Recommended Reads: Non-fiction November 2017

Non-fiction November is basically celebrated to draw attention to more non fiction books which otherwise tend to get ignored in the difficult choice a reader makes while choosing a book. This month encourages reading more non fiction, discovering new authors, new topics and also sharing your love for some books which you enjoyed thoroughly.

I personally enjoy Non-fiction a lot. And for me, this month just becomes another reason to read more of what I love. Ranging from travelogues, memoirs, biographies to historical narrative and self-help , there is so much to choose from. So here I am, presenting to you my top 5 non-fiction picks from the books I read and loved thoroughly in 2017 linking them with my reviews. Hope it makes you want to pick one and read.

1. How I became a tree by Sumana Roy

This book is full of beautiful surprises, one that I would not only recommend to all serious readers but also cherish the experience of having discovered it for the first time. Like it is said in the blurb the author has mixed memoir, literary history, nature studies, spiritual philosophies and botanical research so nicely that the end result is a book that makes you go WOW on every word till the end and maybe.... even after that.

Memoirs are something that extremely personal. With a lot of people aiming at penning them down, somewhere they have lost their real charm. Yes we all have lives worth talking about but not every minute detail needs to be glorified. Author Sumana Roy took my heart away by this unique way of penning a memoir. What grace, composure and lovely compilation!

2. Kissing the demon - A Creative Writer's Handbook by Amrita Kumar

The first thought that came to my mind after reading the blurb of this book was - WOW, someone who knows this industry inside out is sharing her experience. This has to be very informative! And I wasn't wrong at all.

I have attended quite a few creative writing courses both in India and abroad , having had the pleasure the interacting with some amazing mentors (Some have been Booker Prize nominees) who shared their insights about writing at great length. I have also been reading a lot of books on creative writing since past few years. However there is something very unique about this book that makes it special.

For starters, the language is very simple, unique and to the point. The author doesn't give any vague tip, rather she ensures we understand what she means by reading the examples she gives in terms of books, stories, passages or exercises. Throughout the book she has written with so much clarity that it seems as if she is talking to you face to face and making sure you understand every single word taught through the book.

As I write this review, let me confess one thing - I re-read this book for the 6th time before sitting down to write this. I have read this book before, almost 7-8 years ago and remember how much it altered my changing pattern. Now when it came my way once again I took it as a sign from the universe for a lesson that I was supposed to unearth through this.

Many times it happens in life that we know a lot of things but forget their existence. This book is one such reminder. It is said that you are born twice. One on the day you are physically born and second time when you ask why were you born, that is when you are born spiritually and from then onwards there is no looking back. For me reading this book everytime has been an experience akin to being born again. It feels as if all that I believed in till now was a lie and that life is much more deeper than what I am seeing. I need to realign my goals and look more closely, for there is a Supreme Master up there looking after me.

"Kashmir" the word itself is enough to draw extreme reactions from both India and Pakistan. And somewhere I strongly feel that over the period of time the core issue has got diluted with only the misunderstandings and misinterpretations left. Very few amongst us might actually remember how it all started in 1989 or the bloody 90s as it is called in the Valley. This book is a reminder to all of us who need to refresh their memory or who are keen to know what actually happened.

This book is a collection of 17 stories or incidents based on various people from Kashmir who range from common man to hit-man. We get to know the stories of artisans whose livelihood is lost, of Pandits who are suddenly homeless with nowhere to go, of gangsters who pursue their belief blindly and amongst them a common man who just wants to lead a peaceful life and is unable to understand the why, what and how of the whole issue.

This was one book that gave me sleepless nights. No, it isn't scary in the horror way but it is scary because it is the harsh reality of our country which we have been ignoring since so many years.Bringing together real life experiences of women and children in Kashmir, the author has tied them with a thread of hope, grit and determination.

There were some stories that literally gave me goosebumps and I had to stop reading them for a while just because I feared I would break down. The voices are so poignant, they leave a lump in your throat. These stories not only talk about the horrors people living in Kashmir have gone through since so many years, but it also talks about how they decided to do something about it. I firmly believe in the saying " Be the change you want to see in the world." Here there are so many women who are striving to be the change they want to see around them. They are trying hard to create a world which is peaceful and devoid of any hatred for the generations to come by.

Are there any non-fiction titles that are on your TBR or you have loved? Do share in comments, would love to hear about them... after all love for books increases manifold when shared, isn't it?