HydRAW 2022 DecemberReads

6 min readJan 13, 2023

Write-ups and reading lists of our members in December, 2022

The fewer December reading lists indicate that our members were winding down the year completing their projects, vacationing or just plainly relaxing. Beginning or end of the year matters nought for the die-hard readers, though. Arun Kumar maintained his steady reading traction, Manohar has had his second Ankur Warikoo read, Poonam was back in action discovering her all-time second-most favourite novel and Fizza came up with a pulchrous review. Here’s wishing you all a happy new year and that 2023 treats us all better than all the previous years.

Arun Kumar (on Post Cheyyani Uttaralu) : This Telugu book is written by comedian/writer Lakshmipati’s daughter expressing her unconditional love to her family, more so to her father. A touching book.

Manohar Grandhi (on Sleep Smarter) : This book discusses many aspects related to sleep. The author starts with the importance of sleep. Then he dissects different aspects of sleep like keeping the room dark, why avoid caffeine, avoiding alcohol, fixing gut health to improve sleep. He talks about mindfulness and other aspects too. He has divided the topics into 22 chapters and he discusses on all the things related to better sleep.

Fizza Younis (on Serpent & Dove Trilogy) : A beautiful story of forbidden love. The story is set in a fictional France. It’s purely fantasy but there are valuable lessons to be learned here. Personally, I enjoyed the world author has created between these pages. It’s a world where humans and witches are at war. But it’s not really a war because there simply are too few witches to fight humans openly. They remain hidden and kill from the shadows. While humans hunt them and burn them at stake in public. They hate each other’s kind and there are no grey areas in this hatred, or so it seems. Both sides are consumed with prejudice and deceived by their false leaders, they are willing to do anything to win against the other. But soon, we will learn that not all humans are good and not all witches are evil. Things are never as simple as that. It all depends on the part of the story you focus on. Witches have ample reason to hate humans and vice versa, but they can also chose to re-learn history and live in harmony.
Anyway, in this troublesome world, there is a witch who is falling in love with a human. And not just any human, but a Chasseur who is sworn to the Church. Chasseurs only purpose is to hunt and kill witches. They are taught from a young age to hate witches. As the story progresses, it becomes much more than a simple hate/love story. Louise runs away from her coven to save her life. She has been living in hiding since then. Her only way of survival is to become a thief. Unfortunately, that dangerous path leads her to a Chasseur. Reid hates the witches and wants nothing more than to kill as many as he can. When he meets Louise, he doesn’t think she is one. And for a long time, she kept the secret. But in the end, the truth must come out. What will happen then? There are so many lies that history has concocted. Will they ever be able to untangle the web of lies and learn to love without guilt? There are more secrets than anyone of them can even imagine. And soon, the world will never be the same.
I enjoyed all three book in this trilogy but book one is my absolute favorite. For fantasy lovers, it’s a perfect series. It has all the right ingredients to make a memorable read; brilliant world building, lovable main characters, and hate-worthy villains, plus a lot of drama & adventure. And of course, romance. Main theme of the story is forbidden live between a witch and a Chasseur so, let’s not forget that.

Dhruva Nalla (on A Tale of 2 Cities) : It’s a story about Dr. Manette and his daughter Lucie, how she meets her father and then Charles Darney and Sydney Carton.
How their lives get affected by the French Revolution? The book depicts the French Revolution in a real and authentic way. There are interesting characters like Dr. Manette and Madame Defarge which will keep you hooked.
A must read for the history and literature lovers.
(on The Brothers Karamazov) : It’s a story about a womanising father Fyodor Pavlovhich and his three sons; Dimitri Pavlovhich, Ivan Pavlovhich and Alexei Pavlovhich. Dimitri who is a gambler has a conflict with his father regarding the inheritance. The other 2 brothers try to pacify the issue between them. One day their father is found dead and Dimitri is sent to jail. Who killed Fyodor and how is Dimitri linked to the murder forms the rest of the story.
The author takes time in establishing the world and the characters living in it. The conversations between Alexei and Ivan about God and his existence and their arguments is one of highlights of the novel. Dostoevsky takes us into the depths of human to shock and enchant us. By the end of the novel, Dostoevsky tries to show too much rationality can be dangerous and that faith and forgiveness can give peace.
Overall, this is a must read novel, it might be long but it’s very interesting, once we start reading its hard to put down. Interesting fact: This book is Albert Einstein’s personal favourite.

Poonam Vaze (on Frankenstein) : This book is now my second best read after Wuthering Heights. This book is a life changer. Its hard for me to explain such a masterpiece. Everything about Frankenstein is exceptional. The book falls impeccably in the Gothic genre. Astounding atmospheric description, tone of writing, the intelligent narrative style (the book starts with letters and end with letters written), the intermingle of two main characters Victor Frankenstein and the monster, the symbolic sublime meaning, the beautiful language and what a plot line! I loved this book.
The story is heartbreaking! Its a story of a young scientist called Victor Frankenstein who using his knowledge gives life to inanimate body and creates a monster. What happens when the monster is actually thrown into a place where crooked beings called humans reside? The story is about the creator and his creation and what happens when the creator himself detests his creation? Its about the monster who becomes a real monster because humans don’t accept him. They shun him whereas he just needs love and acceptance.
Frankenstein is called the first sci-fi written where the thirst for knowledge turns into destruction. Its impossible to believe that this story is written in 1800 by a 19-year old girl when she was stranded in a cottage due to winter. It’s a real classic and a must must read😃

Arun Kumar

  • Sultana’s Dream by Begum Rokheya Sakhawat Hossain
  • Borrowing in Dream and Other Stories by Sunita Pant Bansal (Contributor)
  • Classic Satyajit Ray by Satyajit Ray
  • The Purse of Gold and Other Stories by Sunita Pant Bansal (Contributor)
  • Permission from a Field and Other Stories by Sunita Pant Bansal (Contributor)
  • Mulla’s Turban and Other Stories by Sunita Pant Bansal (Contributor)
  • Two Funny Poems by Ruskin Bond
  • River Boy by Tim Bowler
  • The Accidental President by Tom McLaughlin
  • Look Ma, No Hands! by Vikram Agnihotri
  • The Boy Who Made Magic: P.C. Sorcar by Lavanya Karthik
  • The Girl Who Loved Words: Mahasweta Devi by Lavanya Karthik
  • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
  • The Dalit Brahmin and Other Stories by Sharankumar Limbale
  • The World of Trees by Ruskin Bond
  • Post Cheyyani Uttaralu by Sveta Lakshmipati

Manohar Grandhi

  • Get Epic Shit Done by Ankur Warikoo
  • The Language of Sales by Tom Hopkins and Andrew Eilers
  • Trick Yourself to Sleep by Kim Jones
  • Sleep Smarter by Shawn Steven

Fizza Younis

  • Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
  • A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
  • The Killing Game by Kate Bold
  • Skeptic in Salem: An Episode of Murder by Fiona Grace
  • Good Witch, Bad Alpha by Sandra Grayson
  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
  • Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
  • Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin
  • Vivian Valentine Goes Up the River by Emily J. Edwards
  • Save Me by Molly Black

Poonam Vaze

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Shavleen Kour

  • God’s Bubble by Kalam Babu & Lavanya Nukavarapu

Dhruva Nalla

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Mahboob Hussain

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Poetics by Aristotle
  • Rushi by Yandamoori Veerendranath