So September was a pretty good reading month for me. I ended up reading 17 books.
- Rosewater by Tade Thompson (3.5/5)
This was an interesting sci-fi read. Set in a futuristic Nigeria in a community on the edges of an alien biodome, it follows Kaaro, a government agent with a criminal past. I thought it was an interesting read, and I’ll probably continue with this series.
2. Crudo by Olivia Laing (4/5)
This one follows a forty year old female writer who is about to get married as she reflects on the world around her, including her thoughts on politics, the state of the world etc. I thought it was an interesting read though not one to pick up if you want a plot.
3. Hamnet by Maggie O Farrel (4/5)
Yes I know, I’m late to the party here. But I finally read this book and I thought it was pretty great. If you somehow don’t know what its about, it follows Shakespeare’s family, particularly his wife Agnes, and his son Hamnet who dies from the plague.
4. Kari by Amruta Patil (3.5/5)
This was a really weird graphic novel about a queer woman in the city. I thought it was a really unique read.
5. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh (4/5)
This was the second Evelyn Waugh book I had read, with the first being Brideshead Revisited. This was a light-hearted, often humourous book that dealt with a young men expelled from Oxford who finds work as a teacher at a small school and gets entwined with the widowed mother of one of his students, only to get into great trouble.
6. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (3.5/5)
This was a historical fiction book following a young woman in the post WW2 era trying to find her missing cousin, only to run into a mysterious woman, who she finds out was a spy and part of the network of spies known as the ‘alice network’. Based on real-life female spies, this was an interesting read though the writing style felt a bit YA-ish at times.
7. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (3/5)
I just finished this….and I’m not sure what this was about tbh. Guess things will become clearer from the next book onward in this series.
8. Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul by Taran N Khan
This was a really interesting work of nonfiction. Taran N. Khan is a journalist who has spent years in Kabul and this book talks about her experiences there as well as about Kabul in general. As an Indian Muslim woman, Taran N Khan has brought in perspectives that are perhaps missing from Western accounts. Overall I’m really glad I read this.
9. Ragnarok by A.S Byatt (3/5)
This book was kind of disappointing, to be honest. This was about a girl, who during world war 2 (or was it WW1, I can’t remember) becomes enamoured by a book of Norse myths. A lot of this book was just Norse mythology, which was interesting, but the frame story felt weak and almost unnecessary.
10. Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit (5/5)
This was such an intelligent collection of essays. It talks about how George Orwell-a man known for his political works-was also an avid gardener. Solnit then uses that to talk about roses, and the aesthetic in general, and how aesthetics are not as apolitical as they seem.
11. Something I’ve been meaning to tell you by Alice Munro (3.5/5)
I think Alice Munro is just not for me. This was a collection of short stories, and while I thought they were pretty good, I don’t remember anything about them.
12. Scattered all Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada (4.5/5)
This was my first book by Yoko Tawada, and I’ll definitely check out more of her work. This one is set in a future where Japan has vanished off the face of the earth, and Hiruko, a climate refugee is teaching a made up Scandinavian language to other refugees. It is weird and really interesting. Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani
13. Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo (4/5)
Jo Nesbo has been an author I’ve been pretty ambivalent about so far. I had read two of his Harry Hole books, which I thought were just okay, so I decided to pick this one up, which was not a Harry Hole book. I found this one much more enjoyable. This is a thriller following a man who hides away in a remote part of Scandinavia populated mostly by the Laestadian sect after he gets onto the wrong side of a crime boss. I found the references to Laestadian and Sami culture particularly interesting. Translated from the Norwegian (I’m unable to find the name of the translator).
14. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (4.5/5)
Murakami is an author I keep coming back to again and again. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman was one of my favourite works by Murakami so far. It is a collection of short stories, and all of them have this weird, uncanny, yet aesthetic feel to it prevalent throughout Murakami’s work.
15. Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au (3.5/5)
This is a book I would categorize as ‘no plot, just vibes’. It follows a mother and a daughter who are on vacation as they spend time together, and the two of them go to places, and have conversations. I thought the writing was beautiful, but it did not really stick in my mind.
16. A Midsummer’s Equation by Keigo Higanshino (3/5)
I’ve read most of Higanshino’s work, and this was my least favourite one to be honest. It had an interesting setup but the ending was somehow unsatisfying. Translated from the Japanese by Alexander O Smith.
17. Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (4/5)
I really wanted to read another mystery so I decided to pick this one up. This was a classic murder mystery over an inheritance and while the ending felt a bit like it came from left field, it was entertaining enough.