As some of you know, I bought a Kindle in February...for this devoted page-turning reader, buying an e-book device was an enormous development. But I commute a lot into the city, travel a lot, and carrying books along in an already-huge bag was not doable (or good for my poor back!).
But now...books! At the push of a button! Goodbye, bank account...hello, hours of reading.
I thought I'd share the books I've gotten through this year (about 40 as of June 2018!) and I will continue updating as I see fit. Have you read some of these? Do you want to? Let's talk! Get in touch.
Note: I've tried to keep authors together and/or themes together as much as possible. Apologies if this list isn't perfectly organized--if you have questions, just ask!
We Two: Victoria and Albert, Rulers, Partners, Rivals, by Gillian Gill
My mother is convinced that my reading habit is the reason I needed glasses at the ripe old age of 5...once my parents had turned off the lights, I'd often read in my dimly lit bedroom. My dad likes to tell the story of how he found me at 5 AM, under the covers of my blanket, reading the latest Harry Potter by a tiny reading light after staying up all night.
And with the love of reading came one of writing. I have years of journals that hopefully, no one will ever read, from 5th grade until freshman year of college, filled with the drama, descriptions of boys I liked, and all the things on any teenager's mind.
As I got older, and began setting better goals for myself, one that was always on the horizon was to become an author. And at 27 years old, I did. Here's the tale of forgetting the statistics, remembering the reason you love to write, and pushing until failure isn't an option.
In the summer of 2012, I was about to enter graduate school for my M.Ed. I had a month off between the day...
Author perk: the advanced copies of books that are releasing soon.
Author confession: Emily Giffin is one of the writers who reignited my love of reading and writing post-college. In fact, her story of leaving her law career and giving herself time to write her novel (Something Borrowed, which then went on to become a bestseller and a movie) is what propelled me to make a similar move and give myself an allotted amount of time post-master's degree to find an agent and complete the revision of TRL.
A lack of diversity is something you can't unsee once you really recognize that it exists in the publishing world. Many of my favorite authors have fallen off my list because I recognized how their characters were all white...and some of you may remember that I worried Emily Giffin would become the same way after her last (still amazing) novel.
I am no longer afraid. Emily Giffin went there. And she knocked it out of the park.
All We Ever Wanted follows three people in Nashville (a place I lived...
Which, ironically, was actually one of the best books I've ever read. No. I'm not kidding. I'm not playing up the abilities of its author, Laura Steven, nor am I harping about "those feminist things" in a way that'll make you cringe.
Sweet. Mother. Of. Mary. This book changed everything.
The cast of characters Laura put together was loud, unyielding, so alive that they felt like real people I went to high school with. And diverse.
Let's say it louder for people in the back: THE BOOK LOOKED LIKE THE WORLD DOES.
For a South Asian girl like me, seeing a South Asian character best friend with the spunkiest personality imaginable (hysterical, by the way) and an obnoxiousness that only a high schooler can both manage to impress and induce an eye roll with, was the icing on a cake I've waited for my entire life.
Okay. I guess I'll back up now. Laura Steven's THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY (capitals are necessary because it's that good, not just because it's the title) follow...
As an author, it's difficult to choose a small number of books that have left a lasting mark. After all, we read voraciously and every book leaves a bit of another world within us. But some books stick with you despite the months, years and decades that have passed since you closed the covers with a contented sigh, and a feeling that you'd never quite be the same again. I wanted to share my list with you and I hope you'll get the chance to be introduced to some new books if you haven't already read them, and if you have, I hope maybe you'll go back and read them again for old time's sake.
1. Born Confused, by Tanuja Desai Hidier
Believe it or not, I was 16 years old when I saw the first book with a South Asian protagonist. Give that a brief thought. I went 16 years of my life without a literary character who looked like me, talked like me and narrated a life remotely like mine. Insanity. It was so earth-shattering to read a book about a South Asian that I carried the book with me in my b...