Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, January 01, 2007


By now you have done your reading, read the lists, made your choices. Not that you need the critics for that. Reading is after all a personal pursuit. You might like crime fiction, I might detest it. You might like fantasy, I might like the real world. You might like chick lit, I might read only literary fiction. There you are, in the long drawn cycle of critics telling you what to read. More often that, the critic hasn't even read the book in any case. Or even if they have they haven't engaged with the book. Which is why, I try to tell everyone I meet, there's tons of good stuff out there, make your choices. It isn't that difficult to get yourself to a book store or even a library to decide and pick what you really want to read, not what others say you should be reading.

It's an entire universe out there. You can get lost in it, depending on which genre you choose. Most books are defined ever so often by genre, though once in a way you come across a book that defies definition, that merges styles, themes, takes you into a parallel universe with its evocative characters. This year, after tons of brilliant reads notably Hisham Matar's 'In The Country of Men', Peter Carey's 'Theft', Claire Messud's 'The Emperor's Children', Kiran Desai's 'The Inheritance of Loss' - towards the end of the year, the seven year wait for Vikram Chandra's 'Sacred Games' did it for me.

A short review on the relative merits of the book is here:

Beyond what is mentioned here, it is passages like these, that have propelled it to my book of the year:

"War comes upon us. We are led in leaning curves towards the battlefield. You may try to avoid it, but find that last flower-lined turn you chose was really an entrance into a blood-soaked arena. So we were here. 'Good,' I said. 'Let's start.'

"And one of these sisters was Navneet, beloved and best of all, now lost for ever..... It was useless to remember. The histories had already been written, and what had happened, had happened.....There was no running away from life, and trying to wish away suffering only made it more present. She took a deep breath: bear it."

"There was a sloping river in the sky, a sinuous curve of light. There was the sky above, and us underneath..... Everything sits in pairs, in opposites, so brutal and so lovely."

And there's that bit on writers, that isn't going to win Chandra too many fawning fans. I'm not about to reveal that here, save the best for the read and take your time to fill in the dots for the text above.

Here's to another year of great reads.