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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Books in 2013

 It is the big wall that has been the catalyst to my reading frenzy.  Not that there is much left of the wall- it has been hidden by a lovely bookshelf, wood of course , pride of my heart, second only to the daughter  and the son. Let me explain . We got our house renovated this year and the architect ( if for one reason or the other, or for no reason , you want your house  done / redone, look no further than RLDA Studio, Architects and  Designers ( ) based in Delhi. Well, for the longest time ever, we had this absolutely huge wall in our , ummn- informal living room. My uncertainty before the ‘informal living room’ is because I have just been through a crash course in what not to call the different rooms. And so now I  know that there is nothing like the drawing room - it drew its  last , albeit long, shudderingly drawn breath somewhere in circa 2000, but since I have always been backwards by a decade I just caught up with  this. The drawing room has been replaced by  the living room, yes, the place we earlier ( and sometimes in a fit of  amnesia colored red by rebellion still do )hung out in. It was here that all the action happened ( well almost all).We fought ,ate, skipped, cried, studied  in this place. Now, the living room is the new drawing room, the master bedroom is the new  ‘papa-mamma’s room’, and so on.  But  to come back to the wall.  Lakshmi Chand Singh, partner RLDA, came up with the brilliant idea of  covering the wall with  a floor to ceiling bookshelf . The long and short of it is that when the last brush of polish had been applied and the last worker had moved out we were left with a beautiful home and a humungous book unit. I looked at the house with pride and the wall unit with horror. How on earth was I ever going to buy all the books needed to fill those yawningly empty spaces?

 Well, I haven’t bought all the books needed , but a fair amount of purchasing has been done. The books came home, in singles, in two’s and three’s and once  two dozen of them. The son would get a lot of  joy in arranging the books. Not arranging by genre, of course, but by their height and ‘weight’. Terrified lest he be ever admonished for not reading the books he was so diligently arranging, the fattest books went right on top, he  getting comfort from the fact that out of sight  meant out of  mom’s mind. The thinnest ones ( Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Animal Farm…) were right within winking distance.
The pattern just crept in on me- of  picking up a book and reading it whenever I got the time- so I started reading while waiting for the milk to boil, in the loo, mid morning, late afternoon, whenever. I read a lot of books the first month, somewhat less the next and now have established a comfortable pattern of reading in the afternoons.
Some of the books I have read so far in 2013 :

v    The illicit  happiness of other people by Manu Joseph- brilliant in most parts- impacted me strongly enough to agree to the son not opting for engineering
v    The Shiva trilogy by Amish- good -interesting reads
v     The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – good first half , not so enchanted with the second
v    The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald –brilliant but  depressing
v    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – I know it’s a classic, know that the opening lines are considered as one of the best openings- but the book left me feeling sick and disturbed.
v    Fried Green tomatoes at the whistle stop café by Fannie Flag- have already written a review of this marvelous book a few months back in my blog
v    The Zoya Factor and Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan-  found them shallow- good only  for a few laughs
v    The Help by Kathryn Stockett- excellent, have written a review earlier
v    The Litigators by John Grisham- engrossing
v    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson- read it after Steve Jobs death- lingered on every word.
v    The Eagle has landed by Jack Higgins- a page turner
v    Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi- surprisingly good
v    Brick lane by Monica Ali- not at all enamoured of this one
v    Narcopolis by Jeet Thayal- ditto. Couldn’t really get it
v    Pelican at Blandings by P.G Wodehouse- do I need to even say anything- Wodehouse delivers, as always
v    Return of a King by William Dalrymple – W.D is one of my favourites- and so are his books
v    Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez- my first Gabriel Garcia M- and I loved it – loved every word.

The book I am now looking forward to reading is a book of poetry by my all time favourite  contemporary hindi poet , Gulzaar.


  1. Wow ! I totally covet your book shelf ! I've read some of the books on your list . Love In The Time Of Cholera is brilliant, isn't it ? Looking forward to a lot more lists :)

    1. well, we can start comparing books we read and advising each other on what is a good read and what is not:)

  2. Great job for 2013....& I hope you can cover double the no. of above mentioned books in the coming year. All the very best Anju!:)
    I myself have read a few books from the above list....The Great Gatsby was indeed a brilliant read for me as well.:D

    1. Nikhil- that's such a lovely wish to wish for me:)All the best to you too