What was your last good read? Which last book made you wish its characters were real and life was simple? If you’re an avid reader like me who can make fictional people talk in their native accents in your mind while still being an Indian, you will have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of good reading material. And I’m talking about once you’re done with all the classics and bestsellers. Twice. When have you last explored all the works of an author, even if they have just one really good book to their credit, simply because you hoped they lived up to their masterpiece?
Now I’m a simple person. I see a P.G Wodehouse book, I read it. I live in constant fear of the day when I will finish every single one of his works. Life won’t be the same after that. So I treat myself to this man’s genius sparingly. But what do I do in between these doses of elixir? Post Hunger Games, there aren’t many young adult books which are quite as gripping. Of course we have the latest Rick Riordon series chronicling the exploits of (surprise!) the Norse Gods as well as a reboot of the Greek camp with the Trials of Apollo series, but I know all the Gods now. Lesson learnt.
Now don’t you dare suggest an Indian author to me! I’m not a hypocrite, it’s genuinely hard to find good books by Indian authors. Our stories are mostly based on Indian mythology (that’s what we’re known for), loud mothers and aunts quarreling over land disputes and arranged marriages in *Hinglish* (that is the other thing we’re known for) and life in college (mostly engineering, because Hello! We are your tech support America!). Or some permutation of the above three. Some authors have done it right (a shout out to Amish Tripathi) while others have done it wrong. No name taking.
Anywaaay, back to the topic. My last good read was surprisingly from a not so well known author. Don’t blame me… Most of us readers have a deep mistrust of new names. It’s easier to read a book by an author whose name we have heard atleast once before in our life, even if that one time was in a public restroom while pooping(!). But I’d never heard these names before and now I am breathlessly awaiting their new works. Yes, breathlessly.
Here are the three books I suggest to anyone who is dying of good book starvation. Thank me later:
#3 Ghost Sitter by Peni R Griffin
This is an old book which I have revisited hundreds of times. For slightly younger readers, this book always manages to touch me with its loyalty and love. Everyone will root for Susan as she babysits children for 50 years while waiting for her younger sister, Gloria, to free her of her promise.
#2 Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
It’s a sweet story about the subtle transformation of one half of a pair of twins as they both start college. The less social of the two, Cather initially struggles on finding her footing without her best friend and twin Wren, but eventually finds her place while simultaneously doing what puts her most at ease, writing fanfic. Yes, fanfic. This was my second last good read.
#1 Flat out Love by Jessica Park
This book is still on my mind and for good reason. Its a beautiful story about Julie and how she helps an entire family move on from a tragedy that tore them apart. I know, sounds cheesy but TRUST ME. Read it. Spoiler alert: Be prepared to fall hopelessly in love with Matt. Jessica Park very kindly wrote two sequel books called Flat out Matt and Flat out Celeste which are equally good. Its almost a relief to revisit these characters again, that is the extent of how they completely capture your heart!
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