Editor’s note: We feature the brilliant recommendations of our partner, the Champaca Bookstore, in the Read section twice a month. FYI: Champaca is an independent women-run and -founded bookstore and children's library in Bangalore.
Quick weekend reads: Books under 250 pages
If you’re looking to dip into a short, interesting book this weekend, we have just what you’re looking for! This week, we’re recommending books that pack tons of emotion, mystery, and adventure in under 250 pages. Read on for a list that has everything from murder mysteries to short stories, and even memoirs.
Written by Sosuke Natsukawa, and translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, ‘The Cat Who Saved Books’ is a delightful tale about books, and first love! In it, a high school student and a cat set out on a mission to save books that have been imprisoned, destroyed and unloved in a second hand bookshop. As they journey through labyrinths of books, an unusual but heartwarming friendship blossoms between them.
‘Coming Through Slaughter’ is an extraordinary recreation of the life of cornet player Buddy Bolden. Weaving together memoirs, interviews, imaginary conversations, and monologues, Michael Ondaatje brings us a vivid portrait of the complex inner world of the pioneering jazz artist.
Third in Elizebeth Strout’s Booker-nominated Lucy Barton series, ‘Oh William!’ explores Lucy’s relationship with her ex-husband William. Lucy has never quite understood him, there is something about him that always remains a mystery to her. As the two unravel a secret about William’s family, Lucy reflects on their fluctuating, but immensely comfortable relationship. Through their missteps and vulnerabilities, we are gently reminded that the past is never stagnant—it lingers on, shaping the present.
All books in the Lucy Barton series are stand-alone, each novel captures the character at a different time and place in her life.
In ‘Flying Too High’ by Kerry Greenwood, one of our favourites, most glamorous detectives, Miss Phryne Fisher, is back with another adventure on her hands. Set in Australia in the 1920s, Phryne unravels the mystery of a kidnapped girl and a murdered father, while showing off her flying skills.
‘So Now You Know’ by Vivek Tejuja, is a collection of his memories of growing up in Bombay in the 1990’s and discovering his sexuality and queerness. He recounts his childhood and teenage years—from falling in love with his best friend, to desperately trying to fit in. Written with honesty, this memoir is warm, funny, and heartbreaking all at once.
Nisha Susan’s whimsical collection of short stories taps into the love, violence, desire, and intimacy that technology has brought into the lives of Indian women. In the book, we meet a cook in Delhi who is worried by her daughter’s cell phone conversations, three classical dancers discussing their sex lives on email, a young woman in Bombay who finds herself obsessed with a dead woman’s online relics, and many more interesting characters.
This book is another thrilling mystery by Georges Simenon that is bound to keep you hooked till the end! Detective Maigret is filled with remorse when he unwittingly causes a man's suicide. But soon enough, he realises there’s more to the picture. He dives into action, unravelling the truth, and the sordid events that led to the man shooting himself.
In ‘The Sundial’, Shirley Jackson brings us a story that is both haunting and funny. When the Halloran clan gathers in a crumbling mansion, peculiar aunt Fanny wanders off to a secret garden where she has visions of her long-dead father, engulfing the entire family in fear.
Life at Champaca: Our store has been bustling and busy this month. We launched our reading challenge for 2023, with brand-new prompts. You can pick one book (or more!) for each prompt, and get cracking on the list. It’s an exciting list and we hope you discover many new and interesting books through it. We’ve also made it easier for you to keep track of your progress with our Reading Challenge notebook! In other news, we have a new piece up on our blog by Shakti. In it, she writes what it is like to work at a bookstore and also recommends some books that give us a glimpse into the lives of booksellers.
If you’re in Bangalore, we invite you to come to our lush, leafy store and browse through our shelves with a warm cup of coffee. And as always, you can find us, our book recommendations, and keep up with our upcoming events, on our website, Instagram, and Twitter!