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My Week in Books: Sherlock Holmes, Umberto Eco, Muslim-Themed Books & Americanah

One of my reading nooks

This week I didn’t get much reading done, but I did finish Sherlock Holmes The Missing Years: Timbuktu by Vasudev Murthy and my review is up. It’s long one for the book as heavy and detailed, but do check it out. I’m looking forward to reading How To Get Your Heart Broken by Rose Fall in the coming week, and who knows if all goes well, I’ll be able to squeeze another one in too.

But it’s been a good week, I managed to catch up with a lot of old podcasts and I am now back on track and listening to the latest ones. I had a fairly huge backlog, actually I still have a few pending but those I’m not very keen on so it’s ok.

That’s been one of by big learnings last year – saying no. I’m pushing myself to say no to books I don’t want to read, ignore podcasts that don’t catch my interest, say no to things i don’t want to do, and be ok with it, i.e. not feel guilty. Usually the guilt drives me nuts and I land up feeling miserable.

Twin edged sword that since doing it also leaves me miserable. So, now I’m working on saying no and enjoying it. :) Anyway, like I was saying I got a lot of podcasts out of the way but that means lots of news and books. So, here’s the stuff that caught my eye/ear this week. 😀

News That Caught My Eye

 
It’s pretty old news now, that Harper Lee died but I’m still grieving her. To Kill A Mockingbird had made an impact in my mind and I still remember it. I did get Go Set a Watchman but with all the drama surrounding it I’ve been putting it off. Time to get to it now. Have you read it?

Lee’s death was big news, such big news that I completely missed out on the death of Umberto Eco, and he passed away on the same day Feb. 19th. I’m not a huge Eco fan but I do know of him and even own a copy of Foucault’s Pendulum. It came highly recommended so I’d picked it up but couldn’t get past 20 pages. It’s a heavy book! His most popular/famous book though is The Name of the Rose, which you should read if the things in DaVinci Code by Dan Brown intrigue you, for this ones way better.

In other big news Simon and Schuster is launching an imprint for Muslim-themed Children’s books – Salaam Reads. This is a big deal and it’s been a long time coming. With all the nonsense the world media (read US) has been putting out about Muslims, a balance for future generations can only be struck if we teach them about the Muslim culture at a young age. Understanding other cultures and religions will only lead to more tolerance. (I hope.)

“We have a chance to provide people with a more nuanced and, in my estimation, a more honest portrayal of the lives of everyday Muslims,” Zareen Jaffery (executive editor at Simon & Schuster)

Jeff O’Neal on the BookRiot podcast also had an interesting point, which was that the imprint shouldn’t become the only place where such books get published. These ideas and themes should become a part of regular publishing. Inclusion and diversity is the way forward and it should happen everywhere and all the time.

And the last bit of news that stuck with me was that Banned Books Week (in Sept.) this year is going to focus on diversity and books written by people of colour. This is such awesome news and a big step forward. I’m looking forward to this and I’m going to try and read at least one of these banned books. Are you?

Books Added This Week to My TBR

 
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Get Booked #17)
This book called out to me for a couple of reasons –
Culture and how as people we create and deal with it is a topic that interests me. This books seems to be about life in a different country and culture and how the main character Ifemelu deals with it’s challenges. She even has a blog about it.
Another strong reason is that in our area we have a large population of Nigerians who come to study in a college near by. The culture clash is making for an almost tangible tension here, and I’m hoping this book will help me understand them better.
And lastly I’m looking to add more diversity into my reading and this book will do just that. 😀

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
(Get Booked #17)
This book got on my list the minute Amanda (or was it Jenn, hmm) talked about the heroine’s wig flying off and leaving her there bald and nak-head [couldn’t resist that 😀 ] for the world to see. It was a plus that the story is also about people, who are clearly not of the societal-mould, trying to fit in and their struggle to appear normal and have a normal family life. Hit’s close to home, me thinks.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
(Get Booked #16)
A story about a fantasy world that you can get to only by sleeping with someone who has already been there and then getting marked for being there by a tattoo that is a a partial map of the place. That’s the premise I absorbed on the show. How can I not read this!!!

Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
(Get Booked #16)
I’m going through Indian books/authors phase right now, so imagine my astonishment when the guys at Get Booked talked about a book based in India by an Indian author. I actually stopped by the side of the road and rewound to listen again. The mention of this book was like the universe telling me, ‘Read This!’.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(Get Booked #16)
This book has been mentioned so many times now on podcasts I listen to by gushing hosts, that this time I figured I must add it to my list. I’m not really sure if it’s my kind of book but it’s reviews have me wanting to definitely try it out.

In the coming weeks I’ve got to get more active on twitter, the idea being that I would like to stay on top of book news while the news is still fresh. Lets see how that works out.

Have you read any of these book I chose? Got any of these on your TBR? What book news was most interesting to you this week? What did you read this week?

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