Shelf Awareness

February Fever – What a whirlwind month with anxiety-inducing plane rides, horrid weather yet an excellent month of storybooks. Run, order these books and begin the process of cerebral stimulations and emotional turmoil. And then send a prayer to the gods to reserve a very important place in heaven for these writers. Here are the books that have been catalogued into my heart.

PS – I promised to read only women authors in February and I did!

Lianne Moriarty – Nine Strangers

Speed read this dark and very tense thriller. The premise of this book revolves around one question, “can ten days at a chic, health resort transform you?”. Nine strangers, check in and spent the course of the book finding out. They aren’t just provided with the promise of rejuvenation but also with reinvention. I loved the alternating narrative structure, which helped establish each character vividly and allowed me to plunge into each one’s pathos and inner thoughts. I hear Nicole Kidman’s, Blossom Films have bought film rights, and I hope that the film’s pace is faster than the book.

Nadia Murad – The Last Girl

“I still think that being forced to leave your home out of fear is one of the worst injustices a human being can face.” Reading this book in 2019 is especially heart-breaking. This will be another part of history which I am and will be deeply ashamed of. Nadia Murad’s life in Kocho and their relationship with their Sunni neighbours before the ISIS invasion is the part which made me cry. That despite her not so idyllic childhood, she and her family had moments of perfect happiness and normalcy. It was a revelation for me as I participated in Yazidi culture and the monotheistic religion. It’s when they were taken and raped and killed that made me re-question all the values systems that the world espouses. I am ashamed that I live in a world where rape is used as a weapon of war I am ashamed that this genocide gets underreported and unsolved. That, ethnic and religious minorities, are brutally discriminated is not news, that their narrative is not reconstructed and shared, their suppressors go unpunished, is the more shocking news. Read this book to get a very precise account of ISIS’s cruelty and then question how the media is covering these events. I read up a lot on Lawrence Langer’s (a Holocaust scholar) ‘choiceless choices’ and I recommend you do too, once you’ve read this brave, brave, brave ladies account of her life.

Elena Ferrante – My Brilliant Friend

“I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t. . . . I very much love those mysterious volumes, both ancient and modern, that have no definite author but have had and continue to have an intense life of their own. They seem to me a sort of nighttime miracle, like the gifts of the Befana, which I waited for as a child. . . . True miracles are the ones whose makers will never be known. . . . Besides, isn’t it true that promotion is expensive? I will be the least expensive author of the publishing house. I’ll spare you even my presence.”

Sally Rooney – Normal People

Amazing! a 27-year-old novelist who writes sentences worth underlining! While this compulsive reading experience was riddled with expertly and sensitively crafted sentences it also had delicious characters who were are as real as they were fictitious. Oh, the joy of reading about characters who are over-educated, neurotic and a little too self-aware was both ironic and a pleasure! It’s a love story, with a double scoop of depression, a sprinkle of Twitter, and a side of suicide. It’s a perfect representation of what it means to be young. Rooney masterfully weaves in familial violence, which threw me off, and reminded me that fiction and fact are two sides of the same cookie. I also loved and wept at the deft juxtaposition of the desire to hurt and be hurt. I know Connel and Marianne’s desire for each other is a reflection of many real-life love stories too, and they certainly are a couple I won’t be forgetting in a longish time.



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