I’m literally on a book ride this year. It’s keeping me busy and entertained. In the past few weeks I feel like I have known so many people and their stories. It’s as if hundreds of short stories are spiralling in my head. Reading can bring that creative kick to you in a strangely deep manner.
I have seen a grumpy Ove narrate his life in ‘A man called Ove‘. This story of an old man’s failed attempts of ending his life after he loses his love to an inevitable death subtly nudges us to look at life of an old and how his loneliness makes even lovable people and things around him invisible. This tale by Fredrik Backman cracks open the life of an ordinary man with an extraordinary humour.
After, I dived into African short stories with ‘An elegy for Easterly‘ by Patina Gappah. They were raw, unfiltered and great telling of life in Africa. The social, political and economic situations are narrated in a style that anyone could connect to. I had an urge to read authors from Africa and this was a great start.
When I was in India I’d picked a few books and Garry Kasparov’s ‘Deep Thinking‘ was one among them. I picked this out of curiosity to understand his emotions and his process of battle against a silicon chip that would eventually learn to master his game. It was a very detailed narration on his journey in playing chess against and with computers. I took a few weeks to finish reading this, but, I was delighted to see his positive remarks about Artificial Intelligence. This read leaves us with a note that we should stop being scared of losing our jobs to robots, instead, we must focus on how to adapt and work with them. Are you watching the digital thefts and breach of privacy in the news especially in the context of country elections?, but, I do think it’s beyond elections and AI is influencing every day of everybody’s life. This read convinces us that we are in the process and such glitches are bound to happen.
I am a big fan of Ashwin Sanghi. His writing is like an Indian Dan Brown to me. His ‘Keepers of the Kalachakra‘ was brilliant to stir up my curiosity around space and time with an Indian historical and mythological referencing. I wait for his book every year and the read never disappoints me.
Mark Mason is a great blogger. When I read about his book ‘The subtle art of not giving a F*ck‘ through another blogger, I knew I had to read this. It just set things right for my over analysing and victim feeling part of brain. I appreciate when someone comes by straight to the point without having to be politically correct or weigh their words more than required, and his writing style worked for me as if it were a screwdriver repairing my faulty brain.
A story of clones living their life to become donors, a possible future, left me questioning about ethics. ‘Never let me go‘ is my first of Kazuo Ishiguro’s work. It’s with lots of details creating a movie in your head as you read and maybe a reason why it feels slow, but, the impact it leaves is much deeper and far stronger.
I was recommended to read Soha Ali Khan’s ‘The Perils of being moderately famous‘ by my beloved kindle. I haven’t seen many of her films, but, I liked her performance in Rang de Basanti. I was beginning to wonder whether all the second generation actors who failed to make it big like their parents onscreen took to writing ? Twinkle Khanna and now Soha Ali Khan. I’m glad they did, they have such good flair for writing. Soha particularly mentions of her being moderately famous and I respect her even more for embracing it so gracefully and living her life.
I have begun to like reading short stories and essays and I bumped into Umesh Luthria’s ‘Coffee shorts: A story in every cup‘. What a delight reading this, I must say. It was the unusual witty twists and liners that I enjoyed the most.
Read a full length love story after a long time. Preeti Shenoy’s ‘Life is what you make it‘ is also an effort to break the stigmas around mental health issues. It was a quick read as if the author wanted to rush through chapters to reach the finish line. It felt as if it was tailored for readers who prefer limited words and bullet points. It had the context, but, didn’t have enough substance to hold through after putting it back in my bookcase.
I took to my friend B’s suggestion and have picked up Peter Allison’s ‘Whatever you do, don’t run‘. It brings me immense joy while reading his anecdotes on being a safari guide in Africa. Thanks to B, I got introduced to Peter Alison’s wonderful work – both, as a safari guide and a writer.
When I look back, this year has begun with good reads. What are you reading?