Timeless Reads 2020 – Part 1

Finally, it is time to bid goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021 with an open heart filled with hope, love, laughter and excitement.
Sharing some books from my reading list that carry the potential to not only help set the stage for an uplifting transition into a brand New Year and leave a memorable impression but to also make a great addition to your home library with their timeless enduring themes and re-readability!

The Secret of Life: Decoding Happiness by Anu Krishna and Nitika Krishna …two amazing authors who have blended together their expertise and diverse perspectives to create a unique and memorable reading experience. It is a book that takes you on a wholesome journey to discover all the different aspects that are a part of ‘You’ and guide you to tap into the multi-dimensional true potential of your “self”. The non-fiction and self-awareness exercise parts of the book are beautifully complemented by an engrossing fictional narrative with a well-crafted plot that follows the lives of Helen and her friends as they navigate through the stormy waters of body image, health, career, love, self, and more to uncover and embrace better versions of themselves. What makes this book truly one-of-a-kind, are the three streams consisting of non-fiction, fiction, and self-awareness exercises that seamlessly flow together to intersect and intertwine in your mind, creating an exquisite, valuable and transformative experience. It hits all the right notes in the mind to unveil a better you.
Available in Kindle Ebook and Print formats on Amazon.

Medley of Tales, a collection of eclectic stories written by children under the age of 16 years. Each story is layered and filled with startling depth and intensity that makes the book appealing to the discerning readers in the older age group too. And the royalty from the sale goes towards a charitable cause! Appropriate for 13 years and older.
Check out the details on the Amazon page to know more. Available in Kindle Ebook and Print formats only in India.
*It is available for free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
A novel that takes you on a ride that is frightening, exceptional, fantastic, and believable, all at once.
An inquisitive, smart, and clever girl goes exploring in her new home and finds herself entering a passage that opens into an alternate plane filled with distorted and sinister versions of the people and things in her life and her home. The alternate world she finds herself in after discovering a secret door promises an eerie reality where the meals are a lot more interesting and fun, apart from ‘other’ parents who seem attentive compared to her own parents, though their appearances are both strangely familiar and disturbingly unfamiliar in equal measure.
The prospect of being trapped in that otherworldly existence holds no appeal for Coraline and in fact turns nightmarishly creepy as she discovers the intent of the ‘other mother’.
The daunting responsibility rests on Coraline to uncover the mystery, face the challenges head-on and rescue her parents, others, and herself and the process compels her to shift from a mind space of boredom and fear to one of courage, resolve, and resilience.
The uneasy atmosphere, a believable and vulnerable protagonist, and the surreal theme of the novel with a perfectly paced narrative and a message that runs deep, lingers long after reading and prompts re-reads. It is a message that is alluded to by the below excerpt from the book.
“Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.”― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

The Bear and the Nightingale Trilogy by Katherine Arden
The layered and complex underlying themes of religious adaptation and struggle, coming of age, all too familiar conflict between old and new, morality and making place for oneself without conforming into a mould, make this one a memorable epic.
The vivid storytelling with unforgettable and well etched characters is atmospheric and it brings alive the settings and mood page after page…the sense of superstition, fear and foreboding as much as it captures the warmth of listening to wondrous folklore narrated by grandma, comfortably curled up with a hot drink to ward off the wintry chill while creating a yearning to delve the snowy realms.
I loved the first book in the trilogy and it raised the bar very high with its gradual flow yet edgy pace and evocative tone that transported me to Vasya’s world. In comparison I did not find the following two books quite as bewitching and perfectly paced as the first, though I loved the way the plot line has been weaved to bring the trilogy to a beautiful closure leaving the readers spellbound and aching for more.
Some memorable quotes :
“There was a time, not long ago When flowers grew all year When days were long And nights star-strewn And men lived free from fear”
“Blood is one thing. The sight is another. But courage—that is rarest of all, Vasilisa Petrovna”
“Solovey will take me to the ends of the earth if I ask it. I am going into the world, Alyosha. I will be no one’s bride, neither of man nor of God. I am going to Kiev and Sarai and Tsargrad, and I will look upon the sun on the sea.”
“I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”
“It is a cruel task, to frighten people in God’s name.”
“It is time to put aside dreaming. Fairy tales are sweet on winter nights, nothing more.”

Chronaethion by Rakshan Pandian.
A thrilling, immersive, adventure fantasy novel that follows a banished prince, princess, and their guardians through a time-distorted land. They are guided by a mysterious boy on a quest filled with danger, intrigue, magic, satire and humor. The book stands out for its subversive and whimsical storytelling that takes the reader on an electrifying and unforgettable ride.

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