My 2021 Reading List – Part 1

I’d read 55 books last year, so this year I set myself a low target of 12 books since I was experiencing eye issues. However, it is July, and I’ve already read 32 books. Here is a list. I have hyperlinked some of these books to reviews I’ve written of them.  I’ve also hyperlinked my interviews with the authors of a few of these books. How many of them have you read? Do let me know in the comments.

  1. The midnight library – Matt Haig
  2. The introvert’s edge to networking  – Matthew Pollard
  3. Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
  4. To be or not to be a writer – Sweetycat Press
  5. Strangely familiar tales– Vijayalakshmi Harish
  6. The anatomy of scars– Arjun Raj Gaind
  7. Hate that cat – Sharon Creech
  8. Isolocation – Various poets
  9. Vignettes – A slice of life – Chandrika R Krishnan. Here’s my interview with the author.
  10. 23 letters of love – Suchita Agarwal
  11. Writing flash fiction- Carly Berg
  12. Moonletters- Dr. Saumya Goyal
  13. Women Mutiny- Various authors
  14. The adventures of the JP family- Radhika Acharya. Read my interview with her here.
  15. Three is a lonely number – Baisali Chandra Dutt
  16. Eating sugar, telling lies – Kuzhali Manickavel
  17. La Douler Exquise – Kavya U Janani
  18. Anthology of short stories- Volume 1- Edited by Jilly Snowdon and featuring my chick lit story ‘Snapshots of a single girl’s life’. It is available on Smashwords here.
  19. The cursed stone – Ushasi Sen Basu
  20. Raising Capable Children – Sakshi Varma
  21. Good Morning, Monster – Catherine Gildiner
  22. Who’s who of emerging writers 2020.
  23. The Lucy Temerlin Institute Guide to Starving Boys: Their Salient Features, How to Find Them, How to Care for Them after They Die, and Four Considerations … on Cryptodiversity and Decoherence – Kuzhali Manickavel
  24. ‘Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2021’ featuring my bio as well! The book is available here.
  25. Side Effects of Living – Edited by Jhilmil Breckenridge and Namrata Kathait
  26. Jaya – Devdutt Pattanaik
  27. Death is my beloved – Laudeep Singh
  28. Chasing Sunsets – Vaibhav Dange
  29. Kintsugi – My flash fiction story ‘Mended and Precious’ is included in this anthology available on amazon! Do read it and let me know what you think.
  30. Tickled Pink – Five of my poems are featured here as a result of winning a competition and my content was declared “the best content”.
  31. Misters Kuru – Trisha Das
  32. Teachings of Bhagavad Gita– Richa Tilokani

More of this and that

Hi! How’s everyone been doing?

I read ‘Twenty Love Poems and a song of despair’ by Pablo Neruda recently. This book had been on my TBR for a long time – I think a couple of years, in fact. But now that I’ve read it, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I just expected too much from it.

I’ve been attending the BlogchatterWritFest and so far, they’ve had online sessions with Samit Basu, Sidharth Jain, Amanda Deibert, Pallavi Aiyar, Jenny Bhatt, Jayashree Kalathil and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.

In one of these sessions, I learned about the Pomodoro method of time management. You can read more about it here.

I read Kuzhali Manickavel’s ‘Eating sugar, Telling Lies’ recently. It’s a short and slightly disturbing read. I loved her writing style and also her use of monikers in the story.

I read ‘Three is a lonely number; a story in verse form on Kindle Unlimited. The plot was a bit Bollywoodish, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I loved ‘The adventures of the JP family’ by Radhika Acharya! I’ve been reading the author’s Kamalamma series on her blog for a while now. This book, where she has created new characters of the JP family has her trademark sense of humour on every page. The author makes even an ordinary event appear funny through her skilled writing. It’s a must-read!

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

It was my birthday recently and as is the new practice at the Creative Soul Club by Blogchatter, the birthday girl ( me)  was admin for the day. I shared a picture of Starry Night, the world-famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh and asked the members to a) Use one word to describe the emotion it triggers in them b) Write a brief poem ( even 4 lines was good). c) Try to replicate the painting d) Share a song that it reminds them of. e) Write a story.

I got a bunch of interesting answers! Would you like to try it?

Three Great Reads on Kindle Unlimited and One Audiobook on Audible

I’ve been reading three books simultaneously! Yes, I do that! The first is The Kali Project, which is a collection of women’s voices as they discover their inner Kali. The second is the ‘Love’ anthology, which is a Valentine’s release this year. As the name suggests, it features short stories on the theme of love by various authors. The third book I’m (re)-reading is a classic by Franz Kafka, ‘Metamorphosis,’ which is literary prose fiction – horror. I picked it up since it is one of the activities prescribed by The Creative Soul Club of Blogchatter.

I listened to the audiobook version of ‘The power of your subconscious mind’ by Dr. Joseph Murphy narrated by Jason McCoy on Audible. I found it soothing and calming.

I also attended an hour of the Sunday meeting of the Broke Bibliophiles of Chennai Chapter a few days ago. Yes, yes, it was online. It was nice to catch up over conversations around books. In other news, I’m thrilled that my flash fiction entry ‘A lover’s call’ was adjudged one of the winning entries in an online contest recently.

How has your reading been so far this year? Do you read one book at a time or do you read several books simultaneously? Do let me know what you are currently reading and whether you are enjoying it. Do you listen to audiobooks? Let me know in the comments section if you recommend any audiobooks for me.

The Midnight Library and Other Reads

‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig was my first fiction read this year. And what a read it turned out to be. The story is about a suicidal girl who walks into “the midnight library” and gets to live the lives she could have lived. By getting a chance to live these lives, her perspective on life changes and she realizes that life is a gift. I won’t spoil it for you by revealing the entire plot, but will just endorse this book and give it five stars. I urge you to read it. Anyone who has ever felt low, had a lot of regrets or felt life wasn’t worth living should read this life-affirming story.

I read ‘Reasons to stay alive’ by Matt Haig last year. It was recommended to me by a friend who’s a life coach. In ‘Reasons to stay alive,’ the author talks about his experience with depression and how he copes with it.

My next read is going to be ‘The Dalai Lama’s Cat’ by David Michie. This book has been sitting on my shelf unread since 2010 when I bought it! I’m not sure why I put off reading the book for 11 years when I love cats and I should have jumped right into it. Speaking of cats, another book I read a few years back featuring a cat was ‘ A streetcat named Bob: How one man and his cat found hope on the streets.’ Based on a true story, it’s about how a cat helped a man who used to be a drug addict and busked for a living get back on his feet. I recently watched the movie on Amazon Prime.  It is not for family viewing however, since it involves drug use, etc. Another book on cats I must get to soon is ‘Hate that cat’ by Sharon Creech that I bought late last year. Here’s my Instagram post on ‘Hate that cat.’

Do you like pets and read books on animals? Have you read James Herriot and Gerald Durrell? My favourite book of Gerald Durrell is ‘Rosy is my relative,’ which I read decades ago as a child. Which are some of your favourite reads featuring animals?

Stepping into 2021

As I’d planned, my first book of the new year is ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron. The book is designed to be a course to artistic recovery over 12 weeks with exercises at the end of each chapter. Today was my first day of writing the morning pages. I spoke about this in an earlier post on this blog. I also started maintaining a praise note book, something that I’d been planning to do for a long time. I collected all the snippets of praise I’d received over the years ( in writing) and wrote them down in my praise notebook. It will serve as a handy ‘pick-me-up’ on the days I need one.

I came across this neat video by writer Archana Sarat about goal setting for 2021, with specific reference to writing goals. I’d shared a link on goal setting in an earlier post on this blog. After watching Archana’s video, I learned about push goals and pull goals. Push goals are goals that one needs to push oneself to achieve. Pull goals are those that we are drawn to.

Looking back on last year, I realise that I’d unconsciously had a mix of push and pull goals although I hadn’t realised that’s what they were called. For example, last year when the lockdown started, I took part in the A2Z blogging challenge, which meant writing one blog post a day for 26 days on my chosen theme of hobbies. This turned out to be a push goal, ‘coz it was difficult to churn out post after post day after day when the whole world was undergoing an unprecedented pandemic and I had to wash vessels every day since we’d asked the maid to go on leave. Somehow, I managed to finish the challenge. And here’s the blog that encapsulates my A2Z Challenge in 2020. Writing a drabble for an anthology was a pull goal ‘coz I was drawn to it. I didn’t have to push myself to do it. It was an inspired act.

I’d also like to mention the movie ‘Stuck in Love’ that I watched on Amazon Prime since it’s about writers. I enjoyed the bits about how the brother reads Stephen King, the dad is an acclaimed writer, the daughter has a debut book out, the dad quotes Raymond Carver etc. It has inspired me to read ‘What we talk about when we talk about love,’ by Raymond Carver which has been on my TBR for a while now. Maybe I will read it this year. The movie has also inspired me to read ‘IT’ by Stephen King, which has been on my TBR for a while as well. I wouldn’t recommend this movie for family viewing though since it deals with infidelity, drug use, a bit of nudity etc.

Anyway, I’ll sign off here for now. Do let me know in the comments how your new year is shaping up and what your first read of 2021 has been.

What I’ve been reading and listening to

I recently listened to the audiobook of ‘The Artist’s Journey’ by Steven Pressfield on audible. I recommend it to all writers and creators of art. Here, the author gives his own example and says that the artist’s journey begins after the Hero’s Journey ( Ref. Joseph Campbell and Christopher Vogler). The author discusses the qualities of an artist, the subject, medium of expression, point of view, style, voice etc., with examples from popular culture and the movies.

The author also introduces concepts such as Yetzer Hara, resistance, and the soul. He recommends books such as The soul’s code by James Hillman and The Creative Habit – Learn it and use it for life by Twyla Tharp.

I’ve also been savouring the essays of 114 writers from across the globe about being a writer in ‘I, the Writer’ – a Sweetycat Press Publication. Although I bought the book, it is also available for free on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve picked up The Creativity Book – a year’s worth of inspiration and guidance by Eric Maisel, which I had started reading at the beginning of the year and then shelved. I’ve also dug up an old book from my bookshelf – Unleash your creativity – Secrets of creative genius by Rob Bevan and Tim Wright to keep my creative juices flowing.

Before I sign off, I’d like to share my poem ‘The Artist Within Me’, which was published recently in WE MAG and We Qip Magazines. You may read it here.

Hope you like it. Do share this post on your social media if you enjoyed reading it or found it useful. See you. Stay safe!

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