The R.I.Ping Reads…..

When I had first started blogging so many moons ago, Stefanie, had introduced me to R.I.P (Readers Imbibing Peril; originally started by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings) that was hosted every year during the Fall season. Over the years, R.I.P events introduced me to such classics like We have Always Lived in a Castle. But the last few years, like everything else life was became kind of crazy nightmare and though this year is hardly better bringing in it’s own surreal qualities, I atleast have the time and energy to look around and read! So when I saw the posts coming up about the 15th R.I.P. event, I knew it’s time again to pick up those things that I had to let go and start again!r.i.p.-xv

The rules this year are extremely simple and the only expectation is to read books from the following genre during the September-October

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

I am *******trying****** to not buy more books after the splurging of the last few months and instead am digging up from my current TBR. I m not sure if in the end I will stick to this list, but for now this seems to be the plan of action –

  1. The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie – This is one of those few Christie books not to feature her regular detective quad of Poirot,  Miss Marple, Parker Pyne etc. There is a dead body and strange neighbors, set in the Cornish Moors and a young woman who is out to prove her finance’s innocence.
  2. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne – The mathematical genius not only created the famous Winne the Pooh but was apparently wrote some very good mysteries. The Red House is one of them and set in over a weekend in the typical English country house where the host disappears suddenly, after some mysterious shorts being heard.
  3. Dead Man’s Quarry by Ianthe Jerrold – I was introduced to this book by Jane when she wrote a wonderful review of a cycling holiday gone wrong with one of the members being found dead at a quarry.

  4. The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo –  A brilliant review by Helen got me to buy the book. Set in 1937 Japan, a newly wed couple’s wedding night is marred with a gruesome death
  5. The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz – I have tried reading Horowitz a few time but it never quite works for me. But again a wonderful review by Helen made me pick this mystery within a mystery novel

This then is my plan; I am sure I will deviate and pick something else along the way, but as a starting point, this is what it looks to be!

Are you participating in R.I.P ? Do you have some good recommendations especially in the Gothic/Horror genre?

#ripxv

The Year That Was….

Here we stand on the very threshold of 2017 and I must say, that while this year was good, but I am very glad to see the last of it! It brought several challenges with it, both personal and professional and while I am grateful to have survived and conquered it all, I must confess, I am glad to say, Off with the Old and On with the New!!

However, before we say a final goodbye to 2017, as goeth the tradition, I did want do a wrap up post on all the books I loved this year – books which enriched me and filled my soul and of course gave me a lot to think about. Therefore, here goes the final countdown , in no order whatsoever….

  • A Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell – This book moved me, moved my soul, Japan came alive under the lyrical writings of this author! Perhaps one of the best books, I have read, EVER!
  • Thud by Terry Pratchet –  A re-read but Sir Terry, may God Rest my soul, always captures every human action from bravery to stupidity to turn it into life lessons, only with dollops and dollops of laughter! Sir Terry, You are missed!
  • The Conquer Series by Conn Iggulden – Yet another re-read, but I cannot think of a more masterful, more evocative and more gripping narrative of the rise of the House of Mongols than the one recreated by Conn Iggulden, tracing the birth, death and the rise of new era of Mongols, under the leadership of Chengiz Khan! Moving away from myths and sifting through half truths, Mr. Iggulen shares a powerful and spell binding narrative of a tribe, who continue to resonate through History
  • Histories by Herodotus  – While I am miserably lagging behind in Reading the Histories, this is one book, I am glad I read, in the company of Ruth and Cleo! The first written History of the Western World is a epic narrative of facts, gossipy nuggets and wise words, that bring the world of 3rd Century BCE to life! This one book, I am so very glad I read!
  • Trespasses by Caroline Bridgewood – I read this little known novel when I was 16 and since then I have been searching for it! Nearly 2 decades later, I was able to own a copy and re-read this tale of cousins and a family in England, torn apart and then brought back together through the Second World War! Simple, funny and one of the few books that make me cry!
  • Shadow of The Moon by MM Kaye – What more can I say about the book that I have not said so far? My blog is filled with notes about this novel that tells the story of Winter De Balletros and Alex Randall set in 1857 India, during the Mutiny! I was honored to hold a Read Along in August and had the great pleasure of Cleo and Helen for company, which made this particular reading even more joyful and memorable!
  • Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull – Oh!! One of the very few “new books” I read this year and, boy, did this take my breathe away! Set in 18th century Europe. the story of woman scientist is so many things at one go – an adventure, a indictment of the society, a love story, a story of a women’s journey! This book defies genre and words, except, Vi, Va Ms. Mascull!
  • The Edwardians by Vita Sacville West – Another first time read, that blew me away. Edwardian society comes alive in all its glory as well inconsistencies in this brilliant novel by Ms. West.
  • Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – This was one book, that one very rarely comes come across – it blows away some of your existing belief systems and then sets up new foundation, that forces you to think and wonder, why the hell did you not see these things before! For me, this was the book, that everyone should read, whether they like it or dislike or whatever, simply because, history of mankind is presented in a whole new light, making us question how we interpret our past and its consequences for the future!
  • Ann of Green Gables (Series) by LM Montgomery – Who can help but not love Ann? In yet another re-read, she came in to cheer me up in some of my most exhausting work days and regaled me with the goings on of King Edward Island, her attempts at being a lady, her friends, her college and her life as a wife and mother! Simple and joyful!
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Yet another re- read and yet another layer of brilliance that I discovered in this enduring tale of women’s right, society and love! Ms. Austen remains, masterful!
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window & Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, Rod Bradbury – This is my optimistic book of the year. The book that made me smile and hope that no matter what, never give up on your life and if you are lucky, you may get some companions to make it more joyful like a would-have-been-anything-but-now-hotdog-vendor, a crook, a drug lord, a detective inspector and an elephant! My ha-ha book of of the year!

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens – This 21 month Read Along, the brilliant idea of O, where we read the book in installments as originally published  over 2 years!! It was brilliant and one of the Read Along ever! Eternal thanks to O for hosting this!

  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee – I am usually wary of Indian Authors writing in English; most are not Amitava Ghosh or Arundhati Roy and the reading often writes contrived. However Mr. Mukherjee brings Calcutta of 1920’s to life in this old fashioned whodunnit with just the right mix of language, history and plot twist!
  • Murder in the Cathedral by TS Eliot – A last minute read again suggested by Cleo. While the story of Thomas Beckett is well known, the drama and language brings the whole incident to life with a very interesting ending.

That is that; a small snapshot of my reading Year! Many thanks to all of you who joined me in my reading adventures and had the patience to read through my blogs! Reading is so much more fun when shared with friends!

To end, I would just want to say in the words of great Lord Tennyson –

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be

 

The Madness Updates

Beloweth are the updates of my valiant attempts at this 24 hour readathon!!

Update 1

Hour 1  –  18:47 IST

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Page 112 of 323

Take on the Book – intriguing. Seems to be veering around cliches but yet not fall into them. Difficulty in developing empathy for the protagonist; but its getting better so one never knows!

Snacks Update -Water & Nuts

Update 2

Hour 4 – 20:40 IST

Still on The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Page 201 of 323

Take on the Book –  Still intriguing. Cannot like the protagonist; she goes around doing nasty things and then cannot believe she has done it! No idea why everyone has patience with her! Plot line seems to go around traditional damsel-in-distress-syndrome where only a strong but have suffered much man can redeem the protagonist. If I was not curious as to who the killer is, I would have barfed  by now! But I plod on!

Snacks Update – Butter Milk – the bestest drink in India!

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Update 3

Hour 6.5 – 00:00 IST

Finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Thinking of Starting The Book of Snobs by WM Thackery and then varying the pace even more by also starting on the Land of Seven Rivers by Sandeep Sanyal

Take on the Book – Some bits cliches and some bit contrived but still very readable, at least a good one time, curl up and read it on kind of read. There are parts that you get completely hooked on to as well plot turns that are clever and your appreciate the craftsmanship of it it! But not startlingly HAVE TO READ variety!

Snacks Update – Took a break and had Dinner with flatmate!

Update 4

Hour 10 – 2:39 IST

Started reading Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal

Page 41 of 352

Take on the Book – Easy to read for a layman. Shares interesting information about how Geography shaped the evolution of Indian History, though I do feel a very strong Right wing leaning! But then that may be nothing and I am only on Chapter 2 for now.

Snacks Update – Water/Milk and the much awaited English Shortbread

Note – Maybe last post of the night as really need to get some shut eye to be bright eyed and all active for remaining day tomorrow!

Update 5

Hour 15.5 – 8:00 IST

Woke up an hour back after napping for couple of hours. Finished early morning chores and now back in the “Reading Zone”!

Continuing with Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal

Page 69 of 352

Take on the Book – Well researched. Provides Historic and scientific insights to keep the narrative grounded in facts. But still cannot quite overcome the feeling of Right wing leanings, especially since we all know facts can manipulated to prove anything! But still early in to the book to draw a firm conclusion!

Snacks Update – Masala Tea

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View of the valley, which my apartment overlooks. This is what my balcony opens to & my favorite reading spot

Also because I missed the Mid -Event Survey, posted about 2 hours ago, on account of it being like 6:00 am and snooze time, I post the updates now –

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?

Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal

2. How many books have you read so far?

1…I think speed reading is not my thing!

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

The one I am currently reading!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Some. Despite pre-planning people did call, though I managed to keep the conversations short!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

The adrenaline! I never realized the rush one gets in this kind of break neck virtual club reading event!

Update 6

Hour 19 – 11:00 IST

I cannot believe I am feeling so very nostalgic about the up coming closure! I will so miss this event!!

Continuing with Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal

Page 119 of 352

Take on the Book – Well researched. Some very intresting learnings. Like the Yezhedi Tribe in Iran shares common DNA with the North Indian population and that there seems to be a movement of this population not only from Iran to India but also back to India. Extremely well written descriptions of the epics connecting with current Indian fauna and flora, proving the possibility that the events of Ramayana and Mahabharata may have actually happened. The only take is, this is a well researched and well written history, the claim to geography remains limited to the two major highways that link India north and south and east and west, which have in operation since centuries.

Snacks Update – Big Lazy Sunday Breakfast – Very English! Toast, Eggs, Sausages, Pot of Tea and Juice. Sunday indulgences, since Monday to Saturday its oats or cornflakes!

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook and I think it sums my Readathon Sunday just perfectly!

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Update 7

Hour 21- 13:52 IST

Boooohoooooo!! Someone make the time stop!!

Continuing with Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal. Also started on The Book of Snobs by WM Thackeray for change in variety.

Page 147 of 352 for the former and Page 26 of 130 for later

Take on the Book –  Land of Seven Rivers is getting better by the minute. Loving the rich historical and now significantly enriched geographical history that shaped the fortunes and lives of India, both land based and maritime. Loaded with facts and filled with some very interesting insights into the neglected everyday history of common man, I am at this point super impressed with the book . One of the best Historical reads in a long time. Thackeray is brilliant as always, but I will do a separate review for his book as part of my Victober Reading Update!

Snacks Update – Lunch –  Grilled Fish

Update 8

Hour 24- 16:37 IST

This is the end, my friend!

Continuing with Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal. Also read up  The Book of Snobs by WM Thackeray for change in variety.

Page 278 of 352 for the former and Page 56 of 130 for later

Take on the Book –  Land of Seven Rivers is the HIGHLIGHT of this reading event for me. Rarely am I ever so impressed with Indian Historians but Mr.Sanyal’s work is indeed quite good. In-depth research, an easy to read narrative, that mixes facts with some wonderful lesser known nuggets of history. For the first time, after many years of reading History, I had a sense of Ah! So that’s how that happened!! Having said that, the geography part of the book is limited. Its picks up and then loses the strain and does not quite fulfill the promise of a “geographic history”. There is of course a distinct right wing /nationalist twang to the book, but it is not a blind absolutely fundamentalist approach. It’s more of a belief system that kind of guides the narrative.

Snacks Update – Yougurt

Reading England…

Here I was, sitting happily with all my November planned reading done and feeling smug on how well I cope with Reading Challenges and my TBR when God did an LOL and I read Jane’s post and I knew…well, I knew I would be a part of it, even before I read the details. It’s called Reading England 2015 and was originally conceived by o at Behold the Stars!

reading-england-1

The goals and rules are simple enough and I quote verbatim from o :

The Goal: To travel England by reading, and read at least one book per however many counties of England you decide to read.

The Rules:

  • This challenge begins on the 1st January 2015 and ends on 31st December 2015, but of course if you really get into it then keep it going 🙂
  • You can sign up any time between now and the end of 2015. Only books read after 1st January 2015 count, though.
  • Choose a level (below), but do not feel obliged to pick your books or even your counties beforehand.
  • Because this is a classics blog, I’d encourage people to read classic novels, but how you define classics is up to you.
  • You are not limited to English authors. Henry James, for example, is American but his novel The Turn of the Screw is set in Essex, and so he counts for the challenge.
  • It would be grand if you blogged about the books you read for each county but you don’t have to. If you do, you don’t have to feel obliged to give any information about the county in general other than, maybe, “This is my review of x which is set in the county of x”. You could also include a description of the landscape in your posts, but again you don’t have to.
  • You do not have to read the books in their original language, translations are accepted (I only read in English so I would never dream of making other people read in their second language!)
  • Audio books, Kindles, and whatnot are accepted too.
  • Poetry, plays, biographies, and autobiographies count as well as novels.

The Levels:

  • Level one: 1 – 3 counties
  • Level two: 4 – 6 counties
  • Level three: 7 – 12 counties
  • Level four: 12 + counties

I have decided not be overambitious or give in to my intellectual greed in 2015 and therefore contend myself to Level Two 4-6 counties; if by chance I better it, well so much the better I guess.

Now for the books – This is my plan, but not a concrete and cemented boundary line and therefore subject to change!!

Cornwall

  • Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

Cumbria

  • Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope

Lancashire

  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Shropshire

  • Howards End by E. M. Forster

Wiltshire

  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Worcestershire

  • Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Here goes the list and here I go again…I never learn!!! But there is just sooooooo much to read!!

P.S. I was planning to review “Picnic at Hanging Rocks by Joan Lindsey, but that will now have to wait!!!