The year that began with a lot of enthusiasm and hopes turned into a year where my reading was forced to the backseat. A lot was, and is, going on in my life and caught up in all of that, I couldn’t grab my hands on as many books as I had thought.
But, I am proud of everything I have done. With half the year gone, I managed to read 10 books amidst battling my depression, managing (and eventually leaving) work, and redefining emotional boundaries in my life. Achievement? Achievement.
It took me a while to get around to writing about these books but since I got here, nothing else matters. Here is the list and very short reviews of my first 10 books of 2019.
- Manto: Seleted Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto
4/5. I picked this book up in the middle of my book-buying ban from Bangalore airport. I have been an admirer of Manto’s stories for quite some time now and to have read a collection of his stories was pure joy. Manto is, according to me, one of those writers gifted with the talent of arousing deep and thought-provoking feelings with the simplest of stories.
- The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
3/5. I received this book in one of my book boxes and even though the blurb of the book seemed interesting, the book in itself wasn’t quite so. I was, I’ll admit, looking forward to read the way a kardashian-type family works (not that I was surprised by any of the happenings) but the book was highly predictable and that just doesn’t work for me. But the narration of the book, by three different people, adds a good touch to the story. Even though it appears to be, it is not as intense.
Favourite Quote: People are funny that way. They remember only what they want to and manage to forget the rest.
- Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
3/5. I know, a lot of authors working together! This book is centered around the theme of mental health and is particularly a young-adult novel that narrates the story of two boys who struggle with some mental issues. One of them kills himself and the other one is caught up in a situation leading him to fake a friendship with the deceased. The plot of the story is good, the narration is gripping, but I think the best part is the way it reveals the secret mind state of young teens. Every character has a hidden side which they keep to themselves and that is the touch of reality in this book. It is a good read but I personally think that it could have been better w.r.t the mental illness being talked about.
Favourite Quote: Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a great day and here’s why: because today at least you’re you and, well, that’s enough.
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
4/5. Again, a book centered on mental illness and trauma. This book talks about the friendship of two troubled teens both looking for a way to die. Theodore, the male protagonist is fascinated by death and tries to kill himself often but his will is not that strong and anytime something good happens, he finds it in himself to not do it. Violet, the female protagonist, just thinks about it once because she blames herself for her sister’s death. Like a Bollywood movie, they both meet when they’re both trying to jump from the same place and a friendship begins. As ironic as it may sound, Theodore teaches Violet to live to the fullest and brings out the happiness in her. It is a sweet story with a very interesting end and some parts, as a patient of depression, are very, very relatable. I definitely recommend this book to everyone.
Favourite Quote: The future is uncertain, but that can be a good thing.
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Alborn
3.5/5. So, this was the book that brought me out of my seemingly perpetual reading slump. So, I picked this book up around the time when I was suicidal (read all about it here, if you want to) and I think it was a good decision. The book narrates the story of Eddie, old man who has lived, according to himself, an uninspired life. There is a constant sadness in his life, which the reader realizes as the book moves forward. But it is after he dies and the people he meets in heaven that his perspective about his life. The five people represent five different things in his life and answer five different questions for him. And in the end, it all somehow makes sense to him, and to the reader as well. I think this is another book that I will recommend for everyone to read.
Favourite Quote: Lost love is still love.