Monday, August 29, 2011

A bunch of books

A bad book is best left alone. However, once I start a book I find it very tough to leave it midway and move on. It feels like desertion. And so I soldier on.. sometimes losing the thread out of disinterest, sometimes letting it lie for days before taking it up yet again and sometimes reading it without making much sense.
It's worse if the book is 'famous' and I feel I 'should' like it. Okay I guess I should rephrase what I said earlier... 'a book you don't like should be left alone'... it eats into your reading time and keeps you away from other books you might enjoy.
These past few days I've been stuck with a bad read and finally today I decided to give it up. What made it worse was that over the last two months I've been treated to some half a dozen wonderful books in a row. .. I didn't just get lucky, they were handpicked by my SIL from her massive collection.
The settings have been as diverse as they possibly could be.. from Nigeria to China to 1962s Mississippi, Germany during the World War and India during the Independence struggle. Take a look...

First for some was uncharted territory -- the Nigerian Revolution.. I'd never read anything about it before. In fact I've read very little of any African literature. It was completely fascinating. Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus by the same author -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.. great reads. The first one is more about the revolution and the second is the personal story of a young girl set during the same time. I liked Purple Hibiscus better simply because personal stories appeal to me.

Then there was World War Germany. I've read plenty of that yet these were wonderful, specially The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, which I've already written about. The other one, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, is also a great read.

Then I moved on to China. The only Chinese author I've read is Pearl S Buck and she is ancient. In the Pond by Ha Jin was more recent. I loved his style... funny and satirical.

If I had to settle for a favourite I'd probably go for this one -- The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The book is about black maids raising white children. I found plenty of parallels between the book and how we treat our maids in India. It's fast paced and gripping. A must must read. The other book about another black woman I got to read is the Pulitzer prize winning The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Wonderful.

Finally there was Homespun by Nilita Vachani. The book spans three generations, goes slow in bits but tells an interesting tale.

And then I went and picked a bad one from the library. Am at bit of a loss now. What are you guys reading? Any suggestions?

9 comments:

  1. I don't know if you have read these books, but I would recommend "How Green was my Valley" and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Both these are among my favourite books, and I love reading them again and again.

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  2. @Sudha: Not read either. Will try to get them. Thanks

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  3. A beautiful collection of short stories by Gautam Benegal titled '1/7 Bondel Road' (growing up in Calcutta) is delightful!

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  4. Taking your suggestion, i shall try to read Purple hibiscus and the Help. Your description of the last book spanning three generations reminded me of a book about a Malayali Syrian family. It was a nice interesting book that i read 3 -4 years back, but sadly, i cannot recollect the name now.

    If you read books about Germany in WWII, i suggest that you read more non-fiction than fiction, and autobiographies by Germans especially. I haven't read much fiction in this genre, but i am much aware of how much facts have been distorted thanks to successful Allied propoganda.

    My Suggestions - 1. Until the Final Hour - Traudl Junge - a substantial amount of her experience has been picturized in the wonderful movie - Der Untergang ( Downfall)
    2. Panzer Leader - Heinz Guderian - Architect of Germany's tank forces in WWII 3. Inside the Third Reich - Albert Speer ( Hitler's armament minister)

    I like to read Indian fiction - short stories like Jhumpa Lahiri types, but not the long novels type. I suggest you read -The Bride price by Fakir Mohan Senapati - It tells you a strange practice existent in 1800s India, where the groom had to pay a dowry to marry a girl :) - There is also another book by "The Silence of Time" by Kripa Nidhi. Most of these stories were written , i guess in the 90s. They take you back into that world. This author has got a subtle sense of humour and romance, which i enjoyed. Must read.. Enjoi maadi :)

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  5. I'm glad I asked.
    @Magiceye: Thanks
    @Sugeeth: I'm more fond of fiction but will try out the one's you suggested.

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  6. That's a good list! Have wanted to read Achebe since ages but just havent found time!

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  7. I have a bunch of books on my reading list always. I read them all together. Fiction when I have my meals. A book on writing to inspire me. Self-help to better me.And sometimes, even more. Right now, I am reading:

    1) Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna (seems good - try it!)
    2) Good as Gold by Napolean Hill
    3) Bird by Bird
    4) The Elements of Style

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  8. @Archana: Wow.. that's quite a mix. Haven't read any. Which of those are fiction?

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  9. Tiger Hills is fiction and I liked it!

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