Hope springs eternal; and so, despite the disappointments and missed opportunities of 2014, I take a deep breath and resolve to do better in 2015. (Heck, don’t I always?) Here are some of my bookish resolutions. What are yours?
1. Introduce myself to a new genre of books.
I’ve even picked the genre: Graphic Novels. I’ve seen the passion this genre generates in people who attended the Mumbai Comic Con, and this post on bookish has got too many likes and comments for me to resist. I want in! Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Maus, Kari and Angry Maushi are topmost on my to-read list.
2. Read more ‘new’ books.
Point 1 should give you an inkling: I’m a conservative reader. I like sticking to authors I’ve read before whom I’ve liked, or books that I’ve re-read a hundred times before. I don’t buy a book unless it’s vouched for by multiple reviewers whose opinion matches mine. But maybe it’s time I got braver, and less parochial, and read some newer authors and just-released books on the off-chance that I end up loving it. (This happened with a book called Pattern Recognition by William Gibson which someones gave me once. I received it thinking, “How I wish you’d asked me what I wanted instead of spending so much on a book I haven’t even heard about!” Later, I had to eat my words …which I did, happily.) So, in 2015, I will Embrace the Unknown!
3. Visit some Brick-and-Mortar bookstores.
And buy a couple of books there, every so often, even if they are a few tens of rupees more expensive than their online counterparts. There’s no arguing about the reality of book-buying today; clearly, buying books online wins hands down. It’s cheaper, more hassle-free, you tend to find exactly what you were looking for. You don’t have to deal with an ignorant salesperson who asks you to spell out the book name, the author name, the year you were born, etc.
Still, something makes me feel that buying a few books in physical shops is the right thing to do. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s sentimentality. Maybe it’s the chance to meet(or at least be surrounded by) fellow book-lovers. Maybe it’s the haphazard way in which books are stacked. Whatever it is, it feels like the right thing to do, especially when it comes to independent bookstores that were there for me before Crossword and Amazon came along. So, here’s to Blossom’s in Bangalore, Strand in Mumbai, Bahrisons in New Delhi and all those other wonderful places.
4. When I really like a book, gift it to at least one other person.
Why would I read a great book and then NOT share it with others? And since most of my friends and loved ones live too far away from me for me to lend them my copy (and also, I am terrified of them not returning my book!) I’d much rather just buy them a copy and surprise them with an unexpected gift. I did this last year with Em and the Big Hoom (you’re reading this now, so I suggest you get this book too – it is truly mind-blowing and I guarantee you won’t regret it.) Everyone I gifted the book to, LOVED it. I can’t imagine a cheaper, nicer gift to give.
5. Read more translated works.
Some of the best writing I’ve come across is vernacular writing. When it is well-translated (and I agree that this is a key differentiator) it turns out to be so refreshingly different from the English language writing that is my staple reading. I’ve been meaning to pick up some of Katha’s Prize Stories, which are a fantastic way to get introduced to Indian writing from the far-flung corners of our country. Not to mention, short stories are a great way to read more, when I’m hard-pressed for time.
Do you have any similar goals for the next year? Are you taking up any of the reading challenges? (Goodreads, Hindustan Times etc.?) Tell me what you have planned for 2015!