This house of clay and water by Faiqa Mansab

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Genre: Contemporary fiction, Pakistani literature
Year Of Publication: 24th May 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 270 ( Hardback )
My rating: 4.5/5

Set in the streets of the historical city of Lahore; This House of clay and Water tells the story of it’s three main protagonists – Nida, Bhanggi and Sasha.
Told in alternating POVs , the story transports us into their lives and we come face to face with their hopes, dreams and longings- the emotions they’ve suppressed for far too long. Now threatening to burst at the seams.
As the characters try to come to terms with themselves and try to figure out their identities, we get a glimpse of how religion and societal norms play a part in shaping “who we are” and what is expected of us.

“In our aloneness, our souls had found each other. That was all. How silly to call it anything less
This story isn’t merely about forbidden love.
It’s about the intricacies that bind us together as human beings. How easy it is sometimes to forget that.  Continue reading “This house of clay and water by Faiqa Mansab”

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter

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Genre: Young adult, mental illness
Year Of Publication: 1st April 2017
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Pages: 384 ( Paperback )
My rating: 5/5

“……unfortunately words aren’t magic…..Words can’t make Actual Miracles happen.Sometimes words just don’t do anything at all.Sometimes they don’t even matter.”

Rosalind Banks is eleven and suffers from Selective Mutism. She strives to be “normal” so she can stop being “Officially  Weird”- but that’s not an easy thing to do,considering she can’t speak in front of people (whenever she builds up the nerve to do so, her words disappear completely or become a “Massive Muddle” in her head and she can’t seem to make herself speak).

This makes her a social pariah at her new school (Manor High) and she gets bullied -not just verbally but physically as well. Her outrage against the bullies inspires her to start an anonymous blog with the help of her brother; Seb , called “Miss Nobody”.

Thus, begins a journey of vigilante justice and bully-shaming ,but soon things spiral out of control and Miss Nobody seems to be at the centre of it all.

What happens when the moral police becomes an accessory to bullying?
How far is too far when taking matters into your own hands?
And ,is relying on social media an effective way to solve your problems or does it only add to them?

These are some of the important questions raised in this book. Continue reading “Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter”

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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Genre: Fiction, literary, contemporary
Year Of Publication: 23rd August 2016
Publisher: Hogarth Press
Pages: 188 ( Paperback )
My rating: 5/5

 

“Why, is it such a bad thing to die?”

After an unsettling dream, Yeong-hye decides that she will no longer eat meat.
What follows next is a tale of horrors told from varying perspectives.


“Life is such a strange thing, she thinks, once she has stopped laughing. Even after certain things have happened to them, no matter how awful the experience, people still go on ………. And sometimes they even laugh out loud. And they probably have these same thoughts, too, and when they do it must make them cheerlessly recall all the sadness they’d briefly managed to forget.”

It is very hard for me to form coherent sentences after reading this book- one of the reasons why I’ve been putting off trying to write this review.
Continue reading “The Vegetarian by Han Kang”

What I Couldn’t Tell You by Faye Bird

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Genre: Young adult, mystery, contemporary
Year Of Publication: 1st May 2016
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Pages: 406 ( Paperback )
My rating: 2.5/5

“That’s the thing about not being a talker; when you don’t talk that much you listen more. You see the gaps in the conversation.You can read them like the words in a book. I’m really good at doing that because I’m listening all the time. And when you listen, you hear everything. You hear things in the silences, in the sighs, in the blank spaces of the conversation too.”

This is the first book I’ve read about “Selective Mutism” and having no prior knowledge about what it was I decide to search online.
This is what the internet has to say about Selective Mutism:
Selective mutism(SM) is a severe anxiety disorder where a person (who is normally capable of speech) is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they don’t see very often. It usually starts during childhood and, left untreated, can persist into adulthood.It usually co-exists with shyness or social anxiety.


The main character in the book (Tessie) suffers from SM. Being unable to freely talk to people makes her an “ideal listener”.Everyone opens up to her instantly as they feel she is willing to listen to what they have to say and won’t judge them
(*if she can’t talk to you, doesn’t mean she won’t silently judge you -_- ) .

Her SM comes in handy when her sister (Laura) is assaulted and goes in a coma. No one has any clue about what has happened to her – although, all fingers point at her boyfriend (Joe) who was with her at the time when it happened and has been missing since.

Tessie; who’s dealing with her SM, getting bullied at school because of it, and trying not to freak out when her family is falling apart – tries to figure out what happened to her sister. Continue reading “What I Couldn’t Tell You by Faye Bird”

Sometimes I’m a Bird, Sometimes I’m a Rock by Tine Paludan

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Genre: poetry,illustrations
Year Of Publication: 15th August 2016
Publisher: Mellemting
Pages: 90 (paperback )
My rating: 4/5

” In late January 2016 I set a goal for myself: write one hundred texts in one hundred days.

I promised not to think too much or spend too much time on each text. It had to be quick, even instant: moments put to paper.

By April, the pages held heartbreak, falling in love, memories sticking their heads out from the dark, reflections in forest lakes and broken mirrors, lost days, light days…

In the process of turning those texts into this book, some texts were left out, illustrations were added, and the chronological order disrupted.

The editing of the texts themselves has been kept to an absolute minimum.

Sometimes I’m a Bird, Sometimes I’m a Rock is an exercise in imperfection, in accepting the fragmented and incoherent. There’s not a full story told in perfect phrases. There’s just … this and whatever you take from it. ” Continue reading “Sometimes I’m a Bird, Sometimes I’m a Rock by Tine Paludan”

The Fractured Life of Jenny McClain by Jennifer L. Kelly

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Genre: Women’s fiction,Historical fiction
Year Of Publication: 27th June 2016
Publisher: BoxerBull Books
Pages: 332 ( paperback)
My rating: 4/5

“Four women, one fractured life”

This book introduced me to the concept of regression. What is regression you ask? Well according to Google regression is:

rɪˈɡrɛʃ(ə)n/
noun
Past life regression is a technique that uses hypnosis to recover what practitioners believe are memories of past lives or incarnations, though others regard them as fantasies or delusions or a type of confabulation. Continue reading “The Fractured Life of Jenny McClain by Jennifer L. Kelly”

Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull

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Genre: historical fiction, romance
Year Of Publication: 11th February 2016
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 312 ( paperback)
My rating: 5/5

Dawnay Price is a force to be reckoned with.
Alone in the world; she dreams of greater things – an education.

Education at a time when it’s considered frivolous for a woman to learn anything else other than housework – but she will not be deterred.

“Orphans are not to learn to write. And the idea of a girl receiving an education would never be borne. He has three daughters himself and no sons and has given them all the same sage advice in order to secure matrimony, namely, that they should hide any vestige of a lively mind if they are to catch a husband. Wives who are cleverer than their husbands are unnecessary, as are clever servants likewise. Thinking never cleaned a floor.”

She is clearly a woman ahead of her time and won’t let society and its notions about what women should or should not do stand in her way.
She has her eyes set on an adventure and an adventure she will have. Continue reading “Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull”