It’s time for the first check-in for the 2020 Book Bingo reading challenge. Wondering what the challenge is? Check out this post where I lay out all the rules for the 2020 Book Bingo reading challenge, and then come back here and jump right in!
At the start of the year, I had decided to read at least two books a month. I haven’t quite stuck to that goal, because other things have taken up a lot of my time – including art! I’m hoping to remedy that during the current lock-down, so we will see how that goes.
As of this writing, I’ve read just 4 books so far this year. I figured I’d give you a quick little review of all of them, along with the bingo squares I checked off.
A genre you don’t generally read: I can’t remember the last time I read a straight-up romance, so when I came across Kalopsia by Lucinda Lamont, I figured it would make for an interesting read. Lamont used a rather breezy, first person narrative to address mental abuse in relationships – not something that’s dealt with too often in this genre. Here’s a full review of Lucinda Lamont’s Kalopsia, if you’re interested.
A book where an artist is the protagonist: The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein was my first read of the year, and oh my gosh! It was an absolute delight. I’ve had this book on my TBR since years, and to be honest, I was a little skeptical about it as the blurb compared it to Memoirs of a Geisha. I find books that are compared to bestsellers, especially those that I’ve loved, generally fall short of my expectations. That wasn’t the case with this one, though. The book is loosely based on the life of Pan Yuliang, one of the most talented – and provocative – Chinese artists of the 20th century. Her journey from prostitute to concubine to artist to international artist; and the struggles and sacrifices that she made for her art stayed with me for a very long time.
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In support of indie publishers: Watch Over Me by Jane Renshaw is a really well-written psychological thriller that looks at a gamut of human emotions – love and longing; dealing with loss and injustice; and the complexity of familial bonds. It also raises some very interesting questions: Is it fair to remove a young child from her kin? To what lengths would one go to protect those they love? Is the lack of education any indicator of a lack of intelligence? You can check out the full review of Jane Renshaw’s Watch Over Me if you’re interested. Highly recommended for those of you who enjoy thrillers.
Judged by the Cover: Magical Women by Sukanya Venkatraghavan was released last year. That was the year I decided not to buy any new books. But when I saw the cover art by Asma Kazi, I just had to have the book! Plus, I loved Sukanya’s first book, Dark Things, and was really curious about the feminist fantasy collection she had put together, even though I am not a fan of short story collections. Largely because I rarely like an entire collection – there are typically one or two really interesting stories and the rest tend to be meh! Not so with this book. Each story in this collection is a little gem, be it Tashan Mehta’s breathtaking Rulebook for Creating a Universe; Sukanya’s fragrant story, The Rakshashi’s Rose Garden; or Krishna Udayashankar’s Apocalyptica. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
Your turn! Tell me how your book goals are going. What were your favorite reads of the year? And don’t forget to share your blog posts or Instagram posts or even your (public) Goodreads shelves in the linky below!