While I was in Ubud recently, I decided that next year will be my Year of Reading India. I plan for 2016 to be the beginning of a new type of reading approach for me. Why India? Because I have a bunch of books written by Indian authors already, including a few of Salman Rushdie’s oeuvre, none of which I’ve managed to finish (apart from his memoir, which I enjoyed a lot). I feel it’s time to get serious about reading, and get myself off the ‘knee-jerk’ reading I’ve done the last few years, where there’s a new release, everyone is going on about it, and I buy it. Even books that I know I won’t like, and that don’t appeal to me. So, stopping that. I figure I’ve been a great support to local bookshops, and now it’s time to be more mindful. Also, because I want to quieten on social media and I think this will help, having a project, having structure. Also, because I want to explore some literature that is removed from what’s happening here, in Australia. Also, because I want to get out of Australia in my reading, because my writing is focused there/here at the moment. I will need a ‘holiday’.
These are the books I have on my shelf already:
Shame, Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rusdhie
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry
Such a Long Journey, Rohinton Mistry
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
Kim, Rudyard Kipling
Passage to India, EM Forster
A Son of the Circus, John Irving
That’s 14 to start with. I read and loved Family Matters years ago, but will re read. So my rule to myself is that I can only buy books next year* that are set in, about or by Indian authors.
Here are some others I’m considering:
A House for Mr Biswas,** VS Naipaul
The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
Siddharta, Herman Hesse
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Moor’s Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
Burmese Days,*** George Orwell
Heat and Dust, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
The Razor’s Edge, Somerset Maugham
A Search in Secret India, Paul Brunton
something to do with Mother Theresa
If anyone has suggestions, please tell me what they are? Either books to add to my list, or books not to bother with. I am flying a little blind.
I’ll be starting 1 January. My cut-off for what I’m reading now (The Dangerous Bride, Lee Kofman; The People in the Trees, Hanya Yanagihara, and other bits and pieces is 31 December. Really enjoying both, btw. If I finish those and can squeeze anything else in, it will be from the following: The Life, Malcolm Knox or returning to Rachel Cusk’s Outline which I started earlier this year.)
I won’t be ONLY reading India next year, though. I’ll need to read for my writing, so those books aren’t counted and won’t be logged I don’t think. And if I really can’t manage the entire year, I’ll consider it a learning lesson and turn to my already-bought books to read.
I won’t buy anything new, for this is my solemn vow.
Also, Kate at books are my favourite and best is doing something similar, by only reading her TBR stacks, and limiting new purchases to 6 books for the year. Here is her post about it.
Is anybody else trying something different with their reading year for 2016? I’d love to hear about it. We could start a club.
* I will be buying ONE local novel and that will be WATERSHED by my friend, Jane Abbott. It’s due out in the middle of the year I think.
** I’m being a little loose here as this isn’t set in India, but is about a protagonist born to Indian parents, elsewhere (the Caribbean, I think). I’m pretty sure this is considered an Indian novel? Anyway, I’m doing it.
*** I’m being a little loose with this, including British colonial literature here, of the era. Burma: close enough for my purposes. So in that spirit, if anyone has any terrific recommendations for Pakistani literature, please share.