Action Replay + Gratitude List: July 2020

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Back in March, when this whole self-isolation charade started, I never thought we'd still be here in August. It was pretty obvious, but the mind refused to believe. August is my birthday month and it is usually a month that keeps me happy and exuberant. July has been comforting too and it helped me strike a balance between the old and the new normal. July has been a highly productive month and it kept me busy, just the way I like it. I have crazy deadlines at work and it kept me busy for most of the day. Thanks to a planned routine I was able to manage my time quite effectively and this helped me have a clear and calm mind.

Looks like we'll still be living in the times of Corona for a while now. Unfortunately, Karnataka and more specifically, Bangalore, is handling it the worst possible way. With the opening of malls and gyms things are only going to get worse! In the times of online shopping and online fitness training, was this necessary is the question. With 2000+ cases everyday, the situation is far from being under control. I don't know what is going wrong where, but the only thing that we can do at the present is to take care of ourselves and stay safe. I hate the paranoia that comes with it, but I'm getting better with time. We stepped out three to four times in July, for long drives, meeting my parents or for just a takeaway and this helped us feel better. Such small breaks help us not get claustrophobic.

While work took up most of my time, my mind is now conditioned to listen to audio-books while I work without affecting my productivity or getting distracted from either task at hand. Thanks to this, I was able to read quite many books this July. A dozen actually! This probably is the most books I have ever read in a month ever and I'm obviously thrilled about it. While I don't like keeping count or obsessing over a challenge, I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for this small achievement.

The books that I read/listened to in July were:

~ Circe by Madeline Miller.

Loved it! Very different from what I usually read and belonging to a genre that I usually am not fond of. 4 stars!

~ Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

One of the longest books that I've ever read and totally worth it! Books set in Japan are such a treat to read. I listened to this one on Audible and it took me close to a month to finish it. Full 5 stars to this one.

~ The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay.

I've been wanting to read more Indian authors this year and I have to accept that some of them have been really good reads. I read this one as part of the #TBRChallenge2020 and it was a very interesting read. 4 stars! You can read my review of it here.

~ Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbag.

This book had been so highly praised and I finally decided to read it. Its take on middle-class life is both hilarious as it is accurate. While I did like the book, I did not love it. The ending ruined it for me. 4 stars!

~ The Rosie Project by Greame Simsion.

This was an Audible listen. I've been wanting to read this ever since I read 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine' since I had heard that both these books are similar. They sure are but both the protagonists are unique in their own way. I completely adored this one. 5 stars!

~ Poonachi by Perumal Murugan.

Perumal Murugan is an author I've been wanting to read from ages. I finally got to it this month and Poonachi was the first book I chose. It is an interesting take on the current politics, hierarchy and patriarchy that is so deeply embedded in the Indian society. 4 stars!

~ An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

This was an Audible listen. Stories that focus on marriage is always interesting to read. This one too was. Deeply layered and structured, this one addresses the concept of falling out of life beautifully. 4 stars!

~ Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

Another story translated from Japanese and a concept like none other! A quick read albeit a very interesting one. 4 stars!

~ Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.

This was an Audible listen. Again, very much on the lines of 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine' and yet unique in its own way. 4 stars!

~ Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.

This was an Audible listen and it was pure magic! Revolving around a travelling circus, this book was all about love. I read this one as part of the #TBRChallenge2020 and it is now one of my favorite books of all time. Full 5 stars!

~ Verity by Colleen Hoover.

It had been a while since I read thrillers and this one was absolutely brilliant! Revolving around just two women and a man, this one was goose-bump inducing. I read this one as part of the #TBRChallenge2020 too and it sure deserves a full 5 stars!

~ The Best Girls by Min Jin Lee.

This was an Audible listen. A really short tale that would surely break your heart. 4 stars!

Have you tried Audible yet? Read my experience with it here.

Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

While reading was excellent in July, writing was decent too. I finally got back to writing some posts that were not Book Reviews or Blog-hops. It was just one, yeah, but that's a start. I shall be writing more such posts henceforth.

July taught me a lot about accepting the situation and how to deal with it. It helped me mature and become a better person. It was the perfect stepping stone to my birthday month.

Here's what I'm thankful for this July:

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~ Work: Kept me busy and brought appreciation my way. I'm happy and blessed to have this in my life.

~ Health: My workouts continued to be consistent and the cardio and yoga did wonders to my body and soul. I'm also a much calmer person, thanks to the yoga.

~ Organic Vegetables: We started a vegetable subscription from Farmizen (Not a sponsored post), and they bring us fresh, organic vegetables every week. This comes directly from the farmers and whatever is in season comes in. The veggies are plump and fresh and so delicious. Healthy eating takes a whole new meaning with this.

~ Audible: Half of my reading for this month was actually listening on Audible. I'm loving the Audible experience more and more each day and this now is the most convenient form of going through a book for me.

~ Plants: My green babies are thriving beautifully and I love sitting on my swing in the balcony and admiring them. They have taught me patience and the bees buzzing around them has taught me the importance of nature and the food-pyramid.

~ The Outside: We have been getting out once a week just to go for a long drive, meet our parents or drop into our favorite restaurants and eateries for some takeaway. Restaurants are struggling, people! Help them out in every way you can.

~ Friends: Friends and video calls is one of the best combinations ever!

~ Secret Project: I planned to do this in two phases. While phase 1 is completed successfully, I'm yet to start phase 2. I'll do it this month and talk about both next month. Stay tuned!

~ Love: When I see many people complaining about managing office work as well as the house work, I don't get it much. I have a partner who believes that we are equal and we do stuff around the house equally. Because of this, nothing feels like a chore to either of us. It has been close to 5 months now that we are locked up together for every minute of the day, but we have no complaints. We discover new things about each other day after day, even after being together for 9.5 years now! This man makes my life more meaningful!

July was a positive month in many ways and I feel like things will get better at the Covid front too, soon. The news about the vaccine is positive and I hope it is out soon! Fingers crossed and hanging on to hope.

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August is always a happy month for me, not only because it is my birthday month, but because it comes with excellent weather and celebratory feels. Gifts for the birthday have already started pouring in and I cannot be more happier about having so many wonderful people in my life! I feel so blessed! I hope August will be as awesome as July, if not more.

How was your July?

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Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.


14 comments:

  1. That sounded like a calm month for yo . For me July was filled with health issues. Yoga helps a lot but I had no energy to even do that. Been working a lot and seeing some good results. Unlike you, all of us stuck at home is driving is nuts even though we have developed a routine. Even Coco is not in prime health currently. I don't know exactly what is happening in Bangalore and Karnataka but it is scary. I don't know how long this will stretch. Sigh! We have to try and stay safe. August is the birthday month for my husband too. Months are just passing by, I feel.

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    1. I hope your health is better now as is Coco's. Time's just passing, yes, but it is up to us to make the most of it!

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  2. Uff what a yummy post this was SOumya- the books!!! Wowza! I dont know how you manage to concentrate on Audible and work together- I tried listening to it while washing utensils and failed. I am now doing it on my morning walk and thats why this one book is taking forever to finish.

    Your happiness is shining through this post and I wish for a beautiful August ahead with the bday week and even after that. You are a rock strong person with a very mellow heart and I am proud to call you one of my friends. XOXO and much love

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    1. Thank you so much darling and I'm so happy to have you as a friend too!

      Much love <3

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  3. It sounds like July was pretty good for you despite all that's going on in the world right now! Great work on the reading front! I found I struggled with audiobooks so I don't do them. It's regular books or the kindle for me. It's weird because I can listen to podcasts! Secret project sounds intriguing. :) Here's hoping your birthday month is fantastic! Have a great August!

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    1. I hear many struggling with Audible, I'm glad I've somehow managed to make peace with it :D

      Your reading inspires me to read more, you know that?

      Thank you so much! Wishing you a happy August too!

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  4. Honestly, I knew that this was going to get a lot worse before it got even remotely better. So yeah, I did not think things would be drastically different anytime soon. But I had thought we would be better off by this point. The scientists would have had a breakthrough of some sort, the world would have a plan. But nope. This is going to be a long and hard road to navigate.

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    1. I expected the same from India too, but once you see it unfolding like this, it comes as a shock either way.

      I hope it gets better sometime soon.

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  5. You read books! That's mind boggling. I'm so happy you had a happy month. You're one of the few people who aren't complaining about this whole Covid situation. It's a refreshing change to read you. Have a super happy birthday. Keep smiling and keep spreading the cheer. Sending you love and hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Tulika! We realized very early that complaining is not going to take us anywhere and we need to make the best of the situation at hand. That helped a lot and honestly, we've had some of the best times during the isolation period.

      Thank you so much! Much love!

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  6. You are inspiring me to subscribe to audible. I havent read anything in a long time so I am really craving a good read. But as always priorities change. I love seeing your green babies on Instagram. They are thriving really miss. What a great idea to buy organic vegetables directly from farmers. Healthy and tasty.

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    1. Just try it, Raj. You might like it. Yes, life has changed so much and for the better the past few months and I cannot be more happier. My green babies really calm me and are teaching me so much.

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  7. 12 books! that's amazing. One of the days this year, I will try audible. So good to know about things that are going well at your end. VT and I have been stepping out 1-2 times a week for house work and that is something we can't avoid. I am scared but there is no choice. We need to close things.
    You do so much more, Soumya and I always feel happy knowing all that you are up to. Including the secret project. Hugs and love!

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    1. Thank you, Paro! I know how much time and effort setting up a house takes. It goes on for years, trust me!

      Love!

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