December 2021 Reading Wrap

I read 16 books in December and here they are (yes, i know, I’m late this time)

1. The Wind that Lays Waste by Selva Almada (4/5)

This was an Argentinian novella that followed an encounter between two individuals-a preacher and an atheist mechanic. It dealt with themes like religion, society, life etc in a brief but poignant narrative.

2. Naishpur and Babylon by Keki Daruwala (4/5)

I thought I’d give reading poetry a try, as i  hadn’t read a lot of it lately. I really enjoyed this collection. My favourite poems in this were Naropa’s Wife and Birds and Trees of Iraq.

3 . All You who Sleep Tonight by Vikram Seth (3/5)

This was another book of poetry and unfortunately this one did not do it for me. This is a very ‘its not you, it’s me’ situation.

4. Tamas by Bhisham Sahni (3/5)

This was another book that did not do it for me. This book was originally written in Hindi, and is set in a village in India shortly before partition when a violent conflict broke out between the Hindu and Muslim communities there. While the story seemed harrowing, i couldn’t connect with the characters at all. Perhaps the issue was with the translation.

5. Much Ado About You by Samantha Young (3.5/5)

This was a cute contemporary romance, following Evie who gets an opportunity to temporarily work for a bookstore in a small English village. There, she meets Roane, an attractive farmer and sparks fly between them. I thought it was a fun read, but it did have some issues (particularly the unnecessary twist in the end).

6. The City and the City by China Mieville(4.5/5)

This was a really unique fantasy novel that is set in the twin cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma. What’s unique about the cities is that much of the two cities occupy the same space, but people off each city is supposed to act like the other doesn’t exist. It follows a policeman investigating a crime that involves both the cities. A really unique and interesting read.

7. Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon(4/5)

This was another romance book. This follows Sloane, a doctor and a a single mother who hires Rafe as nanny for her two kids. This was a pretty fun read.

8. The Brothers Karamazov by Fydor Doestoyevsky (4/5)

Okay, i must admit,. I’m not a huge classics person. I find it difficult to get through classica. And this took me two months to read. But, I am really glad I read it.

9. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (4/5)

Evil Under the Sun: A Hercule Poirot Mystery: 23 (Hercule Poirot Mysteries,  23) : Christie, Agatha: Books

This was a classic Agatha Christie mystery following the mysterious death of the attractive and scandalous Arlena Stuart, on the beach. Definitely one of the better Christie books I had read.

10. Passing by Nella Larsen (4.5/5)

Essay: 'Passing,' by Nella Larsen : NPR

This was a short, but poignant read, following two light-skinned African-American women in the 1920s, one of whom passes as white and keeps her real identity a secret even from her (very racist) white husband. A great read !

11. Small Thing Like These by Claire Keegan (4/5)

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Another short read. Set during Christmas-time in Ireland, it follows a coal merchant who uncovers a rather dark secret while delivering coal to a convent. A good Christmas-time read.

12. Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman (3/5)

Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate  Politics by Eleanor Herman

This was a rather scandalous piece of nonfiction that detailed the illicit affairs of various European queens. According the reviews on goodreads, the historical accuracy is probably questionable-the author had relied on dubious sources on many occasions. However, I still thought it was a fun piece of historical gossip, and I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it were not for how malicious it seemed in some parts. There were also some problematic and rather poor wording choices in the book.

13. Mythos by Stephen Fry (4/5)

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Greek Myths Book 1) eBook :  Fry, Stephen: Kindle Store

So, I had read this series out of order, starting with Heroes first. I had really enjoyed Heroes, and Mythos didn’t disappoint either. Mythos was a very entertaining narration of various Greek myths, some of which I was already familiar with, and some which I wasn’t.

14. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani(5/5)

Buy Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree Book Online at Low Prices in India | Buried  Beneath the Baobab Tree Reviews & Ratings -

This young adult book follows the heartbreaking story of a Nigerian girl kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. I thought it did a great job portraying a really harrowing situation with the nuance and delicacy required in a young adult book.

15. Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente (4.5/5)

Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente

This was another short read that followed a young housewife living in an idyllic community and madly in love with her husband. She discovers things are not as perfect as it seems. I can’t talk more about this book without spoilers, but it was a really interesting, twisted read.

16. The Morning they Came for Us by Janine Di Giovanni (4.5/5)

The Morning They Came For Us – Dispatches from Syria : Di Giovanni, Janine: Books

I ended the year, with this harrowing account of the Syrian Civil War. It dealt with the experiences of various people affected by the conflict and was, to say the least, not an easy read.


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