Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Monthly Rewind: June

3 Things About My Life this Month


1. I am in full reading-all-day, blogging-all-night mode. If you follow me on Goodreads you'll have seen that I've been reading like crazy and churning out reviews by the day. It's going to take me awhile to have them all up on the blog, especially since I have so many other posts I've written and want to publish this summer, but it's been so long since I had a summer like this to just read and catch up with my TBR that I am wholly enjoying it. :)

2. I am in India! This is the first time in five years that I am back in my grandparent's house and the very first time, ever, that I am in India without my parents. I'll be honest: it's a strange experience. A lot of people treat my visits to India as a vacation, and I'm not about to ignore that it is a great privilege to be able to get on a flight and see my family in India, but to me it's a privilege to be able to drive to your grandparent's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. I see my grandparents so rarely and my cousins are none other than strangers to me, at this point, so growing older and coming to India just builds that divide between me, having grown up an American in an entirely different world, and them. More than that, though, this visit to India was spurred by my grandparent's deteriorating health and it's heart-breaking to see how different their lives are now compared to when I visited five years ago.

3. I spent a day with my college friend! I don't have any friends in India (obviously) but it just so happened that one of my really close friends from college was also visiting family in Bangalore at the same time that I was, so we went out for lunch to this lovely micro-brewery and it was so much fun! It was really, truly nice to just hang out with someone my age for the first time in a really long time and I loved meeting her (v cool!) aunt and younger sister! :)

Top 3 Books I Read this Month

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I have been raving about the Shades of Magic series on Goodreads all week. I just read them and am obsessed. I guess My Lady Jane was pretty darn good, too. ;) 

3 Most Popular Posts this Month




1. Monthly Rewind: May or The One in Which I Finish 2 Years of College!
2. Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne or The One in Which I Discover a New Favorite Author
3. Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand and Co. or The One in Which I Am Pleasantly Surprised



Post I Wish Got a Little More Love


Statistically, I wish that my review of Rebel of the Sands by Awlyn Hamilton had gotten a little more love. This was a book that I had more-or-less dismissed and it really surprised me, in a good way! The post that I wish got more attention, though, personally, is my post of 6+ Recommendations for Your Book Bag this Summer. I felt like this was pretty different from the types of posts I usually post and I'm sad to see that it wasn't as popular as I was expecting it to be. Tell me, frankly: do you enjoy these kinds of posts or no? Are my recommendations too obvious since I so rarely give out 5 Stars? What were your thoughts on this? I'd love to know so I can either create more posts like it or just abandon it all together.

Post I Starred in My Blog Reader this Month



I first want to start talking about this with a quick mention that India's caste system is not so different from the way we think about race in America. It is a different construction of race, originally used so that your caste was assigned based on your occupation. It has been twisted and incorrectly represented in media quite a bit so while this article isn't about educating those unfamiliar with the caste system about the caste system, I just wanted to bring to attention the fact that what you may think is the caste system probably isn't the caste system.

Anyway, this article is fantastic. And also really uncomfortable for me to read, as an Indian. I'm not a part of the highest caste system and I've felt that discrimination but media often portrays caste as something that has dissolved and is now simply class, but this article brings up a lot of really good points about how Indians ignore day-to-day realities of the caste system.

I think this is an interesting read for anyone, regardless of whether or not you're Indian. We're all guilty of ignoring our privilege or those under-privileged and it's hard to change that, but also important.

Obsession of the Month

ISTANBUL. I have been looking into countries I want to travel to in Europe next year while I'm studying abroad and have been quite taken with Istanbul for awhile. But, ohmygod, doing research on this incredible city is just making me go crazy with wanderlust. I'm so upset to hear about the recent terror attacks on the city, though. Not just because it makes me worried for my own safety traveling there, but because it's such a unique, historic place and it--along with every country, continent, and city--deserve better than to have their national security threatened by terrorists time and time again. Nevertheless, Istanbul is currently #1 on my travel wishlist--yes, it's above Paris and Rome and Barcelona because...Istanbul.

3 Things I'm Looking Forward to Next Month


1. My younger brother is turning 13! July is always a special month because it's my younger brother's birthday and I can't believe this kid is becoming a teenager! Where did the time go? Not sure yet what we'll be doing to celebrate (since we're in India and his friends are all back home), but I'm excited and want to do something really special for him.

2. Seeing Cousins! It's hard for me to connect with my cousins when I see them every two or three or five years. BUT, I always hold out the hope that we're going to become really close, miraculously, since the last time I visited them we had a bonding session out on their balcony and ever since I've wanted to re-create that. I don't know if I can and I suspect probably this encounter will be just as awkward as our stilted, two-minute phone conversations are but I am happy to see them. After all, family is family.

3. Watching Wimbledon! My brother and grandfather live and breathe tennis so to be watching the Wimbledon alongside the both of them (on TV, of course, not live) is going to be a looot of fun. We watch tennis very seriously in my family so I'm looking forward to cheering on my favorite, Djokovic, while they root for the underdogs. :P

What have you been up to in June? Any vacations? Any future summer plans? Any perfect beach reads I should pick up? I'd love to hear about it all! :)

10 comments:

  1. You really have been reading a lot, yay
    India sounds great too

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  2. Oh you have me wishlisting all those books. I do want to read Rebel of the Sands!

    Sorry your visit is bittersweet, but it looks like a lot of sweet still left to be had! Your little bro is so cute and tell him Happy Birthday! I know you'll both have a lot of fun on his bd!

    The book about the caste system looks interesting. I think that here in America we think it is all fixed since Gandhi just like a lot of people of privilege said "racism fixed" when we elected Obama. Well, those people should know by now what the rest of us already knew... it wasn't over by a long shot. So, I could see why you draw parallels to American racism. Very interesting thoughts and it sounds like a very thought provoking book!

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  3. I need to get back into reading. After a few days of being sick, reading has taken a backseat. I'm dying to read My Lady Jane, though. I might just download the audio. Anyway, I hope you'll have loads of fun in India. Is it monsoon season there? Stay cool. Stay dry.

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  4. I need to get better about commenting, but I will say that I put The Rebel of the Sands on my to-read based on your review, and I love the little list format of your Six Summer Reads posts. I think that's actually one of my favorite kinds of posts!

    Enjoy your trip!

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  5. I really liked your Summer post! I think some days are just better than others, and it's not ALWAYS what you post! Besides, do what makes you happy! I like different here and there though and not just reviews, but I love your blog regardless. :)

    Yay for being in India. I hope you have a great time catching up with family. That's awesome you were able to go out with a college friend there though. I'm sure it must be nice to be around people your own age.

    -Lauren

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  6. I love that you're getting some down time, Keertana! I guess growing up in America would make a bit of a gap between you and your cousins, but you're right, family is family and I hope you enjoy your time and common ground. Aww, your little brother is sooo cute! 13 already?! Have a fun celebration!

    I can't get enough of the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr, but I'm sure you know that. I've also been loving the Max Revere series by Allison Brennan! The second book kept me on the edge of my seat. Just finished Making Faces by Amy Harmon and LOVED it! Self-publishing at its best! I'm listening to Tell Me Three Things, (I picked this up partly thanks to your lovely review!) and really enjoying it. Color me surprised, since I haven't enjoyed a YA in such a long time!

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  7. Happy birthday to your brother! It's interesting to learn more about you and about India. thanks for sharing and have a great time!

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  8. Oh Keertana you look absolutely gorgeous in your photos! I haven't been back to India for nearly 5 years either, although I did enjoy it much more when I went back last time, I know that things will be different if I visit again, as a lot of my family has moved abroad! I'm also thrilled that you have more time to read now, it feels like ages that I've been able to do that, but after my cousins wedding this weekend, I'm hoping I'll be able to do the same. And I would love to meet up with you when you visit Europe! We could make a day of it. I've always wanted to go visit Wimbledon, one day hey! I hope you have a great July and happy birthday to your brother! :)

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  9. Keertana, this post resonated with me so much. My grandparents lived in another country for half a decade, and I haven’t seen them for four years before my parents insisted they came back to live near us because of their health problems this year. I feel the same way, it’s really a privilege to live near you relatives, the one we often don’t realize and don’t appreciate. It was heart-breaking for me too to see how different my grandparents are now compared to when they visited us four years ago.

    I hope you got to do something special for your brother's birthday. You both look so cute on the photo.

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