books

10 Books to celebrate Diwali

Hi Virtually Readers! This weekend is Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights (kind of the exact opposite of Halloween haha). There’s a lot to this tradition that I’m not really qualified to explain but basically: fireworks, lamps, and good food, paired with a sexist myth about homecoming and why kings are necessary. Anyway, I thought that I’d make a list of books that are fully of light/fill me with light/somehow match Diwali.

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  1. These Broken Stars series.

C’mon, the last book is called ‘Their Fractured Light’. How could I not? These books have lots and lots of stars, and mystery and space and all sorts of adventure, perfect for binging over your long Diwali weekend.

  1. The Secret Life of Bees

This book is filled with summer sun and buzzing bees. It tells the story of a girl and her (black) nursemaid, who have run away. They encounter three black beekeepers who show them a different way to understand the world. (it’s more complicated than that, trust me, but you might have to read my review to find out why)

  1. All the Bright Places

I listened to this audio over about 5 months, but it’s very good. It’s about finding the light in your life even when everything seems like darkness. It’s about finding friendship when you thought you’d discover despair. It’s heartbreaking and hopeful all at once, and will match the Diwali fireworks in the dark sky quite well.

  1. The Burning Sky

Because sky’s burn when they’re filled with fireworks, haha. But really, this is a historical-fantasy-romance thing about a magic kingdom and powers and travel between worlds, which is lovely escapism. The way that Titus doesn’t trust Iolanthe is sort of like how Ram doesn’t trust Sita in the Diwali myth.

  1. Written in the Stars

This book wasn’t my favourite, because I feel like it mis represented South Asian culture in many ways by just showing a single stereotype, but hey, in the Ramayana, the epic that Diwali is based on, there were all sorts of forced marriages and girls at risk, so if you want to confront that more somber aspect, go for this one!

  1. Brown Girl in the Ring

This is a decidedly weird book about post-apocalyptic Toronto that I read a while ago. It’s about risk and telling the truth and confronting your own power, and all the little elements that Nalo Hopkinson buries inside the story will make you feel like fireworks are going off as you start to see the big pictures (it’s a stretch, I know)

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  1. Illuminae

How could I not include this one? More space, more fireworks (or explosions, really), more feels, and lots of engagement with this unique text. This book is lots of fun, even though I lost my copy. The fire in your soul as you try to get hold of a copy of Gemina will match the fire in the sky of people celebrating Diwali.

  1. Seraphina

Dragons breathe fire. Diwali involves fire. Need I say more than dragons? But this take on a common myth is lots of fun, and Seraphina Dombegh is a heroine you can root for.

  1. Book of a Thousand Days

Obscure myth? Society that represses women? Strong brave women anyway? Magic powers and heroes and surprises? This novel has some similarities to the story of Sita, and I loved it. Read it, love it, think about it (and all those other clichéd things).

  1. The End of Night

This is, in fact, a non fiction book. It sticks more to the light theme, and is about the human relationship with night and what light pollution means and is, and so on. It’s very well written and very interesting, and sort of inspired my AP Research project. Something to think about as you watch lights shoot across the sky (sky, skkkyyyyyy. Sorry about the Katy Perry)

So none of these books are explicitly Indian, but I hope that this post inspires you to learn more about Diwali if you don’t already, and maybe pick up a few of these fabulous books.

Which books get you in a festive mood? Are you celebrating anything this weekend? And have you read any of these books? tell me in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “10 Books to celebrate Diwali

  1. Ohhh Diwali sounds like a MUCH better celebration than Halloween!! I loved this post. ❤ I reeeally love Illuminae (I'm re-reaidng it right now and basically, you know, crying…but it's so good) and I adore All the Bright Places (STILL CRYING) and Seraphina was so good too! You 100% just made me add the Bees book onto my TBR. And eeep, I was a bit sad about Written in the Stars too…it did seem very negative towards South Asian culture and just highlighting everything American as "good" and that bothered me too. *sad noises*
    THAT FIRST PHOTO IS SO PRETTY TOO I LOVE IT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diwali is awesome. Except there are lots of fireworks and it sounds like bomb blasts which is scary (at least to me). The Secret Life of Bees is wonderful. I hope you get to read it. Written in the Stars wasn’t untrue, but there are so many other South Asian narratives that don’t just show the negative parts. Aah, thank you. I do think it’s rather pretty myself :p

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  2. I forgive you for the Katy Perry. I’ve heard about this festival before when I was younger. However, I didn’t really know what it was about xD

    Are you having a good time so far?

    And I wanna check out The Secret Life of Bees 😛

    Like

    1. Yeah, it’s a Hindu festival, sort of like the Indian equivalent of Christmas, and a pretty big deal around here. My long weekend has only just started today (and goes on until Monday) but, yes! I think you’d really like The Secret Life of Bees, Grace- it has a lot of themes about family and guilt and faith and belonging.

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