August was a pretty good reading month for me. I read 16 books and I don’t think I have ever read so many books in a single month before. I read some mysteries, some non-fiction, some contemporary fiction and also Hindi books. So without further ado, let’s get started with the video:
1. The New One Minute Manager by Kenneth h. Blanchard & Spencer Johnson
I have read two books by Spencer Johnson before which I really liked. So I picked this book with a lot of expectations but was disappointed. This short book is an allegorical story with a lot of advice about effective management. The tips are realistic and practical, and not too preachy. I personally didn't find much value in the book as the concepts discussed in the book were nothing new to me.
2. Veronica decides to die by Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors and this book again made me fall in love with his writing. This book is not for everyone to read as the book is very intense. Mental health is the central theme of the book. The book tells the story of Veronica who seems to have everything in life and yet she finds her life tedious and decides to kill herself. She doesn’t die and is sent to a mental hospital where she gains a new perspective to life.
Paulo Coelho wrote this book based on his own experience of living in a mental asylum. At 17, Coelho's parents committed him to a mental institution from which he escaped three times before being released at the age of 20. The reason: He wanted to become a writer. Perhaps this is the reason that Paulo Coelho has approached tough issues like suicide & mental illness with so much insight and compassion.
This is a book which I will recommend to anyone who wants to rediscover the meaning of life and the power of death in order to start living the life that we want and not the one that the society wants us to live.
3. October Junction by Divya Prakash Dubey
October Junction is a beautiful story of a successful entrepreneur Sudeep and a struggling writer Chitra. They both meet once a year taking a break from the complexities of life. This simple and beautiful story will keep you hooked till the end. And it’s written in very easy language so even the beginner readers can enjoy it. I have also done a detailed review of the book. I will leave the link in the description box.
4. We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book is a short, insightful essay about feminism. It does not point fingers and blame men. Instead, it offers calm and logical arguments for a positive change. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about feminism and gender studies because it serves as the perfect introduction.
5. The diary of a social butterfly by Moni Mohsin
I found this novel absolutely hilarious. The main attraction of this book is the main protagonist 'Butterfly' and of course, her typical behenji turned mode walli angrezi language. The caricature of Butterfly, her self-obsession and her view of the world had me laughing from beginning to end. The book is written in the form of diary entries. It is hilarious but not shallow. The writer beautifully highlights the insensitivities, insecurities and the artificial morals of the high society socialites. I loved the book. Butterfly’s ignorance about worldly affairs and her horrible English make for a really fun read.
6. The postman always rings twice by James M. Cain
This novella is a classic crime tale full of twists and turns. It was first published in 1934 and banned in many places for its provocative scenes. The novella follows Frank Chambers who gets dumped in southern California with no car and no cash. He is offered a job by Nick Papadakis, a Greek who runs a small truck stop at the highway. Then comes Cora, Nick’s beautiful wife who is unhappy in her marriage. Soon an affair begins and the lovers plot an accident to remove Nick from their way. This tight little story is filled with passion, spiraling desperation and a determination that’s going to have disastrous consequences. An interesting read!
7. Joy at work by Marie Kondo
This book is aimed primarily for white collared workers. Most of the ideas in this book are more or less the same as propounded in Marie Kondo's former books but targeted toward the workplace. The idea of ‘sparking joy’ is quite helpful if you are looking to declutter. But then all her books are basically around the same idea. So if you have read one book, there’s not much new to pick up in this one.
8. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
This highly acclaimed book is set in Kashmir and brings to fore the sad plight of Kashmiris living in terrorist hit areas. The story follows a young, privileged woman Shalini who after her mother’s death travels from Bangalore to a remote village in Kashmir. She wants to track a traveling salesman Bashir Ahmed who used to visit their home many years ago. So begins her journey to Kashmir during which she makes new connections in the strangest circumstances. The Far Field is an absorbing read. I have also done a detailed review. I will leave the link in the description box.
9. Newcomer by Keigo Higashino
This is a murder mystery in Detective Kaga series. A middle aged woman living in Nihonbashi area of Tokyo is murdered. The newly arrived detective, Kyochiro Kaga, is assigned to the case. Kaga soon discovers that many people from the area are linked to the incident and so he goes on interviewing the suspects. Newcomer is not a fast paced crime thriller but rather a cozy murder mystery but a very interesting one which I am sure you will enjoy reading.
10. Remember me? By Sophie Kinsella
Whenever you need something quick and entertaining to read, pick a Sophie Kinsella book. Remember me is a novel about Lexi Smart who wakes up in a hospital bed to find that the last three years of her life erased from her brain. In her mind, she is still an underpaid twenty-something with a loser boyfriend. But now she’s rich, successful and married though she cannot recall how this big change happened. Adding to the confusion is another guy who claims to be her lover. This book is a fun, quick read which you won’t want to put down once started.
11. Tales of Fosterganj by Ruskin Bond
This is another gem by Ruskin Bond which is a perfect book to curl up with. The author enthralls the readers with fascinating stories about the fictional town of Fosterganj. It has everything, hills and their beauty, mystic and mysteries, benevolent and sinister people, a man eating tiger, robbery and murder. If you are looking for something light and breezy, then you will like Tales of Fosterganj. If you have an Amazon Prime Subscription, then you can borrow and read this for free under Prime Reading.
12. Susanna’s Seven Husbands by Ruskin Bond
Susanna’s seven husbands is a short novella by Ruskin Bond which was adapted into the movie '7 Khoon Maaf'. This short story describes the life of a beautiful woman, Susanna, narrated by her neighbor Arun. The mysterious deaths of her husbands bring Susanna under suspicion. This short gripping story is fast paced and unputdownable.
13. Banaras Talkies by Satya Vyas
Banaras Talkies is the story of three friends Suraj, Jayvardhan and Anurag. They all are pursuing law at Banaras Hindu University. This is the story of their friendship, their life at hostel, of Banaras, of a bomb blast and a close escape. This is a nice book with compelling narrative and engaging writing. I have also done a detailed review of this book. I will leave the link in the description box.
14. The curious incident of the dog in the night time by Mark Haddon
This is an interesting story of Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism. Christopher is accused of killing Wellington, his neighbour’s dog. So he sets out to solve the mystery and his investigation helps him uncover some unexpected secrets along the way. It is a YA book but there is so much in it to make it worthwhile foe even adults. A fast and enjoyable book which you must read!
15. The boy in the striped pajamas by John Boyne
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is truly an amazing yet overwhelming novel that I will never forget. The story is about Bruno, a nine year old whose family moves from Berlin to Auschwitz where his father will serve as a Commandant for the concentration camp. Bruno feels lonely as he has no friends but one day he meets a boy of his age who lives on the other side of the fence. This friendship between two boys living on opposite sides of the fence proves to have a devastating consequence. It was hard to hold back tears as the story unfolded and impending doom lingered on the horizon. A must, must read!
16. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic is a very inspiring and honest discussion about creative process. It is a practical and helpful guide for becoming a productive creative person. This is definitely a self help book as it inspires you to live life by following your happiness. It inspires you to let go of excuses and move beyond them. This is one book that I will definitely recommend to anyone who wants to live a more creative life.