Tag Archives: Mira Jacob

Book Review: The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob (4/5)

21 May

I can’t remember how exactly I heard about this one. I think it was in a ‘new releases’ pamphlet a few years ago. Anyway, I wanted to add it to my TBR and it took me almost five years, but I finally got around to it.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

Summary from Goodreads:

When brain surgeon Thomas Eapen decides to cut short a visit to his mother’s home in India in 1979, he sets into motion a series of events that will forever haunt him and his wife, Kamala; their intellectually precocious son, Akhil; and their watchful daughter, Amina. Now, twenty years later, in the heat of a New Mexican summer, Thomas has begun having bizarre conversations with his dead relatives and it’s up to Amina-a photographer in the midst of her own career crisis-to figure out what is really going on. But getting to the truth is far harder than it seems. From Thomas’s unwillingness to talk, to Kamala’s Born Again convictions, to run-ins with a hospital staff that seems to know much more than they let on, Amina finds herself at the center of a mystery so thick with disasters that to make any headway at all, she has to unravel the family’s painful past.

I liked the back-and-forth style Jacob used to move through time. We see Amina as a girl growing up with Akhil and then we see her as an adult visiting her parents. Both stories lead us to find out how Akhil died (this isn’t really a spoiler, it’s pretty clear from early in the book). The theme of sleepwalking, or sleeping in general, is pretty prominent. Her uncle (whose name completely escapes me) is a sleepwalker and his sleepwalking ends up causing a major and deadly accident. Akhil suffers from a sleeping disorder, and her father ends up developing one. But ultimately, the sleepwalking motif is also a theme about enjoying the time you have. For a lot of Amina’s life, she’s gone through the motions without enjoying or really taking in what is happening around her. She’s sleepwalking through life when she could be dancing through it and enjoying it to the fullest.

I adored Amina’s parents. Thomas and Kamala reminded me a bit of my parents and of my friends’ parents as well. Their speech patterns were great, like how Thomas repeated someone’s name three times when greeting them. The way they cared about their kids was very real to me. Kamala was fierce when it came to Amina and Akhil and I adored her love for them. I also liked how they’d changed when they became empty-nesters. They were more relaxed with their kids and able to enjoy being a couple again. I see that in my parents and my in-laws and I’m glad Jacob was able to capture it.

Kamala was my favorite character. She was well drawn and she had a great attitude about life. Her religious convictions were fun to read about and the way she spoke to and cared about her kids was very loving. She called them dummies all the time, but you knew she was the most kind-hearted character in the story. The way she treated Thomas through his illness was heartbreakingly beautiful. She was a woman who was kind and loving on the outside but could yell and push to get what she needed for her family. I loved the way she was drawn.

Because I’m a similar age to Amina, she was easy to relate to. I liked that we got a character around 30 who isn’t settled and happy in her career. I feel that, all too often, characters in books are wildly successful by age 30 and that seems so unrealistic. She felt more real to me because of this and I was glad to have a character I could relate to.

Mira Jacob
Image via India Today

The flashbacks to Akhil in high school were my favorite parts of the book. Seeing a boy becoming a man so quickly and seeing it through his sister’s eyes was a great way to develop his character. I enjoyed hearing about his political dealings because it felt reminiscent of high school for me; when we were 17 and out to change the world. He was full of optimism and hope. Amina watching him change was paralleled with herself at 30, who has not yet come into herself in the same way and needs a kick in the pants to be comfortable with herself.

Dimple was my least favorite character and the parts of the book with her in it disappointed me. She felt very flat to me and I didn’t think she added much to the book. She seemed like a terrible friend if I’m being honest. She pushed Amina into doing a lot of things she didn’t want to do and wasn’t very supportive when big things were happening in Amina’s life. She also kept secrets and seemed to demand a lot of attention when they were together.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Jacob. At first, I was nervous because some authors are not meant to be narrators. But Jacob really impressed me. She did great accents for her Indian characters and gave each a distinct voice and inflection so they were easy to tell apart. I hope she continues to narrate her books going forward as she has a great gift for it.

Writer’s Takeaway: It was clear to me that Jacob had some personal knowledge of being Indian in America. The story was reminiscent to me of a Jhumpa Lahiri novel and I thought the immigrant story was well done. This is a great example of ‘write what you know’ and it really shone for me.

This was a great read and I’m glad I finally got around to it. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacobs | 52 Books or Bust
Mira Jacob’s “The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing” | A writer is a world trapped in a person
Book Review: The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob | ahouseofbooks

WWW Wednesday, 8-May-2019

8 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Still going slow with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min but I did squeeze a bit in this week. I’m not worried about this one taking a while, I figured it would. I’ll get there eventually.
Maybe I’ll finish A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin before I finish Min. It’s not going quickly, but it’s going. I adore the narration of this one and I think I’ll continue to enjoy it for another month or so.
I picked up Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi while I was on my vacation and finished about half of it. I thought I’d get through more but I was so tired on the plane that I slept a lot. The author really focuses on the survival aspect of the camps and I’m really getting a good sense of what he remembers and went through.
I started  Exit West by Mohsin Hamid on audio. Still too early to really say, but I’m excited to start this one after hearing so much about it! It’s a nice, short one, so expect this finished quickly.

Recently finished: I finished Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton right before I left on my trip. I was really disappointed with it if I’m being honest. It’s from the author of my favorite book and it lacked a lot of the emotion I love about that book. If it had been by another author, I’m not sure I would have liked it anymore. The subject matter was just not what I expected.
I wrapped up The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob and really enjoyed it. I was worried about the author narrating this one but she was amazing. Honestly, I’d listen to her narrate any book and I’d be very happy with it. I saw the author has another book out and I’m excited to see how that one is received.

I posted my review of Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. This was one that kept me up late reading. I really adored it, a full 5 out of 5 Stars.

Reading Next: I’m going to keep chipping away at my TBR. I want to read one of my autographed books next since I don’t like those leaving the house and I’ll be home for a few weeks. So I’ll tackle A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I’ve liked most things I’ve ready by Eggers so I’m excited to read his memoir as well.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 1-May-2019

1 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve had to work through lunch a lot the past few weeks so I haven’t made much progress on Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. Partially, it’s because I’m not super interested, but it’s mostly because of time. I hope work slows down and I can get back to it soon.
I’m still moving forward with Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton. I hoped to be done with it by now, but it’s not gripping me. I actually dislike it so far, but I’m hoping things turn around a bit and finish on a better note than they’ve started. I’ll be really disappointed otherwise.
I’ll finish The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob by next week. This one has been enjoyable and I like the back-and-forth timeline it’s using to build suspense. And I keep thinking about the title and all of the things it can mean for the book. I wonder what I’ll finally decide on when I’m done.
As predicted, A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin will be a long haul. I’m on disk four of 36 so I feel like it’s going pretty well. We’ll see if I can keep this pace up for a few weeks and actually finish before it’s due back at the library. I might have to beg for a long renewal.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week, unfortunately. I’m OK with this because I’ve been so far behind on reviews and I finally get a chance to catch up! I think there will be two here next week, though.

I’ve knocked out one more review this week, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I absolutely adored this book and I wish I could imitate Simon’s voice. Albertalli is so talented. I gave it Five out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’m leaving for a trip tonight and I’m taking Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi with me. I hope to start reading it while I’m gone and on the plane home at the latest.
I’ll need a new eaudiobook soon as well and I’ll be picking up our next book club selection, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I’ve only heard good things about this one so I’m excited to dive in soon and see what all the fuss is about.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 24-April-2019

24 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still moving forward with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min but it’s starting to drag. It feels like nothing has happened in a while and I’m starting to get a little bored of this one. I hope something major happens soon, it feels like it’s due.
I’ve made decent progress on Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton despite being so busy the past week. I try to read a chapter before bed each night, but I keep falling asleep too quickly to finish. I think I can have this one finished next week, though.
I started The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob over the weekend. I’m having flashbacks to Lahiri’s The Lowland so far but I’m not sure if it will continue that way. It’s just something about brothers fighting in India that’s got me comparing them.
I started the long journey that is A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This monster is 36 disks long and I’m on disk 3. And I’m happy with that. It will be on here a while longer, I’m sure. This is going to be fun.

Recently finished: I finished Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to see the movie as soon as I find a copy. I adored Simon’s voice and I’m not sure how that will translate to film, but I can’t wait to see them try.
I finished The Power by Naomi Alderman over the weekend. I’m still feeling out how I feel about this book. I liked the idea and how it played out, but I’m not sure how I felt about the characters. Sometimes, it was just a little too much for me.

I’ve got two book reviews posted as well. The first was my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I’m still vacillating about reading the rest of the series. I have an opinion poll on the review page so please check that out.
I also posted my review of News of the World by Paulette Jiles. My book club will be meeting next Monday to discuss this so I’m glad I was able to review it before then. I’ve been falling so far behind that’s become a problem.

Reading Next: I’ll read Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi as my next physical book. It’s been sitting on my shelf for so long. I’m glad to finally get it off.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-April-2019

17 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s still steady-going with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. It’s not engrossing me as much as I would like and I keep waiting to be swept into it, but I’m almost halfway through and it’s not happening. I’ll keep pressing forward!
I’m obsessed with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Simon’s voice is so perfect, I’m loving it. Honestly, it’s making me feel like my YA novel is never going to get published if this is the standard I have to stand up to. I’m finding excuses to drive around so I can listen to this.
I’m getting toward the end of The Power by Naomi Alderman and finally starting to see where it’s going. There are jumps forward and backward in time and they slowly merge into a big event. I’m getting close to it now. I think it’s safe to say this one will be finished next week.
I started reading Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton. Hinton is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, The Outsiders so I’m excited to pick up something new by her. This one is relatively short so I hope it doesn’t stay on this list very long.

Recently finished: I’m happy to say I finished Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. This one had me staying up late to read just a few more pages each night and I think I frustrated my husband by keeping the light on later and later. There’s a movie of this one and I can’t wait to see it. What a complicated issue Bohjalian created. I think it will play out well on screen.

I was able to post one review this week, Dodgers by Bill Beverly. My book club met this past week to discuss it as well so I’ll have another post about this one coming up soon. I enjoyed the book but the discussion actually brought up a few issues I hadn’t thought of before so I’m really glad for this group of people who have challenged me to think more about books.

Reading Next: I still plan to pick up Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi as a physical book, I’ve just pushed it back one. I’ll get to this when Hawkes Harbor is done.
My next eaudiobook will be The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob. This book was hyped a lot a few years ago and I haven’t heard much about it since but it’s lingered on my TBR all the same.
I think it may finally be time. I tend to listen to ‘bad summer books’ in the summer. I’m going to start on A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This will be a long endeavor to be sure, but I’m ready for it. I’ll be caught up to my husband finally. And it will be good to be catching up on the books as the show ends.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!