October Reading Wrap up and favorites

So I’ve tried to do something different with this blog post, along with the books I’ve read I also include my favorites that I’ve been using and raving about to people in my life offline. I thought it would be fun to combine books with other essentials. Book related posts will still be 90% of my blog, I just wanted to change things a little. Please provide feedback in the comments section or any of my other social media (I am most active on Instagram)

Coming to the books I read, for some reason I thought I read 8 books in October, but I read only 7. But I did enjoy most of the books and felt good because I could read so much. It is possible that a vacation towards the end of September helped me get over my reading slump. I already want to take another vacation. Do you also sometimes get bored with routine and also crave routine when there isn’t any routine? Or do these conflicts exist only in my head? This is probably one of the reason why I decided to switch things a little with this blog post.

The books I read in the order that I read them,

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

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This book was a gateway to the Chinese traditions and culture to me. Foot-binding, Nu Shu (the secret language of women) and laotong  (Sister or assigned best friends to support each other) were all new concepts to me which I didn’t know in depth about. I only heard about foot binding before. The central theme of the book was about the status of women in 19th century China and their relationships with other family members. Although I didn’t enjoy every aspect of the book I found it quiet enjoyable to read and the felt like I knew a little bit more about the ancient Chinese traditions.

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Should you read? – Yes

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

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This was another book I adored. I am not sure if this can be referred to as a “classic”, but I did enjoy the book a lot. I loved all the characters each one was so unique yet this fit in place perfectly. Reading this book reminded me of Little Women by Lousia May Alcott. Both these stories were about family bonding and the relationship between sisters. However, I enjoyed this book a lot more than Little Women. The characters in this book felt more real and imaginative. Cassandra’s description of the castle was funny and I really enjoyed the fact that the girls were not portrayed as perfect. It is a coming of age book which is more suited towards younger audience but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

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Should you read? – Hell, yes.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

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I am person who dumps my brain in a book, always. There is a to-do list on my refrigerator which has the tasks for the day/coming days. I rely heavily on throwing everything out there and do not rely on my memory. My memory is too tiny and I forget the things that I need to take care of almost always. Like this month, we didn’t pay for parking and we will be charged a late fee. This happens like almost every other month. Now, coming to the book. It was a collection of examples related to why checklists are important and how they can help in improving accuracy and productivity for almost any tasks. Atul Gawande was from a medical background and a lot of these examples were related to hospitals which I struggled to relate to sometimes. But the overall I agreed with the intent of the book and enjoyed some of the examples.

Should you read? – I feel like most of us today are already use checklists, but if you don’t then you should read this book.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I absolutely loved this book, it was a 5-star read for me. More thoughts here

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#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

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If you are a woman who is thinking about starting on your own or already in the starting phases of running your own business then this is a good book for you. If you don’t fall into one of the buckets mentioned above then you might not relate to this book as much. It is like a good to know story which reassures you that you should take the risk of doing something on your own and be committed to it. But the content is very specific to fashion and online business.

Should you read? – Depends on you

Family Life by Akhil Sharma

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This is a short book about a family who moves from India to USA. The story is narrated from the perspective of the youngest of the 2 sons in the family. While they are getting used the new life an incident happens which changes all the dynamics and peace within the family. The book is about the journey of how the family adjusts and copes with the new reality.

Should you read? – There are better books you can read

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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This can easily fall into the category of the best books I’ve read this year. Full review here.

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Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

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I didn’t understand the point of this book. I love Gilmore Girls and I love Lorelai. This book was entertaining in some aspects. But at the end of it I didn’t feel like I gained anything out of it.

Should you read? – Maybe not

Now coming to the fun part,

    1. Pumpkin Cupcake Cocoa Body Scrub, Buy here
    2. Imagine Dragons – Thunder and Believer, Listen here
    3. My new bullet journal technique (it is far from perfect or good looking but the weekly layout is working for me)IMG_0131.jpg
    4. Mario Badescu Skin Care Facial Spray with Aloe,Cucumber And Green Tea, Buy here
    5. My favorite fashion and lifestyle blogs. Brighton is one of my favorite bloggers. Her posts are so much fun and her Instagram stories are bomb too. Her content is genuine and fun. Check her blog here (I’ve linked one of my favorite new post here)
Do you want recommendations on lifestyle bloggers whose content is freaking awesome? Let me know and I can totally add a ton of recommendations for you.

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Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Published – February 2nd, 2016

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October has been a great reading month for me. I finished 8 books in total. I am super happy about this, although I couldn’t have achieved this without making a few changes. I will talk more about them in my October reading wrap up.

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When I started reading this book I only knew that it was a book set during World War 2, I usually enjoy reading WW2 fiction so I jumped in without must hesitation and boy I was not disappointed. This is an excerpt from Goodreads for those of you who are not familiar with the book,

Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating yet unknown tragedies.
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the “Wilhelm Gustloff.” Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people adults and children alike aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

This book was a great work of fiction which was inspired by true events. I wasn’t aware of the maritime casualties that happen during WW2 and from an historical stand point it compelled me to use Google (everyone’s best friend when they need information) to get more details.

The story is about how three people affected by war, come together and find strength in each others company to achieve a common end goal. Ruta Sepetys takes us through their journey, the emotions they feel and the sacrifices they had to make. Each one of them has a different story and different motives which keep them going during such difficult times. Ruta Sepetys does an awesome job in character building, I empathized with them, liked how strong they were and adored their will to fight (a fight to stay alive).

I loved the author’s writing style too, the story is described through the eyes of Joana, Emilia and Florian. So the reader gets a multiple perspectives on the same situation which immerses you into the tale even more.

If you are into Historic Fiction then this is a book I would highly recommend. It is an emotionally satisfying, easy to read and fast paced work of fiction. The last 100 pages took the longest time for me as I didn’t want the book to end and that happens rarely to me.

There are some excellent quotes which I loved from this book,

I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.

What had human beings become? Did war make us evil or just activate an evil already lurking within us?

Killers aren’t always assassins. Sometimes, they don’t even have blood on their hands.

The Wilhelm Gustloff was pregnant with lost souls conceived of war. They would crowd into her belly and she would give birth to their freedom.

Rating – ♥♥♥♥♥ / 5

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Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Published – August 11th 2017

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When I received this book as part of my BOTM package, I was intimidated by the size of it. It is a huge book which had almost 600 pages. Now, I had two issues which I had to tackle (more like third world problems) – 1) How do I carry this huge book when I go out? (I usually always have the book I am reading with me), 2) What if this book is not what I expected and turns out to be a bore?

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But I wasn’t disappointed at all and I am glad I picked it up sooner than later. I enjoyed reading this book a lot. More than I thought I would.

Now, there are two factors which influence how much I enjoy reading a book – 1) Strong characters I can respect or connect to and 2) Subject/theme of the book I can relate to. Now the characters itself do not have to be perfect but they definitely need to be consistent. If they are flawed, then that should be consistent as well.

This book had some themes which I could not relate to at all. But I still enjoyed this book, it was very well written. I am going to be stalking John Boyne after reading this book as I am hooked to his writing style now. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was my absolute favorite and I had high expectations for this book from the beginning and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

 

The book highlights the changes in society and the perceptions in Ireland from 1940 onward. In many ways, the main characters of this book challenge the existing norms and the book depicts their suffering in a very real and heart warming way. There is also some element of anticipation which builds up through the novel. As a reader, you are waiting to see how other characters would react when exposed to a certain truth of their life (trying really hard not to reveal any spoilers).

I felt like I was introduced to a world which I knew nothing/very little. A lot of political aspects were touched in the book. It talks about how hypocrites can cause suffering to hundreds and thousands of people. Overall, it has all the qualities that I look for in a historical fiction book and I would highly recommend everyone to read this book. There is so much to learn from the characters, their journeys, the context and the world that the book is set in.

Rating – ♥♥♥♥♥ / 5

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Popular Books I want to read (Rest of 2017)

I can’t believe it is almost September. Now I know everyone says this and it is cliche but this year flew by. I decided not to buy anymore books this year. I wasn’t the one to pile up books but somehow I have at least 20 books which I own but I haven’t read. Being in Seattle, the public library is awesome too. I can borrow e-books/audio books or physical copies anytime. So, I hope I do stick to this promise and knock out most of my TBR pile in the remaining 4 months.

Apart from rambling and cribbing about how the year flew by I want to dedicate this post to the top 10 books I want to read before this year ends,

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After listening to the TED talk by Chimamanda I was completely hooked by how elegant she was. She comes from a background which is I can relate to in a lot of ways and she is such an encapsulating speaker that it just adds to the content. The TED talk is more like a summary of We should all be Feminists. After listening to wonderful reviews of the books I can’t wait anymore to get to this book.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This book is very popular on Booktube and Bookstagram and most of the reviews are very popular. I finally caved in and purchased it while I went into the Amazon Bookstore here in Seattle “casually”. I had no intention of buying (The lie I tell myself like most people in the book loving world do)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is one of my all time favorite books. When I saw this book as one of the BOTM selections I had to pick it up. I have very little context on what this book is about but I am super excited to get to it before the year ends.

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American War by Omar El Akkad

This is another very famous book on Booktube and Bookstagram but again there were so many awesome reviews that I’ve heard about the book. It also very different to the books that I read typically. But the concept of the book and Civil War sounds super intriguing to me.

All the Light we cannot See by Anthony Doerr

If you are into Historic Fiction, then this is one of the highly recommended books. I heard nothing but awesome things about this book and I also feel like it is going to be another book which might make me cry. War does that to people doesn’t it?

WARNING: The next 2 books are Historic Fiction too. I love the genre, I can’t help my self.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is a Historic Fiction classic and Historic Fiction being my fav genre I have no choice but to read this book. How can I live with myself without reading a classic? How?

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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Pfff…. what can I say? Another famous Historic Fiction.

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Songs of Ice and Fire series)

I usually do not read many Fantasy books but given the pace which the TV series is going I want to get to it. I want to participate in all the fan theories and TRY to predict how it is going. Now, you don’t have to read the books to do that, but hey I need refreshers and I received a beautiful leather bound edition of this series as a gift on my birthday. So why not?

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Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Did you know that Phil Knight started out with $50 and built Nike? Do I need to say anything more? The only non-fiction book on this list but one of the books that I am most excited about.

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The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy

I’ve heard wonderful things about this book from a blogger I very much adore and who also happens to be one of my inspirations : Resh Susan (thebooksatchel). This has been on my TBR since a long time and I want to get to it as soon as possible.

Now all of these are super famous books which have been talked about on Booktube and the blogging community a lot. I have heard such amazing things about them. I can’t wait to read them and experience such powerful topics my self.

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Next up – Not so popular Books I want to read

Let’s do a small test, how many of these books have you read? Anyone read more than 6? If yes, then chances are that our book reading tastes match a lot. Comment down below and I would love to get to know you.

Also, what books are on your fall/winter reading lists? Although, I am not buying I am always looking for good recommendations.

 

Book Review: The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak

The Architect’s Apprentice By Elif Shafak

(Goodreads | Amazon)

Published – March 31st 2015

The Bastard of Istanbul was the first book I read that was written by Elif Shafak and I loved it. It was a complete page turner for me, I could totally relate to the characters in one way or the other. So I jumped into this book with high expectations.

I wouldn’t say that book disappointed Continue reading “Book Review: The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak”

Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Published – June 7th 2016

I picked up this book as part of my birthday book haul after hearing so any great reviews of this book from booktube, blogs I follow and bookstagram. After 2 days of buying this book I came across a read along on Instagram and instantly I thought that it was a sign. A sign to help me pick my next read. I love discussing books with others and that was one of the reasons why Continue reading “Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi”

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne 

Published – September 12th 2006

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a book set in Berlin 1942, and follows a 8 year old boy Bruno. It is a powerful story which outlines how war has changed Bruno’s life. I finish reading this book in a day and it is made its way into my all time favorite list very easily. The story highlights a very innocent friendship between Bruno (German) and Shmuel (Jew) and will leave you in tears. Continue reading “Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne”