Instagram has become my favorite social medium. There was a point of time when I was addicted to Twitter and life was all about notifications of likes and retweets and comments about how hilarious you were, or trolls telling you how much you sucked, or random people commenting upon your display picture. But one fine day, after a particularly vicious attack by trolls who hated me for finding Sharukh Khan (or was it Salman?) funny, I purged the account. And was left with a lot of time on hand, which I decided to invest on Instagram. And I am happy to state that it is much happier, prettier, rosier place, though the last bit might be the filters.
Anyhow, the reason I am proclaiming my love for Instagram at this time is because, when this year started, every time I picked a book, I would Instagram about it. When I started, it was just another fun thing to do – but slowly it became a thing – so much so that I realised that if I did not let Instagram know what I was reading – I would jinx my reading, and actually stop. Yikes. So, I continued the trend, and at this point of time, I am happy to declare that I know exactly how many and what books I have read so far.
Unfortunately, not many, but now that I have a list, I think it is only fair that I talk about them. I started the year with Murakami’s IQ84, which my sister gifted for my birthday. I had started it maybe in December, but the reading caught speed only in Jan, when I posted about it. It was perhaps the longest book I had read, but like every Murakami I have read, it was sensational. I am not much of a fantasy reader – except Harry Potter which I positively adore – but Murakami’s work, though full of talking animals, and parallel universes, always gets me deeply involved, and wanting more. In short, I love Murakami.
Once I finished 1Q84 (which again, I repeat, you must read if you are a Murakami fan). I forayed into the hitherto uncharted territory of Autobiographies – with The Unsuitable Boy – combining my love for reading with my love for Bollywood. This was also my first purchase on my kindle which saying something since I have had it for 2 years. Not a literary masterpiece, obviously, but I am not so naive as to expect that, but a good, fun read for someone who was brought up on a heavy dose of bollywood. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know why Karan Johar is keeping his distance from Kajol now? (yes, you can kill me).
I then moved to my all time favorite genre – crime/Psychological thrillers with The Hypnotist (Lars Kepler – nice overall, but a tad slow and predictable) and Black Water Lilies ( Michael Bussi – oh my God so much awesome that he almost climbed the charts to share space with my other favorite crime thriller author – Keigo Higashino). I picked another Murakami – Norwegian wood – which was nice, not awesome, but more real, and also Carrie by Stephen King – after I saw it referenced here. The latter was very interesting, much like I would have expected a Stephen King novel to be – because I have only read Fire starter by him other than this. But I am not sure I will venture into his genre for sometime.
This is when I saw that Anuja Chauhan – my favorite commercial fiction author in India – had released Baaz – so I just had to pick it up. This one had a male protagonist, unlike her previous books that were all centered around women – and was set against an armed forces back drop. It was also a bit too long, and it definitely did not end the way I would have wanted it to. Then, once again I returned to the safe comforts of thrillers with Into the Water – by Paula Hawkins, who wrote Girl on the train – and this one absolutely lived upto my expectations. I cannot resist a book which presents to you a twist in the last line of the book. Plus, somehow, the protagonists of this book had a strong resemblance to the protagonists of Broadchurch on Netflix, and that made me love it even more.
Next in line was Loyal Stalkers, sent to me by Chhimi , which I reviewed here . I read I see you – by Claire Mackintosh, again a thriller, only it was sort of meh – creepy but meh. And then once again, I picked Murakami – this time his autobiographical book on running marathons. I am not a runner per se, but I have a fascination towards running – and somehow the thought of it has always interested me, rather than the actual act of running. So I read it, got all charged, and then did nothing about it.
Then, the weather got better, summer ended and so did the need to be in air conditioning all the time – which meant more TV. There was a pretty big dent in my reading schedule, and it was a while before I picked my next book – a recommendation in vogue, and my first Turkish Author – Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak. While it started extremely promisingly, the book eventually turned out to be the story of just one of the said daughters, and left me craving for more about the rest. But yes, it gave a good view into the Turkish culture, and that part I loved. This is when I also read an e-book version of Catcher in the Rye – finally – almost 12 years after I first claimed that I had. It was then back to Michael Bussi to see what other tale he would spin with Dont Let Go – which was once again, a bit of a let down after his first two books.
I moved on the The Silent Wife, by A.H.A Harrison, which I found to be more of an insight into the lives and minds of a couple married for 20 years and now falling apart – so no, it wasn’t a thriller, but it was deeply, deeply disturbing. But I finished this book in 2 days flat, mainly because I had a hair straightening appointment, which meant sitting in a chair for 4 hours with no one to talk to. But it had it’s pluses as you can see, not limited to shiny, straight hair.
Now I am reading Bossy Pants, by the star of my current TV binge series, 30 Rock – Tina Fey. Which would actually be the third non-fiction read for this year – which by the way, is a miracle in itself. But technically, I don’t consider autobiographies non-fictional, as in yeah, it’s not fiction, but it is a story, so what if it is true?
So that’s where I stand. I have yet another non-fiction, which is actually almost a self-help book, a genre I have scoffed at all my life, and I will be giving it a shot as soon as I am done with the life and times of Tina Fey. Till then, I am just glad this year had me revisit books, and more so, because a lot of this reading is in the company of Zo. And for the last two weeks, in our little book nook, in our new house. And while the new house deserves a post of it’s own – for the benefit of those who don’t follow me on Instagram, I will leave you with a glimpse here. Till then, happy reading to all of us!