Tag Archives: reading

Display: All Things India

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The idea of India fascinates me. I learned European history and United States history in High School. World History was tacked on at the end of junior and senior year as kind of an addendum, but it was like a tasting menu of the rest of the world packed into a few months. The idea that all these other cultures had existed and thrived outside of Western culture was mind-boggling.

Indian literature differs from most of the other southeastern Asian literature, maybe because English colonization has given it a slightly European feel. Indian authors often write their novels in English. The first Indian novel that I really remember getting into was A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, a great big doorstop of a book. It was a great family saga that I couldn’t put down.

Recommended reading:

A Fine Balance and Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

Red Earth and Pouring Rain and Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

Memories of Rain by Sunetra Gupta

A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul

Caretaker: A Ranjit Singh Novel by A. X. Ahmad

Last Taxi Ride by A. X. Ahmad

Behind the Beautiful Forever’s: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Under city by Katherine Boo

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale by Chitra Banerjee

Tales from India: Stories of Creation and the Cosmos by Jamila Gavin

Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: A Vish Puri Mysery #1 by Tarquin Hall

Case of the Missing Servant: A Vish Puri Mystery #2 by Tarquin Hall

Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: A Vish Puri Mystery by Tarquin Hall

Case of the Love Commandos: From the files of Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator by Tarquin Hall

Born Confused by Tanuja Desaia

LowLand by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri

Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India by Gerald McDermott

Hundred- Foot Journey: A novel by Richard C Morais

Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Family Life: A novel by Akhil Sharma

Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

World We Found: A novel by Thrity Umrigar

Story Hour: A novel by Thrity Umrigar

Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India by Marcia Williams

And a link to a great little Buzzfeed site called 34 Books By Indian Authors That Everyone Should Read:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/kitaabein

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Customer Review: Dead Boy

DeadBoyDead Boy

Laurel Gale


Crown Books

Available September 29, 2015

Dead Boy, by Laurel Gale, is a combination of adventure, bravery, and friendship. It may seem like your typical story of a middle school boy, except this middle school boy is dead! Crow Darlingson stinks. He has maggots crawling in and out of his body. His body parts fall off easily, and are literally hanging from threads attaching them to his body. Imagine if every so often, you had to ask your mom to sew on your arm, or leg! Crow hardly goes anywhere, and he barely ever goes outside! He longs for a friend, and when a new neighbor moves in next door, they end up becoming friends! They go through adventures facing bullies, and a mysterious creature! For those that enjoy adventure, and humor, Dead Boy is the book for you! I thought this book was amazing, and I would rate it as a 10 out of 10!

~ Olivia, age 12

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Customer Review: A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic

TaleofHighlyUnusualMagicA Tale of Highly Unusual Magic

Lisa Papademetriou



Available October 6, 2015

In the book A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, by Lisa Papademetriou, two unsuspecting girls both find a copy of a strange book that seems to write and continue its own story day after day. It can only mean one thing. Magic! The two girls, Kai and Leila, both on vacation, follow the story, while also facing unusual events themselves. The thing is, neither girl knows that the other one has a copy of the book! Between Kai’s adventures, like searching for a supposedly extinct moth with her friend Doodle, and Leila’s journeys, like tending to a sick goat she accidentally bought, this book is a must read!  It takes some turns that you are not at all suspecting!  A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic is thrilling, and great for those that like adventure, and a little bit of mystery and magic, too!  It is great for any age, and it is fantastic!

~ Olivia, age 12

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Customer Review: The Thing About Jellyfish

ThingAboutJellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish

Ali Benjamin

Little, Brown for Young Readers


Available September 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin, is an intriguing novel told in an interesting format. Suzy Swanson has turned into an un-popular, weird girl at her school ever since her ex-best friend Franny Jackson died. Suzy tries to stay “invisible” in her school, and never talks to anyone unless she really has to. Suzy believes Franny died from a jellyfish sting, and she researches like crazy to prove that her theory is correct. Suzy goes to extremely high measures to prove this hypothesis!

Each part of this book starts off with a step of the Scientific Method, with a short quote from Suzy’s current teacher. I thought this format was interesting and cool. Also, within all of the chapters, you learned a lot about jellyfish. This book is great for people that like a heart-felt novel, and also great for those that want to learn about jellyfish! I would, without a doubt, rate this book a ten out of ten!

~ Olivia, age 12

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The Right Age

Jo Walton posted this discussion yesterday, entitled “Is There a Right Age to Read a Book?” She poses some interesting questions as well as addressing the difference between readers and re-readers. I happen to fall into the latter category and completely agree with relaxing in to the narrative the second go round. It’s upon re-reading that I feel like I can appreciate the author’s expertise. The first time, I’m caught up in the story. The second time, I notice the skilled use of literary devices and other significant details. I think other re-readers would probably say the same. While reading Walton’s comments, though, I couldn’t help but think to myself how grateful I am that we don’t just have one shot with literature. There are so many amazing books out there and they touch people in different ways. That’s what makes books so interesting to discuss. If we all felt the exact same way about a story, well then, what’s left to say? It’s the debating, the questions, the ability to push deeper into a story and seeing how it can expand without breaking that, to me, distinguishes Literature from literature.

Fortunately for us there is tremendous amount of good Literature. Even if you read something too early, or too late, you’re sure to read something else at exactly the right time. Having to read Great Expectations in 9th grade kind of put me off Dickens. But I first read George Eliot in college, when I was better able to digest the richness of her work. Maybe I’ll never appreciate Dickens the way I would have, if I had read his books at the ‘right’ time, but there are plenty of other books for me to enjoy, so I’m not too worried. It works the other way as well. I’m so thrilled that I read and re-read Lewis’s Narnia books as a child, because as an adult, they make me uncomfortable. That means I can still genuinely recommend them to young readers, even though I’ll never truly enjoy them myself again.

Age appropriateness and children’s books are an ongoing discussion. But Walton’s comments are a reminder of how individualize the reading process really is. And reading builds on itself. If we all waited till adulthood to read certain books, then we wouldn’t have the background and preparation to enjoy those books. Read wrong and read right, just keep reading.

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