Pretty Little Bookshelves

GoodReads tells me I’ve read 173 books till date. But you and I know, that I had a reading life before I joined GoodReads. A beautiful summer time when I used to read Enid Blyton books, one a day.

When I graduated to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, I continued in the same fashion. That was till the day I could predict entire plots even before reaching 1/4th of the book.

At this point, I graduated to reading fiction. The real fiction.


I had always envied people who carried 200+ page books in their hands. I wondered if my tiny hands would ever be able to write a book that huge. I hopelessly ran my fingers over the melange of book-spines in the library, wondering if I’d ever finish reading a really humongous book like Jeffrey Archer’s ‘The Fourth Estate’.

Looking back, it seems silly now.

I’ve read ‘The Fourth Estate’ five times already.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
― Oscar Wilde

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Reading books has always been more than a hobby. I read to live, and live to read. Books attract me, and I’m attracted to books. If I ever have the chance of inhaling Amortentia, I’d smell the plasticky smell of bookmarks, the fresh aroma of a new book, and of course, the scent of a librarian. (WHAT!? Did I just say that out loud?)

And hence, out of the 173 books I’ve supposedly read, I have too many favourites. Most of you already know about my love for Harry Potter. I’m always vocal about it. But there is more to me than my maniacal obsession for this series.

Shocker, right? Yes, I don’t spend 24 hours of the day whispering into everyone’s ears that they “need to read Harry Potter, or else risk losing me as a friend and book-mate”.

Here are some other books I love, books I’d love to buy in bulk and throw into everyone’s window.

Mind you, this is not the full list. Do you really want to know about ALL the books I’ve loved? Add me on GoodReads then.

Back to the point: I’ve added a backstory to some of the entries and recommended similar books. Do feel free to run to CrossWord or Amazon any time in between, buy the book(s), and enjoy the magic of reading.



Young Adult Fiction: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This is a book I stumbled on via GoodReads. The plot of the story attracted me, but the beautiful lines in the book, and the mind-blowing scenes painted by Jennifer Niven haunted me for days. I have read this book twice, and the magic of the words doesn’t fade at all. I specially loved the part when Theodore organizes a birthday party for Violet, even though it’s his own birthday.  I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun of reading the actual book, but trust me, that is the most perfect scene I’ve ever read in a young adult fiction book.

Call me an idiot, but I loved this book more than ‘The Fault in Our Stars’.

Recommended reading: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Classics: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I’ll be honest: I don’t like classics. I tried reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’. I was bored out of my mind with the idyllic countryside, dainty English niceties, bridge and piano playing ladies, port drinking gentlemen. Paying attention to the words and language was the final nail on the coffin. The very same coffin I now use to store all the classics I downloaded on my Kindle.

But ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ was the first classic that kept me hooked right from the beginning. The perverse nature of the characters, the unpredictability of the story, the cruel ending, it all made absolute sense. It spoke a truth I had never encountered in my reading (or real) life. This attracted me to Oscar Wilde and his work. I have also read ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.

Recommended reading: I personally liked The Phantom of the Opera (Collins Classics) by Gaston Leroux. But my suggestion could be biased, because I didn’t like the few other classics I’ve read.

Historical Fiction: Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi , The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

‘Chanakya’s Chant’ was recommended to me by a friend, and it’s one of the best recommendations I’ve ever received. I wasn’t very well acquainted to Chanakya before reading this book. And  after reading this book, *waves magic wand* I learnt so much more about politics, Indian history and the brilliant way the human mind works.

‘The Book Thief’ was the first full fledged fiction book I ever read. I was in 8th grade, and I could relate with Liesel Meminger on every level. The last line of the GoodReads review says: “This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.” And wasn’t it a perfect book to begin my reading journey with!

Recommended reading: Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer has a bit of World War history, and a lot of politics.

 

Detective Fiction: Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express

I’m an Arthur Conan Doyle fan through and through. However, this book by Agatha Christie takes the cake. This book jumped out of an alley suddenly, pounced on me in the most terrifying manner and left me completely vulnerable about what I should expect from the next detective fiction book that I read. The intricately designed characters, the unexpected twists, and the final tying up of the story is brilliant beyond anything that a writer could create.

Reading this book reminds me of the way we make art with quilling paper: create the individual circles, shape them individually in an appropriate manner, plan the placing of the circles, and then join them together into the final design. Too easy for an outsider to see once it’s done / over, but the process of making the design / reading the book is utterly unique.

Recommended reading: Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith *wink*

Indian Fiction: More Than Just Biryani by Andaleeb Wajid

 

I picked up this book from the college library, only because the book jacket review had mentions of ‘food’. I have rarely read books in which food is the star element and books by Indian authors. Yet, I thought ‘why not’?

And mind you, there’s more to this book than just food: It’s an intricate mix of the stories of three women, all stirred together by their love for food, who start understanding the science behind cooking, the psychology behind preparing a particular dish for a specific occasion, the romance of sharing the food you love with someone else. Food is indeed the life-giver in this book. The characters Zubi, Tahera, Ruqayya and Sonia are crafted with an elegance similar to the diligence French pastry chefs provide to their croquembouches. Enough said.

And of course, this is the perfect book to read on March 8th! #GirlPower

Recommended reading: I don’t know, you tell me. I would love to explore more books by Indian authors!


 

Some extra tidbits about me!

An author whose books I’d buy without a second thought: Jeffrey Archer.

A book I’ll always turn to, when I’m in a bad mood: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

A book I cannot blog about, because words fall short of doing justice to this book: One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

A book everyone must read: Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman.

A reading ritual: I prefer not to read the review of a book on GoodReads, or even the back cover before reading the book.

A reading bad habit: I can remember plots, I can’t remember characters. *finally realises why I can’t write a full fledged novel*


I’m linking this post to Blogchatter’s prompt over at their website.

Hope you enjoyed the post! Do comment below and share your thoughts about the books I’ve mentioned above. Recommendations for books/blog post ideas are always welcome.

~Amateur-Book-Reviewer

 

 

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. My Era says:

    Stopping by your blog after a while and I am glad I landed on this fantastic post, that has gifted me so many new books to explore. I have always admired people who read a lot and let me admit, you’re one of them. I am already loving the book reviews you’ve been posting (wait, that makes my absence from your blog not-so-long, right?).
    Among all the books you’ve recommended, I think I’ll pick ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman, first.
    In 2017, I am hoping to read at least 25 fiction books besides the huge pile of non-fiction books waiting on my bookshelf. Tuned to your reviews for recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading this comment just spurs me to go and fill those bookshelves with more and more books!

      People who read good literature are such a rarity, and knowing what books they love is a perpetual curiosity for me! So, tell me the name of the non-fiction books waiting on your bookshelf! 😉

      Fiction books, did I read correctly? I’ve been reading fiction non-stop since the start of the year. My non-fiction time of the year hasn’t come by yet, even though I constantly keep a non-fiction book nearby, just in case. I’m currently reading ‘The Illustrated Man’ by Ray Bradbury, and it’s shaping up to be an awesome read! There’s also another short story collection by Jhumpa Lahiri ‘The Interpreter of Maladies’ that is perfectly awesome. Do check that out too!

      Do stop by more often, dear. This bookshelf will always be right here 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sreesha Diva says:

    I went from Enid Blyton to Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys too. I still have my old collection in fact.
    A librarian huh? Nice *raises a suggestive eyebrow* I’ve always wondered what Amortentia would smell like to me. I desperately wanna know, and I’m sad that I’ll never find out.
    Ok, about Indian authors, you’ve probably read Arundhati Roy, so there’s no point repeating it. (If you haven’t, I recommend it). Recently I started Narcopolis. Wonderful prose! I’m just two chapters in, but I think I’ll still recommend it.

    Like

  3. Rajlakshmi says:

    A hundred years of solitude! – Spot on. I thought I was the only one, but for sure, there are absolutely no words to describe the book… It is an experience, you make others feel it with words. I have been reading Agatha Christie so much that now I can actually see what’s coming next. HP books are my go-to-books-on-sad-day too. Haven’t read YA fiction in a long time. Will check this one out.

    Like

  4. dishwaryamil says:

    Loved your post but would differ on Chanakya’s Chant. I have written a small perspective on

    Like

  5. dishwaryamil says:

    I have written a small perspective on Commercial Indian Fiction in English on my blog. Try to have a look. Having said that,your post was wonderful and a good read.

    Like

  6. pratikshya2 says:

    I loved reading about so many books here…. Loved the way you review with so many personal views… I had been amazed by All The Bright Places… That’s the only book I’ve read from the ones mentioned…
    The Book Thief- watched the movie which was really good .. death being the narrator…

    Like

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