We spent 2014 with…

Time and space has divided our book club for the last Monday of 2014. Being in different cities and time zones, there can be no Monday morning conversation. But that does not mean that we cannot exchange e-mails…

 

E-mail from PS (Bangalore 11.15 am IST)  to LL

Hello,

Strange to be sitting at home on Monday morning but I decided to take the day off completely and not do anything. So here I am drinking tea and the dog is looking on wondering what I am doing here (It’s more likely that he is looking for a share in the biscuit I keep dunking in the tea). Bangalore has finally cooled down a little but on the whole it has been an extremely warm and sunny December. I am already worried about how dreadful summer is going to be next year.

It’s weird not to be meeting anytime today or in the next few days for our weekly, bookish conversation. In any case, it is the end of the year and time to take stock of all things, including the books we spent our time reading. Frankly I cannot remember most of them. I should have made a note somewhere. Just going through my bookshelf does not help as many books will have been borrowed from friends or from the library. Only the ones read recently stick in the mind.

For whatever it is worth here are my memorable reads of the year:

Being Mortal – Atul Gawande (For saying nothing new and yet sticking in the mind. Perhaps because a Doctor is saying it.)

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield (A very different travelogue, all the way to the International Space Station and life on it)

Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett (Almost everyone from the previous books puts in an appearance but my two favourites, Susan and Granny Weatherwax were both missing. Otherwise of course it is TP and therefore a lot of fun)

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure – Joanne Harris (Back to Lansquenet with its village tensions and food)

David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell (Memorable for the individual stories told. The premise that adversity will make you stronger is a little simplistic though)

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (Long overdue. I do not know why it took me so long to get around to reading it. A book about a dystopian future when books are banned and the job of firemen is to go around burning them. Scary.)

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin (Still haven’t decided as to whether I liked it or not but I did remember reading it)

The Magician’s Book – Laura Miller (A book that articulates many people’s thoughts of the impact on them of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia)

The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith (Enjoyable and readable)

The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin ( The story of a crotchety bookshop owner undergoing a transformation after adopting a little girl. Reminiscent of Silas Marner which I then had to re-read)

The first Two Books in the Wall of Night series – Helen Lowe (Totally enjoyed both. It is wonderful to read stories where warriors and heroes are female and yet not considered unusual in that. The grouse is that it is going to be a series of four books and the third one seems a long way off)

Finally, there were the books I re read this year and enjoyed once again in the process; Silas Marner by George Eliot and Emma by Jane Austen (No surprises there as I re read Emma at least once every Year)

Here’s hoping for a good haul of books in the next 365 days and many enjoyable hours spent reading and discussing them. So wishing you a  good reading and writing 365 days. Also not to forget the greening. May the greenery always increase. PS

 

LL’s response is likely to come on Monday morning EST(US)

 

E-mail from LL to PS (12:00 EST)

Hello to you too!

Brrrr… it’s raining and freezing and the fingers feel too numb to move over the keyboard. Oh how I wish we were just talking as usual, with a mug of hot cocoa to warm the fingers.

Yes, another year has passed and trying to think back on all that I have read this year the first name that jumps out for me is ‘The Collected Works of A.J.Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin. I think it is the clever way that the story has been crafted that made it such a satisfying read and the fact that the protagonist is the owner of an independent bookshop only added to the charm.

Another book that I enjoyed was ‘The Big Over Easy’ by Jasper Fford. There are authors that specialize in incorporating popular fictional characters created by others into their works some get away with it and most often they don’t but Jasper Fford it seems does it effortlessly. In this particular series he uses characters out of nursery rhymes and stories to create a whodunit. This book led to us discovering his Dragon series for younger readers, which I know you were not as happy with but I don’t know if I am ready to give up on it as yet.

This summer my daughter was reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and I decided to read them along with her. It was such good fun. Although it was tough to behave like an adult while reading a five book series and the let the child go first. And now we have read the same books but they seem to have made her an authority on Greek mythology while I am still struggling to recall the names of some of the less popular gods. Depressing.

Also I just realised we ended up reading two new Donna Leons this year ‘The Golden Egg’ (paperback) and ‘By its Cover’ (hardcover) so that means no new Donna Leons for us in 2015. What a pity. But we do have the third book in Helen Lowe’s Wall of Night series to look forward to and I am willing to be thrilled if Patrick Rothfuss and his publisher get their act together and finish off the King Killer Chronicles for us.

I think the one thing we missed saying when we were discussing e readers is that after you have read and enjoyed a book you can’t just hand your e reader over to someone, like you would with a book and say: read this I am sure you will love it. There is joy in sharing; so thank you for all the books you have lent me in 2014 it definitely helped make it a good year.

Talk to you soon!

LL

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