Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Books Read List 2016

Here are the previous ones. 

6. The Book of Joshua by Tanya Mendonsa: I found her through one of those chain email things. The only reason it caught my fancy was because it was poetry. This is about Joshua, the cocker spaniel that Tanya adopts and follows their life as they move homes, live by the sea, move to the mountains and the myriad characters of animals and people along the way. As with all animal movies and books, I bawled my eyes out in the end. It was another of those books that came to me at the right time. Having Rudra in my life and trying to figure out each other and life together, it was hilarious, sad and necessary, all at the same time, that I read this book. A light, breezy read that you'd enjoy all the more if you have a dog. "From the time I was little, I identified people by the dogs they had."

7. The Girl Who Ate Books by Nilanjana Roy: I reviewed this book for The New Indian Express here. Absolutely loved this one. I have followed Roy's writing on and off, though I haven't read her novels yet. The Girl largely about reading in English in India and has wonderful essays on the art of reading, the histories and baggage associated with books and lovely profiles of most of the well known writers in the country, those living and those older. It almost acts as a primer for reading in India, helps you discover new writers and re-discover old favourites. A must read, if you enjoy reading about reading, and some writing.

8. The Hills of Angheri by Kavery Nambisan: Nambisan is an old favourite I keep going back to. Her stories are so evocative of home that it is sometimes difficult to read her descriptions of the hills and the valleys and all that Kodagu is. This book is set in the fictional Angheri hills where Nalli fights against convention, tradition and strict family rules to study to be a doctor, first in Madras and then in London. It follows her story as she struggles to get better at surgery, her chosen field and the different places she heads to, always seeking...something. Again, as always, Nambisan might just be writing my thoughts, this just be my story as I seek...something. Read Nambisan, especially The Scent of Pepper, for her descriptions, for the gorgeous imagery she weaves in her words. 

9. Kerala, Kerala, Quite Contrary, edited by Shinie Anthony: This I found to be quite a strange collection of essays. There are some really nice ones like K Satchidanandan's essay on the evolution of society and literature in Kerala, Sara Joseph and Sheila Kumar's story and essay and such like. And then there are run of the mill ones that sit jarringly in the collection. I wouldn't have read the book if it weren't for some project I have in mind.

10, 11. Salt, and Nejma by Nayyirah Waheed: I always love discovering new writers, especially poets. This poet blew my mind away and there were moments when I literally gasped and held my breathe at the beauty of her words. Read her, read her as if your life depended on it. She is magic, she is gold and I cannot stop fawning over her. Here are a couple of her poems:

the water bowl
on my thighs.
i soak the flowers.
they become
then i write.

- ritual

stay is a 
sensitive word.
we wear
who stayed
who left
in our skin

- sojourn

sometimes the
night wakes in
middle of me.
and i can do 
become the

All these are from Nayyirah Waheed's Salt.

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