February + March 2022 Reading Wrap Up (Part 1)

Since I ended up not doing the wrap up for February earlier, I thought I’d combine it with the March wrap up. Here is everything I read in Feb and March (or at least the first 15 books).

1. Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura. (5/5)

I loved, loved, loved this book. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, this was about a girl who stops going to school after facing severe bullying by one of the other girls and her friends. One day she finds a portal in a mirror that leads her to a castle with lots of other kids in it. Through what seems to be a fantasy quest story, this book deals with some really poignant themes.

2. The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa(4/5)

This was another great work of translated fiction. Set in Sicily in the 1860s, it follows the life of a prince in a time of political upheaval. Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun.

3. When the River Sleeps by Easterine Kire (5/5)

This was another amazing book. Set in Nagaland in Northeast India, it follows Vilie, a hunter who lives in the forest, away from his home village, as he goes on a quest. A beautiful tale incorporating Naga myths and folklore and magic realism.

4. Kintsugi by Anukriti Upadhyay(3.5/5)

Set in India and Japan, this book follows the loosely-connected lives of a number of people- a Japanese woman who goes to study the traditional metal crafts of Rajasthan, a Rajasthani woman who wants to follow her metalworker father’s footsteps despite traditions dictating it to be a man’s job, and an Indian student in Japan who does not want to follow her family’s expectations. I thought the characters and settings were interesting, but also this page tried to do too much in too little number of pages.

The Cat who Saved Books by Soesuke Natsukawa (4.5/5)

Another great book set in Japan! This one was the fun, quirky tale of a boy who loves books, who meets a mysterious talking cat who wants his help in rescuing books from people who treat them badly. A great tale for book lovers!

6. Dawn by Octavia Butler (4/5)

This is the first book in the xenogenesis trilogy. It follows a woman who wakes up in an alien spaceship and finds out that on earth, civilization as we know it has ended and the aliens want to save humanity by genetically merging with them. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds.

7. The Women who Forgot to Invent Facebook and Other Stories (2.5/5)

This was such a disappointment for me. A collection of short stories revolving around the lives of modern Indian women, I thought I’d really enjoy it, but somehow I could not connect with them at all. But I think it is an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ situation here.

8. Secret Lives and Other Stories by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (3.5/5)

This was a collection of short stories set in Kenya, that captures society, life, culture and the impact of colonialism there. An interesting read.

9. Vanity Bagh by Anees Salim (4.5/5)

This was such a great read! It follows an Indian Muslim man who is arrested after unintentionally getting involved in a terrorist plot, as he looks back on life in his Muslim-dominated neighbourhood ‘Vanity Bagh’ and the rivalry with the Hindu-dominated Mehndi Nagar. Peppered with dark humour, this was a really interesting read.

10. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. (4.5/5)

This was a pretty interesting classic. It follows a WW2 soldier as he looks back on his life with his friend Sebastian’s English Catholic family. It paints a searing portrait of a complicated family with complex dynamics, and their beliefs, values and customs. An interesting read.

11. Night by Elie Wiesel (4.5/5)

This Holocaust memoir really doesn’t need introduction. Needless to say, it was a haunting read.

12. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho (4/5)

This was a fun fantasy novella, with a Malaysian-inspired setting that follows a nun who joins a group of bandits on a mission involving an artifact. A fun read!

13. Selected Poems of Rainer Marie Rilke (4/5)

This was such a great collection of poetry!

14. My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci (3.5/5)

This was a pretty interesting read that followed alternating timelines-one set in the 1980s following a young woman during the Yugoslav war and the other in present-day, following her son, Bekim, a young gay man dealing with the complexity of being an immigrant, who encounters a mysterious talking cat. A weird, interesting read. Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston

15. Pew by Catherine Lacey (5/5)

This was another great book! It follows a person who is discovered on the pew of a church in a small town. Named ‘Pew’ after the place they are found, no one knows their real name, age or gender. It deals with some serious themes like race, gender, forgiveness, memory etc. in a subtle, yet poignant way.

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