I finished "Inda" by Sherwood Smith. I liked it towards the end because the plot started to capture me but the beginning was slow going. This is one of the books I really wanted to like, even though I don't care much for fantasy - but it was worth it. The end of the book, once the sheltered MC is banished, was more interesting. Smith does some great world building and I enjoyed how gender roles and the emerging sexuality of her characters developed.
I'm trying "Water for Elephants" next, and when I go out for my morning run, I've started to listen to "Contact" by Carl Sagan.
Last week, I also finished "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry. I think this is in my list of top ten for the year. He captures a year of hope and misery, which takes place during "The Emergency," a bad time in India's modern history. The characters, their developing friendships and the tragedies, are all well written. It has the sweep of a Bollywood film too - especially when everyone comes together at the end. Some reviewers said that this book was too 'raw,' but I felt it was India - the most sublime and the most horrible.
Plum blossoms in my back yard: