What I Read In October

October Books

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The audiobook of Truckers was my first foray into non-Discworld Pratchett was so fun and I can’t wait to read/listen to the other two books in the Bromeliad trilogy

I had been looking forward to reading A Snicker Of Magic for ages. It has rave reviews on Goodreads. I liked the cover and the title and the synopsis long before I actually read the book. But once I did start listening to it, I almost instantly realised this wasn’t doing it for me. I really expected to love this book. But it was far too twee and whimsical for me (and I’m usually a fan of both those things). There are obviously a lot of other readers this book is meant for. It has some interesting ideas but it ended up being quite a disappointment for me.

Doctor Who Time Lord Fairy Tales is a combination of two of my favourite things – Doctor Who and fairy tale retellings. It features 15 familiar (and some lesser-known) fairy tales set in the Whoverse. Some of the stories even feature a few Doctors. This was a lot of fun to read.

YOUNG ADULT

The premise of The Girl With The Red Balloon sounded so fun – a mix of fantasy and historical fiction. But ugh the characters and plots bored and annoyed me in equal measure. The book has so many ardent fans according to Goodreads so I think it just wasn’t for me. I was quite grumpy about the disappointed expectations though since I read quite a few disappointing books this month.

Highly Illogical Behaviour was another book that just wasn’t doing it for me. I’m not the biggest fan of YA to be honest, particularly realistic fiction. I think the only reason I got through this was because I needed a book to keep me company on my daily audiobook walks. I’m going to be more selective next time though. Right after I returned this to the library, I borrowed All The Bright Places, another glowingly-reviewed realistic YA nook, listened to a couple of hours, grew increasingly sad about my life choices and decided to abandon it. So I suppose I have this book to thank for encouraging me to hit the DNF button on disappointing books? It’s still a lesson I’m slowly learning though.

ADULT FICTION

I had such high expectations from The Paying Guests because I absolutely loved Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, only to have them cruelly dashed. Another book with great potential whose characters and plot bored me senseless and left me feeling really grumpy.

NONFICTION

I borrowed The Library Book from my library on the last day of Libraries Week in the UK so that I could read essays celebrating the wonder and importance of libraries. I now feel an even stronger sense of joy and love for public libraries than I already did.

I squealed in delight when I found Terry Pratchett’s A Slip Of The Keyboard in the library because I love his writing and  I didn’t know this collection of his essays and articles existed. As I expected, they were great.

Hope & Glory: The Days That Made Britain was a fun way to learn about contemporaryish British history – an engaging travelogue exploring significant events of the 20th century.

Where I’m Reading: The Bungalow on the Beach, Tranquebar (aka Tharangambadi)

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When asked how does one get to Tranquebar, people will stare at you blankly. After hurried Googling, you discover that Tranquebar is Tharangambadi. To get to Tharangambadi from Kumbakonam, you have to change buses at Mayiladuthurai. How long does it take to learn the names and then be able to say them? Much too long, and people will still giggle at your pronunciations.

We’re in Tranquebar on a day trip but after seeing the charming hotel, The Bungalow on the Beach, I’m already questioning my judgement of not having booked a room here. We haven’t explored the place yet since our stomachs were rumbling in protest but I love what I’ve seen so far.

What I’m reading: The Age for Love by Paul Bourget

The hotel has a few books left behind by travellers but they’re all in French or German. I tried to struggle through a beautiful edition of The Arabian Nights but I already seem to have forgotten all my French lessons from school.

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Book Review: Wild Child And Other Stories by Paro Anand

This review first appeared in DNA ya! (Young Adults) dated 22 – 28 January, 2012

Any self-respecting teenager has to have at least five angst-ridden issues in life, Paro Anand announces. And the teens in this book definitely lead troubled lives. If you enjoy escaping into stories that transport you into fantastical worlds, Wild Child And Other Stories is not for you. What the book does offer are twelve short stories that could easily belong to you or someone you know. Anand has a knack for writing stories you can relate to and brings the characters to life. The tales don’t shy away from dealing with difficult issues like domestic violence, molestation, terrorism and death. Through her teenage characters, Anand makes you a part of their lives struck by loss and fear. Each story is presented with a lot of sensitivity and understanding. While a story like “Santa’s Little Helper” does provide comic relief, the book largely deals with how complex issues affect ordinary lives. This book deserves to be read if only to see how Anand manages to create heroes and villains out of everyday people.

Wild Child And Other Stories

Paro Anand

Pages: 136

Price: INR 150

Publisher: Puffin