The last month of 2018 went by in a rush as did the whole of the year. Well, who cares about 2018? The Gregorian calendar! Despite having the Chinese New Year, and our own Indian celebrations of a new year, we follow this old Gregorian calendar. Greg who? Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t matter. Because every day is a rebirth. Every single day is a celebration of the new. Every yesterday was the past. Every today is all we have. Glorious New Year resolutions? Cut them. What is the life you can lead today?
Before I get to the books I loved, I got the most amazing gift last month. If you have read my blog, you must know that I absolutely adore Chimamanda Adichie. And imagine my joy when I have her autographed book! I haven’t met her, but my friend did, and got this for me as a birthday present. Probably, one of the best gifts I have ever received! Muaaaah, thank you, Birdy! (But I will also never forgive you for meeting her while I haven’t).
Top 4 Books I Loved
The Sound Of Waves: Yukio Mishima
If you love the sea as I do, then please don’t hesitate to read this book. I love my mountains, yes, but I also adore the sea. If I don’t go to a beach every few months, then I feel like there is this piercing absence of a good friend from my life. I haven’t been to the sea in about four months now and I am antsy.
In ‘The Sound Of Waves’ Yukio Mishima brings the sea alive – its rhythms, forms, and essence. At heart, this is a simple love story. But like most of the Japanese authors I have read, there is a lyricism that touches you.
There is a Zen-like poetry to the words that transport you the way good books should. A beautiful and atmospheric rendition to the joy of love, its agonies, and one of the few novels I have read where the sea and the lighthouse are main characters.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?: Jeanette Winterson
Have you ever feel the ache of loss such that it strips you of your words? When you stare into the madness of your mind and straggle the depths of its shores? Have you felt the times when words are inadequate? When you lose everything you know? Perhaps, we have all been there. And so has Jeanette Winterson. I remember reading this title of a book by Dave Eggers – ‘A Staggering Work Of Heartbreaking Genius’. That title can apply to this part-memoir, part-confessional world of Jeanette Winterson.
Trace through these words the raw anguish of a writer who makes the intimate appear familiar. Trace through her life the patterns of your own. Grieve with her through the loss of love. And celebrate with her when she finds that she knows how to love. To give and receive. And to make of that an art that splashes its canvas on our lives. “Why is the measure of love loss?” she asks. This book is a search for that measure. An outstanding memoir.
Funny In Farsi: Firoozeh Dumas
It’s always fun to read a paperback – the so-called ‘real’ book – when you are traveling. I usually take only my Kindle when I travel to save space. I chanced upon ‘Funny In Farsi’ on my friend’s bookshelf, and since I know that the chances of finding this book back home are quite negligible, I promptly smuggled it out on a weekend trip. “It’s a light, fun read,” said my friend. She was right. But more than that, ‘Funny In Farsi’ is also funny. It takes a lot to get me to chuckle and grin given my usual morbid self, but I found that Firoozeh had me laughing outright at certain passages.
Much of the book details anecdotes from her childhood in Iran and the US, and then later on her adult life as a wife and mother. Much of the book also focuses heavily on her father, who reminded me of the Dad in ‘Shit My Dad Says,’ that classic Justin Halpern book that defined the use of Twitter as, well, literature. This is much better literature, if I must sound condescending, because there is so much to love about this book. Especially, I loved ‘Funny In Farsi’ for the glimpses it gives into a culture that seems so similar to mine.
The Well Of Loneliness: Radclyffe Hall
I picked up this book entirely by chance because the cover was staring at me in a second-hand bookstore. Once I read that the book had been banned, my interest was immediately piqued. And that’s where my problem started.
Instead of reading the book first, I researched a lot about the book! It’s one of the lingering effects of a degree in Literature – you somehow can’t switch your mind off sometimes. That is both good and bad when it comes to reading a book. The result of all my research was that I came back with a faint dislike of the author – yes, yes, I judge. That colored my reading of Stephen, the protagonist in ‘The Well Of Loneliness.’ Sigh.
However, the book itself deserves to be a classic. But. Should it be a classic on its own? Does the book have that kind of literary merit? Or is it a classic because is it one of the seminal books in lesbian literature? These are the questions that I came back with. Unfortunately, I haven’t read much in this genre to answer those questions.
Probably, the best part of the book was Part I where the relationship between Stephen and her Dad is beautifully portrayed. The middle ends up a bit muddled, and the last Part 3 kind of leads you to the ending that you were expecting. Would I recommend this? Yes. But don’t research the book before!
So, December wasn’t the greatest in terms of reading. But there are months to go now…and months to go….pages to read….pages to read…