September 2021 Reading Wrap Up.

I read a lot this month! I finished reading 17 books! Here is everything I read.

1. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis(3.5/5)

Translated from the Greek by Carl Wildman, this follows the narrator an intellectual man, who meets Zorba who works at his mines and has a larger than life personality. It was an interesting read, that took me to another place and time. But the way women were talked about did not age very well.

2. Undertow by Jahanavi Barua(3.5/5)

Set in Assam, India, this follows a woman who had been disowned by her family for marrying outside her community, and her daughter who, many years later returns to her homeland on the pretext of studying elephants. An intriguing read.

3. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami(4/5)

Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, this is a strange, surreal tale following a 15 year old boy who runs away from home and fulfils an Oedipal prophecy. A strange but interesting read.

4. Silence by Shusaku Endo(4.5/5)

Translated from the Japanese by William Johnson, this is a dark tale set in 17th century Japan, following a Portuguese Christian missionary searching for his colleague at a time when Christianity was outlawed and its followers persecuted. A very intense story.

5. Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri (4/5)

This is Lahiri’s first novel in Italian, which she translated into English herself. It follows a woman and her inner thoughts as she wanders around the city. This is the kind of book that doesn’t have much of a story, but you read for the atmosphere.

6. Premalekhanam (Love Letter) by Vaikom Muhammed Basheer(3.5/5)

This is something new to me, as I just started reading books in Malayalam, my native language. Though I speak Malayalam at home, I didn’t really study it in school or anything, so I’m not used to reading in it, but still I thought I’d like to start. This book is a light-hearted, humourous story that follows Keshavan Nair and Saramma as they fall in love. It was a fun read and I’m looking forward to reading more Malayalam books.

7. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes(3/5)

To be honest this book just wasn’t my cup of tea. It follows a middle-aged man as he meets someone from his past, reminding him of his time as a schoolboy and a mystery from the past. I know this is an acclaimed book, but it did not work for me.

8. Black Widows by Cate Quinn(4.5/5)

This was a really intense thriller following the death of Mormon polygamist, following his three wives who are suspected of his murder. It deals with some uncomfortable subjects, so definitely not for everyone.

9. Who we’re reading when we’re reading Murakami (4/5)

This is a nonfiction gives a behind-the-scenes look at Murakami’s monumental rise in the international market. We get to see the translators, editors, publishers etc. who aided his rise. An interesting read.

10. Taliban by Ahmed Rashid(4/5)

This is another nonfiction-of a very different sort. This follows the conflict in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s rise to power. I picked this book up after hearing about what happened in Afghanistan. This was definitely not an easy read, but I learned a lot about the situation from it.

11. Fault Lines by Emily Itami(4/5)

This book is set in Japan, and follows and follows a traditional Japanese housewife who is bored with her conventional life and misses the exciting life she used to lead. Things then seem to change when she meets a handsome and exciting strange. A short, but satisfying book.

12. Semiosis by Sue Burke (3.5/5)

This was a rather unique work of sci-fi. It is set in the planet Pax, newly settled by humans, where there are also other sentient life-forms including sentient plants. This had some really cool and interesting concepts but some of it went over my head.

13. Heroes by Stephen Fry

I know I read this out of order, that I should have read Mythos first. But I don’t think it made much of a difference. This is retelling of the tales of ancient Greek heroes and Fry did a great job with it. This also gave me great nostalgia of the days I first got acquainted with Greek myths when I read the Percy Jackson series.

14. Minority Report by Philip K Dick(4/5

This was a pretty great collection of short stories.

15. The Double by Jose Saramago(3/5)

This book, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa was another acclaimed book that just was not for me. It follows a man who finds out that he has a ‘double’-an actor who looks exactly like him, leading to obsession.

16. The Beautiful by Renee Ahideh(4/5)

IiThis was the best YA book I had read in a while. It had been touted as a book that ‘brought vampires back’. This book follows a girl in the 19th century who is forced to move from France to New Orleans to live in a convent after committing a terrible crime. There she comes across the enigmatic Sebastien who is part of the mysterious organization called The Court of the Lions. But then, a series of murders occur, which picques her curiosity. An interesting read!

17. Impractical uses of Cake by Yeoh Jo-Ann(4/5)

This was a fun, quirky tale set in Singapore, which follows Sukhin, a 35 year old teacher who leads and uneventful life till he runs into a woman from his past, who is now homeless.


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