So, I’m not speculating anymore. It’s confirmed. I’m definitely reading faster, and therefore more, on the kindle. It was all well-timed because August was a month of downtime from work so I had the luxury to spend time reading too. I was pondering over how wonderful it’s been to have the kindle at hand at all times. I pull it out anywhere, everywhere and read. This month I’ve read while waiting for my food to arrive at a restaurant, while waiting for a flight to land at the airport, while sitting in a cafe with three other people who also had their kindles with them haha, and I may also have turned reading a chapter of the book I’d put down to finish some pending work, into the incentive for actually finishing that work. Hah.
Things may slow down again, with me resuming work again today, and maybe I will rethink how wonderful buying the kindle has been, if things slip back to the way they were. God knows I’m also device-skeptic, and only relent when I am absolutely convinced. Only time will tell of course, but I have a good feeling about this one.
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
This is easily the best book I’ve read this year. I haven’t read a lot, but I already know this is going to be it. If you’ve watched and loved the movie Up, this can be likened to an astoundingly heartrending lyrical version of it. It’s a complete emotional trip, traversing it all — from endearing to frustrating, anxious to relieved, edgy to overwhelmingly happy, while also somehow making you chuckle right through, even as you shed tears a lot. It’s a story about a grouchy, adamant stuck-in-his-ways old man who wants to just be left alone and not have to engage with anybody in his picture perfect Swedish neighbourhood. He seems surly and ill-tempered, but you’ll realise very quickly how that’s just a front to keep people out. A front that gets totally crashed to bits by a boisterous family of “hippies” that moves in next door to him, presenting the diametric opposite of everything he is and stands for. The incredible simplicity of the story, writing style and the crux of the story is what made it so relatable for me.
In Ove you’ll see old people in your family, you’ll see your parents, and funnily, you will also see a future you. VC and I often talk about death, and I have on more than one occasion wondered aloud about what it might be the one be left behind when the other passes on. This book really brought a lot of my feelings to the fore. Utterly lovely. This is a must-must-must-read.
My favourite quote from the book:
“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the greatest motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves.”
Alphabet Soup For Lovers, by Anita Nair
A semi-predictable but nicely written love story, I picked up Anita Nair after years because I’d grown very tired of the excessively flowery language she uses. This book has it too, but it is crisper, and I suppose the subject interested me enough to keep at it. It brings together love, unrequited love, jaded love, a a comfortable love and infidelity and it’s all tied together through food.
If you’re looking for a short, quick read that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy, and you tend to like writing by Indian authors, this is a good pick. I know the title and synopsis make it sound like a book about food, but to me it was abook about love and relationships. I don’t know how anyone could think otherwise, so I was a bit surprised to read by some of the reviews I saw online.
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
I may be finally warming up to revisiting the classics that my three years in college managed to turn me off from completely. The Bell Jar has been on my list for years now and I picked it up the day we went to the beach, which was an excellent uninterrupted few hours to begin reading it.
It is everything you come to expect from a novel by Slyvia Plath. Dark, brooding, very evocative crisp and precise descriptions, layered and incredibly detailed story arc. The story is an autobiographic tale of a girls slip into depression while also fiercely fighting a not-so-silent battle to come into her own. It’s the kind of book with such a vivid narrative that you start building images, scenes and events with incredible clarity even as you’re reading. These images linger on long after you’ve finished reading the book.
I found it particularly hard to read the narrative involving her attempts with suicide, especially the one that involved razors and blood, and my heart really went out for to her as she traversed some of the most common instances of women being put into cubbyholes depending on how society wants to view us. She’s a fantastic story teller, and to think this was semi-autobiographic, moved me deeply at several points of the book.
What are you reading? Any reccos? What should I pick up next? I have a long list, but I’m still fishing for recommendations.