Editor’s note: Here’s your reading inspiration for the month. Anushree Kaushal is back with her popular reading habit list—with books on her radar and literary reads that caught her eye. Over to you, Anushree.
A very good reading list
Hi, all. April 29, the last Saturday of the month, was Independent Bookstore Day across the world. I personally celebrated a day before, by visiting Kool Skool in Gurgaon, which is one of my favourite bookstores in NCR. Not only does it have a thoughtful and comprehensive children’s book collection, I also found a carefully curated adult sci-fi and fantasy section that impressed me enormously. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable; the atmosphere was decidedly bookish. I was in wonderland.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in one of the newly opened branches of Kunzum, a bookstore and café that is only a year old. It has already made a name for itself by having an excellent collection of contemporary and classic literature across genres and by providing spaces for hosting conversations and other events with authors and about books.
I love these establishments, and I believe strongly that it is our responsibility to support our local bookstores so that they can thrive and continue to do the good work they do so well. If you’re thinking of buying a book anytime soon, consider dropping by one of the many indie bookshops across the country and make their day.
Books on my radar
Happy Place by Emily Henry: The queen of the contemporary romcom just can’t stop churning out bangers. This time, it’s a second chance at romance for Harriet and Wyn, who must pretend to still be engaged when they wind up at the yearly getaway with their friends, who still don’t know about their breakup. Sometimes, however, pretending to love each other can be enough to fall in love all over again. (April 25)
The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks: The debut novel by Hollywood’s beloved superstar tells the cascading stories of a) the making of a superhero movie, b) based on a decades-old comic book that, in turn, was c) based on its creator’s uncle’s d) lived experience during WWII. A heart-warming tale spanning decades, it’s also a study of the changing culture of America post-WWII. (May 9)
Yellowface by R F Kuang: Kuang has already solidified her status as a young literary prodigy, having written the uber-famous ‘The Poppy War’ trilogy, and one of last year’s most talked about standalones, ‘Babel’. This year, she is giving us a glimpse into the dark side of the publishing industry, with the story of a woman who steals her dead friend’s manuscript and pretends to be an Asian-American author in order to achieve literary fame. Her deception, however, is bound to come back and exact a reckoning. (May 25)
Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines and the Health of Nations by Simon Schama: We are all probably a little sick of reading about pandemics, but historian Simon Schama has done excellent work in the past, and I have faith in the perspective he will bring to the subject. In the book, Schama examines the political, cultural and personal forces behind the eradication of diseases through centuries, and informs us of the often-unknown individuals whose inimitable work changed the face of healthcare as we know it. (May 25)
Faf Through Fire: An Autobiography by Faf du Plessis: I love sports memoirs, and South African cricketer du Plessis has led a complicated professional life. “In this book, Du Plessis lays bare the story of his growth, from a youth with a questionable moral compass outside of cricket to a leader known for his integrity, values, honesty and empathy for his teammates.” This should be interesting for sports fans and readers alike.
Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott: Newly married and pregnant, Jacy, along with her husband Jed, is on the way to a small town in Michigan to visit Jed’s father. Upon reaching there, Jacy finds her father-in-law warm and hospitable, but their housekeeper, Mrs. Brandt, doesn’t seem to share that sentiment. But then Jacy has a health scare, and soon, things start to feel wrong: Jed’s long-dead mother looms large over their life, and the cottage begins to feel more and more sinister. (May 30)
A list of good literary reads
Do you get book hangovers? When you can’t stop thinking about the last book you read, and simply can’t move on to do anything else? Reader’s Digest tells us why that happens, and yes, it does have to do with a longing for the more appealing fictional world you’ve left behind in comparison to our ho-hum reality.
Oliver Darkshire, a rare-book seller, talks about how cataloguing, an oft-boring but essential part of bookselling, is usually overlooked when it comes to talking about the trade, over on LitHub.
A poem that pays ode to bookstores, by Dick Allen, in Strong Sense of Place.
The connection between reading fiction and empathy grows scientifically stronger. Lateral has the latest in the benefits of reading.
Washington Post has a photo-report on the ancient libraries in Mauritania that are in danger of being taken over by the Sahara Desert.
Washington Post also documents its readers’ pet peeves in books and things they absolutely love to hate.
A musical listicle in Chaospin: 20 awesome songs about books!
The truth behind Barack Obama’s annual list of favourite books (it’s not what you think), in Esquire.
I recently read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and felt a quiet devastation in my soul as the plot slowly revealed itself and reached its painful denouement. On LitHub, David Sexton considers the birth, life and legacy of the modern classic.
If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, whether on screen or on paper, you have to follow Meet Cute Missives. A Substack dedicated to the inner workings of the genre, it doesn’t shy from delighting in its many tropes, examines new trends and old authors (lookin’ at you, Jane Austen), and is an all-round feel-good reading experience.
I also want to recommend Noted, a newsletter focused on the notebooks and note-taking habits of artists and novelists. Want to see Frida Kahlo’s doodles or James Baldwin’s scribbles (forgive me)?
Your search ends here.