This is out now.
This year has been like no other. When the year began, it gave us no inkling of what it held. And we end it on a note of bewilderment, not really sure of what happened and what will happen. Hope springs eternal of course, and we await the new year with a curious mixture of weariness and bated breath.
Personally, the year has been kind to me. Things have more or less been on an even keel and changes have been very manageable. I’ve realised that I am truly happiest by myself and suprisingly, life has rearranged itself accordingly.
I am so grateful for everything that’s come my way, and then some.
The happy news includes a story of mine published in this hot-off-the-press anthology. An excellent collection of stories, it is really worth reading. Here’s to more reading and writing in the new year too!
Stay safe and take care. This is the way. 😉
I have always wondered whether I would enjoy listening to a book as much as reading it, since I am a fast reader and listening seems so much slower.
I had the chance to find out for myself recently. I picked up the Audible version of Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults. Having raced through her Neapolitan Novels breathlessly earlier, I thought this book would be a good test.
I found myself instantly captivated by Marisa Tomei’s brilliant narration, switching from crisp tones to hoarse voices, rolling syllables to elongated ones, suave to stressed words. Vivid images were built up in my head and I felt so much closer to Vittoria and Giovanna. I dreamed about them in Tomei’s voice and I was mesmerized quite completely.
I had never imagined how crucial the narrator would be for audio books. Now I know.
But for the discomfort of constant earphones (which means I can’t “read” a book continuously), I’m now a fan.
About the book itself, it starts off with a bang but weakens midway and peters out to an ending that is as anti-climactic and dull as G’s stepping into adulthood. But the writing reminds me of crochet, digging into holes to create more holes, a beautiful pattern forming along the way. Quite lovely.
Did not realize I had read 20 books in March. What fun! Quite a crazy mix, so I’ve attempted to categorize them somewhat.
7. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson: The second book of the Reckoners trilogy. Ends on a cliff-hanging note that makes you impatient to read the next (Steelheart, which features in my February list, is the first book).
8. Calamity by Brandon Sanderson: The last book of the Reckoners trilogy. A bit disappointed with the very Hollywood ending. But there’s no doubt that Brandon has now become one of my favourite authors. His construction of worlds is so solid that you get quite completely sucked in. His writing is so competent that the story stays right on track. Creativity at its best!
9. Strange Worlds! Strange Times! Edited by Vinayak Varma: Such a delightful collection of science fiction short stories! Do read, they are quite enjoyable.
10. The Man who was Thursday: A Nightmare by G K Chesterton: What a strange story this was. Anarchists named after days of the week turn out to be quite something else. And the ending is surreal. But the writing, oh the writing! What beautiful, lyrical writing. Reminded me of what I was missing.
11. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa: A YA fantasy set in faeryland, featuring Oberon, Titania, and Puck amongst others, and technology taking on the guise of the villain. The heroine, Meghan Chase (what is with Magnus Chase, Meghan Chase and all?) is not the brightest bulb honestly. Too many times I wanted to smack her. Wish she was a stronger character. Didn’t particularly care for the central male characters either. Overall a good one-time read.
12. 123 Tomorrows by Vaibhav Thakur: A Kindle book that reminded me of Source Code a bit. A terrorist plot, multiple universes, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of main character…ambitious book and quite well-written, found it gripping in parts.
The month is short, but still managed to pack in quite a few, mostly light reads.
That’s it, folks. Onto my March list – what joy!
What a fantastic start I’ve had with books this year! I read a dozen books, and I enjoyed almost all of them.
Here’s the list with as short a review as I can muster:
Hopefully, February will be equally delightful.
I was having a conversation with a couple of friends regarding some of the books we had read. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton cropped up, and I remembered I had written a post on that, comparing it with Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pahmuk. I searched for that post, and when I read it, it brought back vivid memories of both the books.
I have read so many books this year, and I guess jotting down my thoughts about them will keep them fresh in my mind in the days to come.
Some of the most lovely books I’ve recently read include
- 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
- Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson
- Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
- Shaya Tales by Bulbul Sharma
- Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
- The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
- Leela: A Patchwork Life by Jerry Pinto
- The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per J Andersson
…I could go on all day! 🙂
The book I just finished reading is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a saga about the lives of Korean-Japanese folks.
It was fascinating, for it provided a glimpse of how universal the issues of migrants to a different country are. In the book, people of Korean origin are treated often with suspicion and disdain by the Japanese in Japan. Nothing they do is ever good enough to make them sufficiently Japanese. Sound familiar?
In many ways, the book reminded me of Jasoda by Kiran Nagarkar.
Both feature a strong matriarchal figure who is the rooted anchor of the entire family tree. Both feature brilliant eldest sons who hunger for more education. Both feature America as aspiration. And both showcase the strong, silent, entrepreneurial women who run families with little or no support, and do the best job they can.
Both novels are also written in solid styles with no gimmicks. They tell a competent story and enclose you in the comfort of traditional story-telling.
In short, I enjoyed reading both books.
June is coming up and I do hope I hit the half-way mark of 50 in my Reading Challenge. I’m reading more in binges rather than consistently, so sometimes, I complete 2-3 books over the weekend, and then two weeks pass before I pick up a book again.
Here’s an update to the list:
28. The Guardians of Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath: A competent fantasy book with Indian mythology woven nicely into the plot. First of a trilogy.
29. Mahabharata Quest by Christopher C Doyle: Again, a fairly interesting thriller (I guess) book set in India, the second in a series. But it lost me in some of the technical details – it was dealt with in a heavy-handed way.
30. Hysterical by Rebecca Coffey: Interesting book on Anna Freud, daughter of the famous Sigmund Freud. I would have liked to read more about Anna’s achievements though.
31. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert: I had heard so much about this book. It didn’t disappoint, but I did feel disappointed that Alma Whitaker was a figment of the author’s imagination instead of being a real person. That makes it a great book, doesn’t it?
32. Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak: Loved the Rumi stories, but was bored with the modern day equivalent that seemed forced.
33. An Outrageous Affair by Penny Vincenzi: It was a really long time since I read something like this, so picked it up from a friend’s house. It was interesting in bits, but didn’t quite stay with me. It also brought home to me the fact that even a “bestseller” like this needs solid research.
34. Netherland by Joseph O’Neill: The blurb looked really interesting, and when I started reading, it seemed one heckuva tale. A Dutchman playing cricket in America, talking about outfields and pitches and Sachin and Afridi…what’s not to like. Writing is brilliant, but the story itself wasn’t captivating enough. I could take in only small doses at a time, which was quite frustrating, since I wanted to finish it soon and get on to the next one! 🙂
35. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos: When I began reading this book, I just fell in love with it. The women seemed so real and familiar to me. Of course, as the story progressed, everything was too pretty, and loose ends were all tied up a bit too neatly. But I hugely enjoyed this book and read it at one shot.
36. Ithaca by David Davidar: Did not quite work for me. Though it provides a lovely insight into the publishing world, I just did not feel engrossed enough to care.
37. The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer: GH was one of my favourite romance authors growing up. I loved that her heroines had such spunk and I liked her witty writing. I picked this up on a whim, and was a little bit disappointed that it turned out to be a murder mystery instead (didn’t take the title literally – duh!). But it was nice to read her writing again, and see the wit sparkle.
Still quite a bit of catching up to do, though. So many books, so little time!
I started quite a few books, but somehow didn’t feel inclined to finish them.
The ones I did manage to finish reading were all good reads, but I didn’t find anything particularly spectacular about them. So here goes the list:
23. Ponniyin Selvan – The First Floods, originally by Kalki, translated by C.V. Karthik Narayanan: This was an interesting read. I liked that the flavour of the original Tamil version still came through nice and strong. (I really liked the use of the word “Adada!”) The descriptions were really quaint – sometimes I felt I was reading a “Shakuntala” novel. But all in all, very nice, and I would definitely like the read the entire set.
24. Personal – A Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child: Didn’t particularly care for this one, to be very honest.
25. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt: I was recommended this novel in order to understand better how to do character sketches, and boy! this one rocks when it comes to characters. The story itself didn’t somehow interest me too much, but the writing was excellent.
26. Holes by Louis Sachar: Lovely book. It was well-paced, and though not too much of a surprise for me, I really liked the way the story went. Solid writing.
27. The One You Cannot Have by Preeti Shenoy: I had the opportunity to meet the author, and she came across as a sincere, down-to-earth, practical and hard-working person. So I thought it would be good to read one of her books. I can easily understand why this book is such a hit with young people. It reflects a lot of their lives and the relationship problems they grapple with. It is easy to read too, without becoming too preachy or literary. But I guess I won’t be too inclined to read more of her since I’m not particularly interested in this genre.
GoodReads tells me I am behind in my reading challenge by 2 books. I do hope the next crop of books excites me more than this one.