September wasn’t such a good reading month for me. I managed to read 3 small books, 1 DNF, 2 books on healthy diet and one graphic novel which I borrowed from my local library.
The book I DNFed –
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel – 1 star –
I tried to read this book which is a part of my Mexico TBR, but ended up DNFing it. I read the first 66 pages and then skimmed through the rest and read the ending. It had a boring premise and characters. All the recipes had meat so I couldn’t even read them, being a vegetarian. The recipes were interspersed with the story. The story itself wasn’t great and was full of sexual content. I wish I had read some negative reviews mentioning this sexual content. It’s about a woman who is able to perform magic through the dishes she cooks (without her knowledge). She is in love with a man who ends up marrying her sister, since he wants to be close to her. That is because her mother doesn’t want her youngest daughter to get married, so that the daughter can take care of her (which sounds absurd). And then the man keeps lusting over the main protagonist, even though he is married to her sister and here comes the best part, even AFTER he has a child with her sister. That’s when I had enough of it. It reads like a C grade erotic novel. And I have no idea how the title relates to the book. What does this book have to do with chocolate?! Anyway, it wasn’t my cup of chocolate or tea.
Books I finished:
- The tea master and the detective by Aliette De Bodard – 3 stars –
I had read nothing by this author which was the main reason for picking this book. I also heard that this is a Sherlock Holmes retelling set in space. I loved the world, the setting and the characters. I wish it were longer as there was not much time for world building due to which a lot of things were left unexplained. I liked the characters too. I expected the characters to resemble those from Sherlock Holmes but not to this much extent. Long Chau is exactly like Sherlock in terms of everything and Dr Watson is a mind ship who has suffered trauma in the past where her entire crew got killed. The case that they solve looked pretty trivial but I hope we get to see more of these characters. I wasn’t that impressed with the writing style though.
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kewin Kwan – 5 stars –
I listened to this book on audiobook and if you haven’t heard about this amazing book, you must be living under a rock. The movie adaptation got released recently and I loved the movie too. I had been reading or rather listening to this book from last few months and finally finished it just in time to watch the adaptation. It is the most entertaining book I have read in a long time. It’s funny, interesting and very original and fresh. It was nice to read about someone who is not from US or UK, for a change. We get a glimpse into lives of people in mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong and even Malaysia. All the characters in this book are interesting and delightful to read about. The audiobook was great too. The narrator did a great job with the accents and Mandarin dialogues.
- Beauty by Robin McKinley – 4 stars –
I have always loved fairy tales and this was a great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The Disney movie adaptation of the fairy tale is one of my most favorite movies ever. I went into this book with low expectations as I feel nothing can match the Disney movie. But this was a fresh take on the story, written very well. Characterization, story, magic – everything was perfect. I wish the utensils and other enchanted things could talk to Beauty like in the movie though. Also not much was explained about the magician and the reason for the curse. There was more time spent in developing Beauty’s life prior to meeting the Beast, her family, sisters etc and not much on Beast and the things in his castle I feel.
So I read the original fairy tale after finishing this book to see how closely they resemble each other. McKinley’s version is faithful to the fairy tale. Looks like the Disney version deviates a lot from the tale. Beauty is supposed to be beautiful, but is ugly in McKinley’s version. The one thing that’s missing from the tale is the absence of enchantments and magical things in the palace. Beauty kept dreaming of the handsome prince in the story and did not like the beast because of his looks in the beginning. But then she realizes that she loves him at the end, just like she does in all the retellings. The original story doesn’t say who cursed the prince and why the prince was cursed.
I am definitely going to try other books by this author soon. I had heard lot of praises about this author’s writing and I am impressed.
- Hostage by Guy Delisle – 4 stars –
Such a harrowing experience this must have been for the person involved. It is about Christophe who worked for Doctors Without Borders organization. He was held hostage in exchange for a ransom, abducted from his house in the night by some Chechen extremists. He was kept chained to the radiator for 3 months, then to the bed for few days and then to the ground for weeks with just vegetable soup served twice in a day, along with bathroom breaks. I got disturbed just reading the book. He ended up spending months together in a dark room alone. As he mentions, it is worse than being in a prison since when you are in a prison you know why you were being punished and also for how long. In his case, since he couldn’t understand what his captors were saying, he had no idea when or if he would get released from there. With every page you read, you cannot help but wonder if and when Christophe will be released, just like he kept wondering while imprisoned. He has no idea if his captors have contacted his organization and whether they have discussed any terms for his release. He has no idea where he is. He keeps track of the days and keeps thinking about his sister’s marriage which he misses.
As always, a great graphic novel by this author. I wrote an entire post about this author here.
- The South Asian Health Solution by Ronesh Sinha – 5 stars
- The Obesity Code by Jason Fung – 5 stars – I have reviewed both these books about healthy diet in a separate post here – Link to the post.
So what did you read in september?
Hostage looks terrifying!
I really enjoyed The Tea Master and the Detective. If I remember correctly, the mindship is friends with another ship, and I remember this wonderful conversation the two of them have “over tea”. but like, they are just AI ships, and they’re not eating or drinking, and they aren’t actually “there”. i’m describing it poorly. it was a fun scene. deBodard has a bunch of interrelated short stories and novellas that all take place in this universe, sometimes characters will cross over from one story to the next, but usually not.
Hostage was terrifying and enlightening. I had no idea how horrible it would be for a person held as a hostage before I read it.
Oh there are more books in The tea and the master’s universe? Thanks for letting me know. I will try to get hold of them.
Looking forward to reading or viewing crazy rich asians soon.. thnx to your reco.. and good to know you liked that south asian health book. Looking forward to a detailed review on the same,
Crazy Rich Asians is very funny and different from all the other books/movies. Do watch the movie. It has only Asian actors. South Asian book is also good, especially for Indians.
I loved the book Crazy Rich Asians. Just the story of Rachel and Nick alone will make a good Indian movie.
Yeah this will make a good Indian movie too. It reminded me of many Indian movies.
“And then the man keeps lusting over the main protagonist, even though he is married to her sister and here comes the best part, even AFTER he has a child with her sister. That’s when I had enough of it.” – Oh wow! I read a lot of reviews of this book, and no one mentioned this. This is definitely not my cup of water or chocolate.
Moving on.. I read (and loved) Crazy Rich Asians! So much fun! I’m currently listening to China Rich Girlfriend (Book #2) – this one I started listening on audio, and it was a little disorienting at first, but I feel like I have finally found my groove.
Yeah I am pretty sure you will not like this either. (remember what we spoke during Anna Karenina).
Good to know you loved Crazy Rich Asians too. It is such a lovely book right? I am yet to read the second book. Let me know if it is as good as the first one. Will wait for your review of the second book. I am not sure if I should pick it up.
You know, normally whenever I like a book/series, I almost always rush to pick up the next book. And yet, in this case, I felt no compulsion. I waited almost an entire month (or actually more, I think) before I picked up Book 2. Not sure why. So far it’s going good, let’s see.
And also, the only reason I even picked up Book #2 was because I had heard from many folks that Book#3 was the best of the trio, so I thought might as well check them all out. Also, I am really interested to read more about Astrid..
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Oh will wait for your review on book 2 and 3 then.