If you have been following The Book Cafe posts, you may have noticed about how I have been trying to read more female writers and how many of their novels have had a sense of growth and change in the female characters which makes them qualify as a bildungsroman novel. A bildungsroman novel can be loosely defined as a coming of age novel focusing on the protagonist’s formative years or a novel that highlights a physical or psychological growth and change.
Often, these bildungsroman novels have a male protagonist and their specific growth. But in this post I would like to highlight my top 5 picks of female bildungsroman novels!
Come take a look!
5. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez:
This is a heart wrenching true story of three Mirabel sisters who became legends because of their defiance during the gaunt Trujillo regime in Dominican Republic. It is not just about their rebellious years but also about their innocent childhood, their family life and how they grew into the symbols that they have become today.
Read my full review here.
4. Circle of Karma by Kunzang Choden:
This one is a debut novel in English from the renowned Bhutanese author, Kunzang Choden and she takes us to join Tshomo’s journey towards her acceptance of her self and her spiritual love.
Right at the beginning of Aruna Nambiar’s Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth, we know that the protagonist, 11 year old Geetha, is going to change. The third person narrator tells us that much.
In a wave of childhood relish, Geetha, who lives in Mumbai (then Bombay), is looking forward to her annual summer vacation with her entire joint family in Amabalkunnu in Kerala where she gets to play and eat endlessly with her cousins. And this time, it is going to be even more promising since she is going to spend the entire vacation at her mother’s parents’ house (who are far more liberal and fun) rather than dividing the vacation between her mother’s and father’s parents (who are stricter and make the kids follow a rigorous schedule even in vacation!)
But something has changed this time around. Her sister and cousin, Minnie and Divya, refuse to play with her and indulge in their own secretive rendezvous considering Geetha too immature for whatever they are doing. As a result, Geetha is almost friendless this vacation and turns to the boys, her brother and cousin, Raju and Vicky, for company. But their endless devotion to cricket utterly bores her.
So what do you think Geetha will do now during her summer vacation?
No there is no such official thing but there ought to be!
Similar to how I ended 2018 on a unique note of reading The Maharajah’s Household, I had wanted to start 2019 on a diverse note (that being one of my bookish goals in 2019) and I did that with Tiger Hills.
Slowly, January became an all female authors read and I loved it!
Hopefully can carry on this streak but being an English Studies teacher it is difficult to stay away from canonical male authors for long. But lets see how far this female writers’ sojourn goes.
So let’s take a look at the books I read in the month of January:
- Starting off first with Tiger Hills, which was a historical saga of love and family set in the 20th century Coorg. Marred only by a few difficult to believe coincidences, Tiger Hills is a lovely and engaging read.
- Next on the list was a quick read of Dungri Garasiya folktales collected by Marija Sres and published by Zubaan Books titled, First There was Woman.
- Next came Kunzang Choden’s novel, The Circle of Karma, which is a gritty Bhutanese novel of Tsomo and her growth from being a cast out wife to a strong person who chooses to let go and carve her own path no matter how tiring that may be. This is a must read not in the least because it is the first novel to be written in English in Bhutan but also because it gives you a unique glimpse into the Himalayan country.
- Jeannette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry will take you on a fluid time ride and make you question all gender assumptions.
- The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak was the only bestseller among all the January reads. It was also the only one that disappointed a bit and failed to live up to the hype.
- The last two for the month of January were again Indian novels. One was K.R. Meera’s The Gospel of Yudas which told Yudas and Prema’s melancholic tale of love and betrayal amidst Kerala’s Naxal movement.
- Annnnnnddddddddd, drum rollllllll, the last one was The Patiala Quartet by Neel Kamal Puri which was a beautiful story of siblings and their trials and tribulations in small town Patiala wracked by its royal past and growing Khalistan movement.
So that makes a total of seven books in the first month! Amazing!
All the links for the books’ reviews are given within the blog post itself.
So those were my January Reads! What books did you read in the month of January? Share in the comments below!
Blurb Appreciation Reviews presents its third review!
The blurb at the back of Neel Kamal Puri’s novel, The Patiala Quartet urged me to buy the novel. Of course, it helped that the book was on sale. But nonetheless, it aided me in understanding what the book is about rather than irrelevant praises that do not allow one to know what the story is about!
So lets see the blurb, shall we?