Emily Johnson, the protagonist of Trial by Combat, is an army wife who hasn’t been living in her New York apartment for long when she realizes that some of her inexpensive trinkets go missing while she is at work. It’s not hard for Emily to figure out who the kleptomaniac is – after all, there’s […]

The first thing that became clear to as I read the first few pages of A Ladder to the Sky is that I’ve never despised a character as much as the protagonist, Maurice Swift! Maurice, who came from a humble family, had always dreamt of becoming a world-renown novelist. For him, writing represents a way […]

In The Daemon Lover, the story’s unnamed narrator is getting ready for her wedding day in haste. At thirty-four, she’s past the marriageable age (as per societal conventions in the 1940s), so she is psyched to finally tie the knot, although it feels like she hasn’t known her young fiancé, James Harris (Jamie), for all […]

Inspector Maigret is experiencing chilly weather, and so am I! 😀 In Maigret and the Nahour Case, our good detective is asleep when the sound of the phone ringing disrupts his dreams in the middle of the night. The phone call is from Pardon, with whom Maigret and his wife had enjoyed a scrumptious meal […]

New year = time to pick up a new short story collection. 😀 I’ve previously read two stories by Shirley Jackson (The Lottery and Like Mother Used to Make), and I loved them both. Both those stories were disturbing – which is not usually my jam – but her style and subtlety somehow worked for […]

Celestial Bodies, which is the first book to win the Booker International Prize from the Gulf region, was my first glimpse into life in Oman. It showed me a bit of its history and the transformation it has undergone during the latter half of the 20th century, which I knew very little of before. The […]

At the end of 2018, I thought I didn’t do well with my reading goals. But in 2019, I somehow managed to do worse – I didn’t touch a single book by William Golding and only read 3 NYRB classics. 😐 So this time, I’m going to keep my goals simple. I want to read […]

I read 71 books this year, but on Goodreads, I recorded only 67. The reason for this discrepancy is – well, I enter books on Goodreads only once I review them on my blog. 😎 [The books I didn’t review are Born a Crime (loved it, just too lazy to review), Where the Crawdads Sing […]

So I thought all the stories in Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love are going to revolve around Russian immigrants. But in Slicing Sautéed Spinach, Ružena, the protagonist, is originally from Prague. Ružena, a PhD student in Women’s Studies, has first met her lover at a public library in New York while she […]

I’M OBSESSED WITH DOWNTON ABBEY!!! 😀 I love the TV show, love the 2019 film, and now I’m counting the days until the sequel comes. For those who haven’t watched Downton Abbey, it’s a terrific period piece set in a fictional Edwardian country house in Yorkshire. The TV show begins around the same time the […]

I loved Luda and Milena as much as A Bunch of Broccoli on the Third Shelf! The namesakes in this story are two Russian immigrants past their prime living in Brooklyn. They meet each other at an English as a Second Language class and become instant rivals as they both have their eyes set on […]

A story that keeps recurring in Jonathan Safran Foer’s meticulously researched new book is the one where Jan Karski met with Felix Frankfurter in 1943. During the height of WWII, Karski, a 28-year-old catholic resistance fighter from Poland, embarked on a treacherous trip to America with one hope in mind. In 1942, by disguising himself […]

According to recipes Vapnyar has included at the back of this book, Salad Olivier is the Russian equivalent of Thanksgiving turkey. This dish made with boiled potatoes, eggs, pickles, and meat is the centerpiece in New Year’s Eve dinners, which is the most cherished holiday in Russia. Preparing Salad Olivier is a family activity, so […]

December is my favorite time of the year to curl up with a British Library Crime Classic anthology. When days are short and dark, my mood calls for grim stories, preferably bite-sized. Not only does Deep Waters fit the bill, but also being an islander, I especially appreciate crime tales set at sea. For me, […]

When Katya’s American lover wants her to talk about her childhood in Russia, and “the horrors of communism,” in Puffed Rice and Meatballs, she is taken back by this request. What exactly were the horrors of communism? Katya’s childhood coincided with the Stagnation Period. People weren’t killed or put in prisons as easily as before, […]