You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Books’ tag.

In the last  4 months I’ve been finishing up course work for my publishing certificate, attending vendor appointments with my fiance for our wedding in the Fall, and interning at two magazines. Basically I spend a lot of my time  on public transportation – whether it’s a municipal bus, subway, TTC streetcar or the GO Train -to get around.  During all of my time  on the road when I am not taking a cat nap to catch up on sleep, I’ve been reading.

Finding the right book or article for commuting is important:

The book needs to be simple enough so that you can sometimes only read  3 pages while  on a short bus ride, but also engaging enough to motivate you to keep the pages turning when on route in the early morning (as early as  6:45 am this past Winter when I commuted out to the Danforth area of Toronto for class!) or  after a long work day.

Sometimes it also helps if the book is big enough so you can hide from the crazies on the TTC!

So I thought I’d share with you the written word that has managed to win over my desire to just use my commutes as nap time:

1. Chantel Simmon’s LOVE STRUCK talks about the complexities of marriage, the need for communication between partners and takes a humourous and whimsical look at what can happen to a married woman when she confronts her deepest fear, infidelity.

2. Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry: Completely unique from The Time Traveller’s Wife, Her Fearful Symmetry is deeply evocative, gothic and outright troubling. Niffenegger’s novel, which I just finished last Friday, challenges what we understand as reality, spirituality, love, and death.

3. Jhumpha Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth: I can’t even put into words how much I loved this collection of short stories. Lahiri unearths the darkest of humankind’s moments in her painfully real fiction. Fine, you may not want to read this book on a Debbie downer morning, but if you want to be moved by the complexities of issues such as inter-racial marriages, alcoholism, and unrequited love then Unaccustomed Earth is your answer.

4. Anokhi Magazine : Articles in past issues that  drew my attention –  the March/April Kajol cover story , the article on marriage in South Asian culture called  Great Expectations, and the controversial feature on the swinger’s lifestyle in the May/ June Wedding issue. I especially recommend you to read the article on the swinger’s lifestyle, I love an article that causes discussion, shock, and mixed emotions. If you read it let me know what you think!

5. Fashion Magazine really made me appreciate beauty and fashion features. The farewell profile on Alexander McQueen was amazing and I also liked the article in the May issue about the trend of  Canadian designers collaborating with accessible brands, such as H&M or Joe Fresh.

Do you think international names like Jimmy Choo  and Stella McCartney lose their esteem if they collaborate with chains such as Target or Adidas? When and where do we draw the line between fashion and business?

6.  Toronto Life: The features in  TL never  cease to amaze me. I particularly enjoyed the TTC feature in the May issue because yes,  I also loathe the overcrowded situation at Yonge and Bloor and the ridiculous fare hike put into place in January!

Book’s I loved, but found difficult to read on a commute:

Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native: The book is characterized by amazing writing, language and poetic devices. Plus, Hardy discusses so many controversial issues at such a ground breaking time in history  (the 19th century), but the flow of my reading was disturbed by the constant yammering of  people on the train. Also, the subway cart sounding to a halt at each  stop took away from the luxurious experience Hardy deserves:  a comfortable read of the novel before bed, or on a lounger in my backyard.

Sometimes literature is too luxurious and precious to deal with the invasive honking of car horns and musty subway smells.


As a child I was an avid reader of many English classics and fairy tales- I had a vivid imagination and a thirst for fun and adventurous stories. Yet as a child of South Asian descent, I couldn’t identify with the protagonists of some of my favourite stories. So no matter how hard I tried, I always felt left out reading Little Red Riding Hood or Jane Austen novels.

Fortunately, as I got older my interest in reading further developed and I found a whole new world of literature where often many of the female characters in stories came from similar ethnic backgrounds. Or, they also juggled multiple cultures, religions and traditions in the Western world as I did in my life. These characters grew up with the same Bollywood icons, the roti I ate as a child and the languages I spoke with my grandparents.

SAS’s 10 South Asian Lit Picks

Here are 10 of my favourite books written either about or by South Asian women and men. There are also a few books by writers of other cultures, in which the theme of cultural hybridity rings universally true. Even though we come from different worlds, your words spoke to me.

Thank you all for writing your stories- I feel at home again in my skin and in my literary world.

1. God of Small Things
By Arundhathi Roy

2. Behzti
By Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti

3. Namesake
By Jhumpha Lahiri

4. Reading Lolita in Tehran
By Azar Nafisi

5. The Woman Warrior
By Maxine Hong Kingston

6. Home
By Manju Kapur

7. Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets
Edited by Priscila Uppal and Rishma Dunlop

8. Obason
By Joy Kogawa

9. Killarnoe
By Sonnet L’Abbe

10. Sacred Games
By Vikram Chandra

What books and authors speak the most to you?

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 17 other followers

Preets’ Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Share this Blog