Category Archives: Book Review

#BookishInktober2020 Announcement

‘I wanna tell others.’
‘Plan, plan, plan.’
‘But-’
‘Plan, plan, plan.’
‘I have been eyeing at this since the last three years, you know it!’
‘Think it over, think it over’
‘But I have some time this year!’
‘You do?’
‘Not exactly, but-’
‘Plan, plan, plan.’
‘Arghh, alright I’ll PLAN and then announce it to everyone!’.

This is a gist of the repeated conversations between my over-enthusiastic brain and my over-planning brain, for the last 8 days.

I’m thinking of, strike that, I’m PLANNING to participate in Jake Parker’s Inktober Challenge this year! @jakeparker created @inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.

What? Do I hear some boos? Well, let me finish. Since I’m doing this challenge on my bookstagram, I’ve decided to turn these into bookish prompts. So it’ll be #BookishInktober2020 for me.

I’ve not done ANYTHING of this scale on my bookstagram (book-instagram) or on my blog ever, so trust me when I say this – you wouldn’t want to miss out! Subscribe to my blog, sign up to my mailing list, count the days until 1st Oct., and buckle up for a ride!

There’ll be mini-reviews along with the sketches. Someday I’ll talk about the scene that I’ve sketched, or at times I’ll delve full-on into my favourite parts of the book/series. So even if you don’t enjoy art so much, you can still take away these mini-reviews, giving you a peek into some of my favourite reads over the years and hopefully it’ll help you add up some books on your TBR list.

This series will be starting 1st Oct. & will end on 31st Oct. There will at least be one post per day on my booksta feed and blog throughout October. Extra posts only when I have some review to post or something entirely other than Inktober.

I’ll try and post around 8 pm (IST) each day but might be late at times, as I’m neither a professional artist nor a professional writer, so things do take time.

Thanks for reading everything so patiently, I CAN’T WAIT FOR OCTOBER!!

— Suri

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

I read Dark Tales as part of a book club. It’s one of the first book clubs that I have participated in – ‘Women In Literature’ club, where we read one book per month by strong women authors. The club is hosted by two lovely women- Aritri and Mridula (@theliquidsunset and @ecstatic_yet_chaotic respectively, on Instagram). Dark Tales was the ‘Book Of The Month’ for July. Had it not been for this club, I don’t think I would ever have read it, looking at its title and the genre. But I’m glad that I did read it.

I have stayed away from watching horror for a very long time now. The last horror or paranormal movie that I remember watching is ‘ When a Stranger Calls’, when I was about 12. My entire teen was a story of ups and downs- except it was mostly downs. I had a really bad spell of low self-esteem, less-confidence, etc. for more than a decade. I only realized that I was suffering from it after I came out of this spell, feeling better than ever. I’ve never before touched a proper horror book in my life- except for some children-horror books. I found myself too weak for this genre. I hated it when horror and psychological thrillers in some way, triggered my worst fears and made me even more self-conscious. But currently, I am in a much peaceful mental space than I have been in the past many years, so i thought about giving this book a try.

Dark Tales is a collection of 17 short stories. Each story brings forth a different element. I won’t say that I really liked all these stories, in fact, I liked very few of these stories for their plot. But the fact that I was able to read this genre, after all, made all the difference for me. The book isn’t a regular spooky kind of horror, to be upfront, except a couple of stories. It’s a very subtle kind of horror- the kind which we see and observe in our everyday life, albeit a bit exaggerated with certain kinds of emotions and plot twists. My review could be biased based on three grounds: I’ve read very few classics, and liked even fewer; this is my first proper horror book; and also I don’t remember reading a collection of short stories like this before.

The author’s portrayal of emotions like fear, anger, etc. is so real that it haunts us even when the story isn’t spooky. It is said that Shirley Jackson, in reality, had lived a very sad and terrible marital life and these feelings did come spilling out very evidently through her stories. It’s as though she wrote a small part of her life in each of her small stories.

In some of the stories like ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘What a Thought’, the author plays with the mind of the reader till the very end and then drops a sudden plot twist. Making us believe in the flow of the plot initially, but ending in quite unexpected manner, like deceiving the reader itself!

Her style of writing changes twice or thrice by the time we reach the final story in the book. There was a case of Unreliable Narrator in the story ‘Paranoia’ wherein the protagonist was being stalked the entire time and we as readers, felt like walking in his shoes. The entire story was on uneven grounds, there was no firm narration to it – making us paranoid about which character to actually trust.

The foreword by Ottessa Moshfegh gives away some spoilers in the very beginning but it also perfectly summarizes and comments upon the stories and the writing style of the writer. This is one of those books where the foreword shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It was very necessary to set up the background, before the readers dive into the book.

My ratings: 4/5 ⭐

If you do decide to pick this book up sometime, it isn’t at all necessary to complete it in one shot. You can read the stories separately as they are completely independent of each other. If you are someone like me who has never ventured into this genre before, but would like to someday – this book is a good one to start with. It has just the right amount of darkness and spookiness for a beginner.

— Suri


Is there a genre that you always seem to run away from? What do you think about horror stories?

Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

Book Title: Love & Misadventure

Written and Illustrated by: Lang Leav

Published: 26th April, 2013

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 163

Genre: Poetry

My Ratings: 3/5 🌟

Backstory: I was first introduced to Lang Leav’s poetry about 5 years ago when I came across her Facebook posts. They were so lovely to read. I would read those snippets and could easily relate to them. But then I stopped logging onto Facebook every so often- and after a while, I stopped entirely. Slowly I forgot all about her writings. Years later, one fine day while exploring some books at a local second-hand book stall, I came across her book! It’s an original copy, printed in the US but I got it for such a cheaper deal that it made my day!

Review:

This book is divided in three sections; Misadventure, The Circus of Sorrows and Love. The three sections of the book, flows beautifully and perfectly one into the other, forming a story. The writer speaks about beginnings, endings, love, hurt, confusion, trust, betrayal, past, sadness; basically every element within a relationship. She tries to bring positivity even within the hurt. Some of the poems – or should I say, ‘snippets’ – are very raw; instead of relying on false hopes, she states the facts in a very practical manner.

I’ll accept that haven’t read much of poetry, so I do not have a firm ground to compare this book with.

One of the poems in this book that I really loved: It is titled – ‘Some Time Out’

“The time may not be prime for us, though you are a special person. We may be just two different clocks, that do not tock, in unison.”

— Suri


What is your definition of love? What does love mean to you? Do suggest me some poetry books.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Book title: Flipped
Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Published: 9th October 2001
Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC
Genre: Romance novel, Young Adult Fiction

My Ratings: 3/5 🌟

Flipped is like your regular dose of YA books. It’s a cute teenage lovestory about a boy and a girl who are complete opposites of each other. The thing that I loved the most about this book is that it has two protagonists. So you get to learn about the exact same story but from two different POVs. It is really interesting because I feel that it tells us how unique we as humans are! We might be given the same kind of story, the same struggles and hardships and the same love and affection but at the end it’s totally upto us as to how do we interpret it. I’ve liked the concept of multiple protagonists since George R. R. Martin’s popular series: A Song of Ice and Fire.

Interesting part: The part where Bryce (the male protagonist) looks for a rooster in Juli’s (the female protagonist) backyard got me into thinking. It made me so confused about hens, roosters and chickens! I was literally asking my mom and Google what is the difference between these three and which is a male or a female, although I had already studied this before. We also have a farm at our village with hens and roosters!!

I loved Juli’s obsession and love for the sycamore tree. It is beautiful and emotional at the same time. I would like to paint the scene someday, the way I imagined it while I was reading: Juli sitting on the top-most branch of the tree, enjoying the beauty and serenity of life.

Film Adaptation: Flipped has also been adapted into a movie by the same name. I haven’t watched it yet, but one of my friends did and he says it’s good. .

Quote that I like: “‘A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.”

To conclude I would say, if you’re looking for a light, fun and an innocent YA lovestory, you should totally go for this.

Note: Book Review on my blog after soooo long. Do tell me how you guys like it! Have you read this book before? Is it on your TBR? Or have you watched the movie? I’ve heard it’s cute and even better than the book (though I doubt it).

– Suri

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Featured image

*Spoiler alert*

  • “He’s a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”
  • “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
  • “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
  • “It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.”
  • “I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.”

These were just five quotes from the book. But I’ll tell you what, you’ll be hooked on to this book right from the first sentence. I did. Okay, maybe you won’t. Different people, different opinion. But in my case, I felt the book, completely (and by ‘completely’, I actually mean COMPLETELY!) defines me. If you have read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, then I’m quite sure that you are aware about Hazel’s obsession with the book AIA (An Imperial Affliction). So well, I have kind of the same attachment to this book. I’ve read it thrice already, and also read in between the chapters whenever I feel a need for a push. A push to ‘participate’ in life. And yes, this book never fails to motivate and inspire me! It’s one of my most favorite books.

Charlie, a young, handsome and introvert guy, who was sexually abused by his own aunt, finds it difficult to interact with people. He’s usually depressed. Being shy, he had a very few friends initially. But then, to vent out his feelings and also because he found someone whom he believes is different, that is, the kind of person other people look to for strength and friendship. That’s what Charlie said. And he began writing letters to him, about him, anonymously. Without revealing his own identity, Charlie wrote to this guy, all that he felt. About himself. About friendship, love, life, crush, etc.

Charlie’s life took a turn for good when he met Sam and Patrick. Charlie had a crush on Sam but she already had a boyfriend. By the end, these two – Sam and Patrick – proved to be the most wonderful people in Charlie’s life. They had their good days and their bad days. Ups and Downs. But after all that, they made Charlie feel ALIVE. And, I guess, that’s what really matters in the end. They made him feel that he wasn’t alone. He had them. Their trust. Their friendship. Their true and innocent love. And this is what actually matters!

The best thing that I felt about this book is that, Stephen Chbosky didn’t make it all sound like a typical, fairytale lovestory. Charlie didn’t get Sam as his girlfriend anyways. But he had learnt a hell of a lot of things from her as well as from Patrick. His last letter to his letter-pal is my most favorite one. Wherein he clearly states that, now he’s trying to ‘participate’ in life. I mean, whoa! This-is-Charlie-being-so-optimistic!! All in all, it’s a good read. You won’t regret buying the book. *wink*

  • “It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”

The above quote is what Charlie says during one scene… Gimme a high-five Charlie! ‘coz this is EXACTLY what I’m feeling right now! I’m you! I’m Charlie! ^_^

I FEEL INFINITE

– Suri

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

*Spoiler alert*

A lovestory. Yet another lovestory I would want to say. But NO!! THIS ISN’T YET ANOTHER LOVESTORY! It’s something else.. It’s one piece of beauty. It’s more than just a book. It’s different.

Personally, I don’t like reading lovestories. Because, honestly, it’s kind of the same story over and over again… It feels very much stereotypical. There’s a good looking handsome guy who likes a sweet but shy girl, or there’s a very charming young girl with such a charisma that there’s a long list of guys dying to just know her name, but she falls for a boy who initially isn’t interested in her, but later falls in love all the same.. What I’m trying to say here is that, it’s the same age-old drama that follows with a bit of a spice for better effect. But the main plot remains the same. This bores me.

But I’m pretty damn sure that whether or not you love lovestories, you-are-going-to-LOVE-The Fault In Our Stars. Yes! No kidding. John Green sure does know how to make his readers happy (and heart-broken at the same time.) Anyways, he is one heck of an author. He’s just brilliant! Those uses of metaphors and whoa, the quotes! Those beautiful philosophical quotes! Mesmerizing! This book is the first ever lovestory, (though it comes under the Young Adult genre) that I haven’t just liked, but LOVED!
The book is very well crafted and well scripted heart touching story about two Cancer patients viz. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. I loved the over all contents and the way of writing is just awesome!  It’s as if like, the book won’t allow the readers to get away from it before completing “only one more chapter” (I hope you understand what I mean by it, fellow readers!)

And just as John Green says, I fell in love with the book and it’s characters, just like the way I fall asleep. Slowly at first, and then suddenly and completely. But the ending was truly very heart-breaking because of the death of the charming young man, Gus. But I guess, we shouldn’t worry much about it, (Worrying is a side-effect of dying.) because in a recent “Q & A” conducted by John Green via Twitter, he had said that, “Characters in novels live as long as they are read about or remembered.” So according to it, Augustus still lives in my heart. Lovely. Isn’t it?

Okay? Okay.

– Suri

Life Of Pi by Yann Martel

*Spoiler alert*

A Magical Journey! A magical journey of Pi Patel!! It seemed as though I were travelling with him and Richard Parker throughout the journey. Yann Martel totally makes us experience and feel all the emotions in the book. It is indeed very beautifully written. Kudos to Yann Martel!!

But yeah.. Towards the end, I seriously wished that Richard Parker should have at least glanced back at his fellow castaway,Pi. It was so heart-breaking to gulp down the fact that he doesn’t even turn back.

Moreover, the mystery of the blind man whom Pi met while Pi himself turned blind, still stays in my mind. I mean, like, wow! He met a person in the middle of the PACIFIC!! Good thing! But, what for? Only to be eaten up by a tiger later on? Well, all the events that took place throughout the journey had some sort of spiritual significance. But, well, I’ve failed to see any such importance in this incident. *No offence* I’ll just have to think it over more! *wink*

– Suri