Archives for posts with tag: Reading List

Admittedly, I knew very little about the power struggle over Kashmir before I read The Far Field. So I dug. Completing the book led me to this Al Jazeera video illustrating how the subcontinent of India has changed since 1947, the year India gained independence from Britain. Reading The Far Field also piqued my interest in watching the movie Viceroy’s House, currently on Netflix, about the final events leading up to Britain’s retreat from its colonies that year, and how religious conflict between Indians lead to partition, the event that would initially create Pakistan, for India’s Muslim minority. This decision would also cause the largest mass migration in history, according to the BBC. An internet search for more information about Kashmir results in reporting as recent as August 2019, describing frequent clashes in the area.

The Far Field is a lyrical historical fiction novel, and stories that string moving prose rooted in real events are my favorite. Narrated by a now 30-year-old Shalini, our protagonist, the book shifts between her privileged childhood, and adolescence. When the book opens, we meet our protagonist at home in Bangalore, who feels adrift following her mother’s death. She is barely an adult, working her first job out of college. 

She seems apathetic, and I’m not sure if it’s because our protagonist generally lacked ambition, or because young adults are generally unsure of themselves, or if her current state was a product of grief. We also sense distance between Shalini and her father, who is considering re-marrying. Amid the upheaval, as if Shalini were either running away from her issues, or conversely, confronting them directly, she sets off for Kashmir solo, seeking answers to her mother’s death.

Shalini’s childhood is set against the background of decades-old conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. When she decides to pursue her mother’s past, and specifically, the charismatic salesman who used to visit their home in Bangalore, Shalini finds herself caught up in tensions. Throughout the chapters, we wince at how her blinding lack of self-awareness and nuance cost the people around her much more than what she thought she had to lose.

Shalini’s present-day journey to Kashmir and her interactions with the people she engages with along the way illuminate India’s stark and complex social dynamics. Yet, what resonated with me the most were the familial scenes, the flashbacks to moments with her mother and her struggle to understand a woman who had the capacity to lift her up and destroy her in the same breath. In one instance, Shalini describes the power her mother had over others, “…she had an exquisite instinct for zooming in on his frailties.” To me, these moments, sprinkled throughout the book, felt psychologically exacting and, most unnervingly, eerily familiar.

Learn more about The Far Field.



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Lychee at Polihale State Park, Kaua'i.
Lychee keep the day sweet.

Southwest Airlines begins service to Hawaii

Earlier this week, plucky budget carrier Southwest Airlines finally began selling tickets to my home state––Hawaii! In a statement, Southwest announced service to the Hawaiian islands of Oahu (Honolulu), Hawaii Island (Kona), Kauai (Lihue––shoutout to my hometown) and Maui (Kahului). Nonstop service to the Aloha State on Southwest begins with California cities including Oakland and San Jose with more information about flights from San Diego and Sacramento to be announced in the coming weeks.

Currently, reservations through June can be booked via the airline’s website.

Of course, you can still get to Hawaii from other Southwest gateways, but you’ll have to purchase separate, connecting flights if you want to fly Southwest. The airline continues to build out its schedule.

Southwest had this to say, as reported by USA Today, “As we continue to add service to Hawaii and increase some of our technical capabilities, we will only see more cities gain connections to the state.”


Hanalei Bay, Kauai

In the meantime, if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, I’m resurfacing some of my favorite bylines to help inspire your time in the islands regardless if you’re flying Southwest or not:

Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Amazon.com

From Sand and Ash*, In 140-characters or less:

On love, survival, compassion and responsibility in WWII Italy.

In haiku:

Loyalty falters

When true desires see the light

Darkness begets grace

Tell me more:

She’s Jewish. He’s about to become a Catholic priest. In Italy, they grew to be friends and throughout Amy Harmon’s novel, are forbidden lovers. It’s also 1943. The Germans are here. Can Eva and Angelo transcend the times to survive and maybe, find each other?

Read this if:

You’re into a good love story without the exaggerated fantasy of typical romance novels.


Interested in more Reading List ideas? Read my thoughts on The People in the Trees and The Girl Who Smiled Beads.

*Some links are affiliate links, which mean that if you sign-up or purchase I may get some perks, but all opinions and product selections are my own.


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