Where’d you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple| My reviewish musings

Reader to reader advice: Do not under any circumstances read this book in public. Your intimates are worse since they would not hesitate recommending you need help. You’ve been warned.

In my recent most read, the protagonist Anna Fox didn’t leave her house due to agarophobia(The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn).
In Where’d you go, Bernadette? Bernadette Fox goes to great lengths so she won’t have to leave the house! Talk of coincidences!

The similarities end there since Where’d you go, Bernadette? is… Wait, who are you, Bernadette?

Bernadette Fox is a former grant winning architect who was “green before there was green”. She’s the wife of the famous MS employee Elgin Branch (4th most watched Ted Talk in his socks🙄?). She’s the mum of Bee, Balakrishna (aptly with her flute) and she prefers to email an agent in India then to simply reserve the table in a nearby restaurant herself.

Although she’s being described as agarophobic, I think she’s just tired of the essential nothings, as Jane Austen would say. #Janeite. She’s just not interested in gnats aka mothers of other kids.

Picture to yourself the horrors she’d experience on a family trip? But that’s what Bee wants in return for her straight Ss (surpassing excellence).A trip to Antarctica❄️(of all the places), before she goes off to high school.

But Where’d you go, Bernadette?

Just before heading the South pole, Bernadette Fox simply vanishes.

The book is a collage of emails, transcripts, FBI reports, handwritten notes and what not? With a little addition from a determined Bee, our perfect summer read is born.

The plot buildup is witty and at times Maria Semple is clearly writing a social satire. The characters come across as normal people who find themselves in confusing and hilarious circumstances rather then being just stupid . Comedy isn’t always have to to be at IQ’s expense!

Let’s not pass this whole book as a mere comedy, good summer read, haha though. Bee as well as Bernadette realise that different choices could’ve been better ones. Living in a house which wasn’t an ancient girls school for starters. Bernadette also realises that an artist needs her art.We need our passions just to feel alive (and stay sane).

This book made me chuckle on a day when it felt as a nadir for my happy hormones. So thankful for the company and chuckles💛.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? It was the talk of bookclubs back in 2016 and the movie is coming out in August! Would you like to watch it? Let’s chat, all that and more!

Until then

Be in love

-Umang

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The Woman in the Window|Reviewish musings from a girl in her own head aka me!

Since I’d prevented myself from rushing over, this post would hopefully be less random then the Evelyn Hugo one.

Looking for a thriller/suspense that keeps you on your toes, scrambling over words until you realise words aren’t making sense anymore? An airtight fast paced plot with a protagonist to love(except that she can put the bottle down sometimes)? With a thriller that doesn’t ends up in a disappointment? Which actually gives a takeaway message(oh,yes! I’m big on those)?

Look no further ! Except do because I’d rather like to have you read the post!

Visit my art Insta for more🖌️

Our story begins with a woman in a window. Paying her daily respect to her neighbours with her handy Nikon.

Formerly a child psychologist, owing to her agarophobia (PTSD), Anna Fox is now bound to her house and the window is her window to the world.

The outside world is functioning as usual, the cheating spouse who never gets caught, the annoying lady who finds every neighbour beneath her, etc…when the Russells arrive. A teenager and his parents just beyond the park.
The Russells family dynamics and the fact that Ethan, the Russell son has paid a neighbourly visit and his mom Jane has too, twice now, keeps Anna interested.

From the moment she realises that the father Russell is the angry/controlling type, the psychologist in her meets the spy.

Disposing of her daily rituals of self-medicating antipsychotics with a lavish amount of wine and giving advice on living with agarophobia as thedoctorisin on the internet Anna is all set with her black and white thriller/noir collections, her Nikon and of course wine.

A piercing scream and she witnesses the murder of her friend Jane Russell.

Living essentially in her pink bathrobe, she’s the definition of unreliable witness, if there was ever one.

Turns out the Jane Russell who wore three pearl earrings and painted her sketch wasn’t the actual Mrs Russell. The actual Mrs Russell hasn’t even met Anna, a completely different woman.

She must have hallucinated it, yes. Hallucinations, that’s what her separated family is. The family she still hangs on to. But somethings surely aren’t right….

Two mysteries, one of the murder and other of Anna Fox’s sanity wrapped in one thriller, Dan Mallory (pen name: A.J. Finn) at times makes reader feel just as deluded as Anna. It’s a suspense/thriller page turner but also the story of a lonely woman navigating life with loss and trauma. Simply beautiful!

Have you read this thrilling debut that is (among many) being called the next The girl on the train (similar unreliable wit and thrill)? Are you planning to?

Comment and let’s chat!

Until next time

Be in love

-umang

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo| My reviewish musings

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Tried something new🖌️

Although I’d seen this book around quiet a lot let’s just say I was mild, okay-let’s -give -it -a -read about it.

Taylor Jenkins apparently had other plans. The book blew all my little ideas and theories away ! I was just omg omg!! I got some things right but the things I got right were only the minor tiny bits of it.😅

I’m ranting but, tbh…

Love Bey💛

The book! The book, let’s talk about that for a change.

Monique Grant, a just-another journalist from a just-another magazine somehow finds herself interviewing The Evelyn Hugo… for her biography! It’s a whole Picasso of luck, forget about a stroke or two!

Evelyn Hugo has a career of big hits, iconic looks💚and numerous awards spanning over half of the century.

The most remarkable fact about the star, however, is her seven marriages.

It’s the before I spilled ink all over it!

At age 79, still possessing her born to be a star charisma Evelyn wants to tell her own truth, the true one, all of it.
The book gives away, rather harshly, how exactly our media creates content, manipulates it and is often clueless about what’s really going on. We get to read the newspaper articles and when contrasted with Evelyn’s story, the news is laughable.

This book is all about Evelyn literally and figuratively. A strong woman who’s built her life from hell’s kitchen up(back when the name was accurate). She’s done what it took, whatever it took. She’s a girlboss of sorts.

Evelyn looks at me with purpose. “Do you understand what I’m telling you? When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.

She’s not a nice woman as she’s made clear from day one. To survive in he industry you can’t be a nice woman. She’s real and she’d make similar choices if she has to again.

It’s a story of a woman, her life, her career,yes, her marriages but it’s also a love story. (Who was her one true love is Monique’s first question!)

It’s a story of how the social stigma and prejudices are suffocating and it’s not easier if you’re on the top. It just means you’ve a lot to loose.Live and let live is a mantra we never actually apply on celebs.

Monique feels empowered too when she sees Evelyn is an icon only in a different way.

Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.

Beautifully written with complex characters and twists that make us go omg but also um,okay afterwards this book is a little emerald.

All in all, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a delight in an airtight container. Yeah, that’s supposed to be a reference for the airtight plot!

I’m deliberately leaving plot developments out of this because of spoilers!

Comment and let me know your thoughts (especially on what a wreak this post is 🙄)

Until then

Be in love

-umang

ALL the BRIGHT Places| My reviewish musings

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Reasons (yep!) :

  • I’m YA (according to Google) so it makes just a bit sense.
  • Also, I read all the genres or so I’d like to believe.
  • FOMO, I might be the last person to read it!
  • High ratings aka reader support.
  • Saw this everywhere.
  • It’s been a long time…

Now some facts:

  • I’m super sensitive about mental illness.
  • We are responsible for our words.
  • There’s already a huge unnecessary stigma around mental illnesses not to mention the romanticism ( so mysterious😑).
  • We don’t know how our words are received. (Hence the responsibility)
  • Halfway through I genuinely considered giving it up.

Finally about the book😁 but first
I’d like to know if the title refers to all the wandering places. Or does it refers to how they became each others bright place?

But Let’s begin with the beginning, shall we?

We meet Finch, an interesting teenager who is also having mental health issues. He’s alone despite the crowds around him. He’s someone one day and tries a new persona the other.

Then there is Violet, a grieving sister in a supportive environment. Support however, doesn’t always feels like understanding. She’s given up her passion for writing, secretly coping with PTSD.

These two climb down from the bell tower,where they first talk. Violet becomes the hero who’s talked Finch out of suicide. While Violet is approached by reporters Finch’s conditions aren’t given much attention.?!

Shortly after, they are paired for a ‘wandering project’. They fall in love but love is not always the big solution… Especially not of mental illness.

Their relationship sees its share of ups and downs. They grow to be inseparable despite the fact that they aren’t supposed to see each other.

In the end, it’s a book about a suicidal boy teaching a grieving girl to live.

You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.

The Author has similar experiences and it’s admirable that she’s written a book that tries to dispel the stigma and hush- hush -ness around mental illnesses (bipolar rep, PTSD rep, suicide is a major theme)

It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.

Beautiful words:

The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.

We do not remember days, we remember the moments.

Have you read the book? Let’s chat!

Until then

Be in love

-Umang

The Alchemist|My reviewish musings

What do you say about a book that’s established itself as a modern classic? When it’s a part of a book recommendation post on Pinterest titled ‘life changing books’?

The Alchemist felt like a grandma’s bedtime story. A Sheppard boy (there’s a folklore about a sheppard boy, comment if you’d like to know it.) A sheppard boy, a recurring dream, King of Salem, a fantastic quest. Love, fulfilling one’s destiny, new people, new things.

But just as our grandma always weaved gems to remember in her stories, Paulo Coelho too gave us spiritual gems in this pursuit.

I’d like to share quotes:

  • There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
  • So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.
  • The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
  • The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.
  • I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.
  • Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
  • When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
  • One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.
  • Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.
  • Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
  • No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.
  • Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.
  • This is what we call love. When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you.
  • People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.
  • Dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.
  • Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.
  • When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.
  • Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.
  • There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.
  • If you start by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it.

Have you read The Alchemist? Are you planning to? Do comment!

Until then

Be in love

-Umang

The Underground Railroad|My reviewish musings

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad is the story of a black slave girl on her way to freedom. Essentially it’s a reminder of millions of enslaved lives.
Those who ducked their head and kept working, hoping their children won’t have to. And those who risked being hunted, whipped, castrated and burnt alive for freedom.

The only way to know how long you are lost in the darkness is to be saved from it.

First we read about Ajarry, captured from South Africa she eventually ends up as Randell’s property.

These enslaved people are just that, someone’s property. They are referred as it and treated likewise.

Her daughter Mabel and granddaughter Cora continue on her patch of land until Mabel runs away. Cora, the girl who inherits her grandmother’s endurance and her mother’s resistance is left behind, a stray.

Inspired to believe he’d be free one day and after finding connections to the railroad Caesar approaches Cora, whose mother really escaped.

Running away is freedom unless and until you get caught because if you do it’s death.

The night doesn’t turns exactly as they planned. Several unforseen events evaporates any headstart they achieved.

This however gives Cora a taste of freedom. From their first stop she’d have to escape several times, alone even, but the hope of being free keeps her going.

On one end there was who you were before you went underground, and on the other end a new person steps out into the light.

Wanted as a murderer as well as a runaway she’s continously hunted by Ridgeway.

Ridgeway is the slave-catcher whose big faliure is Mabel’s case. Along the way Cora changes her name, gets caught, fights back, looses people and her love, but most of all she runs and and runs… towards her freedom.

I realized that this isn’t just a story when I read Cora thinking to herself ” His first breath was as a free man….”. It mattered to her that much.
The words really hit me and I realized that it’s the sentiment and feelings that really makes things big or otherwise.

We also read that this freedom is different for black people,just as white is different from black. Colon Whitehead uses a poetic prose that gives the words a magical charm and the dark realities feel strikingly intense against it.

This historical novel winning awards such as the Pulitzer lays bare the brutality and inhumanity of the slave trade in the 19th century.

Here’s one delusion: that we can escape slavery. We can’t. It’s scars will never fade

We can’t escape from slavery just as we can’t deny WWs. But We can always remember Mr Whitehead’s words:

The world may be mean, but people don’t have to be, not if they refuse.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section

Until next time

Be in love

-UMANG

Notes from Educated : a memoir by Tara Westover

My bookish journey, this with Just keep reading…. playing in the background started, oddly enough with non- fiction/self -help. As a compulsive self-betterer self help always feels like a supplement.

Lately I’ve been reading quiet a lot (ahem) fiction. Long story short, I think it’s time to revisit some non-fiction, that is without letting go of fiction(that’s me😆)

These are a few things Educated reminds us:

  • Your Life is yours, whatever you make of it.
  • There are choices,just choices. There are always things you are going to loose and gain. The side you favour would shape your life.
  • At the end of the day, you can either sit there and wail about the injustices/ circumstances and how much you’ve lost or look around and see what you have made and people who always stayed. And what the future holds.
  • Forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with the forgiven. It’s something you do for yourself, your peace of mind. You letting things go is you freeing yourself.
  • You can abuse and shout, everyone has problems but, in excess, that’s just some more noise pollution.
  • If you have to leave someone that might not mean you don’t love them. Sometimes love is never an issue.
  • The people who love you try to do what they deem best for you. That might not be in accordance with your thoughts. It’s okay, they still love you.
  • You can’t change people. Trying would bring misery in the relationship. Acceptance is the key.
  • We’d never know what people are all about. Nobody knows us. We don’t even know ourselves. It’s okay.
  • Inner critic is very helpful at times. Sometimes it can be jerk too.
  • Embrace uncertainty.
  • Use your voice. It’ll demand courage and pushing your limits. Doing that is knowing of what you’re capable of ( everything you set your mind on ).
  • Being educated isn’t as much about having a bunch of degrees, it’s about having your own thoughts, inclinations, views/opinion, even if it means having no opinion at all.

I’d leave off by recommending Tara’s interviews. Along with many things, I truly admire the person she’s made herself. The forgiveness and it’s -okay- ness she’s cultivated.

Do let me know if you’d like to add something to the list.

Until then

Be in love

-Umang

Book recommendations please 😅

Everyone on every planet is aware of how internet affects us. Our choices, thoughts and ideas. I might be an exception(al) in many things but not this🤭.

Every platform from pinterest to Instagram to blogs to whatnot is full of stuff to influence my bookish tendencies . So now that blogosphere is partially responsible here I’m asking for suggestions/advice.

Authors (which book to read first/best works)

🌻 Denielle Steel (Silent Night, her recent most book caught my eye but she’s written over 140 novels!)

🌻 Cassandra Clare ( when I see posts that sound like I can read this book for the rest of my life I’d like to read such a book at least once in my life)

🌻John Grisham (the firm/time to kill/??)

🌻 Nora Roberts (so many books,so many series)

🌻 Marilynne Robinson

🌻 Jonathan Franzen

🌻 Rainbow Rowell (I’ve read fangirl but 🤷 it’s gone foggy)

🌻John Green (read TFIOS ages ago and idk 😓)

🌻 Nicholas Sparks (the notebook? Or the choice? Don’t know my own choice! )

🌻 Liane Moriarty

🌻 Jodi Picoult (I’ve read My sister’s keeper and it’s not a good idea to tell your mum about everything, especially if you’re Indian! Would like to revisit though.)

🌻 Becky Albertalli (I’ve heard about Simon Vs Homosepiens agenda and What if it’s us?)

Also, what about these series?

✨ The Lunar chronicles (seen that cover a zillion times👠)

✨Song of Ice and fire (game of thrones I know! But the series?)

✨ Millennium ( I’ve heard a lot about that dragon tattoo)

✨ Mortal Instruments (again Cassandra Clare)

✨ Twilight (yep! Haven’t read it)

✨ Red Queen series

✨50 shades series

And books like :

🌟 It ends with us

🌟 Me before you

I think most of these are romance/ya books. These are the most read genres but somehow I’m the exception(al) one. I want to read, though,as soon as I figure out what, that is😁.

Do comment because that’s what this post is all about. Comment any recommendations tbh! I read it all😌

Until then

Be in love

-Umang

Into Stephen King’s THE OUTSIDER|my reviewish musings

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider begins inside a crime investigation. After committing a most brutal childrape/ murder Terry Maitland’s arrest should be nothing short of a public humiliation.

Flint city’s Man of the Year, nonetheless, isn’t acting guilty. Coach T sticks to his alibi. He was at an event with his colleagues. Caught in CCTV footage, he’s sitting right there in the front row, asking his question in the Q&A round.

The fact that the same person cannot be in two places at the same time, stares detective Ralph in the face.
The same person, his face, his fingerprints, his blood group, DNA. Several eye witness testimonies along with strong forensic evidence.

Ralph Anderson a “facts are facts” man consults with his wife. It’s this Jeanette Anderson who intuits it ( I’m missing her word for it! Anyone?).

All throughout the novel and even before, given King’s kingdom, the reader knows all of The Outsider isn’t just about touching the outside spaces of a crime investigation. These few pages see the book transform from a crime/mystery fiction to supernatural horror King-esque roller coaster. Entry of Holly Gibney is the press button for our roller coaster. 🎢

Terry’s lawyer/friend Howie Gold and detective Alec Palley are prepared to fight tooth and nail to acquit their innocent client. Holly is hired to investigate Cap city’s side of it. Terry visited the place a while ago and that is where he had to have stolen the van to commit the crime.

Holly Gibney, through whom, Stephen King asks a lot of questions. Who comes with answers however unbelievable they might sound.

I’ve read only 3 of King’s books but in every one of them he’s exploring faith, fear, good vs evil.
Do you believe? In energy/power beyond us? In supernatural? Both good and evil? Unless you believe you’d never really understand that we can never understand it.
In It it was the fear/belief of children that when denied (in a rather spectacular words! Read It!) begins the end of it all. Pet Sematary is similar in good vs evil aspects.

I absolutely loved the mythological legend that becomes the primary storyline. Which I shan’t be spoiling for you but am ever eager to talk about!

The best part was the anticipatory tension. I think the ending had a little scope of a sequel too! King is also working on a project with Holly Gibney as the lead! I remember wishing to getting a little more about Holly and after a Google search I have solace in Bill Hodges series💪😻.Also this book is part of Holly Gibney series!

Have you read the outsider yet? Are you planning to? Let’s chat because I’m turning into a Stephen King’s faaaann👻

Until next time

Be in love

-Umang

Far away…Where the Crawdads sing | My reviewish musings

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Our story begins with Kya, at six watching her mother leave the shack. It is repeated with her siblings. Different people at different times, the same abandoning, the same pain. Everyone,one by one until she’s the left with her abusive alcoholic father.

All the chores fall on her. Most days then not, she’s alone on the shack, eating salt crackers with shortening.

Deserted, hungrier of love and company than of food she takes delight in her marsh. It’s beauty and acceptance. The water birds, herons and egrets, shells and feathers. It’s her home, her companion, her guardian.

Her school education turns out to be a one day visit. She is dirt, poor, filth in the town people’s eyes. The marsh girl who is not accepted.

One day a mossy stump holds a gift waiting for her. A rare feather for her collection. Similar gifts appear and soon afterwards Tate, the giver and a true gift.

Tate slips in her rich,vivid surrounding teaching her reading but mostly about human company.

Tate is her bridge to the town. Just like the local supplier, Jumpin to whom she sells mussels she catches from the marsh. Jumpin and Mabel become like adopted parents for Kya. Jumpin trade molluscs for fuel, Mabel gives hand-me-down clothings and advice.

When Tate leaves to study, her days are spent living with the beauty of marsh, in brush strokes, studying a single feather.

This passion for marsh and its creatures inspires Kya to documentation. A born naturalist, when her works publish, she’s considered the finest of life scientists.

The prologue, however, describes a dead body discovered far away in the marsh. Chase Andrews, a well known man in the town,a philanderer is murdered. Kya, the marsh girl is accused and brought to trial.

Where the Crawdads Sing is one of those books one would like to read for the prose only, other things set aside. The description of marsh let’s us be there, experiencing it. I’d have liked to see the courtroom through Kya’s eyes too,nonetheless, it’s a beautiful read.

It’s about acceptance and beauty (or lack thereof) in nature and society.

It’s been getting a lot buzz. Being picked up for hello sunshine book club and a movie deal with Reese Witherspoon. Hopefully we’d see the rich marsh along with the case trial there.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Share your thoughts in comments.

Thanks for your time!

Until next time

Be in love

-Umang