1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – I disliked the movie adaptation (over privileged white female finding herself in the world) so I had no plans to ever read this book. However that changed when I saw a video of Elizabeth Gilbert talking about her new book Big Magic. There were some parts of the book that I liked: book chapters are divided like mala beads, interactions with the locals, life in the ashram, etc. I was surprised to read that the author was a serious yogi and did not go to India on just a whim (or did I miss that in the movie?). The parts that talked about meditation and kundalini shakti were interesting. However my mind kept wandering in some parts, maybe at that time I didn’t want to read something too serious. Overall it was a decent read with interesting bits.
2.An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell – I have stopped reading chick lit, a really frustrating experience was with Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic wherein I wanted to slap Becky in every chapter . I have almost the same problem with Jill Mansell’s seemingly modern and independent characters who lapse into juvenile decisions. However I give this book a higher rating because there were parts that were fun and a breeze to read. No plans to read any of Jill Mansell’s books though.
3. Anne Frank: The Biography (Revised Edition) by Melissa Muller – I read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl when I was in grade school (10 yrs old?) and have read it at least two more times. When I was younger I wanted to be like Anne (and write like her) without the bad parts though I only had a vague concept of the Holocaust. I thought I knew everything about Anne Frank so I was surprised to learn that Otto Frank cut out passages that were critical about his family and that Anne used alias for some people in her diary. I am so glad I read this book since it delved deeply into the family and friends of the Frank family and the historical events occurring during that time. The book was able to trace as much as possible what happened to the members of the Secret Annexe after they were discovered by the Gestapo. If Anne’s story was heart breaking, it was also heart wrenching to learn about her maternal uncles who managed to escape to the US and who tried to help them get over there, they become recluses after the war. Then there were also the friends who survived their interment at the concentration camps and had a hard time moving on. Also the loyalty of the people who helped them despite the dangers they were in. At the end of the book, I just wanted to cry. This reminded me that inaction is sometimes as bad or even worse than the ones who are doing evil things.
5. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day – This is Felicia Day’s memoir about being home schooled, getting a double major in college, becoming an actress, her addiction to World of Warcraft, The Guild, etc. I have been watching Vaginal Fantasy hangouts since it started so I was surprised that during that time she was battling depression and that she has been harassed online pre and during Gamergate. I have realized that I am not a fan of memoirs (Bossypants and Yes Please) though I am a fan of the writers. I think I would have enjoyed this more as an audio book and I wished she talked about books and Vaginal Fantasy.
6. One Step Behind by Henning Mankell – I discovered Henning Mankell in a recent getbookish video. I was bummed that I don’t have the third Robert Galbraith book Career of Evil so I was interested to read a Swedish mystery. Despite the fact I constantly stumbled trying to remember the Swedish names, this book was a rollercoaster ride, I was immediately hooked. Despite that the murderer was revealed half way through the book and that the ending was a bit anticlimactic, I still enjoyed the book. Also I have noticed my predilection for lonely people in crime/detective novels. I am trying to look for other Swedish crime novels worth reading.
7. Shadow by Karin Alvtegen – For a 300+ book, this took me a long time to finish. I was on a high looking for other Nordic crime novels when I came across this. The story is really good, it reveals the depths that people will do to protect something they love or cherish. However I didn’t enjoy this book because I didn’t like any of the characters though with the back stories you get to understand them very well. This wasn’t a crime or detective novel, more on uncovering of secrets that have lasted for more than three decades. I need something light reading after this.
8. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle – A quick read that was too juvenile for me and in the end was forgettable.
9. I Remember You by Yrsa Siguroardottir – I thought this novel set in Iceland would be a crime novel however it is more than that. A missing kid (later on two missing kids), vandalism at a school, a suicide, deaths, etc. with a good dose of creepy sounds and sightings. The worse thing was reading this while I was kept awake early in the morning because of my sleeping problems. There are two threads to follow and both are linked in a creepy yet understandable way. Whatever romantic notions I have in visiting a deserted Nordic place just went out the window because of this novel. The Goodreads description says that this is partly based on a true story!
10. On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard – An interesting scifi novella set in space with a Vietnamese background. Unfortunately I didn’t care much for the characters and I could not understand being completely dependent even emotionally with an AI.