A Bookish Thing that I’m Doing…

…That you all should do too!

So, this year, I’ve decided to do the Read Harder Challenge that’s run by Goodreads. Some of the categories of books that it requires me to read have just made me go “wut”, which is, I believe, the charm of the challenge.

Please follow the link above to get a hold of the list (and downloadable document) of all the categories of books you need to read to successfully complete the challenge. There are 24 in all, which adds up to a reasonable two a month, especially since it is permissible to read one book that fulfills multiple categories.

I always think it’s a good idea to read books diversely and outside my comfort zone and outside my genres of choice even if I’m reading for pleasure because it’s helpful to me as an aspiring writer. However, even I weren’t an aspiring writer, I think it’s a good idea to learn something about the points of view of people who don’t think the same way as me. With the world getting smaller each day, and with social media becoming an echo chamber of our thoughts and ideas, varied perspectives have become more valuable than ever before. Varied opinions are rarer still. Varied thoughts, varied priorities, varied ideas are all something that can be picked up from books. Even if I’m only reading for pleasure, and I don’t want any sort of information or knowledge from the books that I read, I feel like reading diversely makes me a different person; maybe even a better person.  Maybe.

Serious thoughts aside (Earnest is not a colour that suits me), who knows where my new favourite book or my new favourite author may be hiding, right?

 

From the comfort of our homes and cosy cafés (or taxis or metros or buses or offices under our desks or in line at the bank. Demonetisation, amirite?), let’s dive into books and go exploring in 2017. Come #readharder with me, guys. Journeys are always more fun with friends!

Watch out for the hashtag #readharder on my social media, guys.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu

Twitter: @sindrao22

Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Hoot.

–Sin

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Non – fiction Month Failures

I read fiction, guys.

I lost my grandfather, my only living grandparent, to a losing battle with Parkinson’s on the 21st of this month.

On the 22nd, I gave in and picked up a novel and read a chunk of it. I never ended up finishing it though. I never picked up any non-fiction books either, after.

On the 28th, I had a job interview that could have gone either way. They haven’t told gotten back to me yet. I got home, feeling drained, and Career of Evil finally arrived very, very late even though I’d pre-ordered it. (Thanks for that, Amazon!) 

Regardless, I was a tiny bit happy to see it.

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Yup. Just a tad.

I finally gave in on 29th, which was yesterday, and decided that non-fiction was a bust. It had drained me mentally to read Being Mortal, enlightening though it was, because it had made me realise all the ways in which we’d failed my grandfather, who was already beyond help by then.

I picked up Career of Evil and sped through it, as one always does with Cormoran Strike novels. I finished it today. Robert Galbraith continues, as always, to amaze and awe and this installment may be my favourite one yet. I am working on a review for this book, so you can look forward to that in the next few days. 🙂

I did learn something about myself during this month though. I not only stress-eat, but also stress-read. And I only stress-read fiction. Non-fiction is an enjoyable learning experience, but fiction is my second home.

Nonetheless, I read some amazing non-fiction this month, books I may never have gotten to otherwise, in my rush of reading all the good novels I can get my hands on. I’ll continue to read non-fiction,at least a book each month or every two months. And I’ll try to do non-fiction month again next year.

Until then, I would love to hear some non-fiction recommendations from you guys. I would also like to know if you guys prefer fiction or non-fiction, and which genres. Let me know in the comments, guys. 🙂

If you guys want to stalk me, you’re welcome to. I do have a glamorous and fascinating life. Here are the links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Cheers,

Hoot.

Sin

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks | Book Review

This is a book review of the first non-fiction book I read this month, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Now, you may all be wondering who Henrietta Lacks is.

In brief, she was an African-American woman who had cervical cancer and who died in 1951 from the cancer. Samples of her malignant cells was obtained from her body by the doctors at the hospital where she was receiving treatment for the cancer. After her death as well, more cell samples were taken from her body from the tumours.

These were given to a tissue culturist who had been attempting to create cell cultures for research in his lab. He released that these cells were very fast-growing and also that they didn’t seem to die, whereas every other cell he’d experimented on died briefly after being removed from the body.

These cells were called HeLa and then went on to become the most widely used cells in cancer research, polio research, and a variety of other things, and these cells continue to live to this day.

However, the fact that these cells belonged to a woman named Henrietta Lacks was not known at all till the 1970’s or 1980’s, nor was anything known about her history, life or family.

The author of this book decided to undertake the writing of this book because she heard about Henrietta Lacks and HeLa in a biology class. Her interest was piqued but she was unable to find any further information about Henrietta Lacks in any textbook or library. She felt like Henrietta Lacks deserved recognition and her story deserved to be told, and therefore, began the project.

I studied about Henrietta Lacks in law school in the context of patenting medication invented using her cells, but I was somewhat fuzzy about the details of how her cells came to be in the possession of the doctors, why her family was quite so outraged by it, what her rights even are with relation to her body parts, and whether those rights are alienable.

I chose this book over the pile of other unread non-fiction I own because it has a lot to do with what I discussed about ownership of one’s body and usage of one’s body in medical research or for medical purposes, and such topics in my book review of Never Let Me Go. I felt like it would be a continuation of the same theme and maybe help to answer some of the ethical questions that I have. Maybe. So I gave it a shot.

This book was meticulously researched, especially considering that Skloot had to start from very nearly from scratch. Her hard work really came through in her description of her research process, but it was clear that those bits weren’t there simply to explain her work, but rather to explain how confused and traumatised Henrietta Lacks’s family was by what was happening with her cells.

I really liked how Skloot mixed the more human, for lack of a better word, parts of the story with the legal parts. It didn’t feel like a heavy read at all, but I understood a lot of heavy concepts a lot better by the end of it all. It was apparent that she’d formed a real bond with Lack’s family, and that really touched me.

I also understood, in large measure, the bewilderment felt by common people at the technicalities of the medical industry, which also applies to the legal industry I think. I almost cried when I was reading those parts.

The book answered most of my legal and factual questions, but it did not clear up my ethical dilemmas at all. In fact, I have more questions than ever. I’m very grateful for that because it makes me want to help to resolve the many legal grey areas of medical research and human experimentation.

This book is a good, educational and still enjoyable read that I think everyone should read. The things it speaks about should be general knowledge.

Plus, there wasn’t a slow moment in the book. I loved reading every bit of it. It flows smoothly and engages the reader throughout. Overall, it’s an auspicious start to non-fiction reads month I think. Read it!

Hoot,
Sin
Go and check out my social media places 😀 It’ll make me happy:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Rereading my Favourite Book

If any of you follow my Instagram, you may know this already: I have a new copy of Bird by Bird, which is possibly my favourite book.

I took it out to reread a few weeks ago, and my puppy just destroyed it. He’s damaged my books before, and I’ve forgiven him because… Well, because of his face, okay? This one got me pissed off for a while though. But I finally let it go because he sat outside my bedroom door and refused to move until I spoke to him. True story.

My dad said he’s just like me and he likes to ruminate on interesting books. Dad jokes. Sigh.

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Well, since it is Bird by Bird, and not a different book, I simply had to buy a new copy. It came a couple of days yesterday with a hilariously appropriate doggy bookmark. AMAZON KNOWS EVERYTHING. 😮

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Since the book happily is non-fiction, which is the theme of the month, I’ve decided to take a couple of days to reread it. It’s particularly appropriate because I’m attempting NaNoWriMo at the end of this month and I have a vague story idea that I’ve debated like a crazy person with my best friend, but I’m majorly pantsing it. And pantsing is how Anne Lamott rolls. I love her so much.

You know, I haven’t read anything else that she’s written. Should I? Advise in comments.

This isn’t the only book I’m reading right now, but I’m just very excited to reread it and I wanted to tell you guys. I won’t be reviewing it or anything like that, though. I’ve just written this post to tell you guys to read this book for sure if you’re writers, especially if you’re doing NaNoWriMo. It’s like an adorable crash course in writing, and believing in your writing.

I have already read one book this month and scheduled a review for it, so you can look forward to that!

If you are doing NaNoWriMo, tell me and maybe we can be writing buddies? What are your favourite books about writing? Have you read anything by Anne Lamott? Let me know in the comments. 

Also, here are my customary social media links. Go ahead and stalk me:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

That’s all for today.

Hoot.

Sin 🙂

Brace Yourselves: The Month of all the Non-Fiction!

Anyone who’s read my blog for a while, or let’s face it, even for a brief time, knows that I’m very much a fiction girl. I read a hell of a lot of fiction, I aspire to write fiction, and I talk non-stop about fiction.
Until a few years ago, I read close to no non-fiction, and I didn’t want to, either.
Today though, my interest in non-fiction has increased. I’ve read quite a few non-fiction books, and I’ve enjoyed them thoroughly. I’ve bought and have been gifted quite a number of non-fiction books, too. Most of these books are memoirs, but a few are not.
The thing is, though, that I am impatient and have the attention span of a sparrow, and I keep jumping from book to book when the going gets slow with the book I happen to be reading. And non-fiction is frequently a slower read, making me migrate towards fiction almost unconsciously.
With the view of fixing this, I am naming October non-fiction month. I won’t read a word of fiction all this month. I did this last year too, and it worked well, so maybe it will this year too. 🙂
I have technically already broken this rule because I finished Never Let Me Go today, Oct 1st, but there is still a lot of time left for the day to end, so provided I start reading some non-fiction today, I think we can overlook this minor transgression.

(And yes, there will be a review of Never Let Me Go, and all of you raising you eyebrows and skepically saying “Uh-huh” can eat humble pie BECAUSE I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN IT. Yes, that’s right! I have written a review and I have scheduled it for later in the week. HA!)
Wish me luck with this reading challenge, guys!
Have you ever participated in a similar challenge? How did it go? Do you want to try this challenge with me? Let me know in the comments. 😀

I will keep you all updated on how it goes!

Here is how you can find me on social media, by the way, if you haven’t had enough of me already:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Cheers,

Hoot

–Sin

Eff My Life | Tales of Unmotivation and Blahness

I don’t know how many people had expectations of seeing posts up on my blog but I had expectations for myself to post everyday. And I totally failed. I just felt like everything was falling apart and I couldn’t find it it myself to write. I started posts but what I wanted to do was cry and complain and wouldn’t make for very good reading.

I did read 4 books though because reading is something that really comforts me so I’m happy about that. I’ve read 86 books this year. 🙂

But my exams ended today. (Loud cheering) They went okay. They weren’t the best though. I was sick for all of the exams and now I have a STYE in my EYE. Yeowch! It is apparently stress-induced. Yes, because it totally makes sense to take a stressed out person and have their eye swell up painfully and have it burn with strain. It made studying a real party, I’ll tell you that. It’s burning as I type this as well. Just fyi.  Scumbag body much? Right?

Anyway, blogging scenes won’t happen the rest of the week also because I’m going to Shillong and I’m not taking my laptop. I am taking my journal, though, and my camera. So I’ll write about Shillong once I get back. I hope that makes up for my pathetic slack. Poo. 😦

Hoot.

–Sin

30 Day Book Challenge | A Character I Relate Most To

I’m still a bit sick and I have start to study tomorrow. Boo. But I finished reading the Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, and I liked it, so that’s good. 😀

Errr… I don’t know. I haven’t related to a character since I was about 15! Which is strange and sad. This post made me a little sad, actually. It made me realise that I don’t read enough books with female protagonists. I am going to have to make a conscious effort to read more of that. To that end, I’ve decided to read The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.

The person I was able to relate to a lot is Skeeter, from The Help by Kathryn Stockett. She has good intentions, and she really wants to make a difference but she’s kinda confused and a little clueless you know? I feel that. I totally do. 🙂

Hoot.

Sin

30 Day Book Challenge | A Book I wanted to Read for a Long Time but Still Haven’t. ALSO: CAT!

Shit! It turned out in my sleep-deprived state, I skipped one day’s question entirely. That question was: A book you’ve wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t. Oh my god, I am making such a hash out of this, aren’t I? it was a terrible idea to start this during exams, but also a GOOD idea because I wouldn’t have blogged at all otherwise and my blog would have died. And that sucks

In other news, we’ve adopted a tiny stray cat in our hostel. She is filled with cuteness and I’m keeping her in my room for now and she’s being hyper-active, super-adorable and super-distracting for her. If I show you a picture of her, will you stop being mad at me for being a prat about the daily challenge? Please? :3 Here you go:

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She’s TINY as you can see and is the cutest thing ever.

Also, you peeps are going to see a bunch more book reviews now that my schedule isn’t so hectic any more so stay tuned for that. 😀

There are a lot of classics that I have wanted to read for ages but haven’t yet, but those are boring to talk about, aren’t they?

A book I have been dying to read for ages, because the premise sounds so beautiful is Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. It’s also a banned book and I have this compulsive need to read banned books to discover WHY they’ve been banned. Also, I’ve found that they’re almost always beautiful and/or brilliant. Coincidence?

Anyway, this book is about a doctor and poet who falls in love with a nurse during the Russian revolution. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Yet, I always find myself putting this book down. This happens to me with all Russian literature. I think it’s because the structure of Russian books is so different the other books I read. They have a lot of secondary characters with backstories for all of them and it’s just bewildering to take in at a stretch. And at a stretch is how I best read my books. I’ll try reading it slowly, maybe take it on a trip or something and see how it works out. 🙂

That’s all for today, guys.

Hoot.

–Sin

30 Day Book Challenge | A Book I Wish More People Would Read

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that I have a hacking cough that resurfaces every time I talk or laugh or breathe too hard. And if I take deep breaths, there’s a “znnnnnnk” noise coming because of phlegm I think.

But the GOOD news is that, after my exam on 17th I have a loooong break till the 24th and on the 24th is my last exam. And then I’m going to Shillong. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

A book I wish more people would read is Bitter Chocolate by Pinki Virani. It’s non-fiction and it is about child sexual abuse in India. It freaked me out so much. People need to learn the reality of our “chaste society” with “family values’ where a lot of children are taught that adults can do no wrong. See, family values have their place but let’s just realise that not everyone is well-meaning or genuine as we may be.

I was reading this during my internship in Delhi and I was staying at a Paying Guest accommodation when one of the girls in a neighbouring room asked me what the book was about. I told her it was about child sexual abuse and she asked me why I was reading something so boring. BORING. This girl was engaged to be married and in that moment, I feared for the safety of her future children (If she has any). I… it isn’t boring. It’s relevant and it’s a pretty huge problem.

Please read it. Awareness is the first step to making a change, you know? Yeah? Let’s protect the rights of children in our country (and all over the world), guys.

30 Day Book Challenge | A Book that Made me Fall in Love with Reading

So… I have an exam tomorrow And I’m running a temperature. Life’s good. I can’t write. I can’t.

The book that made me fall in love with reading is… Emily Climbs by L.M Montgomery. I talk about it here.

Also, Matildaaaaaa. And Harry Potter. (Duh.)

The book I read as an adult that made me fall in love with reading is Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. Guys, it’s EXCELLENT. It involves a lot of art. I loved  it. I love the atmosphere, the characters, the plot… I’ll review it when I’m alive-ish. Read it ok?

That’s all. Ughhhhh.

I AM GOING TO FAILLLLLLL. Gahhhhhhhhhhhh.