Reading material for May
Reading books can be a great way to unwind, educate yourself, and discover new worlds. There are many choices whether you’re looking for fiction, non-fiction, self-help, or any other category. Here are some recommendations for novels you might want to think about reading in May:
Faf Throght Fire by Faf Du Plessis
Faf through Fire is far more than just a book about cricket. It is the story of a man who happened to play the sport at the highest level.
This brutally honest, fascinating, introspective work provides a unique insight into the mind and heart of one of South Africa’s most interesting and charismatic cricketers. There is the public persona-the tattooed, fashion-conscious, mentally tough, immensely popular and yet, at times, misunderstood Du Plessis. And then there is the authentic Faf. It took him years to connect with this side of himself, but when he did, it shaped his relationships with people and, ultimately, his captaincy of the Proteas.
In this book, Du Plessis lays bare the story of his growth, from a youth with a questionable moral compass outside of cricket to a leader known for his integrity, values, honesty and empathy for his teammates. He reflects on how influential leaders, such as Gary Kirsten, Stephen Fleming, Doc Moosajee, Graeme Smith, A.B. de Villiers, Owen Eastwood, Russell Domingo, Ottis Gibson and M.S. Dhoni, helped mould him into a man who leads with grit, purpose and a love of people. He also explores the destructive relationships, offering his perspective, in devastating detail, on his final years of international cricket. Neither the changing room nor the boardroom is off limits in this no-holds-barred account.
The Roof Beneath Their Feet by Geetanjali Shree
Roofs are meant for wild things. They are meant for romance and play. A place to dry pickles and grains while exchanging gossip about quiet caresses.But above all, they are realms of freedom. This is the story of Chachcho and Lalna and their much- talked-about friendship. Chachcho lives with her frigid husband in Laburnum House, a cluster of a hundred or more houses that share a common roof. She leads a lonely life until she takes in Lalna, who’s been dumped by her husband. Their closeness makes many uncomfortable. Then suddenly one day, Lalna has to leave, to return only after Chachcho’s passing. There are rumours and there is gossip in the neighbourhood while Chachcho’s nephew tries to piece together his memories of the two women, one of whom is his mother. The truth he is searching for could destroy him forever, but to not find out is no longer an option. A beautifully crafted story with many twists and turns, The Roof Beneath Their Feet is easily one of the best contemporary Hindi novels you have read in a long time.
Lost to the world by Shahbaz Taseer
In late August of 2011, Shahbaz Taseer was driving to his office in Lahore, Pakistan when he was dragged from his car at gunpoint and kidnapped by a group of Taliban-affiliated terrorists.
Just seven months earlier, his father, Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab Province, had been shot dead by his guard for speaking out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
For almost five years Shahbaz was held captive, moved ever-deeper into the lawless Hindu Kush, frequently tortured and forced to endure extreme cruelty, his fate resting on his kidnappers’ impossible demands and the uneasy alliances between his captors, the Taliban and ISIS.
Lost to the World is the remarkable true story of Taseer’s time in captivity, and of his astonishing escape. It is a story of extraordinary faith, bravery and sorrow, with moments of kindness, humour and empathy, offering a hopeful light in the dark years of his imprisonment.
While deeply harrowing, this tale is also about resilience. Taseer countered his captors’ narrative of a holy war by immersing himself in the Quran in search of hope and a means to see his own humanity under even the most inhumane conditions, and ultimately to find a way back to his family.
My Father’s Brain by Sandeep Jauhar
In an intimate memoir rich with humor and heartbreak, Jauhar relates how his immigrant father and extended family felt, quarreled, and found their way through the dissolution of a cherished life. Along the way, he lucidly exposes what happens in the brain as we age and our memory falters, and explores everything from ancient conceptions of the mind to the most cutting-edge neurological—and bioethical—research. Throughout, My Father’s Brain confronts the moral and psychological concerns that arise when family members must become caregivers, when children’s and parents’ roles reverse, and when we must accept unforeseen turns in our closest relationships—and in our understanding of what it is to have a self. The result is a work of essential insight into dementia, and into how scientists, caregivers, and all of us in an aging society are reckoning with the fallout.
YelloFace: A Novel by R.F Kuang
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.