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Haven't read many books this year? Looking for something to read in these Christmas holidays? Here's a list for you to choose from.
Haven’t read many books this year? Looking for something to read in these Christmas holidays? Here’s a list for you to choose from.
I don’t know if it was the guilt of not having read that much this year or the fact that I was being surrounded by so many good books, December dawned on me like a realization of sorts that I had promised myself that I’d finish at least fifteen books this 2015. So, I managed to read more books in December than I read throughout the whole year.
The schedule was hectic, college portions piled up, but being a literature graduate helped in easing a little stress off the total books list. I had ten more books to read in addition to the ones I had planned to read, thanks to my university’s beautifully planned out semester syllabus. This semester had a whole pile of books I’d been meaning to read for a long time now! Even some classics (Emma – Jane Austen, A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens, Man and Superman – George Bernard Shaw) that I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams have ventured into, if not for the inclusion in my syllabus.
Here are fifteen books that you simply have to get your hands on this Christmas holidays. This list is based on the books I have personally read and loved this year.
by Manju Kapur
The cover page made the aunty next door wonder if I was into porn. Not kidding. A Married Woman turned out to be as amazing as Manju Kapoor’s books normally are. Taken hostage into a world of politics, love, homogeneous relationships and friendships, I loved the thinnest streak of pure innocence that travelled from the start to the end of the novel, along with the reader, most of all.
But be warned – though this book is not a major tear-jerker, it is no breezy read and it will at all costs, affect you at various levels.
by Kiran Khalap
I don’t know why or how I did not read Halfway Up The Mountain any sooner. I’ll always be grateful to my Uncle Allwyn for introducing me to Khalap’s luminous prose that is poetry and yet prose and yet … wow. Maya (the protagonist) will haunt you for the rest of your lives. I’d strongly suggest this book if you love poetry as much as I do, or if you’d just love to transcend from prose and see how beautiful its amalgamation with poetry is.
by Mahesh Dattani
Tara, well. Why do I always obsess over heavy subjects? Tara is the shortest yet profoundest drama I’ve ever read. (after Chitra by Tagore, that is.)
by Megha Rao
It Will Always Be You is the most appropriate holiday book in my list so far. Megha is a sweet person, but a sweeter romance writer. I started reading this book just because it was getting so many rave reviews. What unfolded before my sight was not a plain boring monotonous love story, but a fully alive and solid cinematic breezy story, that happens between two characters who share the same first name.
by Toni Morrison
Heavy subject alert.
Toni Morrison is famous for her post-colonial writing and body image themes, but The Bluest Eye, is by far her best work, in my opinion. An epic. A sure winner. You should probably read this on the day your holidays get over and you are forced to return to school/office/college, because that would totally blend with your possibly melancholic mood.
By Raja Rao
If you’re into Indian history, Kanthapura, the fictional village that is at the epicentre of accepting and implementing Gandhian values will have you reverberating with national pride at every page.
The Painter Of Signs is a breezy love story set in the late 1970’s that will surely take you back in time when there were board-less hotels, selling you stout glass tumblers of tea, vadas on oily newspaper squares and colourful sodas in display at every tiny box like store at the fag end of every street. A social worker, falling in love with a painter of signs, a true mis-match in every sense and yet Daisy’s intellect and guts are far beyond the average eye-batting, duet-singing, saree clad 70’s heroines. A must read, for Daisy’s sake!
by Hermann Hesse
Loosely based on Gautama Buddha’s life before and after enlightenment, Siddhartha is beautifully written in lucid prose style and yet majorly deviant from Buddha’s life, towards the second half of the book. A must read for the twist in the tale!
by Orhan Pamuk
Do a thorough background study on Turkey before you even think of delving into this one. Full of snowy landscapes and snow metaphors and beautiful Turkish imagery, Snow will take you to the heart of Turkey, from where it all began. Lengthy, and beautifully poignant, this story will affect you for a really long time!
by Anita Desai
Desai! The queen of story-telling! Cry, The Peacock is a mirror to life. What happens when innocence and childhood do not culminate into adulthood? What happens when a woman is actually a girl trapped in the body of a lady? For all those child-women out there, this one is for you!
by Girish Karnad
A metaphorical drama that will pull you in, Hayavadana will engulf you in whole, and spit you out, as a changed person.
by George Bernard Shaw
Well, ladies. If you fell for Sirius Black at some point of your life (don’t tell me you haven’t ever fallen for him, what have you been doing all your life? Have you been living under a rock?), you will fall for Jack Tanner, the scholar of sarcasm. Having said that, I’ll count on you to read Man And Superman at your own risk. Can be mightily addictive, may encourage multiple reads and symptoms include scribbling “I❤️U Tanner!” at the margins and grinning like an idiot when you read the book from start to finish.
by Gita Mehta
Please, please read A River Sutra. And talk to me about it. I don’t know if I loved it or hated it, but there’s only two extremes for this book, you either hate it or love it, there’s no in-between.
A very vibrant tale set on the banks of Narmada and includes a host of fresh inside stories and new faces, instead of a boring narrator playing the emcee. The supernatural elements, spiritual ploys, poignance, and the sheer calmness that surrounds the protagonist, slowly eats at you too.
by Erich Segal
A love story.
One more word from me and it’ll be a spoiler.
by Jane Austen
If you loved Pride and Prejudice, you must read Emma too.
As for me, I’ll keep my mouth shut about this one, because I stand with Mark Twain on this. (If you get me, hi-fi!).
So what are you waiting for?
Go grab a book and fall in love with the joy of reading all over again!
Happy December! Happy Reading!
Image source: books in crate by Shutterstock.
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There are many mountains I need to climb just to be, just to live my life, just to have my say... because they are mountains you've built to oppress women.
Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
I haven’t climbed a literal mountain yet
Was busy with the metaphorical ones – born a woman
Fighting for the air that should have come free
And I am one of the privileged ones, I realize that
Yet, if I get passionate, just like you do
I will pay for it – with burden, shame, – and possibly a life to carry
So, my mountains are the laws you overturn
My mountains are the empty shelves where there should have been pills
When people picked my dadi to place her on the floor, the sheet on why she lay tore. The caretaker came to me and said, ‘Just because you touched her, one of the men carrying her lost his balance.’
The death of my grandmother shattered me. We shared a special bond – she made me feel like I was the best in the world, perfect in every respect.
Apart from losing a person who I loved, her death was also a rude awakening for me about the discrimination women face when it comes to performing the last rites of their loved ones.
On January 23 this year, I lost my 95 year old grandmother (dadi) Nirmala Devi to cardiac arrest. She was that one person who unabashedly praised me. The evening before her death she praised the tea I had made and said that I make better tea than my brother (my brother and I are always competing about who makes the best chai).
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