Not having a full-time job is a good colour on me. I decided to break free from traditional employment early July. That lead to:
1. starting this blog,
2. going on a very long vacation and planning 3 more
3. going to bookstores and reading
4. gin & tonics at 9 AM
1.Nonita Kalra; pursuer of the perfect sentence
Sadaat Hasan Manto & Michael Ondaatje: “I am currently going through the joyous exercise of revisiting old friends. I am re-reading some of my favourite books. If you look at the image, I plan how I stack my bookshelves very carefully. So Sadaat Hasan Manto sits with Michael Ondaatje because I like to imagine if they had ever met they would be great friends. Why do I believe this? They are two of the finest storytellers who let the elegance of their language and the simplicity of their story grab your imagination. This is purity in its most honest form. Right now I am reading Mottled Dawn. Next, Running in the Family.”
2. Abhik Bhattacherji; that’s me!
J.C. Mills, The GoodFellows Chronicles: “A young boy named Sam meets Mr Goodfellow, a distinguished member of the Sage clan. Before long he finds himself sneaking into abandoned buildings, outsmarting devious professors, and fighting off the evil, Fen, as they try to uncover the secret behind an old man’s disappearance and his connection to a legendary scroll.”
Khushwant Singh, The Mark Of Vishnu: These short stories were written many decades ago. They are short. They are simple to read, but they are profound. Look out for the lovely lessons on religion, faith, and other dichotomies.
3. Neha Jain; mother to my god-daughter
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch: “a beautiful, painful and vivid bildungsroman, narrating the story of Theo, (almost) orphaned and very aware. This book has sadness, solitude, powerful relationships with the very present backdrop of art. Once you being, you will be consumed with the story, long after you’ve finished this mammoth book.” (Neha and I read this all through our vacation together)
4. Tarini Borat; servicing goddess
Agatha Christie, The Murder At The Orient Express: “My favourite pick-me-up book and Agatha Christie at her finest. A gory murder, the legendary grey matter of Poirot and innumerable twists. There are very few authors who endure with you like Christie so find a particularly rainy day and devour away!”
5. Diya Erica Basu; studying strategic communication focusing on public policy/public affairs in DC
Marc Goodman, Future Crimes: “A chronological perspective on the wired gadget generation and how susceptible we are to digital crimes – some of which we know about but most in their infancy. I loved it for its perspective on the double-edged digitally connected lives we lead.”
6. Rakesh Mani; writer, consultant
Granta’s 2015 “India” issue: “a collection of wonderful short stories by the likes of Hari Kunzru, Raghu Karnad, Upamanyu Chatterjee and Samanth Subramanian”. (Othello Sucks by my favourite Indian writer Upamanyu Chatterjee is my favourite!)
7. Neeta Sarogi; former teacher and consultant on vacation!
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men; “this is a tantalising look inside the bizarre, strange minds of people. Constantly unpredictable and often disturbing, some of it will make you squirm perhaps, but most of the book illuminates and fascinates.”
8. Nidhi Gupta; writer at GQ
Sam Miller, A Strange Kind of Paradise: “the book, well, is riveting. For someone who picks up non-fiction with a lot of trepidation, this was a breeze. When you read a nearly 500-page tome on The Entire Recorded History of The Indian Subcontinent As Its Many Visitors, Rulers and Lovers Have Seen it, you feel proud of yourself. Now I aspire to write like Sam Miller. And to never take things too seriously.”
9. Tanvi Chug; perfume maker and writer
Akhil Sharma, Family Life: “is a beautifully controlled autobiography. Controlled because it isn’t a memoir, where the writer is pouring out his feelings instead it’s a perspective into life itself, told through the bifocal lens of tragedy and survival. The narrative is wonderfully simple (albeit, profound) and the humour makes its way in the unlikeliest of places. The novel stayed with me for a few days after I was done and left me wondering – what is happiness after all?”
10. Shyam Kumar; manic cross-fitter and trekker
Art Spiegelman, The Maus: “a horror story of the author’s father through the horrific Nazi days. A story of determination, love and pain beautifully sketched in the form of animal cartoons, each animal depicting a particular race. This book is brutal like all other Auschwitz stories but hurts you a little less because of the cartoon sketches. Spiegelman has managed to add little interventions of his present life, his father’s life and how the horror era has completely changed their personality, combined in a very subtle way.”
11. Toy Vader, Twitter friend; @micksbag
Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow: “smart, fluent and touches the right notes. Written by an operative of the profession, red sparrow will bring back memories of Le Carre and leave you craving for more.”
What did you read last? What did you think about it? Do let me know by sending me an email on email@example.com or on twitter @abhikbee oh! do let me know if you’ve read any from this list!
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