Beautiful Children’s Illustrated Books

As a 27-year-old adult, it’s not often that I pick up children’s books. But there is just something so wonderfully charming in children’s picture books that render them ‘ageless’. I also work in the field of Design, so I have a huge interest in illustrative styles and techniques so I’m endlessly researching different illustrators and their works just for some creative inspiration. There’s an art to visual storytelling that is so instinctively powerful. A single picture can speak volumes. This post is to celebrate some of those visual storytellers. All of these would make wonderful gifts to the little people in your life. Continue reading

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

2774F1A1-1DCD-4105-B865-87CE624B2734Here’s my attempt at penning down a review for The Idiot, having now had some time away from the book. I found The Idiot wholly original, thwarting traditional narrative techniques and feigning all importance to the plot, twist or thrill. It’s a story that acutely captures the ordinary mundanities and absurdities of life in sharp relief while still managing to stay engaging and entertaining for almost 500 pages. We follow Selin, an 18-year-old, born to Turkish-American immigrants, for the first year of her university life in Harvard and a summer spent volunteering in Hungary. Continue reading

A wonderfully odd coming of age story

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This was one of those quietly, brilliant coming-of-age novels that just snuck up on me and completely enamoured me. Set in a remote Scottish island, the novel follows two young girls,  socially adept Lorrie and painfully shy Sylvie as they navigate the pressures of growing up in this intimately small town where everyone knows everyone. Angela Readman creates a beautifully nuanced portrait of girlhood and friendship, Continue reading

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (a rave than a review)

IMG_4477Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks is easily one of my favourite books of the year. It’s a brilliant, incredibly thought-provoking and simply exquisite novel. It’s been shelved as dystopia/science fiction and it’s really none of that. It’s mildly speculative at best, contemporary, and as Zumas calls it, a ‘para-topian’ novel, set very much in today’s society. The only change being, an act has been passed in the United States called the Personhood Amendment, by which a fertilized single-celled zygote is considered a legal citizen with the right to liberty and life. Continue reading

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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Normal People at its core is an intimate, emotional and complex relationship between Marianne and Connell that sinusoids between romantic and platonic, truthful and manipulative. While I certainly liked how realistic the portrayal of ‘modern love’ is, I found it increasingly cumbersome to read as it progressed. Connell and Marianne are almost like magnets, their opposite poles aligned at times and experiencing this subliminal, unrestrained, ferocious attraction and at other times almost repelling each other with equal force. As a reader, your caught in between these extremes and you unravel this incredibly complex, often unpredictable, intimate yet turbulent relationship. As this novel progresses, it increasingly read like an elaborate ceremonial dance of egos, of unsaid communication having far-reaching consequences, and at times I just couldn’t see the sense in their actions/decisions.
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I’ve read reviews where the writing style has been criticized. On that note, however, I disagree. Rooney’s writing is sparse, and I thought it was beautifully done. It’s sharp, incisive almost, without a single word being wasted. To sum things up, for me, it was an okay read. The character study, which started really strong, somewhere lost it’s footing, stumbling & getting a little too embroiled into the character’s messy lives. I began to lose interest. As I read, I kept flipping back to see how many pages were left to read. Make of that, what you will.
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I’m still curious to try Conversations with Friends, though I’m in no real rush.

A realist collection on girlhood and growing up

IMG_4814How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer was such a brilliant, emotionally resonant, pensive and slightly dark collection of stories focussing on girlhood and growing up. Every story is incredibly distinct and beautifully realized. It deals with complex issues like dealing with the loss of a parent, sibling rivalry, the very cruel things that children are capable of doing to one another, friendship and sisterhood. Some might find this collection a little too dark, a little too bleak, but I found it incredibly realistic. Continue reading