2018 Reading List: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

I will be honest – my book choice for 2018 did not get off to a good start.

I received The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy, as a Christmas gift from my mom. Normally she finds amazing books, and we have similar tastes in genres and authors. I wanted to like this book. It is a New York Times Bestseller, it was on top reading lists, featured in bookstores, and it just looked like an interesting story.

But I didn’t love it. I struggled through the whole book with the Indian names and language. And honestly, I just got lost on the whole plot. I didn’t understand where everything connected, I forgot which characters knew each other or had relationships, and I was completely confused on the whole sequence of events. I tried so hard to pay attention and to get the story right in my head. The book jacket said that it was a love story, beautifully woven, fates entwined, lives braided together – but I just didn’t get it.

I could tell that it was a beautifully written book. I could tell that the author was a thoughtful, poignant storyteller. I knew that there was meaning behind the lives of the characters who had a history and a culture I could never truly understand. But this book was not for me.

I would recap it for you, but I’m afraid that I would do it an injustice due to my lack of understanding. Here’s a better review.

If you find that your book preferences have been in line with my own over the past year (see my list of 2017 books here), then you won’t like this book. But if you’re looking for an intricate dive into a different culture with a storyline that is full of metaphors and hidden meaning then you will find Arundhati Roy’s newest book to be very intriguing.

Have you read The Ministry of Utmost Happiness? What did you think? 


Some infinities are bigger than other infinities


After Pennsylvania’s $60 million in film tax credits were renewed earlier this month, the first movie that was set to film in Pittsburgh using those tax incentives was The Fault in Our Stars, based on John Green’s novel. I figured I’d better read this if movie studios think it’s great enough to create a major motion picture.

I’m a big fan of books. I read just about every day and I fall asleep with a book in my hand. I cling to characters like family and read every word of the acknowledgements when I don’t want it to end. When they make a movie out of a book, I believe the book is almost always better.

I finished it in less than a week. I couldn’t stop turning the pages–I laughed and I cried and I went through half a box of tissues. It was just as good as the news articles and the Facebook posts had claimed it to be. I like cynical characters for some reason—characters who see the truth and harsh reality of a situation rather than the silver lining. So I fell in love with Hazel from the first page. And I fell in love with Augustus because he looked for that silver lining and tried so hard to get Hazel to see it. Continue reading