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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

My troubles with Indian fiction | Notes from my Reading

I've been going through a reading spree. Over the past four weeks. I completed five books and am halfway through my sixth. This is huge for me. I'm not sure how long it will last, but if a slump comes through, that's alright - at least I'm having a good run at the moment. 

Indian fiction

I don't read as many books written by Indian-origin authors or set in India or featuring Indian-origin characters as I want to. Part of it is due to poor track record so far - a lot of the same tropes keep showing up. When you know something intimately, it gets hard to look past the tropes. There are some books that I have loved and I could find more books by those authors, so part of the blame is on me and not the books. I've also not done well about reading Indian authors though I have quite a large collection of such books.

This past week, I spent some time to find a book featuring Indian-American characters. I was intentionally looking for a light and fun read. (Mainly I was coming off a high after watching Never Have I Ever and wanted something light, fun, and with a healthy dose of sarcasm. I did find a ton of books, I certainly did. But I was sorely disappointed to see some of the same cliches again - arranged marriages, by far, is the most popular one - not sure what the obsession with that is about, especially when it's not presented well.

So when I saw Mitali Perkins' You Bring the Distant Near, it sounded different - five girls/women and their immigrant experience. The premise was good really, however, the book itself left much to be desired. Which is unfortunate because Mitali Perkins does have a huge following. I had a lot of trouble with the structure of the book, but it also didn't help that some of the other elements - five unique characters, the immigrant experience and assimilation, multi-generational makeup - weren't utilized well. I guess I'll keep looking for that elusive book.

In Five Years

Couple of days ago, I started reading In Five Years. I wasn't sure if this book is for me but so far, I'm enjoying the writing and the story. I'm intensely fascinated by the use of time travel in books. This one doesn't heavily use it, at least not beyond the one time jump and I don't think there's more coming. But that one time jump is in some ways a trigger for what happens. 

I don't read enough time travel books though I always look for some. I believe it was Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife that first hooked me into this subject. All those time jumps and the price Henry will eventually pay. To date, I believe it is still my favorite time travel book I've read though I did rate it a 4 for some reason I can't recall anymore. I guess its memory has aged well. I wonder what I would think of it, were I to read it now.

How about you? Got any favorite time travel books?

What to read next?

My six month hold for In Five Years came at the right time. I was just finishing my previous book, hadn't even started thinking about what next, when In Five Years popped into my inbox. Awesome. But I'm almost at the end of my to-read list and not sure what's next. I do have Transcendent Kingdom to look forward to, though after some recent reviews, I'm thinking of letting it wait a bit. My expectations are sky-high at the moment. I've been going through a string of easier reads lately, and that wasn't an intentional choice, but since that is what is working, I'm inclined to go with the flow. We're fast approaching the season that tends to kill reading a bit - not just because of the holidays but also the upcoming US elections. I'm trying to stay off the news and keep all my worries away for now. 

For my next few reads, I'm thinking of reading authors that I've always wanted to read but haven't lately. There are a whole host of authors I'm pondering, some who have been writing for years while others are newer authors - Michael Chabon, Brit Bennett, Emily St. John Mandel, Ali Smith, Margaret Atwood, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Bohjalian, to name a few. I'm not sure what book I'll actually choose to read but I do have many of these authors on my physical shelves so I may start there.

Please recommend me the last book you loved.