I’ve been quite lucky this year to have met quite a lot of people with similar interests to reading and to have been GIFTED a lot of books! You know how elated one can feel with gifts of this sort. Most of them are in my current spectrum of interest which include philosophy, historical fiction/non-fiction and of course the classics.
Here is the list of books that I look forward to reading this year as a favour to my yearning mind as well as our new project Meraki!
CHRONICLES OF A DEATH FORETOLD
Written by Gabriel García Márquez in 1981, right after he shot to fame for his much acclaimed 100 years of solitude, the plot of the novel, like all his other works, has fascinated me. Inspired by a murder that happened in the town of Sucre, Márquez has been talked about for his skills as a journalist rather than an author, after publishing this tale of magical realism woven together in an unfair society.
This sure has me waiting to unravel the chronicles of Santiago Nasar’s death by the two brothers.
The story, which is more like an autobiography of the protagonist Saleem Sinai, is set amidst the post colonial era of India and its independence. Having a regard for the philosophical realities of Salman Rushdie and the issues covered by him in all of his novels, it seems legit to read this book without a second thought.
A HAPPY DEATH
Always on my list of reads, Camus’ work is more of an insight to life. Albert Camus’ novels deal with the existentialism and absurd-ism philosophies. As interesting as it can get, his work definitely has the power to de-clutter your thoughts and lead you to a point where, ironically, only you and your thoughts exist.
The first novel written by Albert Camus, in his early twenties, it was retrieved after his death in 1960. Laying a foundation for his first official novel, The Stranger, A Happy Death tells us the story of a young Algerian who commits a cold-blooded murder and fleets. It takes us along his journey through life which ends in him attaining the happiness he was after.
The first of Herman Hesse’s novels on my list, the theme of the book is what captured my attention. Hesse, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, is known for his take on the various philosophies of life and also for imparting a lot of himself in his work. Siddhartha was written by him, after his journeys to Asia and the Middle East. Battling the themes of the alienation of man from his surroundings and his thirst for knowledge, Siddhartha seems like a read to help oneself see life through a new light, a path to self-realisation.
THE LITTLE COFFE SHOP OF KABUL
Written by Debohrah Rodriguez, this novel was gifted to me by a dear friend/fellow bibliophile.
Following Debohrah’s humanitarian services to the women of Afghanistan, she now tells us the story of five women who meet at the coffee shop, at the heart of Afghanistan, who are completely different from one another with the only common thing being their presence in the Taliban dominated city of Kabul. The happenstance of events which is affected by the nuances of life in Kabul is what the book is about.
THE MOON AND SIXPENCE
Written by William Somerset Maugham, the novel was inspired by the life of the artist Paul Gauguin. He narrates the story of a man names Charles Strickland, who abandons all of his kith and kin to achieve his dream of becoming a full-time artist. The title of the novel is derived from a line in Maugham’s Of Human Bondage - “…so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.”
Another one gifted by a friend, who strongly recommend I read it, The Moon and Sixpence is definitely going to be an insight into, not just the perks of a genius who is on the path of following his dreams but also the loss of certain things it demands in one’s life.
HUMILIATED AND INSULTED
Fyodor Dostoevsky penned this novel during the end of his exile in Siberia. Written with the theme of the value of suffering, the philosophy which had influenced most of his writing, Dostoevsky narrates this story with a strong set of characters involving a young struggling author, an orphaned teenager and a depraved aristocrat and the certain episodes of their life which scars them and changes their take on life in relation to those terms.
I look forward to reading this piece since I wish to see if I can relate to this particular theme of imperfections, which is always attractive.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
A CLASSIC WAR ROMANCE. How can one say a no to that! And written by Ernest Hemmingway, it just got better.
Set in the mountains of Spain during the Civil War in 1937, Hemingway tells the story of an American fighting for the Republicans, which demands him to work with the local guerrillas, one of whom he falls in love with.
Written by Hemingway, after his return as a journalist and film production assistant from the war torn region of Spain, this novel would undoubtedly transport you into his era of the lesser known facts about the life and impact a war can have on the people.
THE IVORY THRONE
A book recommended to me by a fellow bibliophile whom I had accompanied to the book launch in my city. The author, Manu.S.Pillai’s work did strike quite an impression. Listening to the preview of The Ivory Throne, this centralizes around the matriarchal society of Kerala during the British Raj, the fight for power between the two sisters of The House of Travancore, and the implications it has on each one of them.
THE MOUNTAIN SHADOW
Written by Gregory David Roberts, a sequel to the all time favourite, Shantaram, Lin now takes us through a world which seems completely different to him after his return from a smuggling trip. It’s Lin’s survival in this new town, with a Mafia running it with different rules. And abandoning the city is not even quite close to being an option. After years of waiting for the sequel, it’s finally here and on my list of reads this year.