A few months back I discovered Quora while looking to kill time productively while in office. Though not very active, I took to answering literature recommendations questions and often I receive A2A from some Quora freshers-to recommend one book, 12 books (one quite-an-ambitious guy actually asked for 30 books and that question is still in my Answer Later list. You’ll soon find out why.)
To answer this 30-books-question, I was trying to recall last year’s reads but all I could come up was either a Grisham or Christie. So I decided to list out the books thinking that would help me recall some forgettable reads (Not that I was planning to put those in that 30 books list but it would help me track my reads). So this was what I came up with
Remember Me-Mary Higgins Clark
The Mystery of the Blue Train-Agatha Christie
The Last Juror-John Grisham
Rogue Lawyer– John Grisham
Sad Cypress– Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair @ Styles-Agatha Christie
A Walk to Remember-Nicholas Sparks
Love Story-Erich Siegel
The Painted House– John Grisham
As you can see from this list, except for the last 3, the others are all whodunits. What was merely a suspicion was now a solid fact-that my reading was becoming too narrowed in terms of genres. I started writing down 2K15’s reads. Nothing different there too. It seemed that 2K15 was The Year of Suspense/Thriller Fiction-at least for me.In fact almost all my reads, except for 2 or 3 everything was from the suspense genre. I know that we read for ourselves and being too much into a particular genre is no sin but you tend to stagnate.
That question was a timely wake-up call. I remember that I started binge-reading suspense fiction when I started college. I was already a huge fan of Sherlock and Christie’s works. A chance pick from the school library –On the Street Where You Live introduced me to the Queen of Suspense –Mary Higgins Clark. That started out binge-reading Clark almost close to 11 titles. The same story with Grisham too-legal thrillers were much more pulsating reads.
So, 2K17 called for somewhat new resolution- to look farther than the whodunits. It’s not about the numbers but about the variety. So far I have managed to stick on to my plan. I am still reading whodunits but there are other genre books too. Also, the experience was much more satisfactory-something like trying out a buffet lunch after the routine hostel food. I know, a foodie drives every discussion to food. But that would be a pretty good analogy. The 2K17 reads so far:
The Help-Kathryn Stockett
The Miniaturist-Jessie Burton
A Thousand Splendid Suns-Khaled Hosseini
The Alchemist-Paulo Coelho
Each of these books was by a different author on different eras (except for the last) and gave a striking picture of the society of those times. In fact #1 showed me how stories of a bygone era can be told so wittily -the author tells the story of her characters such that you get a superb picture of the society and political climate. You get to know the lives of the commons when history is being made during the 1960’s Civil Movement in America.
#1 made me pick up #2 on the list. Watch out for the review in my next post. In India, doubtless there is no end to stories about the British colonial era.But, this is my first book capturing the Dutch in colonial times. The story takes place in Amsterdam, (not in the colonies). Let me save the rest for the review post.
#3 gives us a rare glimpse into the lives of the people (especially the restricted lives of the women) in a country whose turbulent history has not garnered much attention as did its neighbour’s. This book is on its way to becoming another To Kill A Mockingbird-there has never been something like this documenting that country’s history so well and I doubt if we will have another that can give us a much more stark portrayal.
#4- The first thought that I had after finishing this book was ‘How on earth had I missed this?’-This book gave me a much-needed shot-in-the-arm about getting to work on this blog-whose groundwork (signing up for a WordPress account) had been done about 8 months before. From then, it had been waiting for this superb post that would have the likes and comments pouring in until April 1st 2017. For once, during the Fool’s Day I did something wise.
Currently reading: The Kite Runner
Here’s a great article about cross-genre reading benefits… https://www.bookmasters.com/blog/read-genre
I have given the link because people love anything that comes with facts rather than stories (for some intellectual topics at least).
So, have a look at your reading list today…
P.S : If you think some book should not be missed, please mention it in the comments below. And don’t forget to comment on the post as well.