The second month of this year has rolled in and we’re ecstatic to not only leave behind January (which was a period of inactivity for us) but also for all the exciting things we have planned for this month. With Valentine’s day coming up, this month definitely reminds everyone of hearts, roses, and love. That’s exactly what we wish to reciprocate through our monthly theme: Mohabbat, which essentially means love in Urdu.
What is Mohabbat?
As we already said, Mohabbat is the literal translation of the word ‘love’ but we don’t want to confine it to the walls of romance. It’s an Urdu word used to speak out one’s feelings and is also a very, very widely used word in the romantic lyrics of many songs.
What books can be read as part of this theme?
We don’t believe in deciding boundaries when it comes to love. It can be anything you want, anything you find comfortable, anything you interpret happily. Romanticizing is not the only way to think of implementing this theme but if you wish to do so, go ahead! While we’re open to new ideas and creative flows from the participants, we would definitely share some ideas that you can start with or stick to:
1. A book of the romance genre
2. Covers having couples
3. Familial love, cultural love, religious love
4. Self-help books because loving yourself is as important
5. Titles with the word ‘love’ in it
Where can I find book recommendations based on this theme?
We have a great list of books that sit well with Mohabbat and we’re excited to post it soon. Not only this, we also have movie & TV series recommendations if you wish to diversify your to-watch list too! 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.
OF CURSES AND KISSES BY SANDHYA MENON
Paying heed to the immense anticipation around this book and the dedicated readers of Sandhya Menon, and considering a little bit of our theme too, we decided to pick up Of Curses And Kisses as our 2020 release of this month. It’s a retelling of Beauty & The Beast and brings a contemporary spin to the table. If you loved any of Sandhya Menon’s previous works: When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle With Love, or last year’s There’s Something About Sweetie, you’ll love this one!
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
SARIS AND THE CITY BY REKHA WAHEED
After looking through so many options for romance books released in the last year and earlier, we finally decided to pick and underhyped, almost-lost-on-the-radar book by Rekha Waheed. With a Bengali Muslim woman as the main protagonist, Saris and the City can be considered to have been inspired by Sex and the City but points for diversity! The romance in this book is great and involves fun tropes like falling for your boss, a biracial love interest, and obsession with Bollywood so we hope you love it.
Love, lingerie and family loyalties collide in this sexy, sassy tale of chasing success – but at what cost?
When ambitious City analyst Yasmin Yusuf’s hope for a traditional ‘happy ever after’ in the romance stakes is shattered she decides there’s only one course of action: get smart, sexy and successful. And what better way to achieve it than by turning around a failing lingerie company? Swept head-first into her glamorous new job by suave private banker Zachary Khan, Yasmin is soon clashing with snobby fashionistas, pedantic accountants, her culturally conservative Bengali family and, worst of all, Hannah Gibbs-Smythson, Zach’s indomitable senior advisor. With the odds stacked against her and her attraction to Zach complicating matters even further, the stakes for Yasmin have never been higher… Is she prepared to risk everything for the success she craves?
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 February 2020 picks: OF CURSES AND KISSES or SARIS AND THE CITY, 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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