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HELLO! Recommends: 4 Books That Should Be On Your Reading List This Month

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Pooja Prabbhan Srijith

HELLO!’s recommended reads this month will take you on a trip down the annals of history and have you inspired to bring about changes in your life, with a few soul-stirring, self-help accounts…

Chemical Khichdi: How I Hacked My Mental Health by Aparna Piramal Raje

Chemical Khichdi: How I Hacked My Mental Health by Aparna Piramal Raje©Penguin

If you’ve come to believe that external successes translate to a happier self, author Aparna Piramal Raje’s Chemical Khichdi is here to tell you otherwise. Apart from a brief moment here and there, Raje reveals how her life had been nothing but gloom until she sought to work on her mental health. The successful CEO and doting mother of two doles out a relevant, hard-hitting read, where she opens up about battling bipolar disorder, coming to terms with her condition and thriving while at it. Equal parts reportage and self-help, Chemical Khichdi approaches the subject of mental illnesses with inspiring sensitivity in the hopes of tweaking existing perceptions and the stigma that lingers around the subject.

Tomb Of Sand By Geetanjali Shree

Tomb Of Sand By Geetanjali Shree©Penguin

Is an aged widow really allowed to look at life through a coloured lens? In Tomb of Sand, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, author Geetanjali Shree explores a soul-stirring storyline that tells the tale of Ma, an 80-year-old who rises from the depths of depression following the death of her husband, only to have an entirely different life unfold before her. Shortlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize, Tomb of Sand explores Ma’s blossoming friendship with a transgender person and the biggest adventure of her life: travelling to Pakistan in a quest to confront unresolved teenage trauma, all while rethinking the different roles she plays—of a mother, daughter, a woman, and feminist.

The Last Queen By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Last Queen By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni©Harper Collins India

Who is Rani Jindan Kaur, and why was she so revered? We find out in celebrated author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s latest work, The Last Queen. The award-winning novel chronicles the life and indomitable spirit of Kaur, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s youngest, last, and most cherished queen. Divakaruni brings you a blend of politics, courage and nostalgia, as she takes you on a journey through the irreplaceable works of the rebel queen that remain etched in Punjab’s illustrious history. The author leaves one marvelled as she traces Kaur’s glorious feats—from taking on Khalsa troops and conducting state businesses to defying norms, only to go down in history as one of the most formidable forces for the British to reckon with.

Monkeys In My Garden: Reflections From A Life In Isolation By Sharika Esther Sharma

Monkeys In My Garden: Reflections From A Life In Isolation By Sharika Esther Sharma©Om Books International

Life in isolation has translated to atrophy on varying levels—from mental exhaustion and physical fatigue to the fear of the ever-changing coronavirus looming over us. And for author Sharika Esther Sharma, it’s been no different. Monkeys in My Garden, her debut novel, is an immersive tale of her claustrophobia-inducing days in lockdown. The book documents the challenges she faced when cooped up in her parental home, forced to navigate through complicated family dynamics, while trying to create a positive bubble of existence for herself and her children, to make it through the crisis. Peppered with humorous anecdotes and hints of philosophy, the book takes you on a relatable yet riveting journey that instils a sense of groundedness and tugs at your heartstrings.