This is your typical end of year blog. It is a web-ritual of sorts, and for someone who is just about starting to find some meaning in rituals, this might well be the lifeboat, or more likely, the proverbial tinka — that is the last (and useless on its own) hope of one who’s drowning.
Two Zero Zero Eight buzzed past me. I was hoping to become more serious about my writing, and more methodical. Going by the complete lack of method in the madness that my writing has been, the latter aim should have been a cakewalk — any method would have been an improvement! And yet, at the close of the year, I look back and am amazed to have missed that simplest of milestone. In fact doing worse. Apart from a few poems, a character sketch, and a few non-fiction pieces, which weren’t even well written, this has been the longest dry patch, since I started blogging (a good five years back).
Only the geniuses can thrive without method, if anyone can. And it’s no surprise that this dry patch has come at this time. But then, I like to think of the year as the year of osmosis. Yes, osmosis is vicarious, it’s non-productive. Yet, it nourishes, it makes the roots stronger, helps them grow deeper (no this is no shampoo ad). In ’08, I absorbed a lot. Audio-books helped improving the score too — turning hours spent driving into reading hours (if one can call that reading).
It’s in the audio-book format that I rekindled my love for non-fiction. Here are some good non-fiction books that I read (or listened to) this year:
- Guns, Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond)
- Last Chance to See (Douglas Adams)
- Salmon of Doubt (Douglas Adams) — still reading
- Life on Air (David Attenborough)
- Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan)
- In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan)
- The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman) — still reading
- The Tipping Point (Michael Gladwell)
Then I decided to try my hand on fiction in audio-book format. I picked up The World According to Garp, which incidentally I was reading as a book too. While driving, I would listen to the audio-book, and otherwise, I read it. It was an interesting experience. And Although I still vouch for the reading, especially for fiction, I must confess that my reservations about the (audio-book) medium were unfounded.
As for the other fiction works that I read this year, it was all the old-style reading. Here is the list (not exactly exhaustive, but covers almost all the good ones, I believe):
- South of the Border, West of the Sun (Murakami Haruki)
- The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) — okay
- Pather Dabi (Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay)
- Ravan and Eddie (Kiran Nagarkar) — okay
- House for Mr. Biswas (V. S. Naipaul)
- Such a Long Journey (Rohinton Mistry)
- Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna (Umberto Eco)
- The Island of the Day Before (Umberto Eco) — still reading
- Ficciones (Jorge Luis Borges)
- The Sea of Poppies (Amitav Ghosh)
- Dubliners (James Joyce)
And then there were tons of movies. Phew. Vicarious living is good 😉