Century

28 12 2009

Hurray! I scored a century. Before you start wondering, let me make it clear that it’s not about any game; it’s the number of books I’ve read this year. Actually it’s a surprise to me too as I haven’t consciously strove for it, not unless I reached the 90 mark. I know that some bookworms out there take the 50 or 100 a year challenges, but I wasn’t motivated by them.

In fact, when I discovered that I read 58 books in 2008, I thought it was very unusual and have decided to read a lot less in 2009 as I wanted to spend more of my time on other things. But alas! The reverse happened.

Of course the number doesn’t mean much, it is quality that matters. I could have easily read little comics to make the count 100. Actually count was never a big thing on my mind, even though I experience a secret pleasure as I update my “Books I’ve read” spreadsheet.

I’m glad that I never had to compromise on the quality of the books I read in favor of the quantity. This year I read some really amazing books. While I can’t make a good job of picking up the top 10 (I tried, but soon saw the futility of it) or something like that, I would like to mention here some of the remarkable ones.

The Great Indian Novel” by Shashi Tharoor was an exhilarating experience to me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed its wit and humor. I had the honor of reading and appreciating George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984”.  Arundhati Roy’s “God of Small Things” was a pleasant surprise for me. It’s a prose that is so poetic and beautiful. “Bridges of Madison County” was a heart touching love story, which left lingering thoughts behind. I also thoroughly enjoyed my favorite author Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go”.

Woman in the Dunes” had been a deeply affecting novel. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera” was an enigma. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy was another disturbing but wonderful work.

I thought that I couldn’t appreciate the Pulitzer Winner, “Olive Kitteridge” much. I got bored at some points. But I’m sure I would enjoy and appreciate it more on second reading.

There also were some mysteries and thrillers in the list mostly of Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase, Ken Follett and Michael Chrichton, which were quick-reads and a pleasure to read anytime.

Inheritance of Loss” leads the list of disappointments. It was a sheer torture. Others include, among others, “Sea of Poppies” by Amitav Ghosh, “Between the Assassinations” by Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger fame) and “Six Suspects” by Vikas Swarup (Q & A fame).

I must say that I’m very happy about the non-fiction books I’ve read this year. Though they constitute less than 20% of the total, each one is remarkable in its own way. “I Don’t” narrated the history of marriage right from Adam and Eve. “The Japanese Mind” explained, of course the Japanese mind (for the benefit of westerners, especially Americans). “Planet Google” was really very informative. I read all four of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, which of course were brilliant. Another useful book I read was “What do you want from me?” by Terri Apter on how to handle in-law relationships. “Freakonomics” was awesome, also was “Overthrow”. “The Accidental Billionaires” and “Games Indians Play” were among the not so amazing ones.

All in all, I feel happy about the books I’ve read this year and look forward to read more good books next year. But this time, I really want to cut down the quantity and take it slow. It’s seems funny that I have to make a resolution to read less, but given my addiction it actually makes sense. Also I have an idea to read only huge books in 2010, because I have an innate phobia for any book with more than 600 pages. I know this seems absurd but I just can’t make myself pick up such a monster, however good it might be. Consequently, I haven’t read Ayn Rand or Alexander Dumas or Margaret Mitchell till now. I just hate to hold onto the same book for long periods of time (more than a few weeks at the most) . But I’m not sure whether I’ll overcome this fear/aversion just now. Hmm…

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5 responses

29 12 2009
sree

I so envy you for being able to read so many.. though I have time, I dont have access to english books :(.. but yes, i did a whole lot of books, just the other day the librarian was telling me that I topped this year’s takeout list and they are planning on some certificate of sorts… but seriously, other than Malgudi Days, repeated nth time, there wasnt much that I actually read and liked to review…

29 12 2009
sireeshaavvari

Good to know that you have a proper library at your place and you are availing it as much as possible. You can also try ebooks, if that suits you. There are plenty of them lying around the web. 🙂
So, do you read Telugu books? May be you can review and recommend some of them.

1 01 2010
Bye bye 2009 « Peek Inside My Mind

[…] you might have learned from my previous post, I had been on a reading spree this year. I’m glad I could read so many books of varied genres. […]

28 01 2010
nyrac

i read the god of small things in 2008, it was a good read. even though never let me go has been highly recommended by a lot of friends, i still never got around to reading it. i had a kazuo ishiguro book a few years back, can’t even remember the title now, but it was boring to me… maybe that held me back from reading never let me go, just like how your aversion towards old love made you think twice about starting kane and abel.

i wish i had that much time to read the books i love too, but sadly i don’t. but i do keep a stash of favourite books under my bed to read again and again, whenever i am down or whenever i feel like a pick-me-up, including old love, which i am currently reading (again), which googling it brought me to your blog 😉

another book that i must recommend (if you haven’t read it already), is a spot of bother by mark haddon, the author of the curious incident of the dog in night time, which to some extent reminded me of the beginning of the secret diary of adrian mole series.

oh i’m ranting, forgive me for starting what seems to be turning into a blog post of its own instead of a comment on your blog.

cheers.

5 02 2010
sireeshaavvari

Good to know that you re-read your favorites. I do it very rarely. It seems I never get the chance to pick up already read ones with so many new and interesting books waiting to be devoured. I haven’t read Mark Haddon yet, though his ‘Curious Incident….’ has been on my wishlist for a long time. I’ll try to read it sometime this year.

Thanks for your long and interesting comment. 🙂

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