January 2017 TBR

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We’ve made our New Years Resolutions; now it’s time to actually see them through. My theme for this month is: New Year, New You!

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*Review in January
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
by Shonda Rhimes*
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert*
The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Singing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

OFF MY BOOKSHELF:
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Riot, Read Harder CHALLENGE:
Read a book about politics, in your country or another
Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister
Read a book under 100 pages
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling

Top Ten Tuesday – January 3, 2017

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[Top 10 Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by the wonderful The Broke and the Bookish because who doesn’t love top 10 lists!]

It’s time for another Top Ten! This week’s topic is Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For!

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Monthly Themes

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Hello fellow book lovers,

Happy New Year! May 2017 be your best literary year yet. In a couple days I will no longer be in my twenties (although I will always claim to be 25), I’ve been examining my past blogging objectives. The results? Not impressive. Although I’m satisfied with my progress in reading diversely – genre, authors, books featuring characters with minority backgrounds, etc – my 2015 Reading Bingo challenge remains stagnant at one book finished. My New Year’s resolution is to continue with my weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme, introduce bimonthly book reviews, and consistent monthly TBR pile and wrap-up posts. The main decision I made for this year is I plan on reading books that fall into a monthly theme. Also, I haven’t been living by the motto “quality over quantity” so this year is going to be different.

January 2017 – Be Your Best You
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
My bookshelf: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

February 2017 – Black History Month
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
My bookshelf: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

March 2017 – Canada Reads
I doubt I’ll have time to read all of these, but here is the longlist:
The Break by Katherena Vermette
Company Town by Madeline Asby
The Elephants in My Backyard by Rajiv Surendra
even this page is white by Vivek Shraya
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
I Am Woman by Lee Maracle
The Just City by Jo Walton
Knucklehead by Matt Lennox
Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji
One Hour in Paris by Karyn L. Freedman
Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer
The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Today I Learned It Was You by Edward Riche
Waiting for the First Light by Roméo Dallaire with Jessica Dee Humphreys

April 2017 – Humour
The Martian by Andy Weir
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Temple
Bossypants by Tina Fey
My bookshelf: Knocked Up by Rebecca Eckler

May 2017 – Mother-Daughter relationships
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Street
Anywhere but Here by Mona Simpson
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon or Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
My bookshelf: White Oleander by Janet Finch

June 2017 – Free
The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys
My bookshelf: Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup

July 2017 – Canadian
This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien
Hagseed by Margaret Atwood
My bookshelf: A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

August 2017 – Beach reads
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
My bookshelf: The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

September 2017 – Books Schools Teach That I Haven’t Read Yet
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My bookshelf: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

October 2017 – Ghost/scary stories
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena or The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund
My bookshelf: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

November 2017 – Long time TBR books
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
My bookshelf: Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson

December 2017 – Dysfunctional families
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
My bookshelf: All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland

*Photo Credit: Patrick Tomasso, Unsplash

2016 End of Year Book Survey

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Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and gearing up for the new year. Today I watched BooksandLala’s 2016 Book Survey based on The Perpetual Page-Turner’s annual post. It looks fun, so I’m going to put in my two cents too 🙂

*Picture credit: Lacie Slezak, Unsplash

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Top Ten Tuesday – December 27, 2016

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[Top 10 Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by the wonderful The Broke and the Bookish because who doesn’t love top 10 lists!]

It’s time for another Top Ten! This week’s topic is Top Ten Books of 2016!

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Top Ten Tuesday – December 20, 2017

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[Top 10 Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by the wonderful The Broke and the Bookish because who doesn’t love top 10 lists!]

It’s time for another Top Ten! This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under the Tree!

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The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

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Name of Book: The Golden Son
Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 387
Publisher: HarperAvenue
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
*This was originally published on lifestyle website Q-avenue.com.

Anil is the eldest son of a wealthy family in rural India destined to take over the family business. Leena is the daughter of farmers and his closest friend. However, as they get older they grow apart. He is an ambitious young man and the first of his family to attend college, leave for the United States, and become a doctor. She marries a man her family approves of and moves to a distant village to live with him. He questions his worth as a doctor after he makes a fatal medical error. She works hard cooking and cleaning for her new family. Years later, they form a strong friendship despite their parents’ objections. It’s a powerful story about family, love, and finding your own identity.

Review:

The Golden Son is the first novel I’ve read by Shilpi Somaya Gowda and I wasn’t disappointed. She beautifully illustrates two very different worlds – the traditional Indian village of Panchanagar and the foreign and harsh city of Dallas, Texas. Both are places where Anil and Leena find hate, independence, and self-discovery.

Anil is an interesting character because he must reconcile his family’s values and the “corruption” of western influence. While trying to find this balance, he makes mistakes in all aspects of his life, which made me root for his success. At first, Leena’s character doesn’t hold the same appeal for me that Anil’s did. Gowda depicts her as someone whose fate lies in marriage because there are no other options. She is intelligent but suffers mistreatment by her new family in silence and I felt sorry for her.

What I didn’t understand was the purpose of Amber, an American and Anil’s first love. They want to spend all their time together and he even loses his virginity to her. Originally, I thought she was there to provide contrast. Her relationship with Anil was founded on respect, whereas, Leena and Girish’s was abusive. However, despite Amber’s “love” for Anil, she lets her family’s and friend’s discrimination come between them.

Death, violence, and recovery are themes that change the course of Leena’s and Anil’s lives. Firstly, death is both a defining and freeing aspect in this book. For Anil, his father’s untimely passing means he feels obligated to take over the role of clan leader and family arbiter. For Leena, her father’s suicide means freedom from her family’s debt. Secondly, the violence that happens to both characters propels their stories forward. Anil is determined to succeed as a doctor after his friend is badly beaten and Leena works hard to become financially secure after she escapes verbal and physical abuse. Finally, recovery is about discovering where they belong in the world. Anil compromises his goals as a doctor so he can have a personal life and spend more time in India. Leena finds peace by working and making money off of her family’s land.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing India and Dallas through The Golden Son. The flawed characters, intriguing storylines, and cultural differences kept me reading until the end.