Book 18 of 2018- Warm Bodies by Issac Marion

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Warm Bodies is about R and Julie. R has a crisis, well he is a zombie so that only comes with the trade. R has no memory, no pulse and cannot recall his own name. R is also different from his fellow zombies. He eats people, but does not particularly enjoy it. He refers riding up and down the airport escalator and listening to Sinatra in his spare time.

Then suddenly, everything changes. Everything changes because of Julie, a living breathing girl he couldn’t get himself to kill and so brought back with him to the zombie lair. With Julie as his reluctant guest and then almost a friend, things begin to change. R feels himself changing. He feels none of his zombie instincts to kill and eat kicking in, instead he feels protective about her.

However, their unlikely friendship starts to stir and change things. What does the world reeking with the stench of the undead hold for these two? Will they change the world or bring upon more trouble upon themselves?

I cannot believe I am saying this, but I really enjoyed Warm Bodies. I never thought a zombie romance would interest me. I don’t even like zombies! The entire concept of zombies thoroughly creeps me out. The very idea of a human lacking its humanity is enough for me to cringe. Warm Bodies has been written well, you could probably finish this in 2 days. The story moves fast and I didn’t find myself losing interest midway at all. I especially like the idea of telling the story through the zombie’s perspective, since that’s not something I have ever come across in all the zombie fandom era.

Rating- 3.5/5.

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Book 17 of 2018- Ghachar Ghochar

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Rating- 4/5

 

I truly hope that 2018 will be a year of reading more of Indian writers, embracing them and falling in love with their writing. Keeping that in mind, I ordered my copy of one of the most spoken about books this year, Ghachar Ghochar. Ghachar Ghochar is a gibberish expression that signifies entanglement. Think about the condition of your earphones after they spend a day in your pockets, that’s Ghachar Ghochar.

Ghachar Ghochar follows a family as they traverse through poverty to riches, and how money changes their lives. A young man spends most of his time in a cafe in Bangalore, hoping for some clever anecdotes from a server he believes has insights into his life and state of mind. The family is poor, but there is enough to feed everyone, just not enough for wants that might arise out of greed. Their fortune changes when their uncle starts a business selling spices, they move out from their cramped home to a bigger dwelling.

There is a line in the book that really resonates- ‘It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control the money, it’s the money that controls us’. In the face of riches, the family is lost. Relationships change as the money comes in, their equation with each other changes. The implications of new money takes hold over the family. This is what ghachar ghochar represents, how money has the power to knot things up so badly, there is no hope for rescue.

I enjoyed the writing, there was warmth and unexpected strength in some characters. The representation of an Indian family did not feel odd, just natural.

 

Book 16 (and 15) of 2018- The Last Town and Tin Man

Yes, I know that I skipped yet another book but I will tell you just how I liked it here in a sentence. The 15th book of the year was The Last Town, the third and last book from the Pines series and well, it was underwhelming. I was excited to reach the conclusion and to read about how they fought the abbies or maybe how the abbies took over the world because that would make so much more sense. There is a conclusion in this book, but I guess it wasn’t the one that resonated with me. Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

 

Moving on, the 16th book of the year was Tin Man by Sarah Winman. I purchased this book without reading reviews and so I had no idea that people were already praising it. Tin Man is not a book you finish in one sitting, and I really hope you don’t. Tin Man needs to be relished. Every sentence in this book is like several pieces of juicy plums, the pit of which you suck at out of sheer joy and prolong it, just to enjoy the moment.

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Tin Man is a story about two men, and a woman who changed it all. It’s also a story that starts from a painting.

Men and boys should be capable of beautiful things.
If this phrase speaks to you, you know you need Tin Man in your life. Tin Man left me feeling warm, but also melancholic. Tin Man is the kind of book I want to hug when the sun is going down, take it out on a picnic and watch the world pass by. Sarah Winman has crept inside my heart and decorated her little space with paper doilies of phrases, each more beautiful than the other.
I am going to conclude this post with the notes I highlighted in my kindle. Why? Because these phrases are beautiful and all the encouragement you really need to sit down and read Tin Man.
When the breeze ripples, petals of pink and white and fuchsia fall on me and I imagine myself a garlanded pyre alight under the fiery sun
I try hard to be liked, I always have. I try hard to lessen people’s pain. I try hard because I can’t face my own.
I’m broken by my need for others.
There’s something about first love, isn’t there? she said. It’s untouchable to those who played no part in it. But it’s the measure of all that follows, she said.

Book 14 of 2018- The Butterfly Garden

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I am currently reading my 17th book of the year and have been lazy in writing book reviews more frequently. The 14th book of the year was The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison.

Goodreads Summary

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

I am not saying this is the most engaging book you will read this year. I am also not saying that this book is exceptionally well-written. This one really is a gamble.

The plot is interesting, the main voice of the book, Maya stays with you throughout the book. I didn’t feel frustrated with the plot line, as many Goodreads reviewers seem to have been. Nor was I exceptionally let down by it. Truth be told, this is a good enough book that will disturb you and repulse you, but also keep you reeled in.

There is a second book in the series, but I don’t think I am ever going to get to that.

Book 13 of 2018- The Librarian by Kavitha Rao

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Books about books and the people who love them passionately are my favourite kinds. They feel like a warm hug on days life seems hard, enveloping you in their reassurance. The Librarian by Kavitha Rao is no different.

Goodreads summary:

Ever since she could read, Vidya Patel realized that she preferred books to humans. Her family disapproves, but Vidya meanders through life with her nose in a book. When she is ten, she visits the Macmillan, a struggling heritage library in Mumbai. It is in the Macmillan that Vidya truly, finally, feels whole. Vidya befriends Shekhar Raghavan, the brilliant, eccentric librarian, who becomes her mentor. As soon as she is old enough, she joins the library as junior librarian, and throws herself into keeping the Macmillan going, with consequences she could never have foreseen. She also learns the destructive power of obsession, and what it does to people. Will Vidya be able to save the Macmillan? And at what cost?

I have cherished books since the moment I discovered them. I started reading when I learnt the alphabet and have never stopped. For me, The Librarian felt so very personal; a monument to my own passion for books. This book is for everyone who has been mocked for reading, and for everyone who cannot fully explain why they love reading so much; why the characters in a book feel so real, why they get so emotionally attached to them.

The Librarian explores human obsession and the streets of Bombay too. Kavitha Rao writes so wonderfully, her writing draws you in from the first word and does not let go. I can see myself returning to this book sometime soon enough. If nothing else, then to read about other people who fell in love with books and didn’t quite know how to fall out.

Book 12 of 2018- Wayword (#2) by Blake Crouch

I have been MIA but that’s only because I went off to Calcutta for a holiday and also managed to finish three books on a 8 day long vacation. This year is certainly looking good in terms of my reading progress.

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The 12th book of the year was the second part of The Wayward Pines series and if you are thinking of getting onto this bandwagon, I would suggest you start here. As I have already mentioned before, I am a complete fan of Blake Crouch and this second book definitely packs a whole lot of punch.

Ethan Burke has been beyond the fence and knows what lurks beyond. He is however, also the new sheriff in town. Here we follow his state of mind as he tries to acclimatise himself to the functioning of Wayword Pines. The danger that lurks beyond the fence takes on a renewed importance, now more than ever before. Will the town ever know what Wayword Pines really is? Another character is introduced in the book who happens to have played a significant role in Ethan’s wife, Theresa’s life before Ethan came to town.

Wayword is a fitting second book in the series and I raced through it, like I do with every Blake Crouch book. The writing keeps you hooked and there’s not a single dull moment in this part.

This is it for now. Keep your eyes open for my review of the last part of this series! 😀

Book 11 of 2018- Us by David Nicholls

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Have you read One Day? Yes, the movie starring Anne Hathaway and that other guy. I really feel they could have had a better male lead but okay whatever. One Day is a book I go back to when life’s uncertainties trouble me and I need a pick me up. So, I picked up Us without any hesitation at all.

Goodreads summary

Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie; then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway. Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage and might even help him bond with Albie.

The premise may sound tragic to you, but you must place unflinching faith in Nicholls’ writing because I know I do. Us is written in typical David Nicholl’s style, weaving sadness with heartwarming writing and making you smile through it all.

I oscillated between being frustrated with Douglas, being mad at Connie and relating to Albie to completely opposite emotions with every passing chapter. Douglas is not my favourite of all times character but he feels real and David deserves all the props for it. He has a witty way with words and you will find yourself getting emotionally invested with all the characters. Nicholls’ does not ask you to choose sides and I think that’s beautiful.