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?

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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!

For the love of a good read

You like books? I like you already! Reading is one of my passions. I have been an avid reader for as long as I remember. Books take me away on a journey through time & distance, into unknown situations, exploring possibilities, identifying with characters… Over the years I have realized I like fiction better than all other forms of literature. Although I can speak at least 3 languages fluently, unfortunately, I can comprehend reading only 2, and enjoy mostly reading books in just the 1 – English. But the world of English fiction itself is so vast and varied that it’s almost overwhelming! Also, work & keeping house & lalala doesn’t make it easy to catch up on the book lying on the bedside table. Enter: Goodreads to the rescue! For the past four years I have been taking up the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Beginning of every year this lets you set a goal on the number of books you’d like to read in the next 12 months. For me it’s a personal goal, like a new year’s resolution & one that I actually want to achieve. You could of course, also share your challenge with friends & check up on them from time to time. Take a look at their stats, you’ll see that the challenge has caught on quite a bit.

So there’s still some of December left & I have happily lapped up my goal of 15 books this year. I know some people can make it to much more & I seriously envy them, but at the same time I feel great with my progress. And who knows, with the holiday season coming up, I might just squeeze in another beloved book till the year is up! Here’s what I have been up to this year. Do you find any of your favorites in there?

 

The Book Thief

People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is a poignant tale of childhood in Nazi Germany. Narrated by Death, a very very unusual voice, the story follows Liesel Meminger from being given up for foster care, to starting to love her new family, making new friends, saving a life, and ultimately losing it all during the bombing of Munich during World War II. And it all weaves through the little girl’s curiosity and hunger for books and words. I admit, reading the book made me a little teary-eyed at times. And yet, it is not a constant reminder of the pain of those days, on the contrary it speaks about how there is happiness to be found in the toughest times and from the most meager means. The book is a heartening story of love, friendship, trust and hope. A book I am sure I will remember for a long time.

On a side-note, have you played that listing-favorite-books-and-tagging-friends game that was all the rage a few weeks ago on Facebook?