I last wrote a post in May on What New on My Bookshelves (here) and while I didn’t not shop/download over these past few months, over the last few weeks I’ve ended up buying quite a few books (on three separate occasions), so I thought they deserved a post of their own. All of these were ordered online. So here goes.
So first I got myself a copy of Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. This is the story of twelve-year-old Alice Queensmeadow born white from top to toe in a land where colour is what defines you and constitutes your magic. She sets off on a journey through the mythical and dangerous land of Furthermore to find her father who has vanished three years ago. Why I wanted to read this book is because of all I heard about the descriptions and lush prose in it. The world is beautifully imaginative, and I love the little illustrations.
With this I’d also ordered Listen O King: Five and Twenty Tales of Vikram and the Vetal by Deepa Agarwal, an adaptation of Indian traditional tales of the wise king Vikram and a celestial spirit Vetal who the former must capture for a sorcerer. Each time Vikram captures Vetal, the latter tells him a story with a riddle which he must answer. If Vikram knows the answer, but doesn’t tell, his head will explode but if he does answer, Vetal returns to the tree from which he was captured and the process begins all over again. I wrote more about this book on Shelf Control last week. Read about it here.
Next, I bought Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, who I’ve never read before. This is not one but two murder mysteries (which I love to read). Editor Susan Reyland is given a manuscript by detective novelist Alan Conway, but reading it she finds that it is unlike Conway’s previous books. While it does feature his detective Atticus Pund and is set in a manor house, there is another story hidden amidst its pages. Susan must solve two mysteries, the missing chapters of the novel and how that story ends, and the real life death of Alan Conway himself, who she is convinced has been murdered.
With this I also bought my first John Green book, Turtles All the Way Down, but since I have already read and reviewed this (here), I won’t talk about the book in this post, except to say that I liked it very much.
The third set of books I got was also the largest–five books–three fiction and two non-fiction.
Circe by Madeline Miller is one book I’ve been wanting to read based on all that I’ve been hearing about it. But before saying anything about the book itself, I have to say how beautiful I find the book itself–the cover is simply gorgeous–flowers and leaves embossed on it, and the front inner cover (my ed is a paperback) has a map of Aeaea which is also so nice. This of course is the story of Circe, Greek Goddess, daughter of Helios, with powers of witchcraft. She is banished to Aeaea, where she hones her craft but finds herself drawing the wrath of men and gods.
Then I also bought A Murder at Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (also published as The Widows of Malabar Hill). Set in 1920s Bombay, and based on one of the first female lawyers in India, Cornelia Sorabji, the central character Perveen Mistry works at her fathers law firm, one of few options available to her. She finds herself involved in the case of Omar Farid, a wealthy mill owner who has left behind three widows and a strange will. The widows are in Purdah, which means only Perveen can interact with them. This sounds really interesting because of the setting and mystery and I am excited to read it. This is the first of a series which sounds very promising.
Finally, another murder mystery, Murder at the Happy Home for the Aged by Bulbul Sharma. This one is set in Goa, and as is apparent from the title, in an old-age home. The residents of the Happy Home for the Aged find a body hanging in a tree in their garden. While this shatters their tranquil life, they soon come together and decide to solve the murder despite the police advising them that they are better off singing bhajans (religious songs) than solving mysteries. This one I am looking forward to both because of the mystery and the setting (place and people).
And the two non-fiction reads. Both are history and both Mughal history. Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth by Audrey Truschke is a short (really short 144 pages of text) bio of the sixth and and perhaps, most reviled (by some) Mughal emperor. Truschke attempts to present a more rounded picture of the emperor, who is certainly a study in contrasts. Very cruel, definitely but was he more so than any other emperor? I’ll have to read to find out.
The second book also on Mughal history, is Attendant Lords. Going a little further back in history, it covers two of Akbar’s courtiers, Bairam Khan who was regent when Akbar took the throne at only thirteen, and his son Abdur Rahim, also an important minister and poet. In fact, ignorant me only very recently realised that Akbar’s minister Abdur Rahim, and the poet Rahim whose couplets were very much part of my school lessons were the same person. This bio by TCA Raghavan traces the lives of the two men, and the reigns of the first four Mughal emperors.
Finally also the two approvals I’ve got recently from NetGalley.
The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick takes us back to the days of the creation of Frankenstein and to the Villa Diodati where the Shelleys with Byron and Polidori made up their ghost stories. According to the blurb, this book delves into questions of reality, imagination, and the creative act of reading any writing. Humans make monsters but who really makes who? Definitely intriguing.
Finally, the Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner (again, that cover) is the story of two sisters living a peaceful life in a little village away from the other parts of the world where jews are facing troubling times. Their family has a secret however, their Tati can turn into a bear and Mami into a swan. But soon mysterious men come to their village and the sisters must rely on each other to save themselves and their people. The fairy-tale theme plus the folklore (and that cover) is what is making me really want to read this one.
So, have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Do let me know! And even you haven’t read them, but plan to, I look forward to hearing about it, and and about the new additions to your shelves!