Sunday, February 28, 2016

The #100bookpact - Books 1-10

Sometimes undertaking a challenge is the only way to do things. Even though I consider myself to be an avid reader (at least that's what I keep telling everyone!), usually my book list at the end of the year doesn't have more than twenty books. Which is insane because I usually buy double this number of books every year.

Social media can make one do crazy things. For me the #100bookpact is just that. This year I've decided to read, yes you've read it right, a 100 books. It did appear to be a pretty daunting task but so far I've managed to finish nine books. For someone who only read the Malazan series last year, nine books is pretty amazing!

Here are the ten books with the briefest, most minuscule reviews.

1. Esmond in India by Ruth Jhabvala. Nostalgia, love, broken ideals and lost causes. Well written characters, each one striving for happiness and control of their lives, like we all are. Her work is a perfect example of how a story based in the subcontinent can be about ordinary people leading ordinary lives.

2. Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark. Whatever I've read by her so far has been hugely entertaining and this book is no different. There is a potential for a movie in it. Her novels are short but she always has very strong characters with distinct qualities. For example, the staple diet of one of the characters in this novel was smoked salmon and lamb chops!

3. The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. It was such a huge disappointment. Even the vodka guzzling cat couldn't save it! I abandoned the book after 50 pages. However, I highly recommend his other novel, Black Snow, which I've been thinking should be made into a stage play. It is not just very funny but totally relevant to the theatre scene in Karachi, if not Pakistan.

4. So Long, and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams and then,

5. Mostly Harmless, again by Douglas Adams. This book was such a bore. I think the best one in this five book series is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even The Restaurant at the end of the World isn't bad either. I think the books which don't have Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin are really lame.

6. A morning with Jeeves is full of joy. Wodehouse's 'Joy in the Morning' was the sixth book. With preparations for the Desi Writers' Lounge stall for KLF in full swing in the beginning of February, this was the easiest, happiest read!

7. The famous Eat, Pray, Love came next. In all honesty I had never any intention of reading the book. I had seen the film and even though I had heard a lot about it, memoirs are not really my thing. But I read Big Magic last year by Gilbert and it made me curious to read her most famous work. It wasn't a let down and it gave me an excuse to watch the movie again. Also, it has a really smart plot. 

8. Tolkein's The Silmarillion came next. This book should definitely come with a disclaimer: Only for hardcore LOTR fans. 

9. Probably the best book I've read so far for this challenge was 'boom!' by Mark Haddon. A sci-fi for kids or young adults, it is one action packed story! It has aliens, toilet cleaner wielding spiders, mysterious portals, a jobless father who finds his calling in cooking, devious young boys who spy on aliens, and a road trip all the way from London to the Isle of Skye. Read it. Make your kids read it. Read it to your kids. Just don't die without reading this book!

10. I started Atonement last night. I've read two books by Ian McEwan, Amsterdam and On Chesil Beach, and really liked them but I always shied away from this critically acclaimed novel. I'm hoping it won't be as insipid as the movie. Let's see. 

The next update on the #100bookpact will come after I've finished ten more books. Which will, hopefully, not be at the end of the year! 

Note: Image of Eat, Pray, Love and The Silmarillion are from Google.