I have an exam tomorrow so I blew off half my pocket-money (yes I’m 19 and I still get pocket money) on a book sale today. Although it was generously and annoyingly sprinkled with Danielle Steele (her ‘A Good Woman’ was fantastic) and James Patterson (I haven’t read any of his yet) I somehow with my keen sense of sight and eye for detail managed to find a few precious finds. Some of the books I wanted to buy were torn, soiled or bent at strange places and yet, like some divine miracle I picked up 11 books I can’t wait to read. So here are my september finds:
1) The Vigrin’s Lover by Phillipa Gregory:
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you must be well aware that I have an unhealthy obssession with Tudor History. Whether it is reading Suzanna Dunn, watching ‘The White Queen’ or researching about the history of the Tower of London- I’m passionate about it all. So obviously any book spree has to start with a book about this scandalous dynasty. Previously I have read Gregory’s ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, ‘The Other Queen’, ‘The Constant Princess’ and ‘The Boleyn Inheritance’ and all of them have been marvellous. So I can’t wait to read this one (desperately waiting for my exams to end).
2) Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult and
3) The Pact by Jodi Picoult:
I was reluctant about reading Picoult because I had heard that she writes about family dramas and I already have enough of that. But then one fine morning I began reading ‘Salem Falls’ and my life changed forever. Yes, she writes about family dramas but not the ones that you read and forget. Her books make characters pop out like one of those children’s books and even after you finish reading the book, they still linger in your thoughts.
4) The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall:
I have heard songs about the beauty, wit, humour and suspence in this book. Countless recommendations and frustrating searches later I finally found it today. I am already impressed at the vibrant and colourful art (what? I’m a kid at heart) and the story is something unique.
5) The Almost Moon by Alice Seabold:
Two years ago I read ‘The Lovely Bones’ and I had never felt so grateful to have a supportive family and loving friends. I cried and cried and cried till I didn’t have any tears left. She is a gifted author she really is. I was still reluctant but then I turned to the first page and the first sentence read ‘When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily’. I immediately put it in my basket and heaved a small prayer.
6) The Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier:
I had seen the painting years ago and I always wanted to know the story behind it. Today, the stars in the sky aligned and I found this beautiful classic hidden beneath heaps of obscure Mills and Boons reads. History, romance, scandal and an eloquent author- the perfect recipe.
7) The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night by Mark Haddon:
I feel infinite respect for authors that choose protagonists who are not straight, white or males. We already have so many redundant plot-lines and recurring characters so coming across something different is refreshing. The lead character in this novel is an autistic, 15 year old who is attempting to solve a crime. Riveting isn’t it?
8) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:
I had read ‘The Penelopiad’ and heard praises of ‘The Blind Assasin’ but so far Atwood is one of my favourite feminist writers. I have read some of her short stories and they are so quietly brilliant and thoughtful I genuinely can’t wait to read this.
9) Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden:
When I was 11 I saw a heartwarming, gut-wrenching movie about a japanese prostitute which gave me sleepless nights for weeks. It made me question the purpose of our sex- Are we really made to be exploited by greedy men? Is our beauty only for their entertainment, their attention? Will my destiny be decided by a stranger who will become my ‘husband’? 8 years later, I found the book it was based on and let us see how many more existential questions it arises in my brain.
10) Asura- Tale of The Vanquished by Anand Neelakanthan:
In the recent years Indian literature has transformed from regional works meant for elite, educated audience to best-sellers written to appeal readers of all generations. After reading The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi and The Krishna Key by Ashish Sanghi, my faith in Hindu mythology is restored. Asura- Ramayana written from Ravana’s perspective, is a new break-through in Indian publishing scenario and I have high hopes from this read.
11) The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue:
What should I say about Donoghue? Her works in the LGBTQA genre have opened my eyes to an entire universe where there are no boundaries, no rules, no consciousness. After I read ‘Room’ (which is mind-bogglingly brilliant and I just can’t, I just uff…) I want to read every word she has written.
Now that I have my exam tomorrow and another last paper on 9th, I can’t wait to dig into my treasure of used books and discover new tales to dream of. Now let me go back to my hopelessly boring studies and then I’ll dive into a deep literary slumber. Wake me up when September ends!