After watching the TV series, The Witcher on Netflix, I was enthralled by the story and decided to read the books. And boy, I’m glad I did! It has to be one of the most interesting fantasy books that I’ve read after Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive.
The Witcher – Geralt of Rivia, is the main protagonist who is a fearless monster hunter with impressive magical powers. Along with having incredible physical prowess, agility, and extraordinary fighting skills, Geralt also looks fantastic, at least in my mind this grumpy White Wolf looks gorgeous. Henry Cavil in the TV series does complete justice to this character and looks terrific. Anyway, coming back to the book review, the Witcher earns his living by getting hired to battle evil demons in exchange for money. Many find him dangerous, many hate him or are afraid of him, many are impressed by his mastery of destroying the evil, and many like me are just head over heels over this fictional character. In the Last Wish, there are multiple stories of Geralt hunting down different types of beasts. Then some chapters bring to light Geralt’s past and how he became a Witcher. What I absolutely enjoyed while reading the book is the unique style of writing, Geralt’s short and witty dialogues and how he likes to engage in cold conversations with the antagonists, the funny banter with his bard friend Dandelion, and the gripping conflicts of the Witcher with the monsters.
It is a super entertaining fantasy series that might take a while to get immersed into if you come expecting the same plot as the TV show since it is not narrated in the same order or fashion. I definitely recommend reading the books as it is an excellent treat for all fantasy book readers.
As the title suggests, this book written by Bill Gates is about the actions humanity can take to avoid a climate disaster. We all know how global warming and the climate crisis is considered to be hot topic. While some of us believe global warming to be real, others don’t. Indeed, Earth’s climate has always changed but it is the rapidity at which it is changing that is of concern. The global temperatures are increasing with lots of places on the planet getting erratically warmer and colder, wetter and drier.
In this book, Bill Gates discusses the causes of climate change and the impact it can have on our future generation. He talks about the main reasons for global warming and explains the causes in a simple and easily understandable manner. As a learned authority on this subject, Bill Gates provides solutions and discusses what are the big steps to take towards eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
We are already aware of the catastrophic effects that climate change is causing on our lives. There are raging wildfires, destructive storms, severe floods, and devastating earthquakes that we have no control over. There are about 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions on Earth in a year. If we do not take action towards reducing these emissions, then the consequences they can have on human life are going to be dire. Bill Gates talks about plans of actions that we need to take to reduce these emissions from 51 billion tons to zero. While it sounds impossible, this book will tell us how to achieve this goal. It is possible, if we all work towards changing our way of life and transforming almost everything we do.
Bill Gates believes that innovation and invention can help in achieving a healthier future. Entrepreneurs and investors need to build new businesses that use clean, efficient appliances. They need to change their existing business processes to achieve rapid progress. The government needs to enact new policies to drive the market towards cleaner energy.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is not about fear-mongering. It is a book with solutions, breakthroughs, and a series of practical steps that we can take to avoid this biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. There are no jargon or difficult concepts in this book. Bill Gates takes this vast and complex topic of climate change and makes it accessible to all the readers and everyone interested to understand this topic. He mentions how each of us can do our part and help in reducing these emissions, be it entrepreneurs, politicians, industrialists, engineers, students, or just any individual who wants to help.
What can we do about the climate changes that are already happening? And, in particular, how can we help the world’s poorest, who have the most to lose but did the least to cause the problem?
– Bill Gates
Avoiding a climate disaster is going to be a huge challenge, but Bill Gates is still hopeful that cutting-edge technologies and innovative businesses can help us turn this into reality. If he believes, then I believe too. I love the way Bill Gates made such dry concepts so interesting to follow and understand. I am inspired and will do my bit by being more aware of energy use, protecting green spaces, and investing in environmentally-friendly alternatives to consumption. Global warming is happening right now, so let’s save ourselves and our future generation by being more responsible.
I highly recommend this book to everyone so you know what you can do to make a difference!
I’m an optimist because I know what technology can accomplish and because I know what people can accomplish. I’m profoundly inspired by all the passion I see, especially among young people, for solving this problem.
I cannot accept that it’s already 2022, what happened to 2021? I guess most of us felt like 2021 was gone before it even began. Last year felt like a blur to me and in between those fleeting days I somehow managed to read twenty books. Before I start my journey with books in 2022, I am sharing the books that I read last year along with a brief summary for each of them (without any spoilers). I will also mention some of my most favorite books and I hope that this post helps you find interesting books to consider reading this year.
Midnight Library by Matt Haig: The book is about a woman named Nora Seed who finds herself in a library lingering between life and death. There are innumerable books in the library that allow Nora to undo her regrets, explore parallel lives, and choose a life which she would love to be in. Will she give up her present life and choose one that she always dreamed of? Midnight library was one of the most read books in the year 2020. There were mixed reviews about this one, I cannot say I loved it but it wasn’t bad either. It’s a good book and you can read my full review here, Midnight Library.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik: Uprooted is a fantasy novel that will take you on a magical journey through a homely village, a Dragon’s cold tower, warring kingdoms, and the corrupted Wood. I recommend that you definitely read, Uprooted, if you want to escape reality and enter into a realm of fantasy. Somehow, it even feels real and believable. It’s easy to get absorbed into the story. I loved the character growth of the protagonist, Agnieszka, and the fantastic world-building. Loved this book and you can read my full review here: Uprooted.
Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas: This book was more like a rom-com movie. It’s a feel-good, emotional, and inspirational kinda dreamy love story which is centered around fate. The two protagonists in this book are Jonathan Grief and Hannah Marx. Hannah fills a New Year journal for her boyfriend with a list of things to do for every single day of the year. But Hannah’s boyfriend suddenly goes missing on New Year and her Filofax planner is found by Jonathan Grief on his bicycle handle. Not highly recommended but good read if you are in the mood for something light and easy. You can also find my full review here: Your Perfect Year.
The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel: A very uniquely powerful story of a girl who has given up on the world and decides to live in the trees. This book is an emotional tale of a teenage girl who talks about Gezi protests in Turkey, constant war in Istanbul, bombing attacks, political realities, and violence in society. The harsh realities and the tragic events leave her with no hope of a better world. So, she runs away and climbs one of the tallest trees in Istanbul’s Gülhane Park. I recommend this book if you are in the mood for a uniquely interesting story about war. You can read my full review here: The Girl in the Tree.
Becoming by Michelle Obama: Becoming is a memoir about Michelle Obama’s personal experiences from childhood to becoming the former First Lady of the United States. It’s about her journey, her successful journey, that was not just rosy but also about taking the rough with the smooth. What makes this journey so amazing is that it’s relatable and at the same time inspiring. I absolutely enjoyed reading this autobiography because it was very inspiring and that’s what leaders are supposed to do. Highly recommend this one and you can read my full review here: Becoming.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Loved this book, it’s a classic after all! The protagonist is Holden Caulfield and the book is narrated in the voice of this sixteen-year-old boy. The character of Holden is simple yet complex, it’s kind of hopelessly attractive. The Catcher in the Rye is a book about teenage angst, alienation, rebellion, and depression. The style of writing is extremely unique and the narration is in the form of a stream of consciousness. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic book of literary realism and definitely recommend the literary aficionados to give it a read, if you haven’t yet! You can read my full review and my personal thoughts on The Catcher in the Rye here.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: An incredible novel that tells us about the Biafran civil war of Nigeria and how the lives of people are affected by the turbulence of war. It is a powerful and impactful story about Nigerian history that also discusses relationships and love. Half of a Yellow Sun is a book that highlights topics like postcolonial traditions, racism, and different ethnicities. Amongst all of this, love is also a prominent theme that remains in the book right till the end, even though it gets a little complicated and twisted due to the complexities of the characters and situations. It is a great book that I highly recommend you read if you are in the mood for a love story in a war background. You can read my full review here, Half of Yellow Sun.
Phoenixville Rising by Robb Cadigan: Phoenixville Rising is a novel written by local author Robb Cadigan who also resides in a town named Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It’s a fictionalized version of history that follows the story of Boo and Sketch, and the remnants of a once bustling steel town. In the absence of the steel mill jobs, the youth of the town are drawn towards petty crime and gang culture. You can read my full review here, Phoenixville Rising
I am super picky when it comes to books (otherwise too). Last year, I got the opportunity to write reviews for a website called Reedsy and it required me to read new books mostly by debut authors that haven’t been published yet. Some of the books that I had to review were selected not out of excitement but I did it anyway for the opportunity. I cannot say that all the books were great but some of them were good enough. Hopefully someday I will discover an excellent book on Reedsy that could become a bestseller and I would be the first one to have read it! A few of the books that I have reviewed below might not be popular at the moment but have the potential to become a best-seller with more recognition. You can also follow my links to read my full reviews on Reedsy. 9. Close Watch by Signe Christensen: Nobody likes the feeling of being closely watched or followed but it’s terrifying to know when somebody actually breaks into your house! Close Watch is a fictional story about Amber who is constantly stalked and how she ends up feeling unsafe no matter where she goes. A good suspense novel written by Signe Christensen. You can read this book on one of those weekends when you are in a mood for some easy and quick to read thriller stories. You can read my full review here Close Watch
10. A Season of Disruption by Jacqueline P Walker: A Season of Disruption is a short yet impactful memoir written by Jacqueline P Walker. Life can present us with unpredictable situations for which we aren’t ready most of the time. One such event occurred in the life of an eight-year-old child and this story is about how the family faces this devastating loss. What makes this book so powerful is the determination and courage of the family during times of distress. Read my full review here A Season of Disruption
11. Wanderer by Court Young: This poetry book discusses the author’s journey of falling in love with a wrong guy, heartbreak, pain, hope, and finding forever love. Some of the poems are also about traveling and seasons which reflect the poet’s state of mind. There are some books that you read and then regret. This was one such poetry book that wasn’t my cup of tea. But if you are in your teens going through a breakup or if you are in a mood for something emotional, then this book is good enough. Read my full review here Wanderer
12. Midnight Light by Brian Paglinco: This turned out to be a uniquely interesting book of poems that romanticizes the concept of death, nature, love, and redemption. Midnight Light is a combined passionate labor of love by two friends Michael Pace and Brian Paglinco. Michael weaves the rich and rhythmic poems through his writing and Brian has provided captivating photographs that frame the theme of this book. The poems are written artistically and without hesitation about certain themes that are difficult to discuss. Read my full review here Midnight Light.
13. Happy Here and Now by Matt Tracy: It is a self-help book that discusses situations and behaviors that we usually don’t pay attention to or tend to neglect. We are all happy in one moment and sad in the other. We are beings with so many emotions and feelings that sometimes we get carried away by them and end up losing ourselves. This book is like a guide that will train us to understand those emotions better, process them, and sometimes learn to let them go. Read my full review here Happy Here and Now.
14. The Champion by Wayne Rajah: The Champion is a fantasy fiction novel where the protagonist of this story is a twelve-year-old boy named Calvin with a superpower that allows him to fly. Calvin’s mother, Miss Khumalo is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he finds out that his mother is suffering, Calvin uses his superpower and the help of his mentor, Athwall, to take his mother on a mythical journey in an attempt to save her life. Read my full review here: The Champion.
15. Paradise Taken the Diary of Eden Flores by Omar Gonzalez: A heart wrenching and impactful story! When the innocence of a child is tainted by the gruesome realities of the world, then paradise becomes an unattainable dream. This book is a collection of true events about a girl named Eden Flores. The author, Omar Gonzalez, captures Eden’s life experiences remarkably in this book and shares them with us in the form of stories and poems. It’s a short book that you can finish in one sitting thereby making it an easy recommendation. You can find my full review of Paradise taken here. Read my full review here: Paradise Taken the Diary of Eden Flores.
16. Lighthouse by Christopher Parker: This book is about a mysterious journey into a magical realm where there’s suspense, love, & of course the lighthouse. Struggling with the loss of her mother, Amy Tucker finds herself with her father following a case in the mysterious town of Seabrook. There, a chance encounter with Ryan sets in motion a chain of events. The long dormant lighthouse which is the centerpiece of the town comes alight much to the fascination and joy of the local townsfolk. Read my full review here: Lighthouse.
17. Eli And The Mystery Of The Hallowshine Dragon by Eve Cabanel: This is a picture book for children. It’s a fantasy story about a moon elf, Eli, who helps her friend Luna in solving a strange mystery of the enchanted forest. When Luna’s baby bunny transforms into hard rock candy, she runs to Eli for help. This transpires into a tale full of bravery, friendship, and the healing power of love. So if you want to read a story to your child, then pick this one! Kids will love the beautiful and attractive illustrations in this book. It’ll help in sparking their imagination and increasing their curiosity. Read my full review here: Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon.
18. My Name is Wilma by Kirsten Bett: My Name is Wilma is a quirky book that will take you on a journey of exploration of the world through the eyes of a cat. If you’re a cat lover, then cozy up and enjoy the ride. The story is narrated from the cat’s point of view. Wilma begins on the Dutch tulip fields where her life was rough and rugged. It is only after she meets her humans, Kirsten and Willem, does she realize how wonderfully sheltered a cat’s life can be. Sadly I was expecting the book to get better but I started losing interest and somehow managed to finish the book. Read my full review here: My Name is Wilma
19. Eat Your Rice Cakes by Margaret Weiss: Eat Your Rice Cakes is a self-help book for people suffering from celiac disease. Margaret Weiss takes us through her journey of diagnosis, struggles of living with the disease, and finally acceptance of her condition. This book is a great resource for other patients who have their own struggles with celiacs and also for readers who are curious about the disease. Read my full review here: Eat Your Rice Cakes
20. Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest by Martin Boško: This book is a collection of poems assembled by the author, Martin Boško, through one calendar year. The use of imagery, powerful expressions, and moving poems give us an insight into the inner workings of the poet’s mind. It takes you on a journey inspired by Greek mythology while also tugging on the heartstrings with feelings of love, betrayal, and longing. Read my full review here: Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest.
My Name is Wilma is a quirky book that’ll take you on a journey of exploration of the world through the eyes of a cat. If you’re a cat lover, then cozy up and enjoy the ride.
Wilma, the cat’s story begins on the Dutch tulip fields where her life was rough and rugged. It was only after she meets her humans, Kirsten and Willem, does she realize how wonderfully sheltered a cat’s life can be. The story is narrated from Wilma’s point of view. In Kirsten’s house, Wilma meets Sailor, Kapitein, Prince, and many other cats throughout the book. While Wilma has learned many lessons about surviving in the outside world, she relies on Kapitein to be her guide, mentor, and friend for wise pieces of advice. Kapitein helps Wilma get comfortable in her new home and also gives life lessons on how to deal with difficult situations.
While Sailor and Wilma are tolerant of each other, they never become extremely close and Wilma instead seeks adventures outside. Soon, they have to make a difficult journey from the Netherlands to New Zealand. This part of the story is invigorating and described in remarkable detail where we get to experience what cats go through during a long overseas flight. The fear, uncertainty, confusion, and finally relief are something we go through together with Wilma while reading the book. The adventures continue one after the other until Wilma reaches her forever home.
The other day at a story writing club somebody asked me this question, “Think of a weird, uncomfortable memory from your childhood. If it’s some kind of experience, make it sound fun.” I didn’t have to think for too long because this one in particular is the strongest memory that I have from my school days and this is the story that I told them:
I waited in line to use the restroom at school. I was always alone in school but I would act super cool and confident. Not that I chose to be alone, but I don’t know I never had any close friends in school. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty strange. None of the other girls came alone to the restroom, they would always bring along a friend or a group of friends. Like it was some kind of a fun group activity to go to the restroom.
For me the only reason was because I had to use it, given a chance I would never want to use the toilet in school. But I started looking at it differently. I started using that time to find peace. It became more like my happy place where nobody could see me. I would breathe out a sigh of relief, relieved to be away from all the noisy and wannabe kids. Here it was only me and my toilet seat.
I heard a lot of gossip and scandalous stories while doing my business inside. The girls would rush inside giggling and start sharing who was dating whom, who kissed the most popular guy in high school, or who found a secret love note hidden in their classwork. Well it was school, what else can you expect from girls at that age? Sometimes girls would enter crying and discuss subjects in which they failed, the remarks written by the teachers, or whose parents were treating their kids poorly.
You know the kind of things, none of the girls would ever tell me but I was a kid too. I liked stories. I spent all my childhood reading stories, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, Chicken Soup, Tinkle, Archies. I would even gobble up my English text books before the school year started. But I wanted to know what real people talk about, I wanted to listen to some stories for a change, silly that it had to be this way with my bare bum on the throne. Once the restroom was empty, I would come out feeling accomplished, stretch like a cat, apply lip gloss and walk back to the class like I know-it-all, flipping my pony-tail in style.
Thank you for reading my fictional short story. If you have a story too, then use the below line as a writing prompt and share the story with us. “Think of a weird, uncomfortable memory from your childhood. If it’s some kind of experience, make it sound fun.“
Everyone has heard about the book, The Catcher in the Rye. It’s a classic after all! I had heard about it too but never got the opportunity to read it. When I saw this book in the library last week, I grabbed it with both hands. It is a tiny little book with hardly 240 pages and it’s that kind of a book that seeks attention. You know that feeling where you can’t just walk past the book doing other chores without feeling guilty. It’s like the book was waiting for me to pick it up and start reading. I am not sure why I am saying all this, I guess I am still under Holden’s spell. But what I’m trying to say is I was tremendously excited to read this book and when I finally sat down to read it, I couldn’t stop. The Catcher in the Rye was all that was on my mind.
The protagonist is Holden Caulfield and the book is narrated in the voice of this sixteen-year-old boy. What can I say about him? When I first started reading it, I wondered why Holden is always angry and annoyed with everything and everybody. He hates his prep school Pencey because he finds it to be fake, he doesn’t understand the point of studying subjects with which he cannot relate, he hates his roommates and their nasty behavior, and he dislikes many other things which will go on right till the end of the book. After failing in all subjects except English, in which he is brilliant, Pencey Prep expels him. Holden is a teenager who is afraid like any other kid to go back home because he knows his parents are going to be super upset. The holidays are about to begin and Holden is expected to be home by Wednesday but he finds it difficult to spend another day in the school hostel so he decides to leave on Saturday and explore New York.
Holden is a restless kid who smokes like a chimney, he doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat, and is constantly looking for companionship in everyone. Be it a cab driver, a person sitting next to him in a cafe, or a pub. He walks around the streets of New York late at night freezing his tail off wearing his red hunting hat trying to find a place where he can find someone to have an interesting conversation with. He thinks of all his friends that he can call and speak to but is afraid he might wake their parents. So he walks around like a madman smoking and striking up conversations with random people. But every time he does that he is either disappointed or he is asked to shut up and leave. He also meets his terrific ex-girlfriend Sally but is again disappointed after meeting her. Nobody gets him.
The Catcher in the Rye is a book about teenage angst, alienation, rebellion, and depression. The style of writing is extremely unique and the narration is in the form of a stream of consciousness. Many readers dislike the frank use of language, profanity, and use of sexuality but it didn’t bother me much. I felt the book was so expressive, fluid, and descriptive that by the end of it, it almost felt like I knew the character personally. Like Holden could be your friend or that weird guy that you would have been around at least once in your life. I have always been curious to know what goes on in the mind of these ‘weird fellas’. Holden is a good kid who had to deal with a lot of terrible things at a young age, like death and suicide. He is sensitive, has a reclusive nature, and acts like he hates the entire human race. But this is a thinly veiled cry for attention as we see Holden try to create connections throughout the book and he only wants the world to be a better place. When he comes across someone smart but not a good person he expects better from them. He has an extreme personality with extreme expectations from life where he wants to experience unconditional love, real honest people, and a better world.
The character of Holden is simple yet complex, it’s kind of hopelessly attractive. We’ve all had these feelings where we have been frustrated with things that happen around us. We curb those feelings, don’t act on them, build a wall around us and surround ourselves with people who understand us and our values but we don’t do anything about the horrible things that happen outside the wall. Because what can we do, we are only a minuscule unimportant part amongst billions of other people who have their own way of thinking. J.D. Salinger has expressed these raw feelings and emotions with so much honesty that you might feel disgusted to read certain lines but that’s the truth, and the truth is often disturbing.
The Catcher in the Rye is an interesting read for adults but could be misleading to a malleable teenage mind. Ahh, the review turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. If you managed to read the entire review, thank you, really! Apologies if the writing was erratic with too many opinions. But the book does that to you, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic book of literary realism and definitely recommend the literary aficionados to give it a read, if you haven’t yet!
When the innocence of a child is tainted by the gruesome realities of the world, then paradise becomes an unattainable dream.
Paradise Taken: The Diary of Eden Flores Part I is a collection of true events about a girl named Eden Flores. The author, Omar Gonzalez, captures Eden’s life experiences remarkably in this book and shares them with us in the form of stories and poems.
The book begins with stories about Eden’s childhood and her family. The family visits her parents’ native place called El Paraiso (“Paradise”). Here, Eden first realizes after witnessing certain events that life is far from being anywhere close to a paradise. As young kids, Eden and her brothers would always look for reasons to escape so they could avoid the chaos and violence at home. But, even the outside world had its perils and dangers which she soon experienced. The ordeal just gets worse, making it an immersive reading experience.
All Eden ever wanted was a life filled with smiles and simple joys with her family. But how does one cope when family inflicts the most amount of pain? There are many things in this world that we take for granted and don’t appreciate enough, Paradise Taken is a book that makes us realize that.
It discusses themes around racism, religion, sorrow, suffering, domestic violence, and sexual child abuse. The careful interweaving of stories and poems provide an impactful narrative that stay with you after the last page.
Be still, thou unregenerate part; Disturb no more my settled heart, For I have vowed, and so will do, Thee as a foe still to pursue, And combat with thee will and must, Until I see thee laid in the dust.
From “The Flesh and the Spirit” by Anne Bradstreet (d. 1678)
Read this quote at the beginning of a book that I’m currently reading called, A Thousand Valleys by Ken Fulmer and l really liked it.
Nobody likes the feeling of being closely watched or followed but it’s terrifying to know when somebody actually breaks into your house!
Close Watch by Signe Christensen is a fictional story about Amber, a normal person trying to live a normal life. After her recent breakup with her boyfriend, Sam, she feels like she is constantly being followed to a point where she feels creeped out in her own house. When she reaches out to the police, it leads nowhere because of the lack of information. However her two friends, Karen and Maya, are a great support. Amber relies on them the most, they are always by her side and try to keep her safe. But after Amber’s several attempts to ignore the feeling of being stalked and being threatened, she decides to escape from the city for a while and spend a few days in her aunt’s cottage in Dorset. What happens if this turns out to be a wrong decision?
Close Watch is a entertaining thriller that is easy to read. The story is well narrated, the element of suspense and character building is strong. As a reader I felt dragged into the story right from the start. The book is lighthearted and not too intense. Even though, you might get the feeling that you know who the stalker is going to be, it is a nice read right till the end.