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World Book Day: My 5 and Why

March 5, 2015

Happy World Book Day!

Here’s my top 5 books that I read in the past year…

1) Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri: The Hema and Kaushik trilogy at the end of this short story collection is a multi-perspective love story that has more than its fair share of grief. I’ve re-read it a few times already as I still can’t accept the haunting ending. Every time Lahiri writes something new, it’s my favourite thing by her.

2) Wild, Cheryl Strayed: I’m a long-time fan of Strayed’s pseudonymous agony aunt columns, Dear Sugar, which have been featured on The Rumpus since 2010. As Sugar, she gave us stunningly-written glimpses into her chaotic early life, her battle with bereavement and her attitude towards loving. What a joy to be able to read the uninterrupted story of her life and all the events that made her. She also coined the phrase, ‘Write like a motherfucker‘, which is the only writing advice that there can be.

3) The Heights of Machu Picchu, Pablo Neruda: But of course I took this slim volume of poetry to Peru! Neruda’s intricately-detailed metaphors and hints at romance give way to a war-cry on behalf of the slaves who built this “permanence of stone and language.” As he puts it, “I come to speak for your dead mouths,” bringing Machu Picchu’s fabled past alive in a way that no tour guide could ever match.

4) The Palm Leaf Fan & other stories, Kwai-Yun Li: My parents grew up in mid-20th century Calcutta (as it was then), a time and a place where Chinese food was revered as gourmet. Yet the Chinese people of the city (living in India’s only Chinatown) were at best invisible, and at worst, discriminated against. This collection gives them – particularly the women, doubly-oppressed – a voice.

5) Into the Woods, John Yorke: In a sweet bid to make a writer of me, a school friend loaned me this book over Christmas. Yorke, the creator of the BBC Writers’ Academy, looks at how structure is essential to storytelling, telling some great stories himself along the way. I particularly like the way he manages to use the film Jaws as an example in pretty much every chapter. I mean, sure, it is a classic… To be fair, the book did get me excited about writing again 🙂

Have you been reading? If so, tell me about it!

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