In the past few years, September has been a momentous month for me – not always in the good sense. (I’ve had some pretty painful Septembers.) This time, however, I had a really good one. Why? One, because I had a great trip to Italy with a bunch of amazing women. Two, I managed to gulp not one or two, but FOUR fabulous books this month.
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
The novel is about the beginning of time, how man began measuring it and how it eventually took over every part of our lives. Written from the point of view of Father Time, the book is simply written and quick to read – I was done in one long-haul flight – and has a few interesting takeaways in terms of insight and one-liners. But I wasn’t as blown away as I had been with Albom’s earlier books. Still, I’d say it is a pleasant read.
Another Man’s Wife by Manjul Bajaj
I haven’t read Indian fiction in a while, and was slightly skeptical if it would hold my interest over a long flight. And in fact, when I started reading this collection of short stories, I was slightly bored. But the last two kept me highly engrossed and left me thoughtful. The title story (the last in the book) is absolutely riveting. The story of a feisty married tribal woman who is offered land for her displaced family in return for being a married contractor’s mistress for six months, I couldn’t get my eyes off it despite being tired and underslept over a 20-hour journey. I want to read it again in case I missed something.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory
I love this writer so much that I wait anxiously for each book of hers. Having interviewed her once, I feel some kind of connection with her too. The book is a story of two sisters, the daughters of the Earl of Warwick from 15th-century England. As with all Gregory’s previous books, this one too is a whirlwind of palace intrigue and momentous historical events. I was interested to see how Gregory would portray Elizabeth Woodville as a villain in this side of the story (she is the protagonist of a previous book The White Queen). And I wasn’t disappointed. It seems Gregory has given everyone in the Cousins’ War a fair voice.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
A debut novel, I thought this would be one of those I could share with my teen daughters – what with all the fairy-tale beginning and fantasy-like middle – and exhorted my 15-year-old to read it. An old couple living in Alaska in the 1920s find the cold unbearable to both their being and their relationship. They ‘create’ a child out of snow and longing, and then go through years of joy and heartbreak as she comes and goes during the winter and summer. By the end of the book, however, ‘adult’ elements like sex and pregnancy sort of detract from the entire child-friendly feel and I quietly slipped it into my bookshelf when I was done. Good book for grown-ups, though! Beautifully written and highly absorbing.
It’s been a hell of a September, and the best part is, it isn’t done yet. What other fab book awaits my obsession? Come on out.