A Year of 100 Books – 2017 (Part 2)

This is the list continued after my 50th read. Since WordPress is not allowing me to make an auto-numbered list beginning with 51, here we are, counting afresh. Btw, read about my first 50 reads here!

  1. Degrees of Separation by Nilesh Mondal (51)

    “Just find your way home.
    Just take your Kohl off.
    Just sleep with your clothes in the corner.
    Just know it’s alright.” I honestly liked reading this. Some analogies, metaphors and images, constructed within the cocoon of a love, lover and muse were worth keeping with myself till long later.

    Should you read it? Yes. It is a lovely poetry book.

    (Borrowed from Prateek Pandey. Among his rare recommendations that I liked!)

    51_Nilesh Mondal

  2. Mahashweta by Sudha Murty (52)

    This one is again a women centred story, though with a very specific theme. It builds a story around leucoderma (skin lightening or losing colour) and how along with being a medical problem, it poses a big social problem as well. This is the story of a girl stigmatized because of leucoderma patches and has to construct her own destiny to pull out of regressive social practices.

    Should you read it? Yes. Absolutely.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon library.)

  3. Last Mile Together – An Anthology of South African Poems (53)

    This is an important book and my first introduction to any work by South African writers. Contemporanous poets talk of similar concerns and issues, and so is the case with this book of poems. Noticeably postcolonial, the poems here talk of culture and identity, along with conflicts more than anything.
    Should you read it? If you can find it, yes, please. A student of literature as well as international politics must.

    (Found this gem tucked away on a shelf at Shiv Nadar School Noida library.)

  4. Yudhishthira – The Unfallen Pandava by Mallar Chatterjee (54)

    I had the privilege of launching this book, considered worthy because of the immense passion I hold for Mahabharata and all its stories. This is a fresh retelling of the epic story from Yudhishthira’s perspective, and before you dismissed the eldest of Pandava brothers as a flat character without complexities, I exhort you to read this book and learn with it. Mallar has all his research well in place, a fact which screams out from the pages of this impeccably penned mythological narrative.
    Should you read it? Yes. Very strongly recommended.

    (I had my own copy from the launch, gracefully presented by the author, Mallar Chatterjee and the Publishing House, Readomania.)

  5. Wise and Otherwise by Sudha Murty (55)

    This book is a collection of the columns which Sudha Murty wrote in a newpaper. These articles are little fables of humanity, and the lack thereof, which Ms. Murty encountered during her extensive travel and interactions for the Infosys Foundation work.
    Should you read it? Wouldn’t recommend it strongly given that better books are available from Sudha Murty’s corpus.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon library.)

  6. The Return of the Young Prince by A. G. Roemmers (56)

    This is a continuation of Little Prince’s ruminations about life and living, when he returns to Planet Earth as a Young Prince. His concerns and considerations have changed, and the narrative voice changes completely, now that the author is new. I had mixed feelings about this one.
    Should you read it? Sure. To carry on the legacy of the modern fable of Little Prince.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon library.)

  7. The Magic Drunk and Other Favourite Stories by Sudha Murty (57)

    A collection of lesser known folklore from different regions of the country, each with a strong message.
    Should you read it? Yes, but only if folk tales with a moral message attract you.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon library.)

  8. All Quiet in Vikaspuri by Sarnath Banerjee (58)

    I’m not very fond of graphic novels, but once in a while comes a cover like this which you remember being highly recommended. This did not disappoint, in fact, I loved the satire, clever pop references and word play.

    Should you read it? Yes.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School, Noida, library.)

    58_Sarnath Banerjee

  9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (59)

    Still figuring out ki ismein end mein hua kya.

    Should you read it? I don’t stand by this book.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School, Noida, library.)

    59_Mohsin Hamid

  10. Lone Fox Dancing by Ruskin Bond (60)

    ‘The most fictional of all my characters is myself.’ I have an irrevocable relationship with Ruskin Bond. His books relieve, help, give hope and make the thought of solitude less painful. And then, I also had the privilege of discussing this book in person with him at Bhopal 2017 Chapter of the Great Indian Film and Literature Festival!

    Should you read it? Yes, yes and YES!

    (Bought from Salim bhai ki bookshop, Janpath.)

    60_Ruskin Bond

  11. What is Poetry? by Michael Rosen (61)

    Such titles give me high hope, because of being a permanent question of engagement for me, but not much here to remember or note down.

    Should you read it? Avoid.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, library.)

    61_Michael Rosen

  12. Harry Potter – A Cinematic Guide (62)

    Random, very random.

    Should you read it? Nah. There is nothing to read in here.

    (Flipped through at the Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, library.)

    62

  13. Albus Dumbledore – A Cinematic Guide (63)

    Random, very random.

    Should you read it? Nah. There is nothing to read in here.

    (Flipped through at the Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, library.)

    63

  14. Kaavi by Rahul Yadav (64)

    A book of simply penned poems, but not something I enjoyed immensely.

    Should you read it? It does not have my strong vote.

    (Review copy, send a friend of the author’s.)

    64_Rahul Yadav

  15. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (65)

    Except the fable in the beginning, kaafi bekaar.

    Should you read it? Duh, no! Your Khaled Hosseini myth will break.

    (Borrowed it from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    65_Khaled Hosseini

  16. One Out of Two by Daniel Sada (66)

    A story of identically identical twins, which I happened to enjoy immensely! The twins are in love with the same man, but wait, it is not as simple as that. This is a complex tale of the complexities within extremely close relationships, and the language, oh! It is fascinating, and certainly fresh.

    Should you read it? I will certainly recommend it.

    (Bought it upon Salim bhai’s gentle recommendation, and finished it on my first trip to Rishikesh!)

    66_Daniel Sada

  17. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (67)

    I never thought I’ll get a way around this classic, which I really wanted to read, but it always seemed daunting and dull. But then graphics came to rescue.

    Should you read it? Yes. It might not be gratifying as a literary engagement exercise, but it is a fair peek into the basic story and emotions.

    (Finished while sitting away in the Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, library.)

    67_Herman Melville

  18. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (68)

    To me, this was nothing more than a collection of abrupt, repetitive, explicit sentences. I’m genuinely trying to understand the reason for her fame, and failing. Not even trying to be a literary snob here, but this is beyond comprehension, and very disappointing.

    Should you read it? No.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    68_Rupi Kaur

  19. Poems That Lose by Akif Kichloo (69)

    ‘All loving is not benign’. I enjoyed these simple poems penned by Akif, a popular contemporary poet with a viral presence for some of his compositions. This is the first time I was reading him, and some simple lines did hit home – like the one quoted above. An easy, quick read, but with thoughts you might want to reflect deeply upon.

    Should you read it? Yes. Among the better among the contemporary lot that I have read. Also, such an interesting title!

    (The poet was kind enough to have a copy sent to me, leaving me overjoyed!)

    69_Akif Kichloo

  20. The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri (70)

    ‘The cover signifies that the text inside is clean, definitive. It is no longer wild, coarse, malleable. From now on the text is fixed, and yet the cover has a metamorphic function as well. It transforms the text into ab object, something concrete to publish, distribute, and, in the end, sell.

    If the process of writing is a dream, the book cover represents the awakening.’ What a great read!

    Should you read it? Yes. Anything by Jhumpa Lahiri is a double thumbs up!

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida.)

    70_Jhumpa Lahiri

  21. The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho (71)

    I don’t want to comment on this book. Up for discussing this in person if any one is interested.

    71_Paulo Coelho

  22. Hindi for HeartGulzar with Rina Singh (72)

    Hindi Varnamala ka Kaayda, with each letter carrying a little Gulzar Poem. Kaafi cute.

    Should you read it? Yes.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida.)

    72_Gulzar

  23. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls (73)

    I spent my Diwali on this book, perusing some genuine stories of light and fierce flames of passion. If there are fairy tales we must read to our daughters and sons, its these.

    Should you read it? On priority. And you should also buy and gift this book to all you know, especially young parents.

    (Lent very kindly by Sarah, and then I bought a few copies of my own, and now there are multiple copies lying all over the house.)

    73_Rebel Girls

  24. The Oxford Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets – edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra (74)

    The book which made me realize I like Arun Kolatkar more than Jayant Mahapatra, and A. K. Ramanujan more than both. And Agha Shahid Ali most of all.

    Should you read it? With that name as the Editor, yes, you certainly should.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida.)

    74_Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

  25. When the Earth Was Flat by Graeme Donald (75)

    If you wanted to know how science had us fooled, and how it fuelled agenda and propaganda, this is your book. I particularly loved how this book destroys Europe – in terms of how openly the propagated false, utterly logic-less scientific beliefs for the longest time.

    Should you read it? In the interest of enlightenment, yes, of course.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida.)

    75_Graeme Donald

  26. Three Score Assamese Poems – compiled and translated by D. N. Bezboruah (76)

    I only had one thought in my head while reading each of these very lyrical poems – how beautiful would they have sounded in their language and context. Culture and nature flowed with these verses.

    Should you read it? Yes!

    (Borrowed from a friend.)

    76_D N Bezboruah

  27. The Little Book of Hindu Deities by Sanjay Patel (77)

    An extremely disappointing book with superlatively cute illustrations.

    Should you read it? Don’t buy it. Pick it up, flip through the pictures, say ‘aww’ and keep it back.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon)

    77_Sanjay Patel

  28. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – translated by Edward FitzGerald (78)

    Will require a deeper engagement to get anywhere near to understanding this giant. But I am glad to have begun.

    Should you read it? No. This is an uninspiring collection, could have done with a better introduction.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    78_Omar Khayyam

  29. The Duchess by Danielle Steel (79)

    Largely a standard Danielle Steel book, but with a very bold central character and theme. The emancipation of the woman protagonist, however, revolved around opening a successful house of pleasure, and I found myself questioning the morality of the plot twist more than once. It still made for a fine read, no denying.

    Should you read it? If you are a Danielle Steel fan, you should give this one a try. Else, avoid.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    79_Danielle Steel

  30. To Hell With You Mitro (Mitro Marjaani) by Krishna Sobti (80)

    A title for our times, and an immensely bold stories. At times, I am shocked while reading what our writers in regional language have been writing about. Sensual womanhood is their strong suit. And so is the case with this translation.

    Should you read it? Yes. And I am guessing the original version would be more powerful.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida.)

    80_Krishna Sobti

  31. The Country Without a Post Office by Agha Shahid Ali (81)

    Favourite poet. Favourite book. Cannot talk anymore.

    Should you read it? Hell, yes!

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida, though I have my own copy at home. I have no idea why I read the borrowed copy then.)

    81_Agha Shahid Ali

  32. Maharani’s Letters by Evyah T. Dafaranos (82)

    A Greek poet’s English and Hindi translation, in the form of epistles which were nice and romantic, but in an anachronistic way.

    Should you read it? I doubt if you’ll ever find it, but if you do, I’m not sure a piece of writing like this can appeal to everyone.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida.)

    82_Defaranos

  33. I Used To Know That History by Emma Marriott (83)

    Very Eurocentric. Skewed lessons in history are mostly a waste of time.

    Should you read it? No.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    83_Emma Marriott

  34. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer (84)

    I can’t speak about this book. I’m undecided, except for the fact that it makes you toil hard. The title is the annual winner, of course.

    Should you read it? Consult Google.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    84_Joshua Hammer

  35. Talk of the Town by Jerry Pinto and Rahul Srivastava (85)

    I pick up anything with Jerry Pinto’s name on the cover, and it turned out to be a good read. I traveled through a couple of cities, and their very peculiar aspects through the prose compiled in the book. In writing, I enjoyed revisiting the visited cities most.

    Should you read it? Yes! Especially recommended to travellers.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    85_Pinto and Srivastava

  36. The Wickermann Chronicles by Giri Kurichiyath (86)

    A lot of wit and humor packed in these short fictional narratives, and they often need you to re-read them to get it in full. I often got stuck at a lot of places, which did hinder the fun of reading.

    Should you read it? I’m not sure I got it enough to recommend it, but it did give me some amusing moments.

    (This was a review copy, very kindly sent by Giri.)

    86_Giri Kurichiyath

  37. Der Kar Deta Hoon Main by Munir Niazi (87)

    Had been fascinated by this name since the titular nazm went viral on Social Media. I was not impressed with most Ghazals, but Munir Niazi’s magic, I found, in his nazms.

    Should you read it? You should.

    (Bought from World Book Fair 2017, Vani Prakashan)

    87_Munir NIazi

  38. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (88)

    Of course I am a Twilight fan! Of course I am in love with Edward Cullen! Of course I have read this book earlier (not once, but thrice I guess!)

    Should you read it? Of course! It has its problem areas and is looked down upon by a bit of the literary circle, but hey! I love it!

    (A very old copy. No idea where I got it from, but an old friend gifted it to me perhaps.)

    88_Stephenie Meyer

  39. The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi (89)

    ‘There is only one truly important work for all of us. And that work is to love cleanly, with considerable heart, with love’s inexplicable instincts taking full control of us.’ I cannot explain how much I love this book, but this is among my top favourites among all reads of life. This was my second time reading the book.

    Should you read it? Very strongly recommended.

    (Like I said, this was a re-reading. My own first copy was borrowed and never returned, and I honestly don’t even know who has it, so I had to buy it again in order to read it.)

    89_Shanghvi

  40. Poems from Bangla Desh – The Voice of a New Nation (90)

    Poems from a postcolonial site, still trying to struggle with notions of identity and culture, are the ones which instantly appeal to me. And reading poems from a country you don’t know much about is a great way of figuring out how that country feels and breathes and thinks. This book, picked up by chance, will remain among the highlights of reading in 2017.

    Should you read it? If you find it anywhere, pick it up without the blink of an eye.

    (Found in a corner at the library at Shiv Nadar School, Noida – like all gems are found in libraries.)

    90_Bangladesh

  41. A Little Book of Happiness by Ruskin Bond (91)

    ‘Among the Masais there is this belief: Happy is he whose own faults prevent him from castigating the faults of others.’ As a child I used to read a lot of quote books. I was taken back to those times while flipping through this extremely quick read. However, despite being quick, it made you reflect and smile and remember instances where you felt similar, or conjure instances where you’d like to quote these. Or perhaps, it is just the magic of Ruskin Bond which makes me attached to the pretty words he collates.

    Should you read it? I’ll call this one a collectible too, one which you can pick out in rainy weather or carry along when travelling to the hills.

    (Finished reading it while sitting at The Bookshop, Jor Bagh. Guess I have to buy my copy soon!)

    91_Ruskin Bond

  42. The Man Who Was Kipling by Ruskin Bond (92)

    This book had a lot of stories I had already read, but then, I have been reading a lot of Ruskin Bond since some years. This collection, however, is not one I will remember.

    Should you read it? Avoid.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    92_Ruskin Bond

  43. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (93)

    Pronounced as ‘hoo-ga’, this is what the Danes consider as a warm, happy, cosy feeling, one that is indispensable to their daily rituals of life. This word, weirdly enough, I’m sure I’ll have a long association with. The most beautiful book I’ve read in 2017. Visually.

    Should you read it? It is definitely a collectible, and a very warm book. Pick it up if you find it.

    (I bought it as a gift for a senior at work, and then borrowed it back to read immediately after gifting it! Yes! That’s the kind of reader I am!)

    93_Meik Wiking

  44. The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (94)

    Happened to fall in love with the film and specially ordered the book. Turns out, this is a completely different story. Minimal similarity. Enjoyed both narratives.

    Should you read it? Just watch the film, honestly. Much more aesthetically gratifying.

    (Blackmailed a cousin into buying this for me. Thanks, Ranu bhaiya!)

    94_Richard Morais

  45. Songs of Kabir – translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra (95)

    If I ever thought Kabir was going to be a simple read, here, I was in for a surprise! Deep with philosophies presented in the form of everyday metaphors, I used to sit till long after, mulling over what I read.

    Should you read it? Yes. I think this is a beautifully put together edition, and the two names of top other than Kabir – Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Wendy Doniger – are ones which can be easily trusted.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.)

    95_Kabir

  46. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami (96)

    Weird, innovative, open takes on man-woman dynamics. Quite interesting, actually, and more so because the last Murakami I read was completely disappointing (an collection edited by him called ‘Birthday Stories’ – I gifted it to myself on my last birthday.)

    Should you read it? Oh yes. Certainly.

    (Borrowed from Shiv Nadar School, Noida, library.)

    96_Murakami

  47. I Hid My Voice by Parinoush Sainee (97)

    Oh dear, what a beautiful book! I haven’t read something as profound and powerful and touching as this related to child psychology. It is also a great narrative on parenting, on the importance of unconditional love, and on silence.

    Should you read it? Please padhiye. Especially if you’re a parent.

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon)

    97_Parinoush Saniee

  48. Faber and Faber Poetry Diary 2018 (98)

    This is not exactly a book, but it is nothing less. It introduced me to many new poems by the famous poets of the past, along with compiling exquisite pictures of some book jackets. This is my planner for the current year, and a definite collectible.

    Should you read it? Well, yes. But now if you’re going ahead to buy it, buy the one for next year. (A little steep on the price end though, let me warn!)

    (Bought from The Bookshop, Jor Bagh.)

    98_Faber and Faber

  49. The Everyday Poet by Deborah Alma (99)

    The editor of this poetry compendium has actually used poetry as therapy – literally running an emergency van to treat people by prescribing them a poem for their affliction. Each poem selected in this anthology speaks volumes about her acumen and deep engagement with the form.

    Should you read it? On priority!

    (Borrowed from the library at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon)

    99_Deborah Alma

  50. A Gift from Mudit (100)
    I will not tell you anything about this book, except that it came from a friend far away in Bhopal, wrapped within an envelope which carried the most beautiful letter ever written to me. It carried love, and it also carried motivation for my reading habit to continue. This message is the most important aspect of the book which reached my doorstep 🙂

    100_Mudit

I’m currently on my 18th read of the year. This one is slow, because some other experiences are taking shape. Shall share more on them, later!

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