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New normal, new me

  • Published at 09:45 am March 28th, 2021
Book review
Tarin Fatema

Last year, around this time we spent the last normal weekend without really knowing that life as we knew it is never going to be the same. To commemorate that, and the one year anniversary of ‘General Holiday’, scroll down for a book rec based on some big changes you and I had this past year

Last year, around this time we spent the last normal weekend without really knowing that life as we knew it is never going to be the same. Thanos really won in this timeline, and the rest of us adapted by making banana bread and getting acquainted with zoom. If you ever doubted the human race’s capability of evolving before, this should take care of that. A lot can happen in a year, even during a worldwide pandemic, which seemingly has brought the world to a standstill. For better or worse, we aren’t the same person we were last year. To commemorate that, and the one year anniversary of ‘General Holiday’, scroll down for a book rec based on some big changes you and I had this past year.

Don’t tell the Kids, but bedtime is a social construct:

Q by Evan Mandery 

So is having a healthy sleep pattern. But sleep is necessary, and so I have resorted to taking naps whenever and wherever. I read Q on a sleepless night, stayed up for almost 48 hours to finish it. Shortly before his wedding, the protagonist is visited by a man who claims to be his future self, who insists that he doesn’t go through with the wedding. Reluctantly, the protagonist agrees. But the future man doesn’t stop there. Goodreads calls it a romance but I find that a bit misleading.

Quarantined in style:

Good talk by Mira Jacob

Gone are the days when most of us used to come home only to sleep and wore ratty t-shirts to bed. All our fancy outwears suddenly became useless, cute (and wildly comfy) pyjamas are now trending. On that note, I’d like to recommend reading Good talk by Mira Jacob, a graphic memoir about a brown mother trying to answer her six-year-old son’s questions about race, family, and belonging. It’s raw and melancholically beautiful.

Plants are the new pets, pets are the new kids:

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

A lot of us reached out to plant and animal companions to replace the loneliness. That’s why I think Hamnet is a wonderful choice. It’s a historical fiction set in 1580 Warwickshire. It’s a fictional account of Shakespeare's son, Hamnet, who died at age 11 in 1596. Won Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020.

Netflix graduate:

Anna K by Jenny Lee

It’s a modern-day mystery how Netflix can have so much but at the same time nothing worth watching. But you might have conquered at least 90% of it by now. Next time you can’t find anything to watch on Netflix, read Anna K by Jenny Lee, a retelling of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, set among rich, privileged teenagers of New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut society. It’s fast-paced and wildly entertaining. You will fly through the pages.

MasterChef Quarantine:

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

To think, it all started with making Banana bread. Jokes apart, if you have discovered a new joy for cooking or baking in quarantine, this book is for you. Words on Bathroom Walls is the story of Adam, a boy with schizophrenia who's put on an experimental drug in the hopes of dialling down the hallucinations. Don’t knock it just because it’s a YA, it’s well written and surprisingly hopeful. We all could use a little hope right now.

BTS fever:

Those who walk away from omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

Whether you are ready to join the Army (devoted BTS fans are called Army) or not, it’s impossible to deny the charm and talent of these seven boys if you have given them a fair chance. I know at least three people who turned into an Army in the quarantine. The boys do have a way of reaching you when you need them the most. Those who walk away from omelas is a short story, set in a utopian community, and inspired the video for BTS’s “Spring Day”, the reason why I read it and I’ll admit, it’s the only book I have read from the BTS reading list.

Pandemic Business:

The Startup Wife by Tahmina Anam

The Pandemic closed thousands of businesses across the world. But there’s no perfect time to start your own business. A lot of you jumped the gun during quarantine, let me just say how proud of you I am for just going for it. On that note, let me recommend ‘The Startup Wife’ by Tahmina Anam. The Startup Wife is a novel about big dreams and the reality that follows, as a tech startup becomes something more than its co-founder imagined. It’s funny, quirky and feminist. The book is not out yet, the release date is in June, but it’s one to look out for!

I started compiling this list from last April, when I was having trouble dealing with the sameness every day, just needed something to look forward to. It was a game I played in my head for the better part of last year. If you are looking for connections between life events and the books, there’s probably none. I’ll take any excuse to recommend and gush about books. Happy reading!

Tarin Fatema is the Social Media manager, Features at Dhaka Tribune, and admin and Head of Marketing at Litmosphere.  Follow her on Instagram @shewalksinfiction for more insights into the bookstagram community in Bangladesh

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