books you may love: January 2024

I usually have a Books You May Love section in my monthly newsletter. Since this month's section is enormous, it merits its own post! Happy reading!

books you may love: January 2024
Photo by Radu Marcusu on Unsplash

I've been inadvertently making a shift in my reading habits. I haven't touched my Kindle in months! I've only been reading paperbacks.

I didn't even notice this until a few weeks ago when I downloaded ebooks from an author whose project I had supported on Kickstarter. But when I began to read one of them, I couldn't bear to stare at the Kindle screen for longer than a few minutes. I read the story to its conclusion and loved it, but I haven't felt like going back to reading on the Kindle ever since.

I don't know if this shift in reading habits has been the reason I've read so many amazing books this month. Well, whatever it is, I need not dissect it in an attempt to craft a replicable formula to read more! I just love reading, and I love sharing all these amazing books with you!

hardback copy of The Forbidden Territory of A Terrifying Woman by Molly Lynch

The Forbidden Territory of A Terrifying Woman by Molly Lynch is a look at how ecological collapse affects the life of a married woman and mother, Ada.

Mothers around the world are disappearing. A few of them return, with no memory of what happened to them when they were gone. One evening, Ada too disappears. She too has no recollection of what happened and why she left, but it most certainly had something to do with the way our planet is being abused by humanity.

I loved the premise of this book. It puts into beautiful words the fear I've had ever since D came into my life: What will the earth be like, what will life be like, by the time D grows up?

The book touched me in many ways. Lynch describes Ada's feelings very intensely and powerfully. Even though the book doesn't answer the question — who can? — it made me feel less alone in my anxiety about the future of our planet and the kind of world we are leaving for our children.

hardback copy of Inheritance by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is one of the most prolific authors of our times. Inheritance, Book 1 of The Lost Bride Trilogy, was a recent release and the first book by this author I've read.

It's a wildly entertaining book. Graphic designer, Sonya MacTavish, finds her fiancée cheating on her with her cousin, and she calls off the wedding she had been making preparations for.

A few months later, as she's rebuilding her life on her own terms, she finds herself having inherited a sprawling Victorian mansion on the Maine coast left to her by an uncle she didn't know she had. Turns out her inheritance also includes ghosts who've been living in the mansion for centuries, seemingly bound to it by a curse.

It was a fast-paced read. The book ends in a cliffhanger, so now I'm eagerly looking forward to the second instalment in this trilogy!

hardback copy of No Plan B by Lee Child and Andrew Child

Isn't Jack Reacher a household name? Wasn't there a movie with Tom Cruise playing Reacher, and more recently 2 seasons of a show with a much larger Alan Ritchson playing the main character on Prime Video?

I did know about the books by Lee Child themselves, but it wasn't until this month that I picked up a copy of No Plan B from the library shelves. It was my first Reacher book. Apparently it is book #27 in the Reacher series.

I tore through it. Supremely entertaining and suspenseful, weaving multiple storylines involving several characters, it was gripping and highly entertaining, like I suspect all Reacher novels are.

In this one, Reacher witnesses a homicide, which is ruled death by suicide. He runs after the killer and sees something he's apparently not supposed to. His investigations lead him to a prison in Winson, Mississipi, while the folks who run that prison certainly don't wish Reacher to be anywhere near it.

Lots of action in the book. I don't think I've read an action book until now. I even watched the first season of Reacher on Prime Video after reading this book.

I can see the appeal. In a world where people are bogged down by possessions and a daily, mundane life, Reacher is symbolic of the ultimate freedom of life. He travels throughout the US in greyhound buses carrying nothing but a toothbrush and an ATM card that he uses to withdraw money as he needs; he's an ex-Army person and lives on his pension as his needs are very minimal.

I was once told that 'Fiction is how the world should ideally be.' The Reacher books definitely echo that. There is something very satisfying about reading a story in which the bad guy eventually gets caught and the good guy gets to do it on his own terms, rules and laws be damned.

OMG! How come I didn't come across Holly Jackon's young adult murder mystery series — A Good Girl's Guide to Murder — before now?

In the first book in the series, Pip Fitz-Amobi, a senior at school, wants to investigate a cold case for her final year project. Five years ago, a schoolgirl named Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. But Pip believes Sal is innocent and wishes to prove it under the guise of her final year project.

In the second book, Good Girl, Bad Blood, Pip runs a podcast based on her exploits in the first book when one of her friends' brother goes missing. She uses the popularity of her podcast to investigate his disappearance.

I loved both these books so much! Jackson uses a variety of materials to craft the story — Pip's journal entries, transcripts of her interviews with suspects and witnesses — all of which make for a very interesting read.

Oh, and in the process, Pip and Sal's younger brother, Ravi Singh, end up dating.

There's something refreshingly endearing about young adult tales. The rashness and recklessness of youth, their nothing-can-stop-us attitude, and of course the promise that the mystery will be solved — all of this makes for one grand, adventurous escape from the unfairness and monotony of day-to-day life.

I've just got the third book in the series, As Good As Dead, and I can't wait to start reading it!

hardback copy of Am I Overthinking This by Michelle Rial

Am I Overthinking This? by Michelle Rial — I picked up this book on a whim, not knowing what to expect. I leafed through it while I was waiting for one of Dhruv's activity classes to get over.

Boy! What a delight it was to go through this book at leisure.

Rial uses visuals — mostly graphs and charts and Venn diagrams — to humorously illustrate the day-to-day anxieties of modern life.

And one of my all-time favourites ...

It's a delightful book to flip through with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate or tea in one hand.

So there, those are the amazing books I've managed to finish reading this month. If you pick up any of these to enjoy, let me know, will you? And we can share all that we love about these beautiful creative works!