#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?

Dreaming

In the last couple of weeks, two of Luna’s closest people have texted her, asking her how she was doing, all of a sudden. After a bit of talking, both of them confessed to having seen her in their dreams – but it wasn’t a good one, in both the cases. Typically, Luna is not the kind of person who goes looking for answers – answers to whether these dreams were signs, that something terrible and tragic was to befall upon her! She believed in none of this nonsense.

These two dreams were seen and experienced by people who did not know each other at all, but both of them knew Luna pretty well individually. When Luna had heard the first dream (God was it sad!), all she did was assure the person who saw it, that she was doing well and there was nothing amiss. What else could she do? But when she heard the second dream, curiosity caught hold of her. “You were chased by a serial killer, with some kind of a weapon in a very lonely street, where everything looked dark; and I stood there helpless and crying” – she remembered her friend saying on call. What if these indeed are signs? What if someone is trying to give her hints via her loved ones, to safeguard herself? Suddenly, she wanted to know more.

Luna’s thoughts were interrupted by the loud volume blaring from the speakers of the television.  Since the past few days, the local news channels and newspapers are filled with news articles about a runaway psychopath. The eye witnesses claim that he always carries with him a very clean, sharp and jagged knife. He’s suspected to be responsible for multiple murders in a nearby locality, but the authorities have found no reliable proof yet. If it were in Luna’s hands, she would never have wasted her precious Sunday morning surfing news channels, but currently the remote was in her brother’s hands, so she didn’t complain. She had to unwilling listen to the psychopath’s tale for like the 200th time since it first started surfacing!

Having a bad dream is terrible, Luna was wondering, but waking up with a bad dream and then REMEMBERING it, is the worst! We have to carry that dream with us the entire day, slogging wearily to ward it off; but instead we rather unknowingly, analyse it and picturize it again and again, on a loop. Slowly, we tend to become so anxious that there’s a constant feeling of dread looming above us, like a silent, floating cloud, she concluded.

How I wish that I could tell the seers of such dreams, thought Luna, that dreams are nothing but fragments of our own anxiousness, forming images and stories in our subconcious mental space. But could I tell them that? she asked herself, No way! But why not? She pressed on, maybe, because, in a way, I too wanted to believe otherwise?

After having their breakfast, her brother turned off the television, finally! thought Luna, to have a late-Sunday bath. After he was gone, Luna turned back to reading her book, which she wanted to finish in time – for her online book club discussions. The doorbell rang. Luna wondered who it was – they had very few visitors ever since the lockdown started. She peered through the eyehole, he seems to be some stranger, maybe a new courier man? Luna wondered. She opened the main door. Standing before her was a man approx. 5 ft 4 inches tall. His beard was unshaven and moustache was unkempt. “How can I help you?”, Luna asked him. But he spoke no words. All he did was point downwards. As she couldn’t see what he was actually pointing at, Luna opened the safety-door to have a clear look. Turns out he was pointing at his right wrist, in which he was holding a clean, sharp and jagged knife, that was glistening with some drops of red on it.


— Suri

Quarantine Musings #14

2 am in a city, during lockdown, feels completely out of place. Except for the sound of crickets and frogs, I can now hear absolutely nothing.

Mumbai – fondly called as the city which never sleeps; is now sleeping. It feels that not just the people residing here, but the city in itself is suffering from the disease. I hope she heals well and wakes up sooner from her nap. People are waiting for her to heal, the railways are waiting, the airplanes, the local businesses, the big multinational companies; everyone is counting on her.

On another occasion, it would have felt way better- to experience the silence within a city, the calmness and the fresh air to breath. But under the current crisis, it just doesn’t feel good.

Get well soon, Aamchi Mumbai (literally, ‘Our Mumbai’). And also, get well soon, Mother Earth.

— Suri


What are Quarantine Musings? Just some random, trivial, light-hearted (or maybe even deep?) thoughts that pass through my mind during these lockdown days.

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.

Quarantine Musings #13

So finally, the rains have arrived in Mumbai! Of course they were here even before, but what are rains without a ‘heavy rainfall orange/ red alert’ or without news of waterlogging in the city?

I had to go outside yesterday, to buy essentials, amidst the rains. It was raining cats and dogs! It was fun though – to go outside after a long while and even more fun to feel the rain falling on you. I’ve always liked the rains (without the thundering, of course).

But one thing became quite clear to me, rains and face masks don’t go well together; unless you’re carrying an umbrella – which I wasn’t. I had a raincoat on and so my mask was completely drenched with rainwater by the time I returned home.

I haven’t traveled outside a 2 km (about 1.3 miles) radius since mid March due to the lockdown restrictions. When was the last time you traveled a farther distance other than for the usual ‘grocery shopping’?

— Suri


What are Quarantine Musings? Just some random, trivial, light-hearted (or maybe even deep?) thoughts that pass through my mind during these lockdown days.

Quarantine Musings #12

It’s almost three months of us now, living under lockdown over here.

But do I see a change? A decline in the number of cases, perhaps? – Not really. Not a bit. In fact, the figures are skyrocketing, making new daily records each new day.

The lockdown is now slowly ‘unlocking’, giving relief to some business owners. But instead of being more cautious, the people are now starting to care even less.

Hearing about all these cases in our neighborhood itself is giving me a fright! If I wasn’t already OCD, I’ll turn more like it by the time this pandemic ends.

How’s the situation in your neighborhood/ city/ town/ country? Hope you are all doing well. Sending loads and loads of good wishes and warm virtual hugs. 🤗

— Suri


What are Quarantine Musings? Just some random, trivial, light-hearted (or maybe even deep?) thoughts that pass through my mind during these lockdown days.

Quarantine Musings #11

Monsoon in Mumbai feels so eerily different this year. Each year after bearing the scorching heat of the summers, we find ourselves longing for the rains. This year the longing phase was so abrupt.

Of course, this may not be the actual onset of the monsoons, it might just be a by-product of the Nisarga cyclone (which I had mentioned in my previous post Quarantine Musings #9 )- which quite conveniently has dodged (and saved us!) away from the city to other parts of the state.

We have been receiving these pre-monsoon showers for a good four days at a stretch. And yet we already have the hashtag #MumbaiRains trending on Twitter!

As local trains aren’t running anymore (except for essentials), in light of the current lockdown guidelines – I wonder whether we would still be hearing news of waterlogging on the railway tracks, like each year?

Monsoons remind us Mumbaikars of bhajiis and vada pavs and garam garam (hot) chaai (tea). This year instead of buying it from those roadside stalls, shops and tapris, we’ll have to savour them by cooking it up inside our own kitchens. Now that should surely be a healthy change!

Wishing you all a Happy Monsoon!

— Suri


What are Quarantine Musings? Just some random, trivial, light-hearted (or maybe even deep?) thoughts that pass through my mind during these lockdown days.

Quarantine Musings #10

I miss the beaches

and the mountains.

I miss our esplanade

the Marine Drive.

I miss the rides

to the markets and the malls.

I miss the bookstores

the smell of new books.

I miss the freedom

to just walk, and walk and walk.

— Suri


What are Quarantine Musings? Just some random, trivial, light-hearted (or maybe even deep?) thoughts that pass through my mind during these lockdown days.

Quarantine Musings #9

What would you do if someone tells you that you only have a couple of hours to live? – Me? I don’t think I would do anything different, other than being grateful for everything I am blessed with.

Don’t worry, things are fine over here as of now. We are expecting a cyclone in some hours, on top of us living in the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in our country. Monsoon has apparently arrived earlier than expected. Yesterday morning we woke up with the pleasant petrichor of the early morning – first – rain of the season. It’s cloudy since yesterday, which is kind of a sudden change in the climate after a really hot summer in May. Take care, folks!

— Suri


What are Quarantine Musings? Just some random, trivial, light-hearted (or maybe even deep?) thoughts that pass through my mind during these lockdown days.