January 2020 Theme
It’s the first month of our South-Asian Reading Challenge and we thought what could be more fitting than using our fresh enthusiasm as the inspiration behind this month’s theme. Since this challenge is just starting out and the year is starting too, and with the new decade here, the Hindi word Shuruat for ‘beginning’ felt the most appropriate for our first-ever monthly theme.
What is Shuruat?
Literally, it’s the Hindi translation for ‘beginning’ but honestly, it can be anything according to your interpretation. For us, it marks the beginning of this challenge; for you, it might be a great inspiration to start picking up more South-Asian books this year. We simply want everyone to enjoy this challenge so don’t worry about misinterpretations either!
What books can be read as part of this theme?
Literally, it’s the Hindi translation for ‘beginning’ but honestly, it can be anything according to your interpretation. For us, it marks the beginning of this challenge While we’re not asking you to stick to only these ideas, we do hope you start with these if you’re trying to get more familiar with January 2020’s theme. Of course, you can play around with these suggestions to fit your picks for this month but we’d appreciate if they essentially coincided with the following:
1. The first book in a series
2. Debut novels (can be a backlist or this year’s release)
3. New releases coming out in January 2020
4. Books with great first lines
5. A synonym of ‘beginning’ in the book’s title
Where can I find book recommendations based on this theme?
We have a great list of books that sit well with Shuruat and we’re excited to post it soon. Till then, keep an eye out by following the social media profiles of The South-Asian Reading Challenge because that’s where you’ll hear it first: Twitter & Instagram.
Books Of The Month
Going with our monthly theme of selecting the first book in a series, we chose a book coming out on 7th January, 2020 and we’re so excited to read this with all those who decide to pick it up! It’s SCAVENGE THE STARS by Tara Sim. It is a young adult fantasy retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo and has been pitched as perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo. If you’re looking to be blown away by not just the stunning cover but also by an amazing story, we would highly recommend this new release!
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
It was difficult choosing a backlist book because there are such great South-Asian releases from the previous years, selecting one is hard. But this author’s impacting debut novel won everyone’s hearts with the fun representation of a desi girl and went on to win the RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, which made it easier for us to choose. If you’re looking to read a YA romantic story about a fan of films looking for a Bollywood-style happy ending, we recommend MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma!
Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pundit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.
Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart, charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.
What can I expect if I plan to read the Books of the Month?
We’re always here to cheer everyone picking up any South-Asian book but if you decide to read either of these January 2020 picks: SCAVENGE THE STARS or MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE, we’d be excited to know your thoughts while reading it or once you’ve read it.
If you review them, we would love to be tagged; if you include them in a list, we would be happy to know; if you have already read it and recommend it along with us, let us know; and if you wish to discuss them with others who are reading it (or have already read), you can participate in our monthly Twitter chat! But in the easiest way, you can use our hashtag #SARC2020 on any social media to share your thoughts.
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