Category Archives: Goodreads

Tackling the TBR #TBRChallenge2020

This year, with the idea of keeping life simple and uncomplicated I had no book-reading goals except to make headway on the ones I already have. With that thought I stayed away from all reading challenges except the one on Goodreads only because it gave me the freedom to choose my own books. I’ve pledged to read 36, like last year. Three books a month is ambitious enough.

Then Shalz and Soumya came along with a challenge with an almost similar goal – to make a dent in your TBR pile. I went through the prompts and managed to fit almost all the prompts with books I have – 20 out of the 24 required. Can it get any better? This challenge might actually help me stick to my TBR. Also, I have the freedom to read 12 other books to make up my Goodreads Challenge. Sounds like a win-win.

Here is my (almost final) reading list:

  1. A book from a genre you generally avoid
    The Crimson Meniscus by Jason Werbeloff
    I once had the notion that science fiction would be boring but one short story changed that for me. Now I’m looking forward to exploring more in this genre. 
  2. A book that’s a part of a series
    Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
    Last year I read Cinder and completely loved it. I am now dying to get through the rest of the series and am trying to pace myself, reserving each book for days when I can read it at a stretch. Yeah, that’s how much I loved Cinder. 
  3. A book you started but never finished
    One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan
    I haven’t quite made up my mind about this one. I liked it but didn’t absolutely love it. But I do plan to go back to it.
  4. A book by an author you have been meaning to read but haven’t dared to so far
    Letters from a Father to His Daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru
    I’ve heard so much about this one but have dismissed it as boring. I hope to give it a shot this year.
  5. A book written 100 years ago/Classic
    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages and yet Dickens’ style of writing is proving a bit much for me. I’ve read him earlier – Oliver Twist, Great Expectations but I just don’t seem to have the patience any longer. Hoping I’ll get thought this one. Maybe I’ll settle for an abridged version. It would be pretty weird though, graduating from originals to abridged versions.
  6. A book picked up after reading a favourable review on a book blogger’s site or a recommendation from a book obsessed friend/relative
    The Book of Fate  by Parinoush Saniee.
    This one was recommended by my sister-in-law, who is an avid reader. Also, she’s completely off social media so her recommendations stem purely from book-merit, not media hype.
  7. A book set in the past or the future
    Cress by Marissa Meyer
    That’s book three in the Cinder series – Scifi, set in the future.
  8. Re-read an old favourite
    Love Story by Eric Segal
    What can I say about this book. I just want to re-read it.
  9. A book to be read on a vacation or the plot is based around a holiday (could be a travelogue) – Down Under by Bill Bryson
    He’s an author I love for his humour. Looking forward to this one.
  10. A free hit (choose any book you wish here)
    City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
    Giving a last chance to this author, despite DNFing Eat Pray Love.
  11. A book that would be a foodies delight
    The Lemon Tree Café by Cathy Bramley
  12. A book with the cover in your favourite color
    The Blue Between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa
  13. A book with a love triangle. TBD
  14. WWI or WWII drama (could be a true story or fictional)
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr/ Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
    I have had Catch 22 with me for ages. 
  15. A book written by a famous personality (could be an autobiography/memoir or just fiction) – Dopehri By Pankaj Kapoor
    I stumbled upon this one pretty recently recommended by Shalini and I had to read this because it’s set in my hometown. I’m still trying to decide if I should go for the original Hindi version or the English translation.
  16. A book gifted to you
    10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
    This one was gifted by Shalz and is by one of my favourite authors. A must read.
  17. A YA book
    Fairest by Marissa Meyer
    Told you I want to finish the series! That’s the last of the Lunar Chronicles.
  18. A book based on mythology (Indian, Roman, Greek etc)
    The Baramullah Bomber by Clark Prasad.
    This is ‘a science fiction espionage thriller and India’s first mythological thriller’ according to an online description. Doesn’t it sound intriguing? 
  19. A book that’s been on your shelf for more than 5 years
    Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez
  20. An award winning book
    Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Bonus Prompts (Optional):

21. A self help book. TBD
This is not my favourite genre. I thought I’d slot ‘Who Moved my Cheese’ but that has less than 200 pages so I’m still looking for options.
22. A book by an author whose name starts with the first letter as your name
The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam
23. An Audiobook/e-book or a PDF read
Anne of Green Gables LM Montgomery
24. A crime fiction
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Everyone seems to have read this and I shall get to it too.

So that’s it. Have you read any of these books? Got a better recommendation for any of the prompts? Do share. Also, drop by here if you find the prompts interesting and want to join in.

Reading plan for 2019



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Hola people and welcome to this brand new year. Reading-wise 2018 was a good year for me. I got through 36 books and am pretty happy with that.

Normally I plan my reading meticulously but the end of 2018 was so chaotic on the home front that I was caught off guard without a reading plan. The thing to do then was to get my act together fast.

Very quickly then, here are the Challenges I’m taking up.

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge

To be honest this was already a part of the plan formulating in my head for a long time even though I did not consciously give it voice. Taking a cue from that (the voice in my head) the first Challenge I pledge myself to this year, is the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge. I desperately need to, and I will, focus on reading the books I already have, at least one, maybe two, of the three I hope to read each month. I really have just too many of them and it’s an absolute shame to have them all sitting there staring at me while I pretend to ignore them and continue on a buying spree.

Of course part of me is already protesting:
There are new books coming out everyday and they’re so interesting and everyone talks about them all the time, and social media is buzzing with them; the covers are so enticing and the blurbs are intriguing and they’re so inexpensive on the kindle…

But Shushhh! I tell that part of me, as I renew my pledge to make a dent in the TBR pile at home. That’s going to be the mainstay of my reading this year.

The Goodreads Challenge

Then there’s the Goodreads Challenge which I’ve faithfully taken up and completed for the past three years. I love the freedom it offers: one can set his/her own target, read any kind of book and also that one can revise it at any point in time. Though if one does revise it, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of the challenge. But hey! To each his own.

That said, it works well for me because it gives me a push without making me feel the pressure. That sounds oxymoromish but it works perfectly. Also, more importantly, it does not distract me from my primary goal of reading the books I already have. In fact it is right in line with it.

The Write Tribe Challenge

Lastly there’s the Write Tribe Reading Challenge that sounds deliciously interesting while seeming easy to take up. Since I’m already pledging to read 36 books, this one seems doable too and so I look forward to reaching the level of a ‘bookworm’ at WT. I’m hoping the one ‘luxury book’ I allow myself each month shall go towards this Challenge.

And now I feel guilty for implying that books I already have are ‘non-luxury’ which sounds like they’re unloved and that is not the case at all – they’re all books I’ve bought or have been been gifted, very lovingly. I still need to fit titles into the WT categories and I shall get to it soon enough. I shall certainly be sharing it all here with you guys and looking for recommendations too.

That’s it from me. I’d love to hear from you. What challenges are you taking up? Do you too have a pile of books waiting to be read?

Two romances and some catching up

Chicklit

So I woke up early this month, figuratively of course, to find that I was five books behind in my Goodreads Challenge. All through this year I had maintained a steady pace and kept a book or two ahead. But these last few months had been exceptionally trying and I lost touch.

I was pretty freaked out, I do hate backing out on a commitment even if it is to myself. And so I went on a reading frenzy. I am so very glad I took up the Challenge. It proved a great way to get my reading back on track.

I’d set aside a pile of books to read but I put them all away in favour of something light and happy. Something that wouldn’t demand much from me in terms of attention because the children were home and I knew I’d have to be on random call. So I picked up my favourite go-to comfort genre – light romance.

I began with two books I’d picked up during a Books by Weight sale. They’re both fan fiction in a sense – one on my all time favourite book, Pride and Prejudice and the other on a television series I loved, Downton Abbey (My ringtone has been the theme song from the show for a long time). Interestingly, both brought together American and English sensibilities that was fun to read.

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

… is the story of three women living in an upmarket apartment building but very different in their circumstances as well as attitudes. The concierge is a fan of the show  and organises a screening of the first two seasons. He invites the residents for an evening of sampling not just the show but also a bit of British culture. That’s where three women end up connecting and sorting their lives.

Although this is definitely chicklit, it isn’t about twenty something women complaining about bad dates. The women are older, Brooke is a single mom to two kids, finding her feet after her recent separation from her husband, Claire is an empty nester struggling to write a novel while Samantha is someone who marries for security and money and is trying to understand her relationship with her husband. Those individual stories were  interesting. And there was romance too, so that was a bonus.

However the story had nothing to with the series so I was a little disappointed. The title lead me to believe there would be some kind of a connection. Conversely, having watched the show isn’t necessary to enjoy the book, so that could be a plus. As a standalone book, it was a decent enough read.

Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter

..is my other read. It is the story of a 29 year old American girl Emily who runs a book store. I loved that bit. Any self-respecting female runner-of-a book-store has to be in love with Mr Darcy and so is Emily. The yearning becomes stronger as a result of scores of really bad dates. It’s Christmas and everyone is going away for a holiday and on an impulse (which might have been a nudge by her fairy godmother) she takes up a Jane Austen guided tour. On the bus she realises she’s the only young person around among a sea of silver-haired women other than the rather obnoxious reporter, Spike. He’s out to discover why Mr Darcy remains the heart-throb of women across ages.

While on the tour, Emily encounters Mr Darcy, the real Mr Darcy. The difference between real and fantasy blurs as Mt Darcy begins to fall in love with her.

This is a light easy read if you have nothing else to do. There’s enough humour to keep you going with some really sweet bits. However there’s a supernatural element that didn’t come through and in the end the book ended up as a rather confused mix. It remains a forgettable read.

Oh my one source of annoyance was an Indian character called Parminda. Please, it’s ‘Parminder’. And she’s into yoga. In Goa. Such careless stereotyping puts me off, even though it’s just a small side character.

After these books I went on to read a bunch of others:
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by JK Rowling
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbagh
Rekha, The Untold Story by Yasser Usman
Letters from Kargil by Diksha Dwivedi
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult
Origin by Dan Brown
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

That’s nine books in a month! I didn’t even know I was capable of this. And with that I’m all caught up with my challenge. I can now relax and read at a steady pace through December.

So what have you been reading? Did you take up a reading challenge? How’s it going?

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Linking up with #Chatty Blogs from Shanaya Tales

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