There have been better years in terms of the amount of reading I have managed along with my other pursuits. In 2014, I challenged myself to five books a month, 60 books for the year and eventually managed to read just 50. Not a bad number but way below the 83 I had read in 2013.
Earlier in the year, I invested in a Kindle Paperwhite thinking that it would help me read more and even recommended it a few friends. Over the months, while I read 32 of the 50 books on the Kindle, I failed to get a sense of belonging. Something was amiss. The intimate feel of a real book in your hands, the enchanting smell of course paper and ink, the hypnotic feel of seeing the left side of the book become thicker than the right as you built a tenacious relationship with the characters while the storytelling consumed and enthralled you.
Moving on to what I read and not how I read it, there have been books that I devoured within hours. Two worthy of mention are the finest I have read in the long time. The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker and I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. The former is a whodunit with a twist at the end of every chapter. The latter is a hewilldoit with a background story that keeps you up all night. Pacy. Thrilling. Edge of the seat. Both, highly recommended for all crime thriller fans.
Then there’s, The Martian by Andy Weir. Think Castaway, think tropical island. Now replace Tropical Island with Mars and you get this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious, man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars. If you love schoolbook science, dark humour, great strorytelling and the victory to the underdog all rolled into one, this is the book of the decade for you.
Then there have been books that you want to finish in one sitting but purposefully don’t. You go slow because you want to absorb, relish and dive into the poignant, elegant prose. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Infatuations by Javiar Marias and The Alchemy Of Desire by Tarun Tejpal did that to me. There have been books and characters – charming, endearing, ones that live with you long after the book has been read and shelved. Room by Emma Donoghue, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence, The Invention Of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, The Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafaq, The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult and the most brilliant of all, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. The last one is a coming of age story of six teenagers who meet at a summer camp and how their lives intertwine and change over the years. There is bound to be atleast one person that you know in real life who fits one of the six protagonists in the book.
Nonetheless, it’s been a decent year. Hope to read some fine books in 2015. Please feel free to recommend your favourites in the comments below.
My top five picks from the books that I read in 2014.
The Martian: Andy Weir
I Am Pilgrim: Terry Hayes
The Interestings: Meg Wolitzer
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair: Joel Dicker
The Alchemy Of Desire: Tarun J Tejpal
And here’s the complete list.
1. Unbreakable: An Autobiography: MC Mary Kom
2. The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt
3. Stories From Tagore: Rabindranath Tagore
4. Picturing Perfect: Melissa Brown
5. Rupee Millionaires: Frank Kusy
6. 600 Hours Of Edward: Craig Lancaster
7. Me Before You: Jojo Moyes
8. Before I Go To Sleep: SJ Watson
9. Labor Day: Joyce Maynard
10. The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry: Rachel Joyce
11. The Infatuations: Javier Marias
12. The Universe Versus Alex Woods: Gavin Extence
13. Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury
14. One Day: David Nicholls
15. The Interestings: Meg Wolitzer
16. The Day Before 9/11: Tucker Elliot
17. The Position: Meg Wolitzer
18. Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
19. Room: Emma Donoghue
20. The Martian: Andy Weir:
21. The Storyteller: Jodi Picoult
22. Tampa: Alissa Nutting
23. The Love Song Of Jonny Valentine: Teddy Wayne
24. Fangirl: Rainbow Rowell
25. The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair: Joel Dicker
26. The Secrets Between Us: Louise Douglas
27. The Siege: The Attack On The Taj Mumbai: Adrian Levy, Catchy Scott-Clark
28. How To Fight Islamist Terror From The Missionary Position: Tabish Khair
29. The Secret History: Donna Tartt
30. 60 Minutes: Upendra Namburi
31. The Silkworm: Robert Galbraith
32. The Fault In Our Stars: John Green
33. The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Mohsin Hamid
34. The Bad Boys Of Bokaro Jail: Chetan Mahajan
35. Lethal Spice: Swati Kaushal
36. The Invention Of Wings: Sue Monk Kidd
37. The Last Lecture: Randy Pausch
38. Juliet, Naked: Nick Hornby
39. Orphan Train: Christina Baker Kline
40. Life Or Death: Michael Robotham
41. Sphere: Michael Crichton
42. Gopallapuram: Ki Rajanarayanan
43. After The Quake: Haruki Murakami
44. Still Life With Woodpecker: Tom Robbins
45. The Opposite Of Loneliness: Essays and Stories: Marina Keegan
46. Truth In Advertising: John Kenney
47. The Forty Rules Of Love: Elif Shafaq
48. The Alchemy Of Desire: Tarun J Tejpal
49. The Prophet: Khalil Gibran
50. I Am Pilgrim: Terry Hayes