Book review: The Fire Ant’s Sting by Kamalini Natesan

From the back cover:

The road to perdition is paved with desires. An expat couple resort to illicit means to hoard wealth. A small-town author yearns for fame and laurels at the risk of alienating his family. A widowed woman is desperate to preserve her youthful looks and turn the clock back. An eager-to-please, do-gooder mother seeks respect and reciprocation of her efforts. The common thread weaving through these stories is a pulsating and addictive desire to attain what one craves for at any cost. In Fire-Ant’s Sting: Desire Diaries, Kamalini Natesan explores, through twelve varied characters, the different facets of desire—a primal human emotion—and how its pursuit blinds one to reason. Alternately wry and full of pathos, daring and evocative, this is a delectable diary of desires that will leave you asking for more.

Desire is one of the human emotions that is generally suppressed the most, and is yet the single-biggest driver of our actions. We are adept at suppressing desire, at painting it as “too much”, as taboo.

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Book review: Edith and Kim by Charlotte Philby

A slow-burn spy novel that will appeal to fans of literary historical fiction.

In June 1934, Kim Philby met his Soviet handler, the spy Arnold Deutsch. The woman who introduced them changed the course of history. Her name was Edith Tudor-Hart.

Who doesn’t love a good spy novel? Espionage, undercover operations, the thrill of wondering if they will be caught…Except, Edith and Kim has none of this intrigue. Instead, Philby tells the story of Edith Tudor-Hart, the woman who changed the course of 20th century history, and was then written out of it.

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The 2023 Book Bingo reading challenge

Read more, read widely in 2023!

An open book with flowers, a tea cup and candles on a tray. Text reads the 2023 book bingo reading challenge hosted by Modern Gypsy

It’s time for an all-new edition of the Book Bingo reading challenge! This reader favorite is back for a fourth consecutive year, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of your reading journey once again!

Read on for all the details and some changes this year.

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Reading wrap-up for April

Quote from A History of Objects by Carlo Pizzati

April was quite an interesting reading month. I read a nice variety of books, including one that was on my to-read list since years, but despite the raving reviews, it didn’t do anything for me.

Let’s start with the books I read as part of my Book Bingo challenge:

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Book review: A History of Objects by Carlo Pizzati

From the back cover:

“A candy box reveals a son’s true feelings for his mother. A fish sculpture creeps into a budding and healthy relationship. A splint on a music teacher’s finger threatens to expose a secret.

Objects can come to hold great power over life and the course it takes. This collection of short stories explores the nuances of the human experience as objects of sentimental value, nostalgic appeal or cultural significance bear witness and shed light on all that remains unsaid. A History of Objects expertly demonstrates the ways in which the inanimate are far from lifeless.”

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Reading wrap-up for March

Quote on confusion from Anxious people by Frederic Backman

I thought March was a slow reading month, until I pulled together the list of books I’ve read so far. I read a total of 6 books this month, one of which was a slow, involved read. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised!

First up are the three books that I read specifically for the Book Bingo challenge

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Book review: Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live by Melanie Falick

Book review of Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live by Melanie Falick

Why do we make things by hand? And why do we make them beautiful? Led by the question of why working with our hands remains vital and valuable in the modern world, author and maker Melanie Falick went on a transformative, inspiring journey. Traveling across continents, she met quilters and potters, weavers and painters, metalsmiths, printmakers, woodworkers, and more, and uncovered truths that have been speaking to us for millennia yet feel urgently relevant today: We make in order to slow down. To connect with others. To express ideas and emotions, feel competent, create something tangible and long-lasting. And to feed the soul. In revealing stories and gorgeous original photographs, Making a Life captures all the joy of making and the power it has to give our lives authenticity and meaning.

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4 binge worthy weekend reads

Wondering what to read this weekend? I’ve got some recommendations for you!

I don’t know about you, but I love spending the occasional weekend curled up with a book that I just cannot put down. Even better if it’s a thriller — or my latest book love — witchy / fantasy fiction.

Here are four recommendations, all of which I read and loved this month!

{Note: Click on the book images to purchase on Amazon India. These are affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you}

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The 2022 book bingo reading challenge

Read more, read widely in 2022!

The 2022 book bingo reading challenge

I’ve really enjoyed hosting the book bingo challenge these last two years, and have been blown away by how many of you joined in! Thank you for all of your comments, emails and Instagram DMs through the year — I loved being a part of your reading journey! And of course, I’m hosting the book bingo challenge again in 2022!

Read on for all the details, changes, and additions this year.

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Reading round-up: 5 books set against the backdrop of war

5 books on war and conflict zones

It’s a well-known fact that reading makes us more empathetic. How could it not? When we read, especially fiction, we can easily put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists. We recreate the scenes from books in our imaginations, inhabiting the world of the characters on the page. That’s one of the reasons why books are almost always better than movies – the imagined worlds we create in our mind can rarely be captured in quite the same way on screen.

For this reason, I believe that reading stories set during war and conflict can help us build more empathy towards all people. Rarely are things as black and white as the leading narratives of the news cycle and social media trends have us believe.

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