The consultant-ier my life gets, the more I appreciate time. In the past 30 years, I’ve never been happier, busier and hungrier. Happy that I have wonderful projects that keep me busy; hungry for good candy, cake and cutlets (minced lamb & potatoes only) along with an insatiable hunger for books, art, and DVDs. As a child, summer holidays were my preferred time of the year.They were made of tough math puzzles set by my aunt. They were also made of reading The Famous Five and Feluda and walking to the ‘haat’ with my grandfather to buy fresh fish. Lunch was a six-course meal and afternoons were spent discovering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen.We took siestas like gentlemen, woke up to a devious game of hide-and-seek, ate supper at seven and read a book in bed.
This summer I plan on eating ice-cream, reading books, spending countless hours at art galleries, hosting dinner parties, going on holidays and doing all things that make me happy, first. I am after all my first priority, which I call a blessing and a luxury.
Since I’m off to the mountains with the ‘rents and then on a dive trip with R and A and then to Dehradun and Jaipur, I went and bought myself a bunch of reading material. I’m planning on shutting the laptop, eating cake and reading.
My friend Fatima gifted me Happiness by Thich Nath Hanh and it’s really helping me learn how to live in the present moment and develop a sense of peace. This book along with my Transcendental Meditation and good cake is the antidote to the hecticness that being an adult in Bombay is.
Odysseus Abroad by Amit Chaudhari is an allusive novel. I felt like I was staring into a mid-century piece of art. Its beauty lies in observing it. Just like a painting, Chaudhari’s prose is observant, poetic even, but most importantly it is breathtaking in its acute description. I enjoyed that the novel had familiar strains from Joyce and Homer and I loved how a singular day in the protagonist’s life was described with alarming precision and poetic meanderings. I spent a few days learning creative writing from Chaudhari himself in Calcutta, last winter. He transforms the mundane and the humdrum into literature and inspires me with his perfect sentences – which have pain and humour, all at once, within it.
Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend is a delicious, unputdownable series of novels. The writer is very mysterious. To start with Elena Ferrante isn’t her real name. She corresponds with journalists and publishers through letters. She alludes to her life through metaphors. Of course, my insatiable curiosity was piqued when I read this The New Yorker review on her. Back to her books, Naples, and Italy (in the 1950s) are brought alive through the eyes of Elena and Lila. The first in the series of five novels, the Neapolitan Novels is a colossal bildungsroman and the author is a great storyteller. I loved the rage, the revulsion, the rhetoric and the ranting. I’m now going to go buy book two!
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is Joanna Cannon’s debut novel. I’m saving it for the mountains, from the reviews I’ve read it fascinates me no end that I get to submerge myself into suburban life in 1970s Britain. “Beware from straying from the flock for fear you’ll be left out in the cold” is one of my favourite quotes from the books cover.
Great writers have been my heroes for as long as I remember. Growing up as a teenager I remember much of my time spent reading Tolstoy, Ray, Steinbeck, and Tagore, discovering Wicca, Freud, and Rumi, wandering in and out of fascination as I read the bards Sunil Gangopadhyay and Jibanananda Das, travelling to the heart of darkness, the Sunderbans, with Amitav Ghosh, devouring Upamanyu Chatterjee and Rohinton Mistry.
I’m eager to read Anjali Joseph’s The Living, her debut novel Saraswati Park was very close to my heart. She successfully evoked familiar spaces, sensations, and emotions through Mohan the letter-writer.
My last watch on Netflix was a brilliant documentary series called Cooked by Michael Pollan. Through the lens of fire, water, air and earth this series reminded me to forge a deeper and more sustainable connection with the ingredients and methods I use for cooking, well more than anything else it reminded me of the importance of cooking. It also traced the evolution of food, food preparation across the world. I am very compelled to read more about Pollan’s body of work. And so The Omnivore’s Dilemma is on my list!
Staying with my love for food writing I can’t wait to read Pamela Timms Korma, Kheer & Kismet which is such a witty and sonorous book title that it should be mandatory reading for all food bloggers! Also looking forward to Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.
Of I go to read my books! Do you have new books that you plan to read? Do tell me, I reckon I’m going to power through my list quickly and will need more recommendations. If you enjoyed this post, do send me an email, I love fan mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
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