels it’s somehow their fault because the society say so.

But that night, Jiyoung got an earful from her father. “Why is your cram school so far away? Why do you talk to strangers? Why is your skirt so short?” Jiyoung grew up being told to be cautious, to dress conservatively, to be “ladylike.” That it’s your job to avoid dangerous places, times of day and people. It’s your fault for not noticing and not avoiding.

Jiyoung’s father after she is harrassed

A personal incident here, just the last working day I noticed a wierd guy following me around while I was returning home from the grocery store, what I did ? Ignored him, came back home as quickly as I could, locked my doors and checked them several times throughout the night. This was not the first time and will not be the last. Because things like this happen so much that as society we are anesthetized and women issues have become kind of a seasonal thing, read a few books in march, put up a status when a rape happens. But I hope more books like this come to us and take us ahead.

How to read more & fast?

This post might not be for all my bookstagrammers here, but out of this world the question I get asked the most is ‘how do you read a 100 books a year with a somewhat of an active social life(not in 2020 tho) , work & family life OR “how did you finish that book so fast?”

The answer to the later question is I don’t know exactly but as you start to read more and more,your brain start to process information faster ( did I tell you I’m a doctor with a keen interest in neurosciences ) so read more to read faster.

To answer to former question, let me give ou a few tips

1. Start easy

If you are trying to build a reading habit, chances are you might not enjoy ‘thou old timey classics’ right away. So start with something you resonate with or something lighthearted.

2. It’s okay to DNF

If you are stuck with a book for a while, and you feel like you can’t read it, not liking it, just ditch it. There are many many books out there waiting for you. As easy it may sound it was a life changing advice for me when I heard it from Ali Abdaal on his YouTube channel. Because I have a compulsive habit of trying to finish a book even if I don’t like it but not anymore

3. Read whatever interests you

Many of us have a habit of being influenced by all the celebrity book clubs and trending new books every week l,also we have classics and prize winning books that everyone tells us to read but the things is, your time is limited so read whatever makes you happy.

4. Audiobooks/Kindle/eBooks

They are wonderful, I love listening to a chapter before I sleep or reading on my e-reader while waiting for my coffe in canteen and so on. These new reading innovations are amazing for filling in the voids during our days. You would be surprised to know how much reading you’d be able to do instead of useless phone scrolling.

5. Have a dedicated reading hour

This really helps me, having an hour just by myself to sip a cup of tea and flip through the pages of my book (sounds like a lovely hour?) You can try it too, when you make an hour especially for reading and you make it attractive by adtting something you like (coffe and lone time is something I like) you can have tea in your balcony or something like that !

6. Try something social

Goodreads, book blogs, etc are amazing to look for a community of readers, as you see more people reading the kind of books you like you’ll be motivated too.

And with all that don’t be hard on yourself, if you enjoy reading comics, read comics if you feel overwhelmed may be skip reading and do something else, just in whatever you do, be happy and be kind.

You can connect with me on my socials

Twitter : https://twitter.com/drficticity

WordPress blog https://drficticity.home.blog/2019/07/07/mental-health-awareness-month-reading/

Goodreads https://goodreads.com/user/show/91943957-dr-ficticity

Amazon https://amazon.in/gp/aw/review/935357076X/R2CPNQ1LJTAGVV?ref=pf_ov_at_pdctrvw_srp

The colour purple

Alice Walker’s epistolary novel first published in 1982 went on to win the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Although I’m always abit cynical about award winning books but here when I started to read it you realise why this book has been so popular with many people.

Celia who initially writes letters to God as she tries to get things off her chest, but throughout the novel we find that she starts instead to write to her sister Nettie so we read letters from both of them.

Image © @dr_ficticity

The novel deal with so many themes and strong subjects from racism to homosexuality with so much humanity, the characters truly breathe out of the book, also the characters are continuously evolving as they grow older throughout the span of decades.

One thing that really got me was the determination and resilience of Celie, she starts as a very naive and innocent young girl who remains faithful and resilient during so many adversities but her ultimate display of strength lies in her forgiveness to both her life and the people who did her wrong.

(Spoilers ahead)

Celie is abused emotionally and physically by her mother and beaten and raped by her ‘pa’. She ultimately becomes pregnant twice during this incestuous sexual abuse phase, and both of her babies are taken away from her. Celie lives with the thought that the babies were killed but one day she comes across a little girl who looks just like her,growing up in a comparatively well off family. In the mean time her mother dies and her father marries another woman.

Nettie her younger sister gets involved with a much older widower and he wants to marry Nettie but her father marries off celie to him, where again she goes through similar cycle of physical and sexual abuse, not to mention she takes care of the kids and house but one day her husband brings his mistress home, Shug Avery, and celie falls in love with her(yep a LGBTQ rep), Avery is potrayed as a strong beautiful woman who do her own thing, has her own money, she is her own master and celie looks up to her,also one more character I would like to mention is Celi’s stepson’s wife Sofia, who is again a very strong woman who beats her husband in return If he hits her, ask for what she wants although rather impulsive but is definitely one of my favourite characters in the whole book. Nettie meanwhile runaways and has gone to Africa with a family who are missionaries, although she writes to celie throughout the years but her letters don’t get to her sister for decades, but through her letters we get to know some of the local African cultures and lifestyle and her life as a missionary there. There is also a family secret and racially motivated lynching.

Themes & points I jotted down after reading the book

Over all the book is amazing and it’s so sad to think about how much people has to go through just because of the amount of melanin in their skin. The novel’s deal with so many themes and strong subjects from racism to homosexuality but they are potrayed with so much humanity, the characters truly breathe out of the book, also the characters are continuously evolving as they grow older throughout the years

The thing that really comes through though is arguably the determination and resilience of Celie as we see how she progresses through the ups and downs of life, bringing up a string of emotions in the reader.

The diary of a young girl

Blurb

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

My views

The diary of a young girl, one of the most read books of all time, people have all sorts of opinions on it, Nelson Mandela claimed that this book gave him hope in his jail time.

I loved this book for the hope, gratitude and empathy of the young girl, also my heart broke multiple times at the same hopes because I knew what was coming for her.

A timeline of the events

If you haven’t read this book yet, I would suggest not to read it just as a piece of literature but rather ‘diary of a young girl’ and try to remember all the inner turmoil all the teenagers go through, that feeling of being alone against the whole world, being sensitive to such an extent that you cry yourself to sleep and yes the emotional distance from parents (if you are a teenager now , as a 24year old I assure you that you are loved by many and you are not alone)

A quote from Anne Frank

As the book progresses Anne felt so much more mature and grown-up for her age due to the hardships she went through, I cannot help but wish Anne would have lived long enough to see adulthood for herself and fulfilled her dreams. Also it is important to remember that this was the story of two families but countless other innocent people also went through similar may be even worst conditions during the holocaust.

This was such a heart wrenching and humbling book, especially during the times of corona epidemic, we can take many many lessons of being grateful from Anne. Also this book is a short read, I read it in one day so I would highly recommend reading it.

Non fiction favourites

Dear reader,
I have always leaned alot more towards non-fiction books but you know they are not always success stories, sometimes they are stories of the most horrific things you could ever read and you cannot shrug it off as “just a book” because you know it’s true. You form a wierd bond the characters as the book unfolds you get to know real people and their lives.

Here are my top 5 nonfiction books that have made a lasting impact on me and I highly recommend.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo — to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.



Spanning the globe and several centuries, The Gene is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function.
The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’. It intersects with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes.
This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life, by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies. But woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. These concerns reverberate even more urgently today as we learn to “read” and “write” the human genome – unleashing the potential to change the fates and identities of our children.

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the son of a little-educated boat-owner in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, had an unparalleled career as a defence scientist, culminating in the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna. As chief of the country’s defence research and development programme, Kalam demonstrated the great potential for dynamism and innovation that existed in seemingly moribund research establishments. This is the story of Kalam’s rise from obscurity and his personal and professional struggles, as well as the story of Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul and Nag-missiles that have become household names in India and that have raised the nation to the level of a missile power of international reckoning. This is also the saga of independent India’s struggle for technological self-sufficiency and defensive autonomy-a story as much about politics, domestic and international, as it is about science.

Do let me know the books that have made a lasting impression on you! Luba geet

Covid19

Hey guys so I really don’t want to increase any more stress in the current scenario but I thought I would put out this post about covid19

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Some trustworthy and reliable information links

WHO Report on India https://www.who.int/india/emergencies/india-situation-report

Coronavirus information – India (Snapshot)Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Indiamohfw.gov.in (Cached)

Coronavirus advisory informationWorld Health Organizationwho.int/emergencies

Coronavirus Q&AWorld Health Organizationwho.int/news-room

Coronavirus condition overviewWorld Health Organizationwho.int/health-topics

Anxiety and stress during these times?

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/covid-19-lockdown-guide-how-manage-anxiety-and

The Miniaturist

About the book

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam–a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion–a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .”

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office–leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

My views


This book has so many themes going on, but somehow everything came together like puzzle pieces. The protagonist Nella is an eighteen year old girl, who comes from a former ‘big name’ family but now they are poor as their father drank away their fortune.

She is married to a rich older man in Amsterdam and she moves there with dreams of starting her married life as soon as possible, to have kids a loving husband, her own house but as she arrives at her new home she quickly realises that things are not as simple.

Her husband is absent most of the days her sister in law, Marin who lives with them is quite critical and not at all impressed by her. More so even the house helps are also not very attentive towards her and she finds herself quite alone.

Meanwhile her husband Joannes Brandt gives her a miniature version of the house they live in as a marriage gift ( which was pretty common in that era and place) and she obtain a address book from Marin of people who make miniature stuff for the house.

Petronella’s house is on display at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Actually Nella’s character is loosely based on Petronella Oortman (Dutch pronunciation: [ˌpɛtroˈnɛla ˈoːrtmɑn]; 1656–1716) was a Dutch woman whose elaborate dollhouse is part of the permanent collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Coming back to the book, as Nella starts to order things for her miniature house,she realises that they are always eerily similar to the real things and there are always more than she ordered.

As the story moves forward she realises that her husband although is affectionate towards her, maintain quite a distance from her because he is gay and the family always tried to hide this fact because it was a huge crime in the time and place, infact punishable by death.

Also the things miniaturist send have a sort of ominous quality to them and Nella is expectedly creeped out by the whole thing. As the story moves forward Joannes Brandt’s secret finally came out because his lover ditches him and I would not spoil the ending but it’s good.

But I would say this is definitely one of the most beautiful coming of age stories in historical fiction genre. Although it’s very character and detail oriented, written with meticulous attention towards details and emotions and if you are more of a plot person you might not be very impressed with it but for character driven people go for it !

About the author

About the Author

Jessie Burton is the author of the Sunday Times number one and New York Times bestsellers The Miniaturist and The Muse, and the children’s book The Restless Girls. In its year of publication The Miniaturist sold over a million copies, and in 2017 it was adapted into a major TV series for BBC One. Her novels have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and she is a regular essay writer for newspapers and magazines. She lives in London.

**have been meaning to read this for a while, it’s my entry for march prompt of muffy tales reading challenge**

Love stories that touched my heart

Blurb

Love only a four letter word, yet its so powerful that it can conquer anything in this world!

We’ve all experienced the first flush of love and remember the lingering fragrance of it. For ages Love has remained one of the most cherished experiences that everyone wishes to live through at least once. Humanity, time and again, has coined many definitions to describe this beautiful emotion, but this small word is a feeling that cant simply be defined. It has to be narrated . . . in the form of stories love stories.

Love Stories That Touched My Heart is a collection of such stories from readers who have a tale to tell, shortlisted from over 2000 entries that were submitted in a competition conducted by Penguin India.

Selected and edited by Ravinder Singh, this anthology made up of the stories that touched Ravinder’s heart.

My views

I expected much more because there was Ravinder’s Singh’s name on this book but I guess these are not his creations and people’s stories so there was not alot of grit or storytelling to it and I don’t expect that in anthologies because somewhere I know that these are not professional authors who can turn mundane incidents into something poetic and magical but there has to be honesty for the same reason that these are people’s stories and it was definitely there in most of them where as others sounded too made up to me. I would say it’s a good-ish short light hearted read.

Women’s History Month book recommendations

So March is celebrated as women’s history month world wide so here’s my list of ten books by women I would suggest for the month.

This list is definitely not all inclusive in any ways but I have tried to include books from different time periods and places but most importantly all these books in some way or the other have impacted me personally and I wish they do the same for you. In no specific order the are

  1. Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Diary of a young girl by Anne Frank
  4. Palace of illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  5. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  6. Ismat Chughtai: Lifting the Veil
  7. Pinjar by Amrita Pritam
  8. Old Playhouse and Other Poems by kamala Suraiya
  9. Educated by Tara Westover
  10. The blues eye by Tomi Morrison

Handmaid’s tale

This book is definitely one of the most famous ones but his deserves all the hype. Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now

Pride and prejudice

This classic has countless retellings and movies and shows based on it and ofcourse you know the plot but read it you won’t be disappointed. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England. Also Mr Darcy is one of the best ‘good guy’ of literature ever.

Diary of a young girl

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. And one of the most read books of all times.

In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Palace of illusions

A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman.

Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali’s life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

Becoming

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Lifting the veil

At a time when writing by and about women was rare and tentative, Ismat Chughtai explored female sexuality with unparalleled frankness and examined the political and social mores of her time.
She wrote about the world that she knew, bringing the idiom of the middle class to Urdu prose, and totally transformed the complexion of Urdu fiction.
Lifting the Veil brings together Ismat Chughtai’s fiction and non-fiction writing. The twenty-one pieces in this selection are Chughtai at her best, marked by her brilliant turn of phrase, scintillating dialogue and wry humour, her characteristic irreverence, wit and eye for detail.

Pinjar

Pinjar is one of the most touching stories I have ever read, translated to English by Kushwant Singh, it retains its poetic quality and I think even though we have a Bollywood movie based on this book still it remains somewhat underrated amongst the new age readers. So if you are looking forward to read some historical fiction based during Indo-Pak partition/ WWII by female author from a female POV, this is the book I would definitely suggest.

Old playhouse and other poems

The Old Playhouse and Other Poems is among the classics of modern Indian poetry in English. The newer edition also carries an eminently readable and insightful introduction by V. C. Harris. Not only Kamala Dass major themes but the specific terms of her poetic address, voice and concerns (as a woman, poet and social being) receive fairly close and critical attention in these pages. Harris concludes his discussion of The Old Playhouse with an altogether fresh and illuminating reading of Kamala Dass An Introduction in the light of postcolonial concerns of home and the world and the poets conversion to Islam in the last years of her life. Talking about Kamala Das today means talking about not merely post-Independence Indian poetry in English, he observes,  adding that other, far more complicated issues relating to gender, violence, identity and difference, hybridity, contradictory coherence and language and the art of writing the self cry for renewed attention, pre-eminently in this collection. New readers of Kamala Das will find her as engaging and challenging as the old readers have always found her. Furthermore, as Harris suggests in his essay, no reader could leave The Old Playhouse without being awakened by a newer conscience and unmoved by fond memories.

Educated

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

The bluest eye

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

I hope you something from list would fancy you, do tell me in the comments.

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