Monday, January 13, 2020

Books I read in 2020 #1

Preface:
This year, I am making a conscious effort to read more. I love reading - right from children's book to serious books (although history and non fiction makes my reading a bit slow paced). Even though I like reading both English and Malayalam (can read in Hindi too - might read Munshi Premchand one of these days), I have difficulty in accessing Malayalam books here. So, most of my reading is and will be English books. But I am reading a bit of Malayalam via blogs and FB posts and also some books I could download on Kindle.  

On that note, let me get on to the Review of Week one ended on 08/1/2020

Here, I hope to keep a record of the books I read this year. My target, although I am not very sure it is achievable, is 100 books this year. I have started in the earnest and seems to be on the right track because today is just 8th of Jan 2020 and I have already read close to five books.

So, without much ado, let me make a quick note of the same.

Speed Reading – Justin Hammond - I don’t know if this qualifies as reading in the true sense of the word. But when my kindle unlimited suggestion threw this up, I downloaded and read the book. Can’t say I gained much from it, other than revisiting some of the facts I knew. However, it did help me confirm I am sort of a speed reader – definitely not a slow reader – and I guess for that fact alone, I am happy to have read it.

My India – Jim Corbett – I become a fan of Corbett ever since I read the Man-Eaters of Kumaon a couple of years ago. I remember feeling scared for him especially while reading about the man-eater that stalked him. I can’t remember the specifics of the stories, but I can’t forget how thrilled and enchanted I felt walking along the Garhwal forests along with him.

In My India, Corbett paints a picture of India that few of the new generation might know or can imagine. Although growing up in the south, more specifically in Kerala, I was immune to most of the sufferings of the people of the North, I have a fair idea of the different world out there, thanks to the few years I spend up North. In this age of division and alienation, it was fascinating how a British man could identify himself with the locals and understand their problems more than someone from another part of the country. I would recommend this book to anyone, at least to appreciate and understand the country better – for he has very clearly painted a picture of India, which is seldom overlooked by most of us. Of course, the stories from the jungle are welcome bonuses.

The Temple Tiger and more Man Eaters of Kumaon – Jim Corbett – Now, I think I have this habit of continuing the same genre of stories – whether books or films- when I start with something. So, it is not surprising that I chose to read more of Jim Corbett as soon as I finished My India. This book is mostly about the man eaters, but it definitely paints a picture of India of those times,  the socio-economic-cultural fabric of the country is vividly presented in the stories. I think I can safely assume it was not a deliberate attempt on the part of the owner, but after having spent so much time in and amidst India, it is only natural that he imbibes a lot of it.

Of course, I am not forgetting the fact that he was born and brought up here and spent a large part of his life in India, and had led a privileged life of a sahib. But I guess that didn’t stop him from loving the country – or at least its wildlife – as much as any Indian.

I loved to read about the landscapes, the birds and the behaviour of the animals and I couldn’t stop admiring the way he intertwined everything – much like life itself. I don’t think I will be bored to read this book again in future.

By the way, I am almost three-quarters through the Jim Corbett Omnibus – with a forward by Ruskin Bond, another of my favourite authors. Hope the review will join this pages soon.

Agatha Christie Investigates – Alison Joseph – Anything with the name Agatha Christie on it is an attraction for me. I downloaded this book out of curiosity – the author actually uses Agatha Christie as a character solving the crimes. Although I was amused by the premise in the beginning, I think I didn’t enjoy the book as much as an Agatha Christie creation. That, I think is quite natural because the author is trying to solve the cases with Agatha as the protagonist, but without the flair, expertise and craft of the writer Agatha.

So far, I have read only one story from the series – I think there are three stories in total – and have stopped reading as soon as I was through with the first novel. I might read the other two as well, but truth be told, I am not exactly looking forward to it.

Notes: I have a couple of books in Kindle – A dead man’s shoes and other stories, as well as one biography on Ambedkar. As someone who loves to read thrillers and detective stories, I might start reading the dead man’s shoes before I start reading the book on Ambedkar. This is also because of the fact that the latter book requires more serious application of mind and cannot be read as light reading or for recreation. Likewise, there is a book on Tesla, a workout book by Rujuta Diwakar and a few old Malayalam poems, which I may read for leisure in between.

NB:I hope to update this journal next week or so. It will keep me on track and I will be able to keep a record of my reading history as well. As they say, well begun is half done. I hope it is really true in my case. I want to read as much as I can and enrich myself. Hopefully it will give me the courage to write and publish too…


Pic courtesy: Google

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