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All the books I've loved before

I've loved books all my life. I don't recall the first book I read, or if I was excited when I first held a book in my hands. But I know what a book feels like now. Books, especially fiction are a warm hug, those extra 5 mins in bed in the morning, a hot cuppa chocolate, and so much more. Books are love.

So here I am, sharing a list of my current favorite fiction and non-fiction books, and why I love them. Not sure if anyone cares :D

1. Kintsugi by Anukriti Upadhyay

You know you have a friend to cherish when they gift you a book you haven't heard of, but fall in love with! I didn't know what to expect of Kintsugi. So I began by reading that the term Kintsugi refers to the Japanese art of mending broken pottery. Narrated from multiple points of view to carry the story forward; the book meanders through the karigars and the characters' lives in Rajasthan, and quaint Japan. The book and the story is about characters that are broken in their own way, and are not entirely likable, but their journey narrated in a relatable and interesting manner. Buy it here

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Why is this book so loved? Why do I love Eliza Bennett? I just do. She's a rebel. She's headstrong. She's witty and intelligent. Jane Austen paints life in rural England at a time when women had to marry to find their place in the world or be considered a burden on their parents. P&P is about living by your rules even when there are a million constraints. It's about being yourself even when your mother seems to dislike who you are. The cast of characters and their portrayal is stellar. I love Mrs. Bennett, her world has her at the center of it. It's all about her and what she wants, what she thinks is best for her children, and if she has to nudge (violently shove) them to it, then so be it. Each of the sisters has a unique persona. We get insight into each of the characters including Darcy and Bingley and it's all because Jane Austen wrote this out masterfully. Buy it here or a deluxe edition here

3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

50 pages into this one, and I had a distinct dislike for the protagonist of the novel: Dear Ove. He is a rude, dislikable man. But he did have obnoxious, noisy, needy neighbors and people in general who had to be dealt with. I love Backman's writing and his ability to spin stories with lost, lonely, and vulnerable characters. I appreciate his ability to create beauty in community, belonging, and empathy. I loved Backman's 'Britt Marie was here' too, but A Man Called Ove is perfection. Buy it here

4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Right from the word go, I loved this novel about a 30-something woman who has rigid rules about behavior and demeanor; who dislikes uncouth humans while being largely clueless about a lot of things (laptops, for instance). This book makes for poignant reading as you journey with her through life and her demons. It is heartwarming and wonderful. Buy it here

5. Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee This one was on Kindle Unlimited and I decided to read it on a whim. And boy was I in for the long haul. Jenny Han is a Princeton educated Korean American in a tricky home situation with her orthodox parents. She has an American Boyfriend, and this goes against her father's rule of dating only Koreans. I could especially relate to growing up in a non-affluent family, worrying about money, and yet taking decisions that don't reflect financial prudence even while you know you're smart. It's about spending money on things I could easily do without and then having to scrimp on rent. It's about being unable to swallow one's pride to ask for help. It's about living by one's own set of rules even when they don't serve you. I also absolutely loved Min Jun Lee's introduction about herself, her writing, and her publishing journey. It was real, raw, and honest and struck a chord with me (and I'm still unable to shake it off!) Buy it here

6. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This is the most recent book I read and absolutely loved! Trevor Noah writes an honest and relatable memoir about growing up in apartheid Africa, being colored, the strong packs-a-punch mother who shaped who he became. He splendidly merges painful memories and stories with humor and brilliant sunshine of positivity that I couldn't help but be in awe of. One of his gems is about pain and healing, about letting go. He says when you have a wound, over time the bruises go away. If you continue to hold on to the pain you first experienced, then how do you move forward from that? While I believe in going to the root of any issue and finding the power to heal by growing through what you're going through, there's a certain power to let go when you can do nothing about it. Get your copy here

7. One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Murugan writes of a married couple in rural India who love each other and are wrapped up in each other. I love that their relationship is portrayed realistically. They are childless after several years of marriage and want to be parents. Murugan writes about daily interactions with society and friends (about being childless) that are gnawing at the soul. He implores you to look at actions and consequences, about the power strangers hold to slaughter away at happiness. He follows it up with Trial By Silence and A Lonely Harvest shaped as 2 alternate narratives to One Part Woman. Buy it here

8. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy How I lived all my life without ever hearing of this masterpiece is a mystery. But I found it and I love life all the more for it. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse is a simple narrative about life (and the joy of cake), journeying with friends, and beauty in drawings. This one is a quick read but has wonderful moments and sketches you'd want to ponder on long after you're done reading (if you can call it that). It made my heart feel full and glorious. It made me feel emotionally strong and ready to live more joyously. I keep coming back to it over and over again. Get your copy here

9. Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante I read this a while ago. Troubling Love is set in Naples and is about the narrator Delia's relationship with her recently deceased mother. As Delia struggles to piece together her mother's final days, her mind throws back childhood memories that seem to be murky, convoluted, and troubled. I simply love Elena Ferrante's style of writing. There's something in it that captures my imagination and makes my soul peaceful. Buy it here

10. Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Initially released as 'The Price of Salt', Carol is about a department store employee, Therese, who meets Carol Aird, a customer at the said store, and relationship blossoms. Therese, an aspiring stage designer is mesmerized by Carol who is then in the process of divorce. What happens to Carol and Therese? The story that unfolds is written with nuance and makes for wonderful reading. Get your copy here

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