Books that I read in August 2021
The months seem to be going by in a blur and I almost forgot to write my reading wrap up for August. But better late than never. If you have followed the books that I have been reading, you would know that I am trying to read books set in different parts of the world. But I also would like to focus on books that are set in India or are written by Indian authors or authors with Indian roots. The books that I read in August 2021 fell into this category. For the last couple of years, I have made it a point to read only books by Indian authors or books set in India during August.
So here are the books that I read in August 2021.
1. Along came a Spyder by Apeksha Rao
I enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers! I had wanted to read Along came a Spyder last year when it was released after I read The Itsy Bitsy Spyder.
Samira Joshi, 17, wants to be a spy and it isn’t a surprising choice considering that her parents are both spies. But then, it isn’t what her parents want her to do and she can’t understand why they wouldn’t let her be a spy when they had been training her to do just that!
One day she accidentally discovers a secret spying group which consists of teenagers like her. And she wants to join them. But will she succeed in joining them? Will her parents agree? What adventures will she have?
The book is fast paced and is action packed! I really liked the mix of characters and their interesting background. There are also a lot of emotions involved and some drama considering the parent-child relationships.
I don’t usually read YA, but this was really an amazing read. I am looking forward to Samira’s next adventures!
My rating: 4/5
2. Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
The only Khushwant Singh books that I remember reading are the joke books that he edited. But I liked reading his columns in newspapers and when I came across Train to Pakistan, I wondered why I hadn’t read it yet!
Set in Mano Majra, a village near the now India-Pakistan border, Train to Pakistan is a story from the time of the partition. People of different religions lived together in harmony, until things become violent because of the partition.
I liked the writing style. It paints a vivid picture of the situation during the partition. But this was a heart wrenching story- of how people who once were friends became enemies and can even go to the extent of killing each other, how some rumours can change lives, how things that were once normal can become tragic within no time.
The thought that troubled me even more was, though this particular story is fiction, such brutality did take place and it is sad to see people being capable of such brutality!
My rating: 4/5
3. Rumours of Spring: A Girlhood in Kashmir by Farah Bashir
I haven’t read a lot of books about Kashmir or set in Kashmir and I haven’t read a lot of memoirs. But when I came across this book, I knew that I wanted to read it.
Rumours of Spring is Farah Bashir’s story of growing up in Kashmir. The book is set around the death of her grandmother and the mourning that follows. While thinking about her grandmother, the author wanders down the memory lane telling the reader about anecdotes and stories from a childhood that began as a normal one but ended up being one lived in constant fear and anxiety.
The writing is simple but haunting. Growing up in a situation where you don’t know what is happening next, where you are constantly worried about the safety of your loved ones because you don’t know what might happen, where your freedom is curtailed, where the once safe place called home is not so safe anymore is definitely not easy.
We often take so many things for granted, but there are so many people who are missing out on those same things for no fault of theirs!
My rating: 4/5
4. Son of the Thundercloud by Easterine Kire
Pelevotso or Pele, loses his family in a famine and having no one to call his own, he leaves his village. While he is on his journey with no fixed destination, he meets two women who are really very old. They tell him that they haven’t seen the rain all their lives and are alive just because they are hoping for the rain and the prophecy that is supposed to come true once it rains.
And it does rain! Excited about the rain, the two ancient women take Pele with them to the village of weavers where the prophecy will be true. Pele goes with them and even ends up living in the village of weavers. He sees the amazing things that happen in the village.
I have enjoyed reading books that are based on folklore and this story was a nice read. I’d never read any books from Nagaland but once I got to know that it is set in Nagaland, I wanted to read it because my Dad had lived there for some time and I had found some interesting pictures from his time there when looking through old albums.
The book mainly talks about not giving up and hoping for things to be better despite losing everything! It also speaks of the way people’s behaviour towards others changes based on their circumstances, how jealously and greed can destroy what is beautiful!
My rating: 4/5
5. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri is another author whose work I have been meaning to read for a long time now! I didn’t know which one of her works to pick first. Since I wasn’t in the mood for short stories, I decided to pick up The Lowland.
Subhash and Udayan are brothers born just a few months apart and are inseparable. They are different in their own ways but complement each other. Adulthood changes the way things were between them.
While Subhash just wants to concentrate on his studies and his career, Udayan inspired by the Naxal movement joins it to fight for equality. And then there is Gauri. She is independent and her views on philosophy attract Udayan to her.
The book is progresses slowly, but it takes you on an emotional journey with each of the characters. It isn’t easy to say who is wrong or right or whether their actions are justified. What is constant is the pain- the pain of losing – a loved one, or a life that would have been different.
A melancholic read, but beautifully written!
My rating: 4/5
6. Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian
Neil Narayan, is an Indian American boy trying to live up to the expectations of his immigrant parents who want him to excel. His older sister who is all set to go to University is setting the expectations even higher for him. But Neil doesn’t really have the drive for all of that. All he wants is to be with Anita, his neighbour.
But Anita and her mother Anjali have a secret. The secret of creating a potion out of stolen gold to transmit the ambition of the original owner of the gold to the drinker of the potion. Neil soon finds out about it and now is a part of it. Anjali also gives him some of the potion and Neil finds himself getting better at things. But then things begin to take a turn for the worse!
After a few years, Neil and Anita meet again. Their lives are quite different but the one last gold heist that they plan to pull brings them together. But will they succeed? To what extent are they will to go to get to the gold?
I really liked the writing of this book – it is beautiful, it is satirical. There is drama, there is greed, there is tragedy and there is humour. But what did not work out for me was the story itself. I don’t know how to say it, but I didn’t really connect with it. I get the part about ambition and going to any lengths to get something, but it still fell a little flat to me.
This was more of a Bookstagram made me read it kind of book! But was it wasn’t worth the hype for me.
My rating: 3/5
So those were the books that I read in August. I started reading a lot of books parallely in September and I ended up reading only one from start to end. So I’ll put up a reading wrap-up of September and October together! Have you read any of these books? Who is your favourite Indian author?
Also, I visited a few bookstores a few days ago and posted a vlog on my Youtube channel. Check it out here and let me know if you like it.
Here are the books that I read in July.
I have been posting fairly regularly on Instagram about my reading updates. Please follow me there @thebooklore
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