Over the next few months, I’m going to talk about a few books on this blog, sent to me by Random House, India. I guess I’ll call them book reviews, for want of a better term, but I’m not totally convinced I would be ‘reviewing’ them, just giving out my very honest, and very subjective, opinion.
I’m two things, a reader and a writer. More and more, I find myself being kinder to writers because I know the back-breaking work involved in writing a book. That sometimes affects my judgment as a reader, because if I find a book insufferable, I still plod on for a few pages before dumping it — poor author has worked so hard, let me give the book a few more pages to prove itself.
So, I’ll be a one hell of a conflicted ‘reviewer’. These are the books I’m currently reading for review:
- - Aerogrammes by Tania James
- - Selected Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto
- - Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
- - Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- - Quarantine by Rahul Mehta
- - Wanted by Lee Child
- - Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
- - Desperate in Dubai by Ameera Al Hakawati
- - Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
- - Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
- - Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam
- - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Varghese
- - Tell All by Chuck Palahniuk
- - The Sirens of Baghdad by Yasmina Khadra
As usual, I’m reading 4 books at the same time, which means I’ll possibly come up with reviews randomly as I finish the books and the mood takes me. I haven’t decided on a schedule yet (I hate schedules) but I aim to read a book a week on average, and then post a review.
The 14 books are a mixed bag, from a Pakistani writer who wrote in undivided India and got tried several times for obscenity, to a writer of transgressive fiction, more than one Booker prize winner and shortlister, a Dubai-based blogger whose book was banned for a while this year, a Pulitzer and Frank O’Connor prize winner, an Indian American novelist who has won some acclaim, as well as several New York Times bestsellers.
With the current controversy on book bloggers which I highlighted in one of my recent posts, I ought to be a little wary, but I think I’ve blogged long enough not to care. I may have damaged the reading world beyond repair already so no point in acting shy now.
I know I’m going to be honest, and pretty much personal in my opinions. And if I can’t finish a book despite trying, I’m going to say it. For me, I read reviews, but seldom base my book purchases on them — so I don’t expect anyone to be influenced by my opinions either.
But before I begin on my review series, I’m curious: what sort of book reviews do You like?