2015 reading challenge

I didn’t make it to my goal, just one short of my plan of 18, but I’m not beating myself up about it. I did read 17 books, and some really nice ones at that. I told you about some of them when I made it to my half-way mark of 9 books. A snapshot for the remaining ones follows…

  • Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates is a poignant tale of a young woman who unexpectedly has to learn to cope with her mother’s sudden & violent death. It made me think that never mind how tough one is, there are some things life can never prepare you for.
  • Untold Story by Monica Ali tells the story of a princess who, hounded by the public eye and fearing for her life, fakes her own death and recreates a life away from her past. The author takes Princess Diana’s death as a hypothetical start of her story. Makes one wonder, what if…? In fact, I read Brick Lane earlier this year, another book by Monica Ali. Must say, I enjoyed both of her works almost equally.
  • Balika Badhu (The Child Bride) by Monish Ranjan Chatterjee is a classic in Bengali literature. Sadly I am nearly illiterate in my own mother tongue, but I am glad that works of Bengali literature have been widely translated into English and I am making an attempt to read more of them.
  • Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won the Man Booker Prize in 1975. The story runs in parallel between past & present following the story of Olivia who struggles to survive societal bounds in Colonial India, and her step-granddaughter who travels to India 50 years later to uncover the mystery of the scandal that engulfed Olivia. A good read, though I did not quite enjoy the extreme coincidences between the lives of the two leading ladies.
  • Seven by Five by H.E.Bates, a collection of short stories, all of them a little too glum and grey for my taste. I didn’t even find the book on Goodreads, so that was proof enough for me that it wasn’t going to be a great book anyway. But I bought it last year at the Bokbordet, the same weekend that hosted the Stockholm Zombie Walk and the Midnattsloppet, so at least I have some happy memories of how it came to be mine 🙂
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is based in an imaginary scenario where they belong to a ‘species’ of clones borne & raised solely for the purpose of organ donations. However, human feeling is not something that can be engineered, and the book tracks a poignant trail of three friends whose lives are bound by love, friendship, jealousy, a shared past and a common fate. I watched the movie, too, but as mostly happens for me, I like the book better.
  • Lord of the Flies by Nobel prize-winning author William Golding is a hypothetical story of a bunch of schoolboys who are stranded on an island. The story tells of loss of innocence and acquisition of power among those boys, who are far from being men yet. It reveals how dangerously the human psyche may work around power & violence. I enjoyed the book, although it was  quite a horrific realization that this was very close to a possible reality.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is such a popular work that has been portrayed in plays and movies several times over. I can’t say it is one of my favorites, but I guess it depicts very accurately the decadence of American society in the 20’s. Still, happy to have another classic under my belt!

Here’s a peek at my 2014 Goodreads Reading challenge. Have you read any of the books from my lists? Did you enjoy them? I’d love to know, so please do share!

Book haul

 

Yay! My darling sister brought me a big haul of books to read from her collection. I am raring to bite into these. I am halfway through to my goal and these should help me get a good pace for my Goodreads challenge. What’s on your fall reading list?

Goodreads challenge : You’re halfway there!

A few months ago I showed my readers the books I read last year. Keeping up my reading tradition, I set myself a new reading challenge this year. I raised the goal to 18 books this year, which means I upped it by 20% for good measure. 😉 It’s mid-July, I have met the halfway mark and I am well into my 10th read. Feels great to be on track, right?

Here’s what I have been up to the past few months, in the order that I picked them up (hmm, I notice those thumbnails appear in the reverse order, but doesn’t really matter):

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, first published in 1953, talks about an imaginary, desolate future world. Part sci-fi, part prophetic, it is an interesting read.

  • Monical Ali’s Brick Lane follows the story of a pair of sisters from Bangladesh and the different paths either of them takes through life.
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, is a sinister tale of four unlikely people that come together to explore the nature of a so-called haunted house. Not as scary as I had hope it would be.
  • The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman is an amusing set of short stories from the world of newspaper journalism. What I especially liked was the way the tales were intertwined together to make it more of a novella than disjointed stories.

  • P.G. Wodehouse’s Piccadilly Jim was one of my favorite reads this year. Superbly funny and witty, a comedy of errors and mistaken identities. You can take a look at my review of the book, posted a few weeks ago.
  • From Heaven Lake is a non-fictional work by Vikram Seth, a travelogue of his hitch-hiking journey from Heaven Lake in Xinjiang, north-west China to Delhi, via Tibet and Nepal. A beautiful account of the geography, people & cultures that he encounters along the way.
  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s mystery revolving around story of a man & his wife who goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary; and how their marriage has changed them over the course of those five years years. Quite dark and a very compelling read. I watched the movie afterward, but in my opinion it didn’t do justice to the text.
  • The Bone Vault is written by Linda Fairstein, who served as head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for more than 25 years. However, I did not much prefer her work as an author. Too hollywood-style for my taste.

Have you read any of these titles? I’d love to know what you thought about them. What other  books have been keeping you busy?

Funny bone

“…her nose was stubby and aggressive and her mouth had the coldly forbidding look of the closed door of a subway express when you have just missed the train…”

That’s one of the many witty & hilarious descriptions that made me want to laugh out loud while reading P.G.Wodehouse‘s ‘Piccadilly Jim‘ on the subway. The only thing stopping me was the thought that people might think I am quite daft. I wonder how I managed to not have read this awesome writer all these years. I remember a friend of mine recommending his books way back in school, but somehow I remained ignorant to his funny world. Thankfully I have discovered his unique way of making every other sentence in his book sound super funny. And never a repetitive note. Looks like I have a lot to catch up on. ‘Piccadilly Jim’ is one of the most entertaining comedy of errors that I have come across. What do you think of Wodehouse’s works?

Btw, remember my 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge? I am nearing the 1/3rd mark for my 2015 reading challenge. Feels good!