November is done. Unseasonal rains are behind us. Hopefully some coolness and not smog will descend over the city.
As mentioned last month in my October Yellow Book Cover Month Reading Spree post, I had decided to read Indian Women Writers in English.
It was absolute fun to be vicariously traveling from one place to the other through these books, to exploring thoughts and mindsets of varying female protagonists as they face their everyday battles.
So here are the books that made it to my list:
- Sunlight on a Broken Column by Attia Hossain: This is a record third time I am reading this book. The only reason I picked this book again was because I wanted to do a comparison with Khadija Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard. I don’t think I generally re read books except of course the Harry Potter series but I only did that when I was in school! This novel is a great study of the Nawabi culture of Lucknow and her family seen from the eyes of Laila.
- Daura by Anukriti Upadhyay: This is the only book in this list that has a main male protagonist. Daura was a brilliant fusion of reality and folklore showing the deep hold it has over the people in a place in Rajasthan, where the novel is set.
- The Hussaini Alam House by Huma R. Kidwai: Set in the old city of Hyderabad, this novel is similar to Sunlight on a Broken Column and The Women’s Courtyard in terms of the female protagonists, similar story lines of decline in culture and fortunes and a love for their respective houses and families.
- Talking of Muskaan by Himanjali Sarkar: This is a breezy read but though short, it makes for a powerful punch! The protagonist Muskaan is seen through the eyes of her friends and they are the ones narrating the events of the previous five months that have led Muskaan to where she is. A great YA book to broach topics of homosexuality and bullying with your kids.
- Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya: Considered a classic of Modern Indian literature, Nectar in a Sieve, is a heartbreaking story of a farmer’s family told from the point of view of the wife, Rukmani. It tells us of the hardships they face such as nature’s fury or the landlord’s demands. Despite their suffering, the land, its fertile soil and rich greenery calls out to them.
So in November, I have travelled great distances from Lucknow to Rajasthan, to Hyderabad and then deeper south to its villages. All in books and without spending a penny!
Next month, the last month of 2019, is going to be devoted to reading books/stories written in Hindi. Last year in 2018, I had decided to read more vernacular literature from India. I have not been able to keep that promise, even though I did start on reading short stories by Chughtai in the original, I was unable to finish it.
So, the last month is my one hope to fulfill that promise because now I also have some time to spare and would be nice to read in such a relaxing mood!
Stay tuned for next month, on 31st December, to read about the books that made it to my list!