Tag Archive | Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge

Ok. So let’s see how this works out. @iashcn shared this challenge on Twitter and I found it on Goodreads too. I managed my 2014 challenge comfortably, but this seems a little more difficult because I’m listing specific books here.  But no pressure. This is just a list. Of placeholders.

1.   Book with 500+ pages- Wolf Hall. It needs to be removed from On Hold and be done with.
2.  Classic romance – Pride and Prejudice. Yeah. The real thing.
3.  Book that became a movie – Twelve Years a Slave. Caught the movie. Now I have to read the        book.
4.  Book published this year (2015) – I’m waiting for Arundhati Roy’s next. Hope it comes out in              2015
5.  Book with a number in the title – Ok. I’m doing the 3 Mistakes of my Life. High time.
6.  Book written by someone under 30 – Nowadays, aren’t they all?
7.  Book with nonhuman characters- Maybe Animal Farm again. No. Then what else? Hmmm?
8.  Funny book- I don’t get those H2G2 references that are considered so mainstream cool. I                   hope the book also gives me some laughs.
9.  Book by female author- Huh? Why? What’s so what about that? : The Dove’s Lament-Kirthi Jayakumar
10. Mystery or thriller- Two more in the Dublin Murder Squad series to go. Oh wait. There was         one more published last year.
11. Book with one-word title – Out. Been on my list for too long
12. Book of short stories – The Book of Other People. I’ve read that first story four times                     already.
13. Book set in a different country – In an Antique Land. Because just like that.
14. Nonfiction – Rajdeep’s Book. 2014 – The Election that Changed India. Been trolling the             guy too much on Twitter. I owe him this.
15. Popular author’s first book- Can’t think of any. Thinking. Thinking…
16. Book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet- Why is this so difficult to list?
17. Book a friend recommended –The Fountainhead. Let me see what makes Roark so loveable  Coraline- Neil Gaiman 
18. Pulitzer Prize-winning book –The Poisonwood Bible. Heard good things about it
19. Book based on true story- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Been on my to read           list for very long. Maybe the Japanese will get some sympathy from me again.
20.Book at bottom of your to-read list –Ponniyn Selvan. Got a Kindle compatible version. 21.               Hopefully, the bigger font will help me finish it
21. Book your mom loves – Can’t promise Ponniyin Selvan. So I’ll settle for The Old Man and the       Sea. 
22. Book that scares you – Should dare to pick up The Shining again. Or Salem’s Lot.
23. Book more than 100 years old- Tess of the D’Ubervilles. Really really need to finish it. My            tribute to Anastasia Steele
24. Book based on its cover- What is that proverb again?
25. Book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t – Lorna Doone. Someone drew a heart            and wrote Lorna Doone loves John Ridd in the school library book. The entire 9th standard                class was banned from the library that year and I never got to reading the book after that.
26. A memoir – I don’t like memoirs. So something. Anything.   Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II
27. Book you can finish in a day – Andaleeb’s next two. Back in Time and Only Time will Tell. Salvation of a Saint-Keigo Higashino
28. Book with antonyms in the title – Err… Let me think.
29. Book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – The Orphan Master’s Son. Maybe                    someday we’ll get a client in Kim Jong Land and I’ll get a chance to visit.
30. Book that came out the year you were born-  I’ll do something from the era. Nice try.
31. Book with bad reviews – Could do Half Girlfriend, but one C-book a year is my target.
32. A trilogy – The Taj Trilogy. On it, loving it.
33. Book from your childhood – Malory Towers. I have a few, will be nice to go to boarding                    school.
34. Book with a love triangle –  Should pick one at random. Maybe something where all three will            finally end up with three different persons.
35. Book set in the future – The Road. Reddit loves it. Let me see if I love it too.
36. Book set in high school- The Fault in our Stars or Twilight. (Are they set in high school?) Go Ask Alice
37. Book with color in the title – The Color Purple
38. Book that made you cry – That’s a toughie. Because I’m not sure if I’m capable of that anymore.
39. Book with magic- Err.. Harry Potter? Well, gotto deal with it sometime in my life
40. Graphic novel – Ugh. But why not.
41. Book by an author you’ve never read before – Amit Chaudhri. Though A Strange and Sublime             Address was highly recommended, I’ll read Freedom Song because I have it
42. Book you own but have never read – Plenty. I should do an inkypinkyponky and pick one.
43. Book that takes place in your hometown – Must get my hands on that Coonoor book. Or get                 down to writing my own.  Maybe not hometown, but place where I’ve lived. Fair enough. Aarushi by Avirook Sen
44. Book that was originally written in different language- Long time no Murakami. I’ll pick a                    random one. After Dark maybe. Lots of backlog to clear before I try his latest ( Checking off this item with One Part Woman)
45. Book set during Christmas –The Gift. But if it is something like PS I Love You, I’ll probably                hate it.
46. Book written by an author with your same initials- Gaaah. This is boring.
47. A play – I could dig out Julius Caesar from my schoolbook pile and read it again. That is the only        play I have ever read. But since I know My Fair Lady, I’ll try Pygmalion
48. A banned book – Will reattempt The Satanic Verses. Again.
49. Book based on or turned into a TV show – That Game of Thrones thingy? Wait. Maybe that’s too        ambitious. I think I’ll settle for Roots. Done with two GoT books. Huge. 
50. Book you started but never finished
 -That’s Atlas Shrugged. I’m doing it this year. I am I am I       am.

Reading Challenge Two: The Language Challenge

During the recent controversy about the alleged imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit by the central government, I was mostly on the fence. While I strongly oppose forcefully stuffing anything down our throats, be it rotis or a language, I see absolutely nothing wrong in giving people a choice of languages to learn.The more the better. When I joined school, Hindi as a second language was allowed only for children who had parents with transferable jobs. So I was stuck with Tamil. I started learning Hindi again at the ripe old age of twenty, but by then my brain had shut the gates. Ek gaon mein ek kissan raguthaathaa. It now takes me superhuman effort to read or even compose a single Hindi sentence in my head before I speak and that was one of the main reasons I hated my Noida days.

But in school, I detested Tamil. It was the subject of my nightmares and it was the only subject I actually failed in once. Always having been in the top group of my class, that less-than-40-marks shame is a shame I still haven’t recovered from. I breezed through my tenth standard exams with my cousin reading the chapters out loud to me. The Anglo Indian syllabus was a cakewalk. But I struggled with the State Board for the next two years and I still don’t fully understand how I even got through with respectable marks. Also, that was the phase when Tamil was considered uncool. So in the end, I’ve totally lost out on a language and the rich literature that it offers.

No, it is not that I cannot read Tamil. I read the newspapers and magazines. I read three page long horoscopes every Sani and Guru peyarchi. But I’ve somehow always had a mental block when it came to reading a whole novel or a whole short story or even a blogpost.

2013-12-08 17.02.23

When I was nineteen, I dug into my uncle’s collection and pulled out this book. Sila Nerangalil Sila Manidhargal by Jayakanthan.He shook his head and said that I wasn’t old enough to read it.  Hah. At nineteen? Old fashioned uncle. Now if that taboo wasn’t something to motivate a nineteen year old , what else will. So I took the book home. I even found out what the story is about. Unfortunately, it still languishes on my bookshelf , unread. Later, a crush tried to introduce me to Sujatha and sent me the entire collection in pdf format. But turned out I wasn’t crushed enough and I couldn’t bring myself to read any of those even to impress  him. Even the pulp fiction that I was curious about, I only read the English translations very recently.



But now, I’ve taken up the challenge.This Aadi perukku, someone referred to Vandiya Devan on Twitter. My mother too, a Ponniyin Selvan junkie usually refers to the book every Aadi perukku. I was surprised to see that so many people, the younger generation, the kidsthesedays, reading this book and making references to it. I feel quite left out. I tried the audio book, it didn’t work for me. The excerpts from the English translation made me scream in frustration.

So I have decided. I’m almost done with my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 52 books in 2014. Probably the only New Year Resolution that I have successfully kept up in my life ever. It is time for a new challenge. Let me take baby steps and start off with the first book of Ponniyin Selvan. Target: Finish it by Dec 2014. And if I finish it earlier, I’m going to treat myself with something sinfully good.

And when I’m done, maybe I will pick up Sila Nerangalil Sila Manidhargal and finish it. And then send a message to my uncle who is up there. I’m old enough now, maama. I was old enough even back then. This isn’t as scandalous. This is 2014, you know. Not the eighteen hundreds.