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

Currently Reading

I’ve had something of a reading slump the last couple of months. It wasn’t exactly a reading slump because I did read a bit, but I didn’t finish most of the books that I started. This explains why my ‘currently reading’ shelf on Goodreads has 10 books in it, although I’m actually, really reading just the one book. The other books that have been retained on that shelf are… aspirational, shall we say? (Don’t worry. I frequently don’t understand myself so there’s no judgment if you don’t understand me.)

Anyway, the book that I’m currently reading is White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I saw a quote from the book on a book group that I’m a part of on Facebook, and I saw that several people whose taste in books I trust had commented that they love this book. So I bought it for my Kindle. I only got around to reading it a few weeks later, though.

I’m really enjoying this book, which is about a girl Astrid and her life after her mother Ingrid, is imprisoned for murder. Her mother is a published poet of some acclaim before her incarceration. 

Astrid is a child who grows up in the background of her mother’s whims and fancies and she warms to anyone who gives her some attention. She is a talented artist.

I love the writing in this book. It’s beautiful, poetic and picturesque but it’s so measured. The author never gets carried away. She is never verbose and it’s clear that there isn’t one word in here that she didn’t want there and that she didn’t put in there after much thought and deliberation.

I love how an absent mother like Ingrid still has specific ideas about what her daughter should and shouldn’t be. Her letters from prison contain quite excellent advice, actually. This book is so good of quotable quotes, and I keep highlighting them. This is a book that I need to reread. I never reread books anymore. I wonder why that is. I need to set aside days where I only reread books; lovely, heart-wrenching books like this one. 

I don’t know where this book is going, though, don’t know how it’ll end. I’ll do a full review once I understand that. Till then, I’ll just go along for the journey and bask in the language and smile whimsically to myself at intervals. 

I’m kind of glad this is likely the last book I’ll read this year because it’s frightening but kind of bittersweet, just like this year has been. I’ll do a post describing this year in review for you guys soon. 

Have any of you read this book? What did you think of it? What’s your favourite quote from this book? What is everyone else reading this holiday season? Let me know in the comments! 

Hoot.

Sin

Writing Dilemma– Sexuality

ATTENTION: This post contains explicit content. It talks of alternative sexuality, female sexual habits, and a woman who does not want babies. If any of this is offensive to you, please don’t read further. Also, NSFW in case you hadn’t figured already.

Hello everyone!

I am doing nanowrimo this year! For those of you who have been living under a rock, or those of you whose mummy-papa just got WiFI, nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This makes no sense because the event is very much international, but nanowrimo is a better acronym than innowrimo. Anyhow, the idea is that anyone who signs up for it undertakes the mad task of writing a 50,000 novel in the month of November. Third time’s the charm, one hopes, because I’ve never won nanowrimo before even though I tried in 2014 and 2015.

This year, I will be writing a novel about the world ending . I’m in the process of fleshing out an idea that came to me in a dream. Yes. You read that right. I initially intended it to be a short story but, courtesy of my imagination taking the idea for a long spin uphill on a winding road, then crashing it off a cliff and resuscitating it, bruised but unbroken, it’s now a potential novel idea.

I don’t want to give much of the plot away because spoilers. (I swear that’s the reason. It’s totally not because I have no idea what the plot really is. Totally.             -nervous laugh.-)

Now to the dilemma:

I had long since decided that all my protagonists are going to be female because I don’t understand the male psyche and I would never presume to imagine that I do. (Maybe if men waxed their legs, I could have my legs waxed like a certain bestselling author and learn everything about them, but sadly, most men don’t wax their legs. And I don’t enjoy waxing either, so that’s out.)

It also just so happens that every single one of these women pops into my head, partially formed, but determined to be androgynous in appearance and bisexual.My present protagonist Megha is no exception to this rule. We’ve just met, but it’s already deadly obvious. This still isn’t the dilemma.

NOW to the dilemma for real:

Megha is sexually promiscuous. Vociferously so. She’d slap me if I tried to tie her down. And I don’t think that this is something anyone should judge… or care. My Megha does not want to date. My Megha does not want many babies with Mr. Perfect. My Megha did not dream about her wedding day since she was a little girl. My Megha does not even want a civil union with a Mrs. Perfect. What my Megha wants is sex. And a lot of it.

My problem is this; historically, bisexuality, when acknowledged as real, has been associated with promiscuity. When I write Megha, will I be promoting sex positivity for women like I intended, or will I just end up perpetuating the stereotype? How do I avoid perpetuating the stereotype? How do I make it known that yes, Megha has a lot of sex but that’s not because she’s bisexual but because it’s fun?

Thoughts?

Tips?

Are any of you doing nanowrimo? What kind of story are you writing? Have any of you written an LGBTQ+ character before? Let me know in the comments.

Also, add me as a writing buddy on the nanowrimo website if you’re participating. I’m owlishwriter.

That’s all for today, guys.

Hoot.

–Sin

Unexpected Book Recommendations and How I Deal With Them 

(Spoiler alert: I deal with them poorly.)

How have I never heard of Diana Wynne Jones?!

Some context: I am reading A View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman. I am at the part of the book where he talks (has written?) about people he’s known.

I’ve just read the one about Diana Wynne Jones.(I have also flipped to the next page and seen that the next essay is about Terry Pratchett and I’m itching to read it. But first; this post.) I read the first few lines and then I said, “Who the fuck is Diana Wynne Jones?” I almost said it out loud, which was problematic, because I was in court at the time.

Then I googled her.

Apparently,  she is wildly popular, and has written a large number of books in the fantasy genre (which I adore).  She’s been compared to J.K Rowling (whom I adore) and to Gaiman himself (whom I have stopped adoring and started worshipping.). Neil Gaiman seems to delight in her writing, and it seems to be right up my alley. But I have never heard of her!! I’m in shock, if that wasn’t already evident.

But eh. Better late than never, right? Neil Gaiman said that he read her books in his twenties and it felt like coming home. I am in my early twenties. It seems to me to be a clear sign.

So… I went ahead and bought one of her books off Amazon and will be getting on to the task of remedying my ignorance as soon it is delivered.

Yes, it breaks my oath to not buy more books until my birthday.

No, I have no shame.

No, this isn’t even the first book I’ve bought since I started reading this book. I also bought Coralline on my Kindle earlier today. Heh. Whoops.

(Should I simply stop reading non-fiction, guys? It seems to be a downward spiral of more book-buying every time. Don’t answer that.)

I think that I’ll do daily posts about The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel after I start reading it.

I AM VERY EXCITED.

Now I’m off to read about Terry Pratchett!

Have you guys read Diana Wynne Jones? What do you think of her? What do you think of A View from the Cheap Seats? Do you like Neil Gaiman? Do you think I’m insane for buying so many books? Let me know in the comments!

That’s all for now, guys!

Hoot

–Sin

 

 

 

Currently Reading

Hello all!

Happy Holidays! 🙂

I’m off to Mumbai tomorrow on holiday with my college friends. I’ll be back by Monday though, so you can still expect my Monday post.

I may only have been working for 3 weeks but they all need vacations and of course, I’m going too. It’ll like a little slice of college life, which I need right now. Breaking news, guys: Adulthood is painful.

Anyway, I’m reading one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve read this year; I have no trouble understanding why it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize last year. I’ve put it down now so that I may have a good cry about it. And write this post.

The book I’m reading is We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I don’t want to give away a thing about this book because the surprise element of the book blew me away and made the reading experience so much better. I want you guys to have that too. Just know that it’s a book about family and sibling relations.

I adore this book so far. The book is in first person and I like the voice of the narrator, Rosemary. I like the writing style, which is simple yet evocative. I like the fact that the book moves seamlessly between Rosemary’s college life to her childhood that she reminisces about in college. However, the book is actually set in 2012 where an adult Rosemary is reminiscing about her college self reminiscing about and reliving her somewhat traumatic childhood. The book moves smoothly between these three timelines without any confusion or complication, which I appreciate.

I think my review of this book will contain spoilers, which is something I do only when I’m exploding to talk about what I’ve read. So you may want to avoid it if you haven’t read this book by then

I love this book A LOT but I need to read it slowly to avoid repeats of the loud sobbing I just broke into before I closed the book and started writing this post.

What are you all reading? Perhaps you’ve been wise enough to pick up something more cheery and festive, yes? Or are any of you masochistic readers like me? Have any of you read We are All Completely Beside Ourselves? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

If you want to follow me on social media, you’re welcome to do so. 😀 Feed the Sindhu her social media love.

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, guys!

Hoot.

-Sin

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Britain has always been the place I’d rather live in, if I didn’t live in India and I’ve never wished  harder that I could just teleport there for a bit. Or should I say apparate?
J.K. Rowling has announced that the play she is writing and screening,  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is going to be a sequel!
It’s going to feature an adult Harry Potter and his son Albus as the protagonists and is going to be a huge cast with over 30 actors!! -stifles a sob-
It’s going to be in TWO PARTS. It’s going to teach Harry and Albus that darkness comes from unexpected places!!!
In my miserable brown head, I haven’t a doubt that Rowling’s two plays will far surpass anything Shakespeare  has produced or could have produced and I can’t believe I can’t be a part of the history it is bound to make. -sobs openly- 
Let all of us sad people doomed not to live in the same country as the goddess  just pray that the script is released as an overpriced book so we may buy it, read it aloud, and cry ourselves to sleep. And later read, analysed, over-analysed and taught in schools, as great masterpieces ultimately are.
That’s all for now, folks!
Hoot.
Sin

Confession

Just a small shamefaced update, guys.
Not five minutes after my lofty declarations about my heartbreaking book buying ban, I went and preordered Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train

There was a huge discount, guys. I could never have gotten the book this cheaply if I’d bought it later. Not a new copy!
And also, I didn’t buy the new Stephen ie Meyer book because it is obscenely expensive so I didn’t make SOME smart decisions.
It has Polaroid pictures that were taken by Patti Smith, guys. Come on.
You get it, right? You get it! 🙂
Cheers, guys. :p
Hoot.
Sin

M Train

Patti Smith wrote another memoir!
I read her first memoir, Just Kids, last month and I really liked it.
What really came through in Just Kids is that even though she’s best known as a musician, and she is a talented singer-songwriter, she is first and foremost a reader and writer which I really appreciate.
Her experiences in New York, just meeting talented artists seemed so inspiring. I am very jealous and admiring. I don’t think I can just stop having a day job and pursue my passions ever.
I can’t help but wonder if that means I’m inevitably destined for failure. It definitely means that I’m scared and don’t have enough trust in myself right? Ah we’ll see. 🙂
Her new book is about all of the times she felt she was at a crossroads, or times that some thing in her life changed throughout her life.
It apparently opens with her sitting in a café with an open notebook, which is a stereotypical but legendary image for every aspiring writer.
It sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? I’m dying to read it. But I can’t read it now, because I’m on a book-buying ban. -cries-
Maybe one of you lucky, sensible shoppers can afford to buy it and tell me how is? Just keeping you guys updated about excited new reads that I can’t access. -cries some more-
Well, that’s all for now!
Hoot
–Sin
Here are my social media links if you guys are interested to see:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer