I don’t know if you guys are ready for this kind of post but if other writers can do it, so can I.
Brace yourselves. I’m about to reveal intimate details of the steamiest nights that I’ve had this year. There have been many. They have been varied. Each one has brought me to the cusp of bliss and that’s why I’m writing about them today.
So for clarity’s sake, steamy means many things.
Like the steam that arises from hot tea that one is about to drink.
So in fact, the steamiest nights may perhaps actually be about the nights during which I drank tea and, oh, I don’t know… read a book. I like to read with tea.
Okay, it’s a 2017 book review so if you actually want to know about my sex life then whatsapp me and if we’re close enough I’ll just tell you. You’re all freaks, by the way for clicking this link. Shame on you.
NO, NO, NO WAIT, DON’T GO!
I’m sorry… you did just take part in a grand Rick rolling practical joke between me and myself and I have wanted to pull this for a while but I am sorry. But before you decide that this shit isn’t worth reading… tell me, when was the last time you read a book?
Was it Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone? And did you say ‘Fuck it, let’s watch the movie’? That’s fine. No judgement. We muggles have forgotten the magic associated with picking up a crisp new book and cosying up with a hot drink and losing ourselves in the words of someone else’s life. Mindfuck moment: You’re actually doing that right now by reading this. Try not to fall off your chair.
Okay, if by now, you’re done, that’s fine. Go forth. Have a good life. But if you’re up for it, we can talk about some good books. I’ve not done a book review on here before but so many of you guys requested it that I felt like it was worth it. The last sentence was literally a complete lie. No one has ever asked me to write a book review but this is my fucking page so here it is.
Some pointers first: Number one: I don’t read LOADS. I’d say I read a moderate amount. That translates to always has her head dipped in several books at once and reads at weekends because she’s too tired after work but listens to audiobooks before bed. Number two: I alternate between fiction and non fiction. I read a lot of spiritual and self help books to try and expand my mind/knowledge/seeking answers but I interject it with healthy doses of easy fiction. Number three: I’m going to be unconventional and go with 8 of my personal favourite reads of 2017.
8. We are all completely beside ourselves- Karen Joy Fowler
Meet Rosemary. She’s in her twenties, dealing with some serious fucking burns from her childhood. Mainly the fact that her gorgeous sister, Fern, was literally torn away from her, one summer when she was five years old. She went to her grandparents’ place for three weeks and when she got back to her house Fern was gone. And she stayed gone. Rosemary spends the large majority of her life trying to forget about it but it comes and bites her back. So she goes on a hunt for the truth. Where in god’s hell is Fern?
I have one piece of advice for this book. DO NOT READ AHEAD. Just wait until page 77. Page 77 will blow your little brain. The twist is so fucking good it will just compel you to finish it.
Tone: Dry, sarcastic, will make you feel things
Readability: A solid train book
Storyline: 11 out of 10. Legit.
7. The Universe has your back- Gabrielle Bernstein
Giddy up, Law of Attraction junkies, here’s a good one for you. The Universe Has Your Back is a book that’s about faith and love. Gabby Bernstein is a first class author and life coach who is well versed in A Course In Miracles which is actually a christian text which she translates well so it’s not overly preachy OR super new-agey. Thankfully, unlike The Secret (sorry), it isn’t written for five year olds with an IQ of minus 30. It’s not like ‘Just feel good and good things will happen to you’. This book teaches that essentially, no matter what happens, you’ll be okay. This book is about finding peace from within. It’s about meditation. It’s about making peace with your inner self so that the things in your life start to mirror your positive internal state. It’s Law of Attraction with a twist: rather than being focused on outcome, it’s focused on within.
Tone: Soothing AF. I listened to it as an audiobook and Gabby’s voice is like treacle.
Readability: I read this book at a testing time in my life and I got through it in a day because it spoke to me on new levels at the time.
Applicability: 6/10. There are good exercises and meditations thrown in there.
6. Milk and Honey- Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur is probably one of the few reasons I have left for believing wholeheartedly in God. This woman is a divine, beautiful, delicious force of nature and I want to invite her poetry into your life. I want to do this for you. She will open you up. She will prod bits of your soul that you didn’t know existed. She will make you feel things you didn’t know you could feel. She will let you into her every thought with the god-like power of her words. You will re-read Milk and Honey time and time again because Rupi’s authenticity will literally speak to the essence of your very being. Plus the velvety cover is gorgeous. Buy the book (not kindle edition), make yourself some tea, get on your sofa with a blanket and just swim in her divinity.
Tone: Raw, real, emotional
Readability: Easy reading… even easier re-reading
Storyline: Gorgeous. She splits this book into four easy sections. Rupi my darling, let’s drink tea and talk about life.
5. My not so perfect life- Sophie Kinsella
Confession of a Soph-a-holic: I love Kinsella. Yes there’s a reasonable dose of romance, yes it’s super chick-lit but this book is an ultimate guilty pleasure. Katie Brenner has finally worked her way up to everything she’s dreamed about- a job in a firm in London. She’s all hell bent on being a Londoner. But in true Kinsella style, shit hits the fan, she gets fired, she meets a guy, she moves home, plot twists and turns, happy ending, easy reading, feel good as hell- what’s not to love about this?
Tone: Funny, witty, as if they’re your own thoughts
Readability: You won’t put it down, classic Kinsella
Storyline: Very, very good.
4. The subtle art of not giving a fuck- Mark Manson
If you, like me, are guilty of having your head stuck in the clouds for a lot of your life, then trust me when I say that Mark Manson will have you crashing back down to reality… in a good way. This book highlights the most avid flaws faced particularly by millenials. It talks about how we’ve been kind of fucked over by society. How mediocrity isn’t good enough anymore. Basically it says this: problems are always going to be there in your life. Instead of constantly focusing on positive experience, learn to get comfortable with the problems, the negative experiences, the inevitable suffering that happens because we are human. This is a delightfully refreshing take on the self help industry. It stops forcing us to fart out sunshine and positivity from our backsides. It’s practical enlightenment with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Tone: Slightly patronising at times but if you put that to one side, it’s logical, scientific and extremely down to earth.
Readability: I audiobooked this one and it’s excellent for a commute… makes you think but doesn’t divert your attention from the road.
Applicability: Here’s the deal sealer. This is the kind of practical self help our world needs and I will give it a solid 8/10 for applicable.
3. The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine
I ummed and ahhed about whether or not to include bae but if this is Gowri’s book review of 2017, Gowri’s most worn out book in the world is her Oxford Handbook. I wouldn’t be where I am without bae. I still keep bae in my work bag and look things up when I encounter them at work. I still love bae’s philosophical teachings (the dad with the cluster headaches paragraph gets me every time, as does Corrigan’s door). Oxford handbook is everything. Concise, easy to follow, colour coded medical literature. It’s not just for finals. It’s for life.
Tone: The best textbook you’ll every read kind of tone
Readability: The best textbook you’ll ever read kind of readable
Applicability: Put it this way. Even I managed to become a doctor. There’s a reason for that. (Bae).
2. When breath becomes air- Paul Kalanithi
If you happened to be on a train to Birmingham the other day and you saw a long haired, spectacled indian girl in a black jumper, snotty nosed and bawling her eyes out, that person was absolutely not me- let’s not be ridiculous now. (It was me). Kalanithi spoke to me on new levels: he is possibly one of my most esteemed role models for being both a doctor and a writer. Paul is a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and ‘When breath becomes air’ is his autobiography. Everyone needs to read Paul’s book and if you’re a doctor… you definitely need to read Paul’s book. It’s an articulate, beautiful expression of what it is to face your own mortality. There are a few quotes from this book which, as a doctor, truly resonated with me so I highlighted them and am including them below:
“Putting lifestyle first is how you choose a job, not a calling”
“From that moment on I vowed to treat all my paperwork as patients and vice versa”
“When there is no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool”
“And along with shift work comes a kind of shiftiness, a subtle undercutting of responsibility. If he could just push it off for a few more hours, I’d become somebody else’s problem”.
Tone: Refreshing, smart and such incredible manipulation of the English language
Readability: Incredibly easy reading, you’ll finish it in one night
Storyline: Beautiful, moving, poignant, sad and frankly, necessary to read.
1. One Indian Girl- Chetan Bhagat
Guys this was my number one book of 2017. I’m not a fan of CB’s every book, not by any means but I have profound respect for the way in which he, a man, so effortlessly eased himself into the brown skin of a young indian woman and wrote from the heart. I’m just going to provide you with the blurb:
Hi, I’m Radhika and I’m getting married this week. I work at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. Thankyou for reading my story. However, let me warn you, you may not like me too much. One, I make a lot of money. Two, I have an opinion on everything. Three, I’ve had a boyfriend before. Okay maybe two. Now if I was a guy, you would be okay with all of this. But since I am a girl, these three things don’t really make me too likeable, do they?
The instant I read this blurb, I was drawn to this book. Radhika will tell you every painfully sexist part of her story with insurmountable wit, humour and relatabilty. You will love her. You will understand her. And for every indian girl reading this, on some level at least, you are her.
Tone: Witty, hilarious, relatable, you will root for her every step of the way
Readability: Easy as hell reading and you will not put it down, I assure you.
Storyline: Genuinely, the best CB novel so far in terms of storyline. You don’t know what’s coming next. But more than anything, I think all indian women need to read this book. Indian girls need to read this book and then give it to their mothers to read. This book highlights elements of every day sexism that you too have probably lived with. It will speak to you and I hope it will also change you.
Okay so it turns out I just poured my heart and soul into this book review and I do not regret it. If you’ve made it this far, I’m not only happy for you but I’m rooting for you. Be inspired to go pick up a book, maybe one of the ones I have mentioned and throw yourself in there. Only goodness awaits.
In the meantime, to all the authors that I have promoted, I know this blog will mean a lot to you but I promise that you’ve given me as much with your writing as I will have given you with mine.
You’re welcome, sweeties.