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.
- 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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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).
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!