I am back again yay after a short hiatus. During the period I was gone, so much has changed! I am so delighted to find the time to post a blog again. I have so many upcoming posts planned which is exciting!!! In the month of April, I read 8 books and unfortunately, DNFed (did not finish) a book. I would say, April was a rather mixed reading month.
84, Charring cross road- Helene Hanff
Endearing, funny collection of letters exchanged between a writer and a bookseller. I enjoyed reading the conversations between the two! I loved how the author was unapologetical in her love for books, especially antique books and how kind-hearted she was. The bookseller was so passionate about his books and friendly as well. Reading their exchange left a smile on my face. This book is essentially a love letter to books and the power of friendship forged through a shared love for something, in this case, books. I would highly recommend it if you are a book lover.
Of mice and men- John Steinbeck
I finally read this beloved classic. I had read ‘The Pearl’ by him a while ago and adored it. So, when I chanced upon this book in the library, I got my hands on it. Unfortunately, it was a disappointing read. We spend this book following two characters, George and Lennie who are in search for work after a terrible incident that has occurred. George is the control freak while Lennie always gets them into trouble. To stay out of trouble, George decides that he would take over everything. Along the way, we meet other characters too who seem to pose a threat to Lennie and George. Lennie and George have hopes of becoming rich which almost seems impossible. I did not quite care for any of the characters in the book. Sure, they had their own motives but since it was such a short book, they did not seem to be fully developed. I did understand that ‘Of mice and men’ had commentary on the difficulty of work life, poverty and racism but I do not think it was conveyed very well. The ending did not really make much sense to me and it seemed to end abruptly. Perhaps, I missed the point of this book. I went into this book, thinking that I would learn something valuable like what I learnt from ‘The Pearl’ but that was not the case sadly. On a happier note, I loved the descriptions of the places and the atmosphere. It felt like I was walking along with George and Lennie. Though I did not get much out of this book, I did enjoy parts of it. I guess it just was not the book for me.
Wilder girls- Rory Power
Such a gorgeous cover isn’t it! 😍 The cover captivated me at first glance and I knew I had to read it! When I read the synopsis, I was immediately drawn in. This book is pitched as a horror ‘Lord of the rings’ retelling. How fascinating! The book takes place on an island where the Raxter School for Girls are put under quarantine when the become plagued with a mysterious disease known as ‘Tox’. Due to this disease, the girls, especially, Hetty, Byatt and Reese, are helpless. They are fighting for their lives while waiting for a cure. I have a recent obsession with psychological horror and stories involving stranded islands/fight to the death kind of situations. They are just so fascinating and really explores the human psyche. This story did just that. We start off the story with Hetty’s perspective. She tells us that they are living off very little food as they are not sent much food from the ‘outside’. We are also shown that due to the scarce amount of food, they had to fight for their share of food. From this, we understand that they are struggling to survive. However, when Hetty becomes appointed as the boat girl (I think that was the term), she discovers that things are not the way it seems and the school leaders may be hiding something from the girls. Along the way, Byatt, Hetty’s best friend also goes missing which further proves her suspicion that something is amiss. I loved the main characters so much! They did not always do the ‘right’ thing. They were always not likable. I love to see morally grey characters when it comes to survival stories! I loved the description of the girl’s struggles and the situations on the island.
Also, there was a really adorable f/f relationship in this book! Yay for more lgbt+ relationships! The friendship between Hetty, Byatt and Reese was amazing too!
One thing I did not quite like was the ending as it felt like the story ended so suddenly?! I was so anxious to know what happened next after a very pivotal scene in the book!! Anyway, I cannot recommend this book enough. It does such a good job in showing what we can do when our survival is being tested. The strong-willed characters will make you root for them as they try to save themselves.
The radium girls- Kate Moore
Brilliant and evocative account of the Radium girls who were denied justice. Moore never stopped to highlight the girls’ bravery in the midst of injustice after injustice. The Radium girls truly went through tremendous suffering. This was solely due to the nonchalant attitude of the companies towards the girls. It made my blood boil at how the companies only cared for profit as radium was seen as something lucrative. Despite the girls’ protests, they were silenced by the companies. However, this did not stop them and they continuously fought for their rights. It was only because of the girls’ tireless fight for justice did the law finally listen. It was because of them that regulations were introduced in the workplace- to ensure worker’s safety was the utmost concern of the company.
The Radium girls will be forever be commemorated in history as courageous girls who not only championed worker’s rights. They also showed us the power of standing up for themselves and others in the face of injustice. There is after all, hope at the end of the tunnel. Their shining spirit will not be forgotten.
Feludar Goendagiri- Satyajit Ray
I am not certain if there is an English copy of this book so I am a little sad that non-Bengali readers may not be able to experience the wonderful world of Feluda. I had read one of the later books in the Feluda series (The curse of the goddess) last year which was recommended to me by one of my close friends. It was such a thrilling and suspenseful story that I knew I had to continue the series. I decided to start off with reading the first book. In the first book (Danger in Darjeeling- somehow the English title is different), we are introduced to Feluda and his detective career. He goes on his first detective mission to find out the identity of the person who threatened Rajenbabu. The journey to find out who threatened Rajenbabu was so delightful to read. The atmospheric descriptions of Darjeeling city and the characters really drew me in. I felt like I was transported to Darjeeling. However, when the mystery was solved, I felt like it was a little lacklustre. The motivation did not feel that believable to me. I am however, excited to continue on with the rest of the series.
Pratidhwani- Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay
Sunday Suspense is a Youtube channel that uploads audiobooks of Bengali books written by famous authors. This book was recommended by my close friend again. This book is a supernatural story of a man who starts acting strangely after moving into his new home. His friends notice his odd behaviour and starts wondering what has happened to him. Again, the story was so immersive and suspenseful but when it ended, the payoff didn’t feel as well done. I did not understand the reason behind the strange behaviour of the man. I also did not find the revelation haunting or scary which is a bummer.
The silence of the girls- Pat Barker
Sadly, this book was another letdown. I feel that the book did not deliver on its promises of telling the story from the perspective of the Greek women who did not get their voices heard in Homer’s Odyssey. The synopsis claimed that it was from the perspective of Briseis. So, naturally, I thought it would be about her experiences and struggles during the wars. However, it was more about the men around her- especially Achilles and Patroclus. It was about them using her when they pleased and going to wars. When Achilles POV was introduced, I was so disappointed. I did not understand why his POV was required when it was supposed to be from Briseis’s POV. The women were treated so badly in this book which I suppose was how they were treated in the original story. BUT Briseis just tolerated all the abuse?! I would have thought that she would stand up for herself. I was hoping it would be a feminist retelling. I really despised the men in this book except for Patroclus as he seemed to be the only one who was kind. I did like reading the descriptions of war and the friendships of Briseis with the other women. If only we got more insight into the lives of the women and knew more about their thoughts and feelings!
Leo loves Aries- Anyta Sunday
A cute and meaningful story involving horoscopes. I love Anyta Sunday’s characters! They are always so well fleshed out. The brother-sibling relationship between Theo and Leone was so adorable and sweet. I loved their interactions, especially their banter. Jamie and Theo’s relationship was so well-developed. I was rooting for them to get together as the tension between them was so strong! I loved how thoughtful and caring Jamie was. While Theo might be playful, he cared deeply for his family and Jamie. This book is probably my second favourite from hers. Thought using horoscopes was such a fun twist to add into the story! I am excited to read the other books in the series.
Also, I listened to this on audio cause that was the only version I could find. I was not a fan of the narrator’s voice unfortunately. It kind of got on my nerves when he did the female voices. I don’t know why they couldn’t have chosen a female voice actor for the female characters? Along with that, one of the character’s voice sounded like Squidward?! I couldn’t stop laughing every time this character “spoke” lmao.
The china bird- Bryony Doran
I am currently participating in the 2020 Reading Challenge and one of the challenges is to read a book that is local to me. Since I was staying at Sheffield then, I decided to read a book that is set in Sheffield. After struggling for 2 months I think, I decided to DNF this book. I really wanted to love this book so much! Unfortunately, none of the characters were compelling. I found them to be bland and unlikable. I do not mind unlikable characters at all (See Wilder Girls above) but in this case, I could not care for the characters. If I don’t find myself caring for the characters, it is very hard for me to continue reading the story. I think I prefer a character-driven story to a plot-driven story. So, even if there doesn’t seem to be much of a plot, if the characters are interesting enough, I would still enjoy the story. I also did not like the random sexual assault thrown in. It was gross and icky and, was not addressed properly. I only liked the descriptions of Sheffield as I have grown very fond of Sheffield after spending around 6 months there. It is so upsetting that I did not like this book 🙁
Thank you so much for reading this post!! I am so excited to be back again 😀 Expect some exciting (I hope) stuff soon now that uni is over!