Late night reading and Book reviews

I have been reading loads these days. There are days when I sat up reading until late at nights and feeling sick and woozy in the mornings. I am just not a night person, but with a good book in my hand, I can’t not finish it before going to sleep.

The other day, I read under a duvet with a flashlight πŸ™‚ Reminded me of my childhood. Also reminded me to get one of those book light which can be clipped on to the book while reading – that would have been far more comfortable to read with! Growing up, I used to read so much that my parents used to worry that I get marks in school simply because the teachers liked me. So they used to try and regulate the amount I read, and I used to find ways of reading all the same.

As I said here, I have been picking up books rather randomly from the library. I never seem to get the latest bestsellers, so I just go by my instincts and seem to end up with great books(thankfully!).

I finally managed to lay my hands on Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Arranged Marriage. This had been on my wish list for ages but had been evading me. Well, all I can say is that it was totally worth the wait.

The collection of short stories depicting women in various situations brought about by their circumstances. Be it an abused woman’s story narrated by her little daughter, or the new bride who finds herself a widow in America, or a happily married woman who finds one day that her husband wanted to leave the marriage and grab at a chance of real happiness. Each of the stories brought out the feelings of the protagonists, ending in despair, triumph or just accepting what life throws at them. Every story was a wonderful read and I was disappointed when I came to the end of the book. To say that I loved it, would be an understatement. Waiting to get my hands on her other books.


Amongst the other books I read, Joanna Trollope’s books stood out. I had read her Brothers and Sisters earlier and quite liked it. Last week I picked up two of her books. Marrying the Mistress and The Rector’s Wife. Both were amazing reads. In Marrying the Mistress, she picked up a really sensitive topic of a much married older man taking the decision to walk out of his marriage to marry his mistress who was young enough to be his daughter. How the various relationships in both their lives were affected and how many individuals one decision of this sort could affect and how each of those people behaved was beautifully crafted. And not for a minute did anything seem tacky.

The Rector’s Wife is about a village priest and his wife who are trying their best to live within the set expectations. So far, Anna, the rector’s wife had performed her role in every way possible, but her daughter being bullied in the local state school and her son’s aspirations to travel propels her to get a job in a local supermarket to earn some money. Β This causes a lot of raised eyebrows in the parish. Trapped in the expectations set by her role as the rector’s Wife and the need to be independent and do something that she wants to do, she gets pulled in all directions and widens the gap between her and her husband.. Again, I love the way, Trollope has woven the various relationships, including the emotions of her teenage son and her supportive mother and mother-in-law. Β I could not put the book down until I finished it off in one session.

I am now reading Trollope’s Next of Kin which is right now, just as gripping.


58 thoughts on “Late night reading and Book reviews

  1. thats a lot of read Smitha… I am slowed down… but yet reading few..

    Do post on your books too!

    and thanks for introducing those books.. may be someday I will pick then up πŸ™‚

    Do let know how you find them.

  2. second! Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Arranged Marriage sounds like a very interesting. will buy it asap!

    It was a wonderful read! Do let me know how you find it.

  3. Sigh !!!!

    What do you think about the Dubai Debacle ? πŸ˜‰

    I think you have been buying and hoarding all the gold for your impending wedding – so those poor guys have gone bankrupt πŸ˜‰

  4. ahh these sound like nice reads..i will try to get my hands on at least one of these nexxt time i go buy books…

    Do let me know if you liked them , if you do pick them up πŸ™‚

  5. I am reading Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (something about forbidden city and concubines fascinate me!). I have have to find this book- arranged marriage.

    That sounds very interesting! Will definitely pick it up.

  6. I have read two other books by CBDivakaruni – liked them too. I now have three more books in my ‘to read’ list πŸ™‚

    Which are the two by CBD that you liked? This was my first and am dying to read more of hers!

    • IHM was the one who suggested I should read The Palace of Illusions by CBD and I read the book from cover to cover in a day (yup that was one of those rare days I didn’t blog hop :mrgreen: ) She has an interesting style of writing and am reading her Sister Of My Heart right now πŸ™‚ Btw Smithu have you read Shantaram??

      That goes on my list – and no, haven’t read Shantaram – will try and pick it up.. This post has been wonderful – I have got a bunch of new titles to read now πŸ™‚

      • One was Panchali’s Mahabharata that Sakshi mentions – I love the way she shows Yudhisthir from a wife’s eyes – a weak willed gambler and an irresponsible husband. There’s also Draupadi’s real crush – and my favourite character in Mahabharata. There’s an interesting surprize twist…
        Bhim is chivalrous, but Arjuna petulant because he had to share her. And what did she think of Kunti who forced her to live such a life?
        Another one has some bits that irritated me but still it’s good because it shows what happens if one does dare to leave the way of life we are used to, and how simply we can change our lives .. read “Sister of my heart”

  7. I enjoy reading Divakaruni’s books. I tend to forget the story line of each book though.

    This was my first.. Trying to get hold of her other books.

    Recently finished reading “The outcast” by Sadie Jones and “Eve Green” by Susan Fletcher. Each had vivid recollections from childhood and some dark and sad stories, but very realistic.

    This is great – I will now have a long list to read πŸ™‚

  8. Liked the review and added the books u mentioned in my list to read.

    Just finished not without my daughter

    That is a ‘must read’ isn’t Sari? How did you find it?

    • The book is wonderful smitha and it shows to what an extent a mother can go for her child and it shows the life of women in iran :(. Do read it.

      I know.. I have read it.. Powerful, isn’t it?

  9. Chitra Banerjee ‘s Sister of my Heart has been one of favorite book. Her words paint such a vivid picture, i totally get lost in her books. Another book I read few years back that stayed in my mind for very long is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

    Oh yes, I loved A fine Balance too!

    Too bad I am not getting much time to read these days.

    I go a little mad if I don’t get to read πŸ™‚ Welcome here, Sandhya.

  10. Reading under a duvet! LOL! Memories of childhood.

    I have just one question. If you have a book and a flashlight for company like this, where does hubby sleep?

    The flashlight under the duvet is to ensure that his sleep is not bothered πŸ™‚ He used to hate finding books in bed :), but I think he has got used to it.

  11. your memories reminded me of mine..we used to have loadshedding in the evening and in those times there were no me and my sister used to take one lantern each to read our books and my mom used to be so angry with us:).

    I think almost all of us have similar memories πŸ™‚

    Nice review and tempting for me to get those books.

    Hope you like them πŸ™‚

  12. Nice review smitha..I m tempted to read arrange marriage now πŸ™‚

    I really liked the book – hope you like it too.

    Recently brought three books-
    Bringing up Vasu – The first year by Parul sharma
    34buble gum and candies – Preety shenoy
    and Eat love and prey..
    there are so many good books to read and my list is increasing day by day πŸ™‚

    I have not read any of these 😦 As I said, I am running back logged as far as bestsellers are concerned 😦

  13. I was hesitant about the book, but now after reading your review will pick it up for sure!

    πŸ™‚ I hope you like it πŸ™‚

    I enjoy the serial Brothers & Sisters. Will pick up the books as well now πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Is there a serial based on the book? I had no idea πŸ™‚

  14. Your short and ‘to the point’ book reviews tempt me to start reading books again, seriously! I was also a bookworm and used to keep story books inside my school books (big in size books!) and read. My son was reading your way – he was reading inside the duvet with torchlight!

    ‘ I was also a bookworm and used to keep story books inside my school books (big in size books!) and read. ‘ – Me too! I used to do that too πŸ™‚ I was crazy – anything to read πŸ™‚

    Your way of picking up books in a random way is nice. I go for famous books – so I don’t get to read good smalltime writers’ books. Have jotted down the names of the books, Smitha! Thanks for the tips!

    I used to pick up famous books too – but this library – I seem to have read most of the famous ones 😦 So am forced to try other stuff πŸ™‚ I am reading another Srilankan book – and it is so gripping!

  15. Will try to pick up a Trollope book soon….you made them sound very interesting πŸ™‚

    I just completed Next of Kin the other day – but was a little disappointed by it.. Hope you like these though πŸ™‚

  16. thanks smitha, its always great to get recommendations.. u know wat books to pick up then.. i’m gonna be looking for Chitra’s book in the sotres now.:)

    I do hope you like it too πŸ™‚

  17. I haven’t read any of the books you mention, but the part about reading under the covers reminded me of my childhood as well! Those were good times! πŸ™‚

    I guess all of us similar childhood memories πŸ™‚

    Quirky Indian

  18. I liked Arranged Marriage too πŸ™‚ The way she has put in life into the characters is amazing πŸ™‚

    Isn’t it? I love the way she crafted all the stories.

    Me just finished No Onions Nor Garlic and started with House of Blue Mangoes … the second one is as rare as blue mangoes are .. wonderfully written πŸ˜€

    Haven’t read either, Swaram – will try and pick them up! I love getting so many recommendations! Blog world rocks!

    • Smithu, u missed my latest post πŸ˜› I know u will like the pics .. so puleeeease do visit πŸ˜‰

      Will hop over – so sorry , have been really bad at blog hopping -have loads of unread posts – will hop over right away.

      • What shameless advertisement !! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        Btw, Smitha, you missed so many of my posts. Im sure you will NEVER like them. But I just need to increase my number of comments. So if you will please….:D πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        I missed more? I am so hopelessly backlogged! I wasted whole of today reinstalling windows on my laptop 😦 I will hop over – promise!

        • Aaha dumbo πŸ˜› Dig at me eh πŸ˜‰
          I only invited her bcoz I know what she likes πŸ˜‰ No pressure πŸ˜›

          So u trying to copy me here πŸ™„ Btw, friends ke saath shame-vame kya hai yaar!

          • And you missed my WP Blog warming post and dance 😑

            I just realised! and have hopped over πŸ™‚ So sorry – everything has been going crazy here – Poohi is sick, laptop has given up and drawn it’s final breath – having to resort to borrowing husband’s laptop now 😦

            Bahhh @Vimmu and his avtaar and his equally shameless post advertisement!!! :mrgreen:

  19. Nice reviews! You’ve certainly been doing a lot of reading!

    I’ve seen the movie- The Rector’s Wife- is it based on this same book?

    Yes, I just checked and it is an adaptation of the book – I had no idea!

  20. hmmm not my type of books(though i’m rarely reading books now a days πŸ™‚ )
    between will poohi let U read this much?

    Oh yes, she does. She has seen me reading since she was little πŸ™‚ I always read πŸ™‚

  21. Havent read any of these books and will have to wait longer…

    but if I ever reach retirement age sanely all I want would be lots and lots of books!

    Retirement plans, Happy Kitten πŸ™‚ I would love that too – all the time in the world – to just read πŸ™‚

  22. Loved the reviews,Smits! Especially of Arranged Marriage. Sounds interesting. Will pick it up for sure.

    Hope you like it too – I loved it and am now trying to get other books of hers.

    You read under a duvet with a flashlight??I’m laughing my heart out imagining you doing that πŸ˜†

    πŸ™‚ You are laughing! Imagine poor me, having to resort to such tactics to read at my age!

  23. Smi, will check all recommendations though I am going slow on reading due to lack of time.

    Reading under the duvet with a flashlight reminded me of my childhood. Hahahaha My parents didn’t allow us comics during school year. Only time we could read it was Winter and Summer break but then what are rules if not broken. Brother and I used to team up and joined comics exchange group with friends. That is we exchange or comics and then after reading exchange with someone else and so on. Now how do we read it? My brother and I used to try this method.

    Yes, me too πŸ™‚ I used to do all this to get around the reading ban that I used to have πŸ™‚ I used to get books from all the boys in the class who hated reading and would come home with half the class’s library books and then read sneakily πŸ™‚
    Aah! so much fun.

    BTW why are you doing that now? Hiding something from Poohi’s Papa? Whatcha reading? πŸ˜‰

    I read in bed, and am forced to adopt such drastic measures, thanks to people whose sleep gets disturbed if I switch on the light πŸ˜‰

  24. Me too am not reading much these days but yeah I remember the days when I used to read until I finished the book, whatever the time. Am not a night person either but those days it was kind of okay. Nowadays its like a hurried 15 to 20 mins of reading then switching to some other task! Thanks for those titles Smita, will keep in mind.

    I used to be ok reading late into the night a few years back – but now, I just can’t manage – for some weird reason.. I do suspect that my reading will reduce once we go back to India..

  25. ooooh u book lover!!!!!!! its time to hug!!!!

    *soooper tight hugs*

    Time to hug! *sooooper tight hugs* to you too! Missed you Crafty! Don’t ever go missing again! Hugs!!!!!

    i totally identify with u! and my parents will totally identify with ur parents! :mrgreen:

    πŸ™‚ We must have been nightmare kids for our parents πŸ™‚ If Poohi tries the same, I am afraid I will have a tough time from preventing myself from joining her under the duvet

    our geography textbooks used to be much bigger in dimensions compared to other textbooks…. i wud hide my novels inside that and read! πŸ˜› i was hung up on Agatha Christie since 9th std…. and it took a while for mom to unravel the mystery of my sudden interest in Geography! πŸ˜†

    LOL! You were my sister while growing up!! I even used to read in class! Hindi class – I used to hate Hindi – so used to read in it πŸ™‚

    u get lights that can be clipped on books??!! geee! i need to look out for them too! πŸ˜€

    Will get you loads when I meet you πŸ™‚ They are really cute too πŸ™‚

    i try to read smithu, but these days…sleep overtakes faster! che!!!!! vaisaayyi!!!!!!
    crafty = amoomaa πŸ˜₯

    πŸ™‚ Oh poor Crafty! It is not your fault -its all that work that you are overloaded with! I think your work people need to be put behind bars for overloading you like this!

    i loved the decrip of Rector’s Wife!! will pick that up next time i go book shopping!
    Do let me know what you think of it..

    i have just started on P G Wodehouse! i had him on my list, but never got around to reading!
    I LOVE P G Wodehouse! My grandfather started me off on them! He and his brother had a HUGE collection! I used to read, re-read.. Do try him – am sure you will love it!

    how is poohi???? give her my hugs and ummas!
    Poohi is unwell.. Your hugs and ummas will surely make her better πŸ™‚ Hugs!

    hugsssssssssssss! missed you! muahs!

    Missed you too,Crafty!!! Don’t go missing again πŸ™‚

    • The advantages of not working πŸ™‚ I read whenever I get a chance these days – it has impacted my blogging, though – I hardly blog or blog hop these days..

  26. Ah books!!!

    I have read Chitra before. Though she writes well.. I find that most of her stories have quite a similar theme… you cant read more than 2 books of hers .. atleast I didnt feel like picking up anything else!

    Is it? This is my first – but I did read this review somewhere about how they start feeling quite similar – will try out some others of hers.

    Am now reading “A fine balance” by rohinton mistry.. am told he is really good..

    Yes it is. I really like the way he writes too.

  27. Oh how I envy your time to read. It had been a long time ago that I tried under the duvet-thanks for reminding me-will try it now again!

    The few advantages of not working – these are the things that keep me going and not look out for a job right away πŸ™‚

  28. CBD πŸ˜€ my favorite author. If I have to list her books in order of preference it wud be

    1- Palace of Illusions
    2- Arranged Mrrg
    3- Sister of my Heart
    4- The unknown Errors of Life
    5- The Conch Bearer Series

    All the rest of her books are good but the sequel to the 3rd one i.e. The Vine of Desire is passable!! But arrgd mrrg is simply awesome!!! I wanted to review it but was too overwhelmed by it to write anything sensible!!

    Will look out for Joanna Trollope books now πŸ™‚ Thanks!

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