July Reading Wrap Up

July was a month when I was on vacation and hence, I ended up reading 9 books. Most of the books I read were small in size and they were all either bought during my UK trip or bought in India.

Let me review them in the order of reading –

  1. Three-thousand Stitches by Sudha Murty

    – 4 stars –
    It’s a collection of 11 stories – some of them personal and some about Infosys Foundation and Sudha Murty’s social work as chairperson of that foundation. I knew very little about her as a person and this was the first book written by her that I read. I had heard only positive things about her and I always wanted to read something by her.

    What made me pick this book was a forward on WhatsApp. Somebody had shared an excerpt from this book and I loved it so much that I wanted to read the story in its entirety. That story titled Cattle Class was my favorite from this book. She is definitely a bold and intelligent woman, a role model for aspiring women. Will give her other books a try sometime.

    I remember seeing her standing in queue with general public to buy tickets at a theatre some 15+ yrs back when I went to a movie with friends. I now wish that I had spoken to her.

  2. Mr. Bliss by J. R. R. Tolkien

    – 3 stars –
    I saw this book in a London bookstore recently and since I am collecting all the books written by Tolkien (since he is a favorite author of mine), I had to get a copy of this book.
    This is a short, funny children’s story. I didn’t enjoy it much as an adult but I am sure young children will like it. The book had facsimile of the original illustrations and text written by Tolkien himself. Recommend it for Tolkien fans and for young children.

  3. And then there were [N-One] by Sarah Pinsker

    – 4 stars –
    This novella has been nominated for Hugo Awards this year. It had such a cool and unique concept, which I have never seen in any sci-fi novel so far. A convention where you get to meet yourself from other alternate universes. How cool is that?! On top of that, it’s a murder mystery where one of your alternate selves gets murdered, similar to Agatha Christie’s novels. It was done really well. I wish it were a full length novel.
    The title of the story made sense only later. There were N Sarah to begin with and 1 of them gets killed so you are left with N-1 (N-One). I loved the title, the story and the execution. Definitely going to try her other works.

  4. Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight by Rujuta Diwekar

    – 4 stars –
    Most of the info In this book is common sense which I knew, but couldn’t follow because of hectic schedule. The only turn off was the mumbaiya Hindi inserted throughout the book, along with references to Bollywood and stars. Also the author goes overboard with her praising for Indian food, while looking down upon foreign cuisines – everything eaten in other countries isn’t unhealthy either. Other than that, liked the tips that she gave and hope to follow some of them to see if I can see the results for myself. Will update this review later on with my findings. 4 stars for now.

  5. Eating by Nigella Lawson

    – 3 stars –
    I saw a collection of Vintage Minis when I visited a bookstore in London. I have heard a lot about Nigella Lawson so picked this book up as it sounded interesting. It was an okay read with some British sounding recipes in it. I don’t own any British cookbook so this was a nice addition to my cookbooks shelf. Nigella talks about what it means to be a home cook and how to cook/eat food in her essays in this short book.

  6. Odysseus by Jill Dudley

    – 5 stars –
    I read this book at the right time, when Odysseus makes an appearance in Circe novel. I wanted to learn more about Odysseus after he narrates his war stories to Circe. This book had all the information that I was looking for and it was compact and to the point. I wish I had picked more books in this series from the London bookstore where I got this volume.

  7. Circe by Madeline Miller

    – 4 stars –
    This is an adult Greek mythology retelling and it’s great. This is the first time that I read a first person narrative from a Goddess’ point of view, which made the reading experience even better. The story itself was interesting and written very well. The first half was slow paced and got boring few times because of the pacing. But once Odysseus entered, the story picked up and I loved the second part. You don’t need any prior knowledge of Greek mythology in order to enjoy this story. Even though I have read about Trojan war and seen the movie Troy, I did not even remember who Odysseus was.
    Definitely going to try her other book soon.
    I reduced a star because of the uneven pacing. Also even though I enjoyed the story and the writing, I didn’t end up liking Circe as a character. She didn’t sound like a great personality to me for some reason.

  8. Mary Queen of Scots by Elizabeth Douglas, Carrie Philip and National Museums of Scotland Staff

    – 4 stars –
    I heard about Mary, Queen of Scots first from the tour guide at Edinburgh Castle. The differences she had with Elizabeth I and how Queen Elizabeth had her executed made me curious enough to pick up a book on her in the Castle gift shop. It was interesting to also learn from the guide that King James I (son of Mary) ended up becoming the first king of England and Scotland. This was a very short book and now I regret not getting a more detailed book on her. I would love to learn more about this fascinating brave woman. Her life is pretty inspiring considering the hardships and imprisonments that she had to go through.

  9. A Grain of Sand by Rabindranath Tagore, Sreejata Guha (Translator)

    – 4 stars –
    This book was totally out of my comfort zone. I never read books like these but I read this only because I hadn’t read anything by this author. The story was beautiful and the ending tragic. The ending could have been better I feel (After watching the movie, I got to know that Tagore himself did not like the ending). The characters were pretty complex and not one dimensional except Behari who did seem like an epitome of goodness. Also the fact that this was written in 1905 or so, it felt a bit dated at times. The writing felt choppy and bombastic sometimes. I guess the beauty of the writing was lost in translation. I wish I could read the original. Still, loved it and will try more stories from this author in future. There is a new Netflix series called “Stories by Ravindranath Tagore” which I am now eager to watch.

    Finished watched the 2003 movie adaptation with Aishwarya Rai and loved it. The movie was extremely well done and brought tears in my eyes. It was very difficult for young widows in those days. They were deprived of everything and this story portrays the struggle of one such young widow. The movie was very loosely based upon the book and lot of scenes from the book were missing but still it was good. The ending was exactly same as the one in the book. I hoped that they would give a happy ending but they did not change it.

Thanks to Circe, I am now back in fantasy mood and have been devouring fantasy novels this month. What did you read in July and what are you reading in August?

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