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January Wrap-up

I read a fair bit more in January than I had expected, what with interviews and being sick and having a ton of extra classes. I turned to books for comfort. 🙂 I read a decent mix of light hearted books and literary fiction.

These are the books I read:

1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt – This book for a disappointment because everyone built it up so much and I found it dull, pretentious and predictable, especially the second half. Interestingly, I found it improbable at the same time. How an author managed to be predictable and improbable at the same time is beyond me, but it happened. Anyway, here is the full review I wrote of it. I felt really blah that it was the first book I read in the year, by the way, because I thought it was a bad omen and showed the trend the rest of the year would take. I’m not often superstitious but apparently reading brings out this side of me.

2. Chocolat by Joanne Harris – This was a charming, pleasant little book and it was the perfect, quick read to cheer me up. I read it in a few hours. I heard there are sequels but I am not risking reading them because I know they won’t be as good. (Speaking of which, Ready Player One, which I worship, is getting a sequel and I am actually sick with fear.) I will read other books by Joanne Harris though, by and by. I reviewed Chocolat as well and you can find the review here.

3. On Beauty by Zadie Smith – I loved this book so much. I read most of it on the plane and I basically inhaled it. No jokes. I didn’t even clean my room after getting back to college (after a month and a half!) and I didn’t bother unpacking or anything. I just kept on reading until I finished the book.I ate while reading and I actually left a small food stain on one of the pages which left me miserable but not miserable enough to actually put the book down for long enough to finish eating, apparently. I was exhausted because I’d woken up at 5 am for my flight but I could not sleep until I was done. I loved the vivid characterisation, and I loved the plot. Everything, basically. Zadie Smith is a genius only! I have a new love for the whole genre/writing tool of hysterical realism now and I can’t wait to read more of it. Here’s the full review I wrote of it.

4. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – This is the book that won the Booker Prize this year, and I had wanted to read it for ages because I love historical fiction. This was a deeply disturbing work, owing to its subject-matter, the lives of Prisoners of War in Burma during the Second World War. The main character is deeply flawed and psychologically disturbed and it made for frightening reading. I read it for almost a week because i had to keep putting it down. I had nightmares after reading this book.I’m prone to very vivid nightmares as such, for which I am grateful because I feel like each one of them will give me material for books, but these were just too bleak. However, it’s a sensitive, honest and moving portrayal of the experience of being a POW and the lasting impact it has on one’s life. It’s a book worth reading for sure.I will post a more detailed review of it once I am able to articulate the depth of emotion I felt while reading this book.

5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This is a fantasy novel set in the 1800’s about two magicians who set out to revive magic in England. I love this book so much. It is easily on my list of rereadable all time favourites. It’s a gigantic book, coming in at a little over a 1000 pages and i flew through it in less than 3 days because it’s everything a delicious, meaty novel needs to be. It has adventure, intrigue, humour, romance, and it’s all woven together seamlessly. It had moments where I put the book down and gasped. The ending was perfect.and devastating. The book never seemed to drag on or get boring even though it’s so long. I adore it. It’s one of those books that made me glad for deciding to read fantasy novels again. There will be a full review up soon.

6. 10 Things I Love about You by Julia Quinn – This isn’t the type of book I read a LOT of, but I do occasionally enjoy picking up a fluffy romance novel and enjoying the warm fuzzies I get from it, especially when I’m feeling lonely or if I’ve fought with someone. I didn’t adore this book, and the writing was corny and childish in parts, but I really enjoyed reading it overall. I really loved the male protagonist, Sebastian because he’s a writer, so there was that. 😀 I don’t think I will review this one simply because there isn’t a lot to be said about it. It was sweet enough. I gave it three stars. 🙂 It was a good end to the month.

I haven’t decided which books to read it February. I haven’t even started any books yet this month because I haven’t been in the mood much. I am leaning towards The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing. I’ll keep you folks updated. 😀 January was overall an amazing month, and not just for reading.

I got a job! Yessss! It’s in the field that I want, it’s in the city that I want, and I’m suddenly a lot less nervous to leave college and a lot more excited to start work. So things are pretty great right now. 😀

I thought a lot about whether to say this on my blog, but I figured people would wonder why my writing suddenly has a lot more “wonderful”s and whatnot in it and think I hit my head or something. (Because my three readers spend all of their spare time thinking about me, boviously.) God forbid that should happen!

I will stop being lazy about reviewing and keep up my promise. Really. Just you wait.



13 thoughts on “January Wrap-up

  1. 6 in a month. Great and heavy stuff.
    Good analysis, gives a clear picture if one would be interested to read the books you mentioned. Congratulations for your job. Keep posting about your new readings.
    I have long list of books to be read, waiting for my streak, currently which is aligned towards more technical stuffs.

    1. Hi! Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comment! 🙂
      Thank you very much, both for the compliment and for the congratulations. I am very excited about the job, of course, but I’m determined to keep reading.
      6 books is actually kind of ridiculous actually, because in anticipation of getting a job, I kept my reading goal at 30, and now I’m done with a 6th of it in a month. I am out of control. 😛
      Also, I went to your blog and I saw that you’re into big data and analytics, and can I just say I find that whole field fascinating? It has nothing to do with my area of study (I’m a law student) but I just find it so interesting! 🙂
      I wish you all the best with your list of unread books. My own never stops growing either, so I feel your pain.
      I’m sorry I typed a new post in the comments section. 😛 I just love comments. xD Haha.

      1. Yes, the field is interesting and now that our lives have moved a lot more into cloud, I find it suitable to study and enjoy.
        I mix my learning at work with my understanding of life and vice-a-verse.

      2. I noticed that in your posts, actually. I loved the analogies you drew between technology and humans. It’s very interesting to know how an alternative perspective can make a person view everyday things understand life just a little better. It’s very heartening to know that one doesn’t have to be a philosopher to think about life and being the best possible version of oneself. 🙂

      3. Yes. I am working on brining every possible incident into explanation by whatever concepts we might have studied sometime, that helps me and would help many understand why n how things happen and how to make the most of them ( good or bad experience/incidents)

      4. I think that’s a wonderful endeavour. All the very best. 🙂 I am following your blog so I’ll be able to read your thoughts as well.

      5. Thank you.

  2. You’re off to a much better start reading wise this year than I am! You’ve also read an awesome looking bunch of books – Flanagan’s book has intrigued me ever since it won the prize (maybe I might like this one – I have mixed experiences with Booker winners in the past). I will definitely have to read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell properly when I get that book back from Australia! I have it on my tablet I think actually but I want to read the real paper copy for that book – it wouldn’t feel right otherwise, considering the setting!

    1. Yeah, you should definitely give Flanagan’s book, especially since you’re from Australia. 🙂 It’s extremely well-written and the plot is wonderful.
      Ohh I want to buy a pretty hardback of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell once I graduate and keep it and reread it. I really do adore it. 🙂
      How has your reading been? 🙂

      1. It sounds good, Flanagan’s book. So often booker winners have good writing OR good plot, but rarely both. Often they have pretentious writing or even more pretentious plot – something you could imagine university lecturers reading and laughing about how the masses won’t understand it blah blah blah. I like thought provoking books but I guess there’s a fine line between insightful writing and intellectual drivel. So I’m glad to hear Flanagan sounds much more interesting. 🙂
        My reading has been a bit slow as expected. I’ve finished 2 books but I’m halfway through others. Currently writing a review of one of the ones I just finished actually. 🙂

      2. I completely agree with your view of books that have won the Booker Prize. I very rarely like them, although I always seem to adore the books that were shortlisted. 😛
        I took a special interest in the Booker Prize this time because Neel Mukherjee was nominated, and I love his writing. And I thought the plot of this one sounded interesting. 🙂
        2 books is hardly slow. I’m only able to manage to read as much as I do because I’m a terrible student and I don’t go out much either. 😛 Reading is basically all I do.

      3. Haha, yeah, I used to read more as a student than as a teacher I think, which surprises me a little. I can’t afford to go out much though, and my other half is already onto her 8th book so she’s clearly a reader too!

      4. Wow. Now THAT’S impressive! She’s definitely a reader. 🙂

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