So this year I had set an ambitious goal of reading 50 books on Goodreads for the 2019 Reading Challenge.
Today on 31st December, I finished reading 51 books! YAY! Check out my year in books here at Goodreads.
In 2020, I think I will limit my reading to half of the 2019 ambitious goal: to read 25 books in 2020 because I think 2020 will not be as relaxed as 2019!
By the time December came, I was sure to complete my challenge and so I decided to read a few Hindi novels I have at home. I am not a fast reader of Hindi writing having lost touch with reading in Hindi after college. So I thought December would be a great time to read in Hindi as I can take it slow and steady.
Consequently, I read only 3 books this month but they were all amazing! I had wanted to read one more book, a poetry collection by Dushyant Kumar titled, Saaye Mein Dhoop, but I did not make time for that though I have read it before.
I had also planned to read Anukriti Upadhay’s short story, Cherry Blossom but was not able to do that either. It is available online as part of one of the issues of The Bombay Literary Magazine and hoping to read it soon!
These are the three novels I read:
- Amrita Pritam’s Meri Priya Kahaniya: Meri Priya Kahaniya (or My Favourite Stories) is a series started by Rajpal Publishing where the writers choose their own, favourite short stories and it is published together. Amrita Pritam’s stories are translated in this collection. She wrote in Punjabi. But it was eye opening to read her stories for its portrayal of women and their views.
- Hari Ghaas Ki Chhappar Waali Jhopdi Aur Bona Pahad by Vinod Kumar Shukla: I had come across the English translation of this novel first in a bookstore. It is titled, Moonrise from the Green Roof and then realised that it was a Hindi novel. I liked the summary so much that I just had to do an impulse buy. After reading it this month, I have no regrets. The novel is a magical realist or fabulist novel of rollicking fun among children who live in a small village and are involved in such surreal adventures. Two prominent features of the village are a small mountain that has a huge cavity in the middle where people throw coins whose sound can be heard almost seven days later; and the other is an almost ancient house with a beautiful grass covered roof. The novel’s characters are children who have some unique features such as Bolu’s habit of walking while talking or Bhaira’s habit of pretending to be deaf when others speak or his father’s speech which sounds like a lion roaring. This is such a fun book for both kids and adults!
- Mamta Kalia’s Meri Priya Kahaniya: I have read Mamta Kalia’s English poems in undergraduate studies and more recently when I read Nine Indian Women Poets: An Anthology. I always loved her poems’ dry wit and her poem, Tribute to Papa particularly resonated with me for its questioning of the role of the father in an Indian family. I knew she wrote primarily in Hindi but had never come across any of her writing in Hindi, so when I saw this collection in The Kitab Khana, I just had to buy it! Because she is from Mathura, some of her stories will also have Bhojpuri interwoven with Hindi. Her stories also bring out many feminist ideas. My two favourites are Bathroom that so simplistically talks about the change in relationships among the female members and the female members with their bodies through a construction of a bathroom where they can take bath in privacy instead of going to the river in the cold dark dusk and Nirmohi where two granddaughters proudly retell a patriarchal fairy tale that their grandmother narrates to them.
I don’t think I will have time to write review for each of these novels. I also think I might not be that knowledgeable to write one for each! Though, do check out the piece I penned for The Seer on the feminism in Amrita Pritam’s stories.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and hoping that 2020 will be as adventurous as 2019!
In January, I plan to read books from the Middle East. So stay tuned on 31st January to look at the books that made it to my list!