The books I read : January 2021
I can’t believe that January is already over! Didn’t we just start the year? These days I sometimes feel like I am living the same day on repeat. But what cheered me up this month were books! The books I read have always made life a little more bearable.
Books have kept me sane always, even more since the pandemic started, but January was all about books. I finally visited a bookstore and it was such a wonderful experience to be lost between shelves and shelves of books! I bought 10 books and then received some more for my birthday (Yes I know, it is quite a lot of books. But you can never have enough books, right?) I couldn’t read a lot of books this month because of long hours at work. But I was glad I could find time to read at least a few pages every day.
Here are the books I read in January.
1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I love Children’s books and when life seems a little overwhelming, I resort to reading books for children. So, my first book for the year was The Little Prince.
I had planned out what my first book of the year should be. But then the last-minute chaotic packing before traveling for Christmas meant that I was only carrying the book that I was reading then and an iPad. I had been meaning to read this book for a while and when it was free for Amazon Prime users, I just decided to read it and I wasn’t disappointed.
The story begins with a pilot who lands in the middle of desert and is trying to repair his plane so that he can go back. He then meets the little prince. The Little Prince tells him that he is from another planet, a planet where you could see a lot of sunsets in a day if you only moved your chair and walked a little(I would love to be on such a planet at least for a while).
The Little Prince tells the pilot about the long journey that he has undertaken and the different planets he has visited. Each seemingly simple thing mentioned in this book has a deep meaning if you ponder over it.
This book was a perfect start for me though it wasn’t my choice of first book for the year. The book revolves around a lot of themes – about friendships, about love, about loneliness. It kept me wondering how as we grew up, we lost our powers of imagination and our sense of adventure, of finding joy in little things.
This is a short but a beautiful read. Read it if you haven’t already.
My rating : 5/5
2. The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
Has there ever been a book that you didn’t know of earlier, but you buy it anyway and then read it and love it?
The Red Address Book was that book for me. I had never heard of it before but something about it made me want to read it. It was an impulse buy after a long day.
Doris is a 96-year-old woman who lives alone in her apartment in Stockholm, Sweden. She has no other relatives apart from her grandniece Jenny who lives in the US and occasionally calls her on Skype.
One of Doris’s prized possessions is a red address book, one that her father gifted her for her birthday when she was a child. When she looks at all the names in the book, they are all crossed out because they are all dead now. As she thinks of each of them, her mind travels back to the memories that she has had with all the people listed there.
She fears that her story- the story of her life, will be lost when she is gone. So, she begins to write down her story through the names of the people noted down in the Red address book. The story spans across countries and continents. From the little house with the white roses in Doris’s childhood house to the vibrant streets of Paris, the cities of the US to the countryside of England, it takes you on a journey.
I liked the concept of the book and it made me think about the many people we come across in our lives and how they often influence the course of our lives. In these times when it is easy to connect because of digital advances we still find ourselves feeling lonely.
The book also beautifully expresses how Doris chose to live her life independently despite all the difficulties. Some parts of the book made me cry.
If you are someone who likes historical fiction, who believes in the magic of stories and likes a heart-warming tale, this is the book for you!
My rating : 5/5
3. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
I have been making a conscious effort of reading books set in different parts of the world. So, when I came across this book, I knew I had to pick it up.
I have read a lot of books about World War 2 and the hardships that ordinary people had to face like losing their loved ones, being forced to flee their houses, starving and just having their lives displaced for no fault of theirs. I had surely read about the crisis in Syria in the newspapers. But had never given much thought to it until I picked this book up.
Nuri is Beekeeper who lives in Aleppo with his wife, Afra, who is an artist and with his son, Sami. Nuri loves being beekeeping which he decided to take up because of his cousin Mustafa. All of them live simple but happy lives until all hell breaks loose.
First Mustafa loses his son. And then Sami dies in bomb blast. The shock of it all makes Afra blind. Nuri is shattered but he tells himself he fine. Though he wants to go away from Syria, Afra doesn’t want to. But then when they don’t feel safe in their house anymore, Afra finally gives in and agrees to flee Aleppo and go to the UK.
The book speaks about this journey that they make from Aleppo to the UK through Turkey and Greece. But the book also speaks is another journey- a journey of dealing with grief.
Nuri and Afra are both deeply affected by Sami’s death. For Afra, the world becomes dark. For Nuri, he begins to create a world of his own, one that torments him. He feels like has forgotten his son, but in reality, he has fallen deeper into chaos. The journey from Aleppo doesn’t make things easier. And while dealing with grief in their own ways, they begin to drift apart.
I loved the writing in this book. The emotions are so raw and brilliantly narrated. I loved the depth that each of the main characters had. I also admired how the author wove the nuances of Nuri and Afra’s professions while dealing with grief. The way Nuri takes care of a deformed bumble bee and Afra continues to draw things without realizing what colors they are shows that we resort to things that we love doing or things that are dear to us while dealing with grief. The other person’s way of dealing with grief may not make any sense to us, but we must let them be.
The book brings out the struggle of the various innocent people who are forced to leave all the things they love because of unrest in their countries. But despite all the difficulties, some choose to survive rather than giving up. This book speaks of that. And yes, the physical scars may heal, the pain may eventually reduce, but the emotional scars or at least a part of them will always remain.
My rating : 4/5
These were the 3 books that I finished reading in January. I also started listening to Barack Obama’s A Promised Land on Audible but I am no where close to finishing it. I think it will take me rest of February too.
For February, I have started reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett which I received as a gift for my birthday. I have heard a lot of wonderful reviews about this book and I’ve already started liking it!
How has the first month of the brand-new year been for you? Did you read some amazing books that you can’t stop recommending? Let me know!
I haven’t written on the blog for a while because of a lot of things and sitting down with a blank Word Document after a long day at work isn’t such a pleasant experience especially when you don’t know what you want to write. Yes, with all the work and household chores, I just couldn’t figure out what to write. Since I have been reading books regularly, I have decided to write a post every month about all the books I’ve read. I hope you will find some suggestions here that you’ll like. Let me know if there is something in particular that you would like me to write about.