It was a year of frenzied reading. And for once, the pace was fueled not by madness but serenity. The more serene I felt, the deeper I sunk – sunk into the world of books, of characters, of emotions, of questions, of dilemmas, of contemplation, of statements and above all, of many truths. That this world has such remarkable talent and that I am fortunate to have access to some of these documented and published texts left me tranquil in excitement and content in wait.
I am a person with frugal goals and at the beginning of this year, I narrowed my reading goal to just one: spending atleast 60% of my reading time on new (to me) authors. And thankfully, the year obliged. I read Banville, Barnes, Bernhard, Calvino, Camus, Coetzee, Dostoyevsky, Eliot, Flaubert, Gogol, Hamsun, Joyce, Kawabata, Krasznahorkai, Krzhizhanovsky, Kundera, Mann, Mistry, Modiano, Munro, Proust, Pynchon, Rilke, Sartre, Sebald, Steinbeck, Vesaas, Woolf and Zweig for the first time and the experience ranged from exhilaration to numbness. The literature opened doors to rich geographical terrains of India and Ireland, Norway and Japan, Russia and America, France and Italy and beyond. In the alleys of these varied societal and political walls, I fell in love with Tomas and looked in awe at Stephen; I befriended Hanta and bid farewell to Lenny; I could not choose between the unnamed narrators that were characterized by three distinct human instincts – hunger, curiosity and suffering and I stood hypnotized at the recitation of memoirs in Dublin and Paris of two greatest story-tellers of all-times.
For those books that left me a little underwhelmed, I am thankful; for they served the purpose of a jolt-and-reset mechanism which is an imminent bug demanding continuous countering.
All the works I read this year made their individual contribution in bulking up my treasures and lifting me softly into an air of confidence and gregariousness. They imparted a certain gravitas to my being and I am thankful to my Baba for giving the reticent me, this gift of befriending books with ease.
There cannot be a single book I can single out as my most favorite. But suffice to say that the following are my Top 5 enablers from 2015:
Italo Calvino for Versatility
Virginia Woolf for Hope
Knut Hamsun for Resilience
Rohinton Mistry for Faith
Rainer Maria Rilke for Strength
I set foot in 2016 with a similar love and a similar goal, but with a little more passion and fire in my belly 🙂 Hope the flame glows and the books cure till the end of this journey called LIFE.
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