Page Turners

Lang Leav

I came across Lang Leav while strolling through Instagram. I was intrigued by the poetry but didn’t look into it at the time. I then found her come across my news feed more frequently; Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, you name it, she was popping up everywhere. Having enjoyed what I had read so far, I followed her Instagram page. Thereafter, whatever she wrote, I liked. On my commute back from work one evening, I read one of her excerpts and the urgency to own her books took over. Come midnight, I had ordered all three books she had published so far.

When my flat mate skimmed through some of the work, she looked up and said, “No wonder you enjoy her writing. You and she have similar writing styles. Its melancholic and romantic, somewhat walking the fine line between realistic thinking but faltering at times and slipping into grief and regretful hope.”

I didn’t quite believe her when she said we had similar writing styles but I’d like to take that as praise, nonetheless. Besides that, I agreed with her description of Lang Leav’s poetry. It is all that and what I enjoyed most, was the gentle brush against love and all that it brings with it.

She has released a new back and I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on it but I will soon. Once I do, I will add to this post, her new poetry and what I enjoyed/related to most.

Somehow, I can never quite read or enjoy poetry without a steaming hot mug of coffee next to me. Hence, every time I sat down with these books, I made sure I was warming my hands over a foamy cup of coffee. After all, poetry and coffee go hand in hand, right?

The first book I started with, titled Love and Misadventures, was a gentle read, divided into three parts.

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Love and Misadventures

The first part is friendly, warm, the kinds that make you giggle and smile as you turn one page after the other.

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The second awakens an ache inside of you, one you know exists but try to stifle.

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The Circus of Sorrows

The third part brings to life static and makes you feel profound and reminiscent, all at once.

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I then continued onto Lullabies. Released a year later, this book was divided into three chapters. Although it follows a tune similar to the previous one, it comes across as more mature. Like herself, Lang Leav’s writing too has aged a year, grown a bit more, learned a lot more.

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Titled Duet, the first chapter is like reading a personal diary. It has confessions and conversations; stemming from one perspective, one train of thought and one point of view.

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Duet-In books unread, we lie between their pages. As they turn to lovers like season’s changes. – Excerpt

The second chapter is titled Interlude. Raw and passionate, it is a peak into the desires of the body and mind. Dancing between playful and naughty, it has writing that makes one blush.

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Interlude – ‘She was different from anything he had ever known.’ – The Professor.

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The third chapter, Finale, is the crushing blow one feels when they feel love slipping away, the breath being snatched from one’s lungs as one lets go, unwillingly or otherwise.

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Finale – They gave us years, though many ago; the spring cries tears- the winter, snow. – Melancholy Skies.

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The third book, Memories, is more accepting in its writing. The words resonate a voice that has learnt, acknowledged and is now living with all that life has offered but not without musings of how things have decided to splay themselves out in life’s deck of cards. It has two parts. Unlike the other two books, there is also a burst of colour in within the pages, more life unlike in the previous books, where there are sketches, representative of us as puppets

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The first part, Here and Now, is devoted purely to new writings. There is more inclination towards prose than poetry, the writing is distinct, metaphorical and poignant. Every page stops you and makes you think and almost unknowingly, you nod in agreement.

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Part One: Here and Now

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The second part, Remember When, has a compilation of poems from the previous two books. It does have new excerpts that go along with the title of the second part as well. The reason why I’ve added this is because, there were poems that I didn’t focus on or be gripped by when I read them in their individual books but caught my attention a second time round, when reading them in Memories.

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Part Two: Remember When

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I enjoy Lang Leav’s poetry tremendously. It is relatable, soft in its creation and no matter what the theme, is always born from a place of love. Her latest book is titled The Universe of Us and I cannot wait to add it to my collection.

Something I found incredibly sweet; all her dedications are to Michael Faudet, her partner and fellow poet. He has released books of his own and in time, I would like to read his writing as well.

Besides all the poetry, I’d like to leave you with this; In Memories, besides a dedication, Lang Leav also adds a sketch, with one simple sentence.


Forget her tattered memories, or the pages others took; you are her ever after – the hero of her book.


To Helen, for Joni and everything else.

I first met Helen (Arv’s grandmother), when Arv and I decided to visit Brighton for a weekend which you can read about, here.

Any and all nerves that I had about meeting her, disappeared the minute I embraced her. Warm, loving and full of life, Helen made a place for herself in my heart, right away. When my parents came to visit me for my graduation and I decided to take them to Brighton as part of their tour of United Kingdom, I could not NOT introduce them to Helen.

She welcomed me into her life with open arms and since the day we met, there’s been no looking back. She has become my dearest pen pal, a confidante and an extremely special friend. Her ever giving heart has found so much love for me. On more than one occasion, I have forgotten that she is not my grandmother, although it barely if ever feels that way. Daily emails have ensured we keep in touch, updating each other about the minutest changes in our life with the frequent exchange of photographs as well, giving life to worded descriptions about the people in our lives.

During our conversations, Helen and I also exchange music and books. I gifted her This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire and she in turn encouraged me to give Joni: An Unforgettable Story, a read.

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I remember sitting next to her, listening to her as she read out verses from the Bible, to my parents and me. Despite being an atheist, her calming voice and steady belief nestled the heavy restlessness I had been harbouring for weeks. Having sensed that emotion and others as well, Helen urged me to give this book a read. I am not one to go out of my way and read autobiographies of people, especially people who have such an unshakeable devotion to God but Helen had recommended it to me and, if it wasn’t evident before, it should be now, that I would readily do anything she asks or tells me to do. Not just because I adore her but also because I respect her tremendously and am inspired by her, every single day.

That being said, the book was a wonderful read. As mentioned before, it is an autobiography. Joni Eareckson became a quadriplegic at an extremely young age. A diving incident gone wrong, led to her breaking her neck and losing function in her arms and legs. The book journeys through Joni’s struggles with this paralysis and taking on life by its horns, relying on God and her faith.

Like every other human, Joni had her instances of doubt and hesitance, questioning the existence of God, harbouring enormous anger, hatred and jealousy at the unfairness of the life she was forced to live. The passion to live though and to make something of herself despite the massively turbulent incidents in her life, is truly inspiring. Bringing in the importance of friends, family and the trinity (spirit, will and hope) Joni trudges through these hurdles, ultimately becoming a woman of her own. By the end of the novel, I was rooting for Joni, wishing her prayers came to life, aching with her when people decided they couldn’t cope with her paralysis and shedding tears as she mourned the loss of those she knew.

I will be honest, I swing between being an atheist and an agnostic but never reach the point of acknowledging myself as a believer. At times, it became difficult to read the book, the extreme faith in God making it hard for me as my own lack of faith was warring with the words swimming in front of my eyes. Despite it all though, I enjoyed the book thoroughly and somehow, with every page turned, let go a bit more of the war within me about people and the bonds I shared with them.

Somehow, in my eyes, Helen and Joni have so many similarities. They smile through life and accept what comes their way. They don’t deny anger or grief but they don’t let these emotions consume them either. They aren’t defined by the sadness they have faced during the course of their lives, instead believed that there will be better and are grateful for everything they have, now.

I am so appreciative of Helen in my life, her positive influence, her accepting nature and her infinite love, guidance and nurturing soul. I eagerly await every single email from her and cannot wait to meet her again, cup of camomile tea in hand, the crash of the waves in the background and simply talking and listening to her, one heart to another.

So Helen, my dearest darling Helen, thank you for finding a place in your heart and life, for me. Thank you for every message, every hug, every email, thank you, for Joni and thank you, for you.

Till then, as Helen always gently reminds me, ‘Que sera sera…’


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This Modern Love

Will Darbyshire has been a favourite of mine ever since he uploaded his first ever Youtube video. His way of thinking, musical preferences, aesthetic approach to life and his unassuming yet intelligent personality had me enamoured from the very get go.

It was but obvious then, that I would purchase his first ever novel. Although This Modern Love has not been written by Will, it has been composed by him. Having used his connection with the world through the gift of the internet, Will reached out and asked people of all ages to send him submissions, all of which were to do with love. They could be to an ex, to a crush or to their love, it didn’t matter. Photographs were welcome too!

Will asked six questions and tried to get the submissions to be answered around these questions. These questions were:

  1. What would you say to your ex, without judgement?
  2. Write a thank you note to your partner – describe or share (in a photo) the big and little things that make you happy.
  3. What single word sums up your love life, your partner, or someone you like?
  4. What single image sums up your love life, your partner, or someone you like?
  5. What would you say to a crush? Write a letter to them to express it.
  6. How has technology affected your relationship, either positively or negatively? Describe your experience.

The book follows the theme of red and white with postage stamps and envelopes decorating the pages from time to time.

Here are my favourite confessions, they’re a mix of letters to the past, present and future.

It makes for a beautiful read, the kinds you thoroughly enjoy, sitting in your favourite cafe, with your fingers wrapped around a coffee mug.

Will lived up to my expectations with this heartfelt dedication to love, its beauty and hypnotising charm, how it makes us yearn for it and be wary of it, all at the same time.

I would suggest getting the hardcover should you decide to purchase the book.

Thank you Will, for compiling the thoughts of those who’ve been touched by love in this book and for providing them with the most perfect of stages.

As Will puts it, this book is…

‘For all those in love, out of love,
and everything in between.’

If you want to check out more about the book and Will, click here to get to his channel.

Milk and Honey

A couple of months ago, while interacting with someone new, Rupi Kaur was mentioned in one of the conversations. I had come across excerpts of her writing on Instagram but it wasn’t until she came up during an intellectual tête-à-tête that I decided to look into her writing.

Upon arriving in Mumbai, I saw her book Milk and Honey nestled on Rushil’s bookshelf. On a rainy Wednesday, I seated myself on the window sill, the crashing of the waves, music to my ears and drowned myself in the book for the next hour. When I emerged from within the pages inked in raw strength, I felt within me, the stirring of an identity that had been locked away for far too long.

Rupi Kaur’s writing is bold, honest and empathetic. Her writing mirrored way too many of my own thoughts and emotions and I am glad I decided to read the book. It has nudged me to let the fiercer side of me breathe and live more freely than I allow it to.

The book is divided into four parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking and The Healing.

I went through the book twice and the images below are not just my favourites but also the ones that resonated within me; the ones that bellowed to the world, the words I refused to write or speak.

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There are books that you read and then there are the books that consume you. Milk and Honey is one such book. You don’t just turn the pages, you learn to accept, deal and let go with the turn of every leaf.

For anyone struggling or having a hard time coming to terms with the constant war your mind and heart are at, I would recommend reading this book.

It teaches you a lot. More than anything, it nurtures and heals you most.

A Million Little Pieces

I first stumbled across this book when I saw my flat mate, her nose buried in the book, so engrossed, the world seemed to have dissolved around her. On the few occasions that I looked up from my personal work, I would see a variety of emotions paint her face, pain and grief, being the most prominent. Two days later, she stormed into my room, book in hand and said the seven words that would change my perspective on life, in ways I had never imagined; “You need to read this book. Now.”

Once she gave me a gist of what the book had to offer, I knew I needed to read it.

The book spoke of a man’s journey battling addiction and surviving it. There were two reasons in particular that were fuelling me on. It is my personal belief that people who suffer from depression, tend to have addictive personalities and I wanted to understand better, the source and growth of addiction. Also, someone who at the time was very dear to me had just accepted their own addiction and I (having lost two friends to addiction) was hell bent on helping my friend out and somehow had the idea, that this book might in some way help.

James Frey talks of his incredible journey battling substance abuse and alcoholism. His brutal honesty, refusal to find faith in anyone but himself and the loyalty he projects towards the ones he considers his friends, during his time at the rehabilitation centre, makes his character unique and interesting to figure out.

Out of the many things that inspired me, one quality of James Frey that I found incredible was his ready acceptance. We, as humans, often find it difficult to accept fault and take responsibility for our actions. James never thought to blame the world or the circumstances around him for the situation he was in. He accepted fault and was ready to face the consequences for being the severe addict that he was.

During his time recovering, James’s brother gifted him a book on his first visit to the rehabilitation centre. This book, along with Leonard (another drug addict), Joanne (his psychologist), Hank (Joanne’s boyfriend and one of James’s first friends)  and Lily (his love interest) spur James’s recovery. The book, Tao Te Ching, has the most powerful influence over James. He connects with it unlike the reaction he has to the Bible or the Twelve Steps, which leaves him feeling even more cold and bitter.

The book is a steady outpour of James’s reactions, observations, sensations and thoughts. There are no punctuations, no quotations and no line breaks. Often, it is difficult to comprehend whether the lines are just thoughts swimming inside James’s mind or are they dialogues being spoken between two people. James’s honest writing is extremely graphic as well. His descriptions of pain, withdrawal and anger are painfully raw. Upon reading, there were countless instances when I felt queasy enough to want to throw up, cried unconsolably because I connected with the thoughts and feelings, empathised so strongly that I had to curl up and gripped the book so tightly, the spine of the book almost broke since the pain being described was so real.

Each character described has their own demons. At the end of the book, James lists down what happens to each addict in the centre and your heart mourns and celebrates with each one of them, simply because by the end of it, you feel as though you’ve known them too.

The book definitely helped me better understand how to deal with addiction and made it a little easier for me to help and support my friend. I was also able to overcome the echoes of my own addiction.

James continued on to write another novel titled My Friend Leonard. I am quite keen on getting my hands on it along with Tao Te Ching, simply because I wish to see what in particular the Chinese wisdoms stated that influenced James to such an extent.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested or in search of a good book. It is an eye opener and a brilliant read!

The Lover’s Dictionary

I partially read this book in 2012, I believe.

What led me to finishing this book four years later, you ask ?

A conversation…with a new friend amidst exchanging playlists and documentaries, visits to quaint coffee shops and huddled tea sessions in a kitchen that hosted more people than it could fit.

Needless to say, once this book was brought up, the desire to finish it, was insatiable and so I did.

By David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary, has within its pages the stories of a couple who define any and all words that could possibly be associated with love, through their memories. These memories aren’t chronological and some often get repeated with the conclusions having a change of environment, of course.

One closes the book with a childish wish to read more, a small smile flitting from time to time across the reader’s face.

Scroll down below for some of my favourite definitions from this book; some too relatable and some deserving of applause coupled with a few definitions made of my own fond memories.





Fear, adj.

To have to think that maybe, you will never give us another chance, even when the whole world is wishing you would. To have to accept, that what we had, I will never taste again. To live with knowing, I lost something, that was possibly, the best I ever had.

Growth, n.

We both stare blankly at the map of the tube, the train, with every passing moment, getting me closer to my stop. My fingers, agitatedly, tap away. The silence, too palpable between us. My eyes still hurt from the tears I shed, my salt kissed skin, stinging from time to time. I know this moment reminds you of all the others, but unlike the past events, you won’t try that hard to make amends. I gulp. I breathe deeply. Biting my lip, I look away as I place my hand on yours. You immediately entwine your fingers with mine. I smile and turn to look at you, not caring if you realised, that for the first time, I made the effort. I let go…




Memory, n.

You had just missed your train. Turning to me, a swear escaping your lips, I forced a smile before I asked for the thousandth time, ‘How do I look?’ Worry etched itself all over my face, the gravity of the situation, heavy in the air. You looked me in the eye and said, ‘You look beautiful.’ Tears welled up instantly, the familiar lump in my throat. ‘I should go’ I stammered as you simply looked at me before we simultaneously leaned forward. Your lips touched my cheek and I, helpless and scared, flung my arms around you. You started stamping the right side of my face with as many kisses as you could muster while your arms firmly held me to you. You starting walked forwards urging me in turn, to walk backwards. When you let go, we were on my platform. Your hand, still on the small of my back, gave a gentle push. I breathed and entered the train that had just arrived. You smiled and walked back, waiting for yours.






And last but not the least,


I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did, should you get your hands on it. It makes for a delightful read, I promise.

Till then, my lovely Mavericks…

Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight

A few weeks back I wrote a post about a reading challenge I was planning on trying out. If you haven’t read it, you can do it here.
Thanks to the book I read, I killed five birds with one stone. Out of the fifty challenges given, with the help of this book titled Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, I can happily strike out the following challenges.

  • A book by a female author
  • A book set in a different country
  • A book based on a true story
  • A memoir
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

I wish I could read one book for each challenge. Unfortunately, I have Literature as my Masters and so have too many books to focus on. This makes it quite difficult for me to find time to spend on reading for leisure.

*Spoiler Alert*

Anyhoo, lets come back to Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, an amazing novel that really struck a chord with me. To begin with, the cover itself sends a very strong message. The feet of a young girl in red shoes is featured on the cover. There is a bandage on her knee and she’s standing on dried leaves and dusty sandy ground. A gun hangs from, what can be guessed as, her shoulder. What can be gathered from the cover is that there is a young girl all too familiar with violence and weaponry.

The novel is from the perspective of Bobo a.k.a Alexandra Fuller, the author. Throughout the course of the novel, she is addressed by everyone as Bobo. The rare times she is called by her real name is when she is in boarding school. Alexandra herself doesn’t feel a sense of familiarity with the name since she developed a habit of responding to Bobo and being called that by almost everyone. The novel maps Bobo and her family’s life as they move from one land to another, trying to retain power and superiority of race in a land that doesn’t belong to them. Zimbabwe, originally called Rhodesia, is where the novel’s storyline resides.

Tracing the life of Bobo as a White African child and how she copes with the strict division her parents enforced, especially her mother, in regards to racism and her sense of belonging, believing Africa to be her home is the recurring theme of the novel. One thing that was extremely interesting for me was how Bobo associated with Africa not with the Africans. She was in love with everything the land offered, the weather, the barren land, the poisonous creatures, everything, but not the people who inhabited this land. The few Africans mentioned in the novel have no description or storyline of their own. They are notable in their absence.

The relationship between the family members is quite interesting. Bobo and her elder sister Van share a dysfunctional relationship of sorts. Bobo can be seen as someone who admires and looks up to her sister. Van, on the other hand has a very cynical and realistic take on life that almost borders on the pessimistic. It is Van who wishes to run away, leave the place and start afresh in a new country but it is, ironically, her who stays back and Bobo who settles down elsewhere at the end. The parents can’t be considered to be the best parents. They neglect their children too much which leads to the children growing up with harsh views of life in general. The father isn’t the most compassionate man around. The rare times he is shown to express any kind of emotion besides anger is when his wife suffers from horrible losses or when his daughters get married. The mother, having lost three children from unexpected deaths, loses her mind and finds sanctuary in alcohol. She has an immense love for domestic animals which could be seen as a displaced sense of motherhood. Having lost three children, she sees the animals as surrogate children, finding it easier to shower empathy and affection on these animals than on her two daughters maybe out of fear of getting too close and losing them as well.

I empathise most with the mother. The pain is palpable every time she loses a child and it is evident when and how she starts to lose her sanity and becomes a victim of a mental breakdown. Constant inebriation numbs her enough to not think or mull over the pain of losing her children. With every death, she falls deeper into the pit of depression. These losses create a massive miscommunication in the family. For example, when Bobo feels guilty and blames herself for the death of her younger sister, none of the family members step forward or try to alleviate her guilt. Bobo talks of how she believes her parents know she is responsible for her younger sister’s death and yet no one helps her out. This is not because the parents and sister don’t want to or can’t help her but because they are honestly extremely unaware of the guilt Bobo feels. Despite this, there is a sense of kinship that is quite evident in the family. This maybe because of the extreme violence they endure on a daily basis and the fact that war was a reality and daily routine for them.What gives me goosebumps is how comfortable or okay the two girls are when it comes to violence. The mother almost shoots down the house in an attempt to kill a venomous snake that had entered the house, yet neither blink an eye or are shaken up about it.

The two sisters grow up with very different personalities despite going through horrible ordeals together. When the two sisters are sexually molested by a friend of the family, Van doesn’t even try talking to her parents about it knowing full well her parents will not believe it. Bobo on the other hand constantly tries to make them believe until she is told to shut up and not make up stories. This in itself shows how the two sisters were and what they expected from their families and life.

The book ends with both the sisters married, Van with two children and a second husband and Bobo relocating to America with her husband. There is a sense of ambiguity at the end of the novel. It also leaves the reader wondering about what happens to Bobo, the White African adult having seen her live the life of a White African child.

I would definitely recommend to any interested. It makes for quite a read and doesn’t disappoint.

Leaving you readers with my favourite quote from the novel.

This is not a full circle. It’s Life carrying on. It’s the next breath we all take. It’s the choice we make to get on with it.

Bibliophiles, Are You Ready ?

Despite the fact that I am pursuing my Masters in English Literature, I don’t get much time to read for leisure during the semesters. This hurts and effects me quite a bit since I can not imagine my life without books and knowing well enough that I have not picked up a book and sat down to read it other than for academic reasons, stings.
So, you can well imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this Book Reading Challenge while surfing the internet.


Any one who knows anything about me, knows how much I love a challenge. It serves the competitive trait in me and also gives me the chance to test myself. Through this challenge, I not only get the chance to maybe read fifty books in this year but also get to expand my genre of reading. A perk to this challenge is that if one doesn’t wish to read 50 books, one can try an choose a book that fits more than one criteria.

I personally can’t wait to start this challenge. I already have a few books on my shelf that demand my attention and with the current London weather, I can’t wait to snuggle down with a warm, frothy cup of coffee and a wonderful book.

I can barely contain my excitement and the urge to drop everything and start reading right away.

I would love to know if anyone is interested in this challenge. If you are, keep me posted about which book you are reading based on which criteria. This way, I get to expand my reading list and you yours !
Till then, cheers !