Just counted the books I have read in 2017 & I can’t believe the number is 158! This does not include the Complete works of Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Treasure Island & Overcoat (a short story by Gogol) which I re-read this year. As far as books are concerned, 2017 has been a fortunate year. Books have been my best friends. They distracted me from the hell I was going through in my life & also gave me company during sleepless nights. I also discovered some really amazing authors thanks to Amazon’s pocket friendly deals! Can you believe I got the Nobel prize winning book only for 40 bucks? The 9, 29 & 39 deals have been such a blessing for a book hoarder like me! 😀
The most fascinating read of the year is A Song of Ice & Fire. I was not a Game of Thrones fan, infact I didn’t understand what the hoopla was all about. But after I read the book, I got hooked. I read all the 5 books of the series and watched all the 7 seasons of the show (Thanks to Hotstar) And I am now eagerly awaiting The Winds of Winter (GRRM, hurry please!)
As usual, the genres of books was a mixed bag – Autobiographies, Chick-Lits, History, Mythology and General Fiction (Kids and Adults)
Autobiographies / Memoirs: I loved reading An unsuitable boy by Karan Johar. It was interesting to read about his childhood. His memoir was full of emotions and drama, as expected. I also loved Khullam Khulla by Rishi Kapoor, mainly because it included the behind the scenes stories of much loved movies. I would include Tuesdays with Morrie in this list as it is a kind of a memoir. It has been a fabulous read, specially since I relate to the way of life of Morrie. When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi was again an outstanding read. Anyone who has suffered from cancer / has a loved one suffering from cancer can totally relate to this. What moved me to tears was afterword by his wife. His being an Indian was also a revelation to me.
Chick-Lits: The good ones were – Busy Woman Seeks A Wife, In Your Shoes, Good In Bed, Little EarthQuakes (Jennifer Weiner is a new favourite) Sophie Kinsella disappointed with Remember Me (Rip off of 13 going on 30) & Swimming Pool Sunday. My not so perfect life was just like busy woman seeks a wife. The Summer Season had a superb plot but was ruined by rubbish writing. The Zoya Factor was okayish, not at the level of Those Pricey Thakor Girls. So was the Boy is Back by Meg Cabot. But the worst book in this category was the Mango Season by Amulya Malladi.
Classics: None of the books in this category disappointed. All were good reads. Catch 22, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Daughter In Law (DH Lawrence), Jude, the Obscure & The Cider House Rules (yes, the movie is based on this book)
Fantasy: I have already talked about the Song of Ice & Fire. Another fascinating read was Chronicles of Narnia. I loved the Magician’s nephew the best in the series and found The Last Battle a bit abrupt. Good read for young adults. I found The Scion of Ikshvaku a bit boring when I first started reading but then I held on and it turned out to be quite interesting. The concept is in continuation of the Meluha series. I loved the character of Sita very much! Not a docile princess but a true life partner of Ram! I had bought A Boy in Akka when I had visited Lotus Temple in Delhi. It provided a good insight on how the Bahai religion came into being.
Kids & Young Adults: No shame in admitting that I love this genre. I read Best Friends, Eight Keys, Rikki Tikki Tavi, The Best of Ruskin Bond, The Fairy & the lost wing (this was just to know what to read to babies) were all good reads. But the best of the lot was A complete collection of Grimms Fairy Tales. I was reading from the angle of retelling it to kids and nothing more has horrified me more. The stories are misogynistic to say the least, where girls are only supposed to look pretty and get kissed by strangers and marriage is the be all and end all of their life. Also, i did not like how kids are being brain washed against step mothers. Not all step mothers are evils as depicted in the fairy tales. We need to popularise more humanist stories for kids. I will include A cure for laziness by Sudha Murthy here. By the title, I actually assumed it had a cure for laziness, but it’s just a folk tale retelling. So much disappointed!
Regional: To my disappointment, not many regional books did I read during the year. Whatever I read was brilliant though! Thag by R. V. Desai, Pather Panchali (Hindi translation), Chitra by Tagore & Chinta by Mahashweta Devi!
Perry Mason: I read 85 books of Perry Mason, written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Simple pleasure, nothing else! The books get predictive if read at a go.
History: Except for Kashi Ka Assi, which was grossly one sided, everything else in this category was brilliant! Train to Pakistan – a fictionalised version of what happened during Pakistan gave me nightmares. Can’t even imagine what people would have gone through! Only for a little bit of land!! The Last Mughal & City of Djinns by William Darlymple fuelled my fascination for Delhi. Alex Rutherford series on Mughals (6 books) were also equally brilliant, though a fictionalised version of history. I only wish I had read these books before I visited Delhi & Agra.
Short Stories: The short stories of Leo Tolstoy (Two Wise Girls, The Imp’s Crust, etc), The Door on the wall & other stories, A Storehouse of Tales (by Indian Women Writers), Bijnis Woman (Real life anecdotes by Tanuja Chandra), Tell Tale (Jeffrey Archer’s latest) were all brilliant reads! Three Thousand Stitches was partly okayish, partly interesting.
Fiction / Novels: Most amazing books were read in this category. The bastard of Istanbul, A Man Called Ove, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go & finally Room! All are must read. Before we visit the Goddess was also quite good & so was Beyond Indigo. Adultery by Paulo Coelho came in my life just when I was looking for answers to some difficult questions, hence it really touched me.
Apart from all these books, I did read Indian Super Foods by Rujuta Diwekar. It was quite interesting yet somehow did not meet expectations.
Target for next year: 200 books! Because..