So, shall we read?

Reading always figures under my hobbies list everywhere, on orkut, on facebook, on LJ and even my resume, but somehow I haven’t been doing justice to it for a while now. And when I say reading I am excluding the newspaper, magazines or the stuff on the net. I mean books, novels, in my case only fiction. What is bad is I have continued buying books, but have let them lie around, instead of completing them. Something I never did before.

So I am making yet another attempt at ensuring that the habit doesn’t fade away altogether, and taking up what they have named the Orbit Terrarum challenge.

Here’s what needs to be done. Read 9 books, by nine different authors, from 9 different countries within a span of 9 months, ending December 20th. So effectively the challenge began on April 1st and I missed it, but I can always make up I guess! The list needs to be posted on the blog (and is subject to change) and the reader then has to write about each book he finished reading.

Sounds good? It does to me! 

So after quite a lot of contemplation, here is my list of books for the challenge –

1. Then we came to an end – Joshua Ferris (America)
Here’s why – I already have the book, but have procrastinated starting it till now.

2. A thousand Splendid suns – Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
Here’s why – I loved The Kite Runner, I thought it was beautifully done, so I am all enthusiastic to try out this book as well. And I have this too.

3. Girls of Riyadh – Rajaa Alsanea (Saudi Arabia)
Here’s why – I have this one as well, and the plot really seemed interesting

4. A spot of bother – Mark Haddon (UK)
Here’s why Curious Incident of a Dog in the night time was good, so I am expecting a lot from this too

5. Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai (India)
Here’s why – Now this one is just a random pick which I am hoping is a good choice, if there is any must-read by an Indian author, I would love to know.

6. PS I love you – Cecelia Ahern (Ireland)
Here’s why – Ah mush. I have this book, and it seems to be a light read and I really need one which doesn’t need too much of concentration.

7. Half of a yellow sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Here’s why – I had spotted this book at Crosswords long ago and even recommended it without reading it. No one complained. So, its time I give it a try too.

8. The witch of Portobello – Paulo Coelho (Brazil)
Here’s why – I ran out of authors from different countries. Ok, let me give some credit to the guy but I never really was a big fan of his work. Having read The alchemist, Eleven minutes and Veronika decides to Die, its only the last book which prompted me to give his work another chance.

9. The Book thief – Markus Zusak (Australia)
Here’s why – Very Random pick, and will be/might be changed anytime.

Like I said, the list is not final, and if there are any reads you highly recommend, do let me know!

So, all set? Let’s do it!

13 thoughts on “So, shall we read?

  1. Anonymous

    girls of riyadh
    i hope you read girls of riyadh, i wrote a poem about it. the poem is longer but live journal has a limit for posts.
    kyle foley
    in reading girls of riyadh, rajaa,
    you have reminded me of how
    elusive love’s sweet delecto-grapes are,
    how it evades man and woman,
    how its grasp snares us in asp,
    ourselves pining for its mirth-gem,
    yet fully baffled as to its possession,
    the song and refrain of all the poets,
    yet its jasmine wholly sparse in our memories.
    as i read your book, rajaa,
    i reflected deeply on the fact that love
    is a stubborn mistress, or in your case, master,
    that love is much like those reclusive
    and ungrateful celebrities:
    we pulchrify* them with celestium,
    we beatify* them with halo-blithe and dazzlèzza*,
    even worshipping their fervent silverado,
    yet in return they give us only ash-silence,
    deaf to our entreaties,
    refusing our hex-pain to mitigate.
    love is so near to that maxim
    which francois de rouchefoucauld
    so ingeniously chiseled into our collective
    conscience four hundred years ago:
    true love mirrors the ghosts
    all talk of them, all recollect them,
    yet few see them, few interact with them.
    love is like that famous oasis
    in the new mexico desert, roswell,
    a tourist attraction humungo,
    glorified as that spot where man
    once met the alien and the ufo,
    yet few even know if its repute
    even rests on a foundation unimpeachable.
    the greeks, rajaa, identified three
    forms of love: eros, philia, and agape.
    philia, brotherly love and agape,
    spiritual love, enable one to be completely
    at peace with reality,
    to see in everything the shine-rose,
    to witness in all the noble and divine.
    philia and agape are much like
    that tropical island free from all wrath,
    wholly blanketed in ocean breeze,
    one’s lions into kittens morphed,
    one’s cobras fully and totally defanged.
    both are completely available to whomever
    opens their heart to that joy-flood
    that permeates omnia in symphony,
    each human interaction in crystal coated.
    but eros hate-scorns our attempt
    its ferosho-bliss from the clouds to wrest,
    it defies our dreams of its procurement,
    and all the mind-jazz within it encompassed.
    philia and agape certainly invest
    the soul with no small quantity of merlot,
    nor do they disappoint in their serenity of compassion,
    but it is eros, dear rajaa, that apoplexes
    the senses in tumulting halluco,
    it is eros that rends the heart in electro-pulse,
    and eros that infiltrates one’s entire bastion
    with a bewildering psychosis of intoxicata.
    when the media triumphs yet again
    the public to delude, manipulate and enshadow,
    or when an intellectual exposes our most precious
    assumptions as baseless and nebulous,
    it is eros that sustains one through that rage-shatter,
    and enwhirls them into eufurious buzz,
    eros that fertilizes the soul with miraculo-mirth,
    the stars in the heavens swimming,
    galaxies colliding and collapsing.

  2. Indian authors….
    I have recently read “Inheritance of Loss” and I feel that the book somewhat tries to follow on the lines of “God of Small Things”….Personally, I found it repeatedly remind me of Arundhati Roy’s way of character portrayal and situation analysis.
    Apart from that, if you are a mush fan like I am, you can definitely read “Almost Single” by Advaita Kala. It falls into the chick-lit category, but is hilariously funny…..though by the end of it, you may start thinking “Hmm…I could have written this too!”

  3. Re: Indian authors….
    Hey! Thanks for the tip, infact I am planning to drop this title, because I have a feeling it is going to be a heavy read, ‘God of small things’ was. Mush-fan,I most certainly am! 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    Re: Indian authors….
    Good that you decided to drop it… I was about to ask you to. I would personally reco. either good ol’ R.K. Narayan – Now before you start snickering…. he is in my opinion the most understated Indian writer. Just pure story telling. Nothing else.
    In the other end of the spectrum, of course, you have another of my favs. Mr. Rushdie. I would reco. (i am using the short form here since I am not sure of the spelling…embarrassing isn’t it? esp. when am talking literature) Midnight’s Children. It just blew me away with its style. If R.K. Narayan is the … Sai Paranjpe of writing, then Mr. Rushdie (with all due respect for him) is Sanjay Ghadvi or Shankar.
    Of course, a third alternative is simply pick up this book called ‘First Proof’… it is an annual from Penguin and features a collection of promising Indian writers in both Fiction and Non-fiction.

  5. Anonymous

    Re: Indian authors….
    Oooh oooh! And I *have* to stick in that as far as American goes…. nobody beats.. you guessed it. J.D
    I also have this book called ‘A brief history of tractors in Ukrainian’. Haven’t read it yet though. 😦
    My first ‘novel’ was in fact by an Armenian author…. the book is ‘My name is Aram’. Its in the mould of Tom Sawyer/Swami and Friends etc.

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for this!
    Hi, my first time here and am I glad I saw this post! I’d love to take up this challenge. I went to the main site where this began. However, I am wondering how to decide on the countries/authors. How did you choose yours? Any tips?

  7. Re: Indian authors….
    Ah, you know what, I wanted JD to be part of my list too, and you were to lend me Franny and Zooey, but I saw that I already had an american author on the list I HAD to finish, and hence.
    I think I have quite a lot of options now on the Indian Author bit, will be choosy!

  8. Re: Thanks for this!
    Hey, awesome!
    It is indeed very tough to choose the titles, what I did was, go backwards. First listed the books I had and researched their authors. Got a few. Then for the rest again, I researched authors of titles I had wanted to read, had heard about, or had seen the mention of elsewhere, and finally came with these!
    Leave your link, let me see what you end up with!

  9. Anonymous

    Re: Thanks for this!
    to add to my prev comments, how come you didnt consider non-fiction? you dont read it eh?

  10. Re: Thanks for this!
    No, I never even venture near non-fiction. Freakoomics being an exception, I have never completed a single non fiction book I have picked up in the past, they just dont suit me somehow!

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