My Top Fifteen Books of 2016

This is the first time I have successfully completed the Goodreads 50-books-a-year challenge. It was hugely satisfying. I was happy I could sneak in some non-fiction, science fiction and graphic novels into the list.

15. Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
14. A Midsummer’s Equation by Keigo Higashino
13. Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen
12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
11. The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy
10. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
9. The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
8. Second Variety by Philip K. Dick
7. Dare by John Boyne
6. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
5. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
4.Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
3. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
2. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault
1. A Man without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

My Top 10 Books of 2015

I had managed to read 22 books in 2015. Here are my top 10:
10. Hunger by Knut Hamsen/ Rosie Project by Simsion
9. Life after Life by Atkinson
8. Lolita by Nabokov
7. Journey under the Mind Sun by Higashino
6. The Inevitable by Ashay Abbhi
5. Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas
4. Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar
3. Gardens of the Dead by William Brodrick
2. Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut
1. Best of Saki by Saki

Book Review: Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar

People living in more safer places take peace for granted.

There are some books that make you pause and think. That can be attributed to the themes pursued in this book as well as the writing style.

Kirthi’s writing is layered, the language evocative, the emotions raw and painful.

Such level of writing can only be a result of caring deeply about something you truly believe in.

The writing is like tasting something good; you savour it; and the taste lingers; certain phrases and sentences stay with you; you re-read some of them.

All-in-all this is a very satisfying read that makes you introspect.

Review: Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

This is the fourth book of the author I have read. While I do rank his earlier works above this book (Devotion of Suspect X > Salvation of a Saint > Malice > Journey Under the Midnight Sun), I enjoyed reading Journey Under the Midnight Sun. This is a mystery that spans over 20 years and traces the journey of the protagonists and some recurring characters. It keeps you hooked as the puzzle grows in complexity. The language is, as always, simple; the writing to the point.
While it does seem like a door-stopper at 544 pages, it is fast-paced and is a quick read, just like how a good thriller should be.

Book Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This has been on my reading list for a long time. The language was exemplary, smooth and lyrical. Masterful stuff. That said, I did find the material smutty; not bad smut; literary smut; tasteful smut; but, smut nevertheless. As it deals with a bold theme, there was a sense of grimness pervading throughout the book; a sense that no matter what, it was not going to end well. That perhaps does not make it an easy read.

Dubliners..not a book review

Finally finished reading James Joyce’s Dubliners, a collection of 15 short-stories. I had been reading it for a couple of years. That for me is the problem with short-stories. I take liberties with them. I read one, then abandon the book and come back to it much later. I took less time reading Gone with the Wind!
So I shall not say how much I liked Dubliners. I remember liking a few stories; I immensely liked the last one (“The Dead”).

Books to Read in 2015

These are some of the books I would like to read this year. Hope to read more, but reaching last year’s number (32) ain’t a goal.

1. 1984- George Orwell
2. Lolita- Nabokov
3. Doctor Zhivago- Boris Pasternak
4. Foucault’s Pendulum- Umberto Eco
5. Sea- John Banville
6. Eclipse- John Banville
7. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler- Italo Calvino
8. Our Moon has Blood Clots- Rahul Pandita
9. Hunger- Knut Hamsun
10. Humboldt’s Gift- Saul Bellow
11. Shipping News- Annie Proulx
12. Deal Souls- Nikolai Gogol