Skip to main content

Featured Post

When you are LOST in a book | Weekly Snapshot

I have just spent a bulk of my past 24 waking hours racing through the book Big Little Lies. Gosh, it feels amazing to be so consumed by a book that all you want to do is read it at every small or big opportunity. It was hard putting the book down or not thinking about Madeline, Jane, Celeste, or their terribly convoluted lives when I was supposed to be doing something else.

Last Week We drove back from Nashville on Monday morning after two full fun days at the Gaylord resort and one morning at the Hermitage, President Jackson's house. The house itself was glorious (and huge!) - we all enjoyed a good amount of history that day. The resort was a feast for the eyes - all those trees and gardens inside the massive building!

On our drive back home, we had couple of hours to kill so we took the kids to the Dinosaur World in Kentucky. That turned out to be a good decision as the kids had a blast and the adults also had fun learning something new.

Currently This weekend is so far turning…

Choosing from Dystopian Titles | Reading from my Shelves

One of my goals this year (as in years past) is to read more books from my own shelves. I'm aiming for a conservative pace of one book a month, hoping that feels doable. This month, I picked Becoming. While trying to decide what I wanted to read next month, I decided to list the top three books that are calling out to me.

As I was writing this post, I found it very interesting that all the three books below are set in dystopian societies. I wonder what my brain is trying to tell me. I typically find it hard to walk away from dystopian titles, especially those that are less focused on individual heroism and more on how the society responds and adapts. What feels dystopian today could be tomorrow's reality. These books are all written by women authors and also came heavily recommended, which is how they found their way to my shelves, of course. Of the three books below, the most recent one is a 2019 release while the oldest book is from 2011.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Summary from Indiebound: More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia.  Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways. With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

I'm sure this book is on many 2019 lists. I did purchase it promptly after its release and it has been on my nightstand since - that usually means it's high up on my to-read list but I never got around it it. I read The Handmaid's Tale in 2016 and remember feeling like I was inside a bad dream that I could not shake myself awake from. The book was terrifying to read: despite it being fiction and very obviously set in a dystopian society, several elements of the book felt too realistic. Here's a thought explored extensively in The Sixth Extinction - an extinction may be happening around you but you fail to notice it because it's too close to you. A decade later is probably when you suddenly ask yourself where were those green frogs that had always been in your backyard before you shockingly realize that they are probably gone forever. The events preceding The Handmaid's Tale were of the same nature and so is everything happening around us. While so lost in the present, when do we know that we have passed the point of no return? I know I want to read this sequel but I'm also not ready to discover where the characters go next.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Summary from Indiebound: Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan’s provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed—their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes—and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.

Long ago, I had read the first few pages of this book. While reading it, I felt so excited for what felt like a promising start to an exciting story that I put it down to read when I was looking for my next read. Of course, I never read it afterward, with other 'next reads' jostling for attention. Truth be told, I haven't read very much about this book, whether in reviews or otherwise and yet, I remember this book being heavily recommended in several channels.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Summary from Indiebound: In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power: they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets. From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways. 

I don't remember when or where I first heard about The Power but I'm sure it was in someone's glowing review of this book. Barring the few reviews I've read of this book, I actually know very little regarding what this book is about. Which suits me just fine because I do sometimes miss reading a book I know very little about.

I'm not sure yet which one(s) I'll end up reading. One part of me wants to find out how Offred has fared after the events in The Handmaid's Tale but on the other hand, I've been eyeing The Power for a long time now and would love to read it.

Have you read any of these titles? If you were to choose, which one would you recommend?


Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.

In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …