I am reading Terry Eagleton’s How to Read Literature currently. I rather pride myself on having ingeniously downloaded it for free from the Yale University website. It is exceedingly clever, witty and quite easy to read. This is my first book regarding anything related to literary analysis, and I am enjoying it.
I am surprised by how much layers of meaning you can extract from a sentence that seems quite clear. Or how much the notions of character have changed with the times. The book has given me a peek into several great pieces of literature, almost all of which I have never heard of; It has also introduced me to poetry, which I rarely touch.
I think I would like to discover new dimensions to texts I thought I knew well; I would like to read about different theories in literature, to be able to tackle questions of the ties between society and texts, to explore how the language used can alter meanings totally. I love reading books, and I think I will also love understanding more about them.
I also read many other books, and reread some books in this vacation (some of them in the study holidays!) Indeed, it is the only worthwhile thing that I managed to do these two months, most of which I slept off.
I started reading Arthur Hailey, and have already finished three of his books. The first one I read was Airport, which was quite good. I liked the way that different elements were mixed together in the plot, and how, at the end all the loose ends were tied up. I spent the whole of a day reading the book, much to the chagrin of everybody at home.
Next, I read Overload, which was about the electricity industry. The idea of the power crisis was explained in good detail, and the story brought to light how vicious the press could be if it wanted, and showed the problem of conflicting interests excellently. It had some interesting elements to it as well. I personally felt that the story could have been much better than Airport, if it had not devoted much space to the amorous affairs of the protagonist.
But Wheels, about the automobile industry, was the best of all. The novel was superb in all its aspects, from the description of racism in Detroit to the designing of cars. I loved how it offered an interesting perspective into all the departments involved in the construction and marketing of cars; I had never spared thought to how much was involved in it. The ending was logical and positive; I appreciate the author for that. I really enjoyed reading the book.
I also read Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel, and it was amazing. The author had done a good job of tracing the lives of two different characters, in good detail, allowing us a glimpse into their respective personalities, successes and failures, leaving it to the readers to decide whom they liked better. I think the book is so great because it manages to remain coherent and gripping throughout. The language is unassuming and true to the point. I liked William Kane better from the start.
I also read The Final Impression by the same author, and it paled in comparison. It was not a very great story, nor very thrilling, except maybe in the last part. But I am grateful to the book for offering me a peek into what people must have gone through when 9/11 happened.
I read John Grisham’s The Associate, which opened my eyes fully to the insane workload of law firms, where everything that matters is billing. It was a good book, and takes you through the mind of the hero, so that you can understand the paranoia he is feeling. But I liked The Firm and The Confession more, as they were really un put- downable.
I also read The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee, which explores Mahabharat from the viewpoint of Draupadi. It is a great concept, and she has handled it really well. The novel lays bare the female character’s emotions, joys and beliefs. The strength of the book lies in this; it also explores her whimsical and petulant side. At the end, we sympathize with her for all she has gone through. We question the injustice that was meted out to her, just because the destiny of the world had to be fulfilled. I loved reading the book.
I have noticed that nowadays many young Indian authors are writing new kinds of fiction; they are exploring new arenas and producing some superb pieces. Leelavati by Nandini Bajpai is my comfort read. When I feel extremely lazy or restless, I give it a go. It is a charming and simple love story. Similarly, Right Here Right Now by Nikita Singh is a nice book about teenage life in the backdrop of a girl losing her memory. Life Is What You Make It by Preeti Shenoy, is very insightful regarding bipolar disorder. All these are promising books that I have read before.
I finished reading The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen. I gained knowledge about many things, from Tagore to Carvaka philosophy. All his statements and arguments are backed up with solid proof and the language is amazingly lucid and precise. It showed me how academic essays are to be written. His clarity of thought is unmatchable.
I tried reading Foucault’s Pendulum again, and this time, I used a dictionary. I understood it better than last time, but I have just left it for the time being. I also am reading John Banville’s The Sea now. It is a book, where even the mundane appears to have deep emotion inside. It is a pleasure to read simple words which convey so much feeling. But it cannot be read in one go, so I take it little by little.
In the meantime, because Banville and Eagleton felt heavy sometimes, or as I wanted to read some books I had loved again, I reread Three Men in a Boat, The Alchemist’s Secret, Da Vinci Code, parts of King Solomon’s Mines, What Katy did at School and The Contagion.
So I think I have read quite a bit, actually! That’s it for now