2011 – The year I resumed reading

I had been a voracious reader since school, reading about a book a week on average. Sometime into college, my attention went to mostly technical books, and I lost touch with fiction for a few years. I resumed the habit late last year, and read around 30 books this year. These were the picks:

Books I enjoyed in 2011:

Enigma, Robert Harris:

I must confess that I revere Alan Turing, and it was with great hope that I started to read this book. There were several scattered mentions of Turing, however the plot was first rate, and the description of war-time England realistic. I particularly enjoyed the author’s narration about Bletchley Park, and I did not miss Turing’s absence much. This was easily the best read of the year.

Malgudi Days, R.K.Narayan:

I read this book on two summer days after having a hearty breakfast at home. I do not know how I missed reading R.K.Narayan during my childhood – maybe my love for Dickens earlier and popular fiction later in my adolescence is to blame. I would compare Malgudi Days with Devan’s writing: they bring to the fore the soul of a town (a city, Chennai in Devan’s case) – and transported me to pre-liberalization India, something I have only read about in The Hindu’s This Day, That Age column and history textbooks. These books make up for all that I lost by being born in a spoilt generation.

More:

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini – moving

Flatland, Edwin Abbott – amusing

The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson – mature, yet comic

Most awaited book of 2011:

The House of Silk, Anthony Horowitz:

It can’t get bigger for a Sherlock Holmes fan, to quote Ravi Shastri and other commentators, than a new official book on the legendary detective. I was over-excited and bought the Kindle edition as the status in India (on Flipkart and Infibeam) was still pre-order. This is the closest any author has got to Sir ACD, among the pastiches I’ve read. I had enjoyed Jamyang Norbu’s The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes last year, but it shared with other pastiches the reincarnation of Professor Moriarty, my favourite criminal. I did not want to see him being vanquished once again and Horowitz fulfills my wish. Horowitz is a better writer than ACD, and I hope he writes more Sherlock Holmes novels. A new novel every year would be very nice, thank you.

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