December is here and it is time to take stock of the year gone by, the things I challenged myself to do such as read diligently once again. Sad but true, I lost my mojo to read sometime back. In fact realisation dawned when I noticed that the only books I animatedly spoke of were read decades ago. Lately I had seen more movie adaptations than actually read the source material.
Thus, the Reluctant Reader’s Reading Challenge 2019 (taken from Reading Addicts page on Facebook) was embarked upon.
For a year I had to read an author who celebrated his/ her birthday that month. It effectively ensured that I read minimum of twelve writers and blog about it.
Smart, right? It seemed like fun too.
Well, I sailed through January. Edgar Allen Poe was on my list for a long time and after watching Kevin Bacon’s TV Series, The Following, I was keen to read the man who wrote ‘The Raven’. Fortunately his work was easily available online so google was the answer.
February turned out to be lucky because a friend lent me a Meg Cabot. I was excited but instead of jumping in right away, I went online to check Meg’s birthday.
You could say the challenge was already weighing heavy in my mind. Good news , Meg Cabot’s birthday and the breezy romance saved the month.
March too marched on with ‘And the mountains echoed’ . I had spotted it in the library and gleefully grabbed it. Khaled Hosseini’s previous work had raised my expectations sky high.
Anyway, while I got on with my reading, checking birthdays online began to take a toll on me. The joy was draining steadily.
I had Andy Weir’s Artemis with me and yet I couldn’t begin because his birthday came in June! Instead I read his short story The Egg in anticipation and was blown away by it. Artemis still remains unread, a part of my TBR book pile, occasionally tackled like a wobbly Jenga Game.
I think it was the month of April and May when I veered completely off course. I took on the challenge of reading everything connected to Italy and Sweden; I was travelling there in June.
Long ago, as documented in an earlier post A bookworm’s guide to excellent reading or not, I had promised to make Dan Brown’s Inferno my official guide to Florence. Well, I reissued the book, took notes, made an effort to walk the length and breadth of Boboli Gardens and see the Medici Grotto that featured so prominently in the book. It turned out to be unlike what I had imagined but hey, at least I knew what I had to see.
Bonus, the story proceeds from Florence to Venice and I went there too. St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace were even more spectacular than described.
Another Dan Brown that made it to my essential reading list was Angels and Demons; I was visiting the Vatican. Believe me, Castel Sant’Angelo would have never acquired this larger than life persona had it not been for this book.
Finally Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, love and pray was chosen for a taste of Rome. Probably that’s why I only read the Eat part. Was it helpful? Well, I had my most memorable dinner in Trastevere.
I came back from my jaunt with my head still wrapped in Italian- Swedish dreams. It was impossible to pick up reading so I read both Dan Browns and Elizabeth’s Eat part again to see how my perception of the written word had changed now that I knew exactly what the authors were writing about.
It was a heady way to relive my experience.
Anyway, by September I had officially abandoned my challenge to read only birthday month authors.
Also Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman lying in the wobbly pile of good intentions was singing its siren’s song. Incidentally Gail’s birthday details were not available so I suppose she could fit in ‘any month’ category. What does one say about a book that hasn’t been said already! It delivered on all counts, be it quirky characters or the deceptively simple linear storyline that throws a major plot twist in the end and the writing is the kind that never lets your attention waver. I laughed, I lived, I felt and I wanted the ride to never stop!
After Eleanor, I was hard pressed to find a book that would grip me in a similar fashion.
Desperate time called for Michael Crichton and it was Prey to the rescue. I had read it years ago so the details escaped me but I was a fan. Plus his birthday was somewhere towards the end of the year so it felt good to pick it up. Like all his books, it was fast paced but unable to sustain the breathless excitement till the end.
Well, I still have a few days left in December so I’m hoping to squeeze in a bit of reading.
Ms Teen came home a few hours back for the Christmas break. She was in a buoyant mood and had a present for me– Call me by your name by Andrè Aciman. It was especially chosen for me because it was set in Italy and it already had an Oscar winning movie adaptation that I had not yet seen.
Unable to resist, I googled the author’s birthday. It’s on January 2.
2020 will be the year of the return of the book dragon.