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What Fascinating Books are You Reading Right Now?

read a book today

Read a book whenever you’re down has been my mantra for as long as I can remember. And I think I’ve been down for all of this year–due to many personal and health reasons that I don’t really talk about all that much in public.

For some reason though, books haven’t done it for me this year.  I’ve been reading, don’t get me wrong, but more and more, the overwhelming desire has been to get away from the written word for a day or two. In one way or the other, that’s been impossible.

Deadlines have done me in, and with THE BLUE MONSOON due out in 4 months, I’ve had to work on some promotional efforts. So when I’m not writing or reading for work, I’m  doing that for book promo. (If you enjoy reading crime novels, toss me an add on Goodreads for the new book, pretty please–I’m at 392, and wish to hit 400 this week sigh.)

My soul longs to go away to a place that lulls with the song of a dancing brook, whispering leaves, and a chorus of cicadas that can silence thoughts and let you just be, breathing in the blue of the sky, the sap of green.

That’s not really possible at the moment, so here I am, asking you for book recommendations that feel like taking a vacation. No trauma, not a lot of real dark tension, perhaps some lovely language I can absorb. Books on audio would be an added blessing, because I intend to go back to my long walks.

So, what books have you been reading? Can you suggest books for me that feel like a warm hug? Can you spare a virtual hug, maybe? I’ll take them all in the comments.


My literary crime novel, The Blue Bar is on Kindle Unlimited now. Add it to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day. The sequel, The Blue Monsoon is up for pre-orders! And if you’d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin.  Find all info about my books on my Amazon page or Linktree.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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46 Comments

  • bikerchick57 says:

    Hi Damyanti! I’m probably the wrong person to offer book recommendations that feel like taking a vacation because I tend to gravitate toward murder mysteries, historical fiction and fantasy. Well, maybe fantasy counts, but I do have one recommendation: “The Garden of Small Beginnings” by Abbi Waxman. Humor, gardening tips and a love story. It’s a delightful read.

  • Sonia Dogra says:

    Hi Damyanti. I’m reading Manto presently, but I don’t think he will fit into your criteria of something light and refreshing. I’ve binged on Jhumpa Lahiri and Kristin Hannah in the first half of the year. ‘In Other Words’ is beautiful. But, may I please suggest Tongue in Cheek by Khyrunnisa.

  • Excellent question, Damyanti Bisawas. I’m actually reading “Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World.” It was written by a FBI Futurist, Interpol advisor who breaks down how we basically volunteer the most intimate and personal information dear to us every time we sign up for any app, to the point we sign over permission for them to access our devices’ camera and speakers to document everything we do and say.

    My job has a “Little Library” kiosk all around the building–because I work for higher ed–and I happened to stumble across it. It, so far, has been the most insightful book I’ve read in 2023, right behind The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene.

    You read any good books lately? If so, what stood out about them.

    One Love,
    TSP

    • DamyantiB says:

      I have read quite a few good books this year. I always appreciate a story which can whisk me away into another world or show me a different side to this one. Thank you for the book recs!

  • maggiedot says:

    When I need some light/fun reading, I always fall back on Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series and Dick Francis mysteries set in the horse racing world. They’re just chill and fun.

  • Currently reading Ashwin Sanghi’s the magicians of Mazda

  • Pam Webb says:

    My comfort books are those in the McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. The slow pace and gentle wisdom found in each story helps me put a pause on the hustle of life. Plus it’s interesting that the stories are set in Botswana.

    • DamyantiB says:

      I’m definitely on the hunt for a new comfort book! Thank you for sharing, Pam!

  • Margaret Laing says:

    Dear Damyanti, Here’s a virtual hug from smoky Chicago, U.S.A.! I have enjoyed discovering your work on First Chapter Fun and your Facebook page. Some of my favorite books, which I think of as A.A. Milne’s term “Sustaining Books… to Help and Comfort in Great Tightness,” are “Summer of the Red Wolf” by Morris L. West, “Parnassus on Wheels” by Christopher Morley, and any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. I also love Laurie R. King’s continuation of Holmes in her books about Mary Russell, beginning with “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.”

    I can always tell when a book is a favorite or Sustaining Book — I leave bookmarks behind to help me find places I enjoy or admire.

    I’m catching up on books lent by a friend and inherited from my father, so I’m not buying very much, Still, “The Blue Bar” is on my list to look for. I still remember how fascinating it was on First Chapter Fun. Thanks and congratulations!
    Margaret

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thanks so much, Margaret — looks like my TBR list has just grown considerably longer! I appreciate all of your support and I’m so thrilled that you’re interested in The Blue Bar. Virtual hugs to you, too!

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – lots of them I suspect … but have just read one that totally engaged me – the post goes up in a couple of hours … it’s by a Nigerian American author, Nnedi Okorafor, and is of an Africanfuturism genre … it’s based in Namibia – where I’ve been fortunate to visit … so it resonated. But I do love lots of other books – another one I think I’ll write about soon … and then yours – take care and I send you lots of virtual hugs. Cheers Hilary

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thanks for sharing, Hilary! I understand what you mean — I love being able to connect with the places I read about. Hugs to you, too! Looking forward to checking out your post when it goes up.

  • Hi Damyanti,
    The only warm hug books that come to mind are ones by a really old-fashioned English author, Elizabeth Goudge. When I had time for re-reading, I would return to them periodically when I wanted to shut out the world. The Scent of Water and Green Dolphin Street are particular favourites. Another English writer of past days that pops into my memory is Miss Read. She wrote quite amusing books set in tiny villages, often from the point of view of local teachers. Very old-fashioned, though, and possibly not quite in tune with current sentiments.
    We writers are so often advised to torture our characters and create lots of conflict and tension, that it’s not surprising heartwarming books are becoming scarce.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Those books sound very charming! I’m grateful for any recommendations, and I’ve been looking to expand my reading scope, so thank you for sharing!

  • I marvel at the amount of things you can cram into a day and still have time to read

  • Pauleen says:

    Like Elephant’s Child, I love 84 Charing Cross Road, one of my favourite-ever books. Meanwhile, lots of virtual hugs to sustain you. xx

  • Hmm. Sounds like a job for poetry to me. The most recent “warm hug” book I’ve read is Archery in the UK by Ingrid Wilson and Nick Reeves.

  • Dr Kathakali S Bagchi says:

    Hi Damayanti, I dearly love going through books – be it for rejuvenation of mind or utilizing the pass time

  • Oops..Kommandant’s Girl..darn autocorrect..

  • I’m reading “The Hollow Hills,” Book 2 of the Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart, just the thing to transport me away from the cares of this world right now.

  • Julie says:

    If you haven’t read them before, ‘The Night Circus’ and ‘The Starless Sea’ might fit the bill.
    I am currently reading ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller and love it so far.

    • DamyantiB says:

      I just searched those up, and they do sound good! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Circe, too (and it’s definitely worth a reread).

  • Your book is doing great, Damyanti. Congrats! I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy (my first love) for a few weeks now. It’s been great fun. Happy Reading.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thank you, Diana! Good to hear that you’re enjoying your recent reads. Happy Reading to you, too!

  • I am happy to send you a virtual hug. I tend to reread when I am in need of a book to hug me.
    84 Charing Cross Road is one I go back to, and also The Summer Book by Tove Jansen.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Hugs! I have my comfort books, too, and sometimes I can’t help going back to the old favorites, despite my towering TBR list!

  • Susan scott says:

    Sorry you’re feeling low Damyanti. Hope this passes. I’ve got many books on my shelves that I want to read but I can’t get into it. I last read a Jodi Picoult:Mad Honey. It was good ….

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thank you, Susan, both for the kind words and the reading recommendation! The book sounds great!

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I wish I had one of those books at the moment because I need it. I seem to keep coming up with novels that want to take me “into” the harder questions about being human rather that taking me on a vacation from that condition. Someone recommended Lessons in Chemistry, but I haven’t read it yet. Another recommendation on my TBR list is West for Giraffes. Hope you find the right story for long walks.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Lessons in Chemistry is very good, but the opposite of a warm hug…I shall look up West of Giraffes! Thanks for stopping by, Lee, and for the recs!

  • Janet Alcorn says:

    I’m sorry you’re going through a rough patch! I’m having trouble thinking of a book that feels like a warm hug (probably because I tend to read a lot of crime fiction and medical stuff), but I read a book last year that I really loved that brightened my mood and had me daydreaming about spending more time in nature. It’s called Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through America’s National Parks by Conor Knighton. It’s a travel memoir, a little funny, a little snarky, but with a lot of heart.

    Wishing you all the best as you work toward launch of The Blue Monsoon! I hope you get to take a nice long break at some point.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Janet. I read a ton of dark books, too, but I think that travel memoir is just what I need right now. Thank you for the kind wishes, and I do hope I get that break, too!

  • I have been disappointed in books lately, too. Old standbys that were always excellent escapes (John Sanford and Daniel Silva) have gone political too often. My favorites continue to be Classic Westerns which I doubt interest you!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      You’ll be shocked but I read a ton of Westerns as a teen because a secondhand library in hinterland India somehow seemed to have an unending stock of them and little else!

  • Currently reading another resistance novel, The Commandant’s Girl…so far, so good 👍 And just finished The Fix by David Baldacci – who never disappoints…📖📖📖

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