Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I am booked for the summer

Last summer was so good that I am getting a head-start this time around.  No, I am not referring to the high 90s that are forecast for this weekend.  Unseasonably warm, no doubt.  For a guy who grew up playing outdoors in the hot summer months of the old country, a thermometer reading that exceeds 75 now has become nightmarish! :(

The head-start that I am referring to is the summer reading list.  It does not matter to me whether or not I got wise after the summer of reading last time around.  I enjoyed it, while this guy, who played those long cricket matches under the intensely blistering sun and who now watches sports only from the comfort of his climate-controlled flat, couldn't wait for that summer to end ;)

Last summer, I didn't put together my list until the end of June.  This time, June is just about to begin, and I have placed my order.

You being a sharp, smart, attentive, and thinking person, immediately noticed something, right?
Yes, female authors.
And, yes, two of those will be in translation.
And, yes, all of them from different parts of the world.
And, yes, they are/were from societies that were going through intense internal struggles.
And, yes, all the three were awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

So, why these books and these authors?

It has always bothered me that while I have not read a great many books, most of what I read were authored by men.  Even the list from last summer: Tolstoy, Nabokov, and Steinbeck.  In the years past too.  I was badly in need of diversity in the form of female authors.  It is not that I have shied away from them; from Jane Austen to Jhumpa Lahiri, I have had my fill of female writers.  But, the scale was clearly tilted.  This summer reading will help straighten the scale--especially when the books are no slim volumes: 496, 560, and 272 pages, respectively.

The settings--the Soviet Union and Belarus, Romania under Ceausescu, and South Africa--will depress me through the 1,300 and more pages.  But, the human condition explored in those will, I am sure, help me understand not only my own existence but even the ongoing crises around the world, including the one that I blogged about yesterday.

There are only two things that I have to decide.  First, when do I get started.  The answer is simple--I don't know.  Second, what will be the order in which I read them?  The answer is simple--I don't know.  Hey, I am already wiser for knowing that I don't know ;)


Ramesh said...

Ohhhh Goooood. Its that time of the year, is it ? Thankfully, the dreaded Nabokov does not feature in the list, but Alexievich seems bad enough. 496 pages ?? GROAN.

For diehard Nabokov followers, I strongly recommend the story of Cuthbert Banks. Here it is -

This is also recommended reading for Anne since she is putting up 12 hour work days and needs a smile.

Sriram Khé said...

Sorry, I don't smile in the summer ;)
Unlike you and your GROAN, I am looking forward to the heavy reading list. Heavy literally and metaphorically.
BTW, did you notice something missing from my recent posts? In terms of themes and geographic area? I don't think you did ... it has been a while since I blogged something specifically about India, right? because ... ;)

Anne in Salem said...

Yes, a groan for those choices. I think I've managed about 100 pages of reading all week, if that.

I haven't decided my summer reading. New acquisitions are much lighter or at least more appealing to me than Sriram's - Thomas More or Abraham for nonfiction and Henry James, Virginia Woolf or Evelyn Waugh for the fiction. Some combination of the above when the hours reduce a bit and for the airplane. I'm very much looking forward to starting.

Sriram Khé said...

Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf? Sriram is ;)

I had to re-read this sentence in your comment "I'm very much looking forward to starting" because I thought you were being funny when I first read it as I'm very much looking forward to *staring* ...
I visualized you spending your summer days simply staring ... when the chuckles died down, I re-read the sentence and ...

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