Monday, 2 March 2015

My reading in February

In India, young students who live in slums and hovels and often have no access to electricity study under candlelight or streetlight and still triumph in their exams. It proves you can read anywhere, anytime, under any circumstance; even more so if it is for pleasure. Hence, fewer days in the month or preoccupation with personal and professional issues are no excuses for reading lesser number of books. I know I can make time to read. The reason I'm being apologetic about the few books I read, first in January and then last month, is because I have set a fairly high reading goal for myself this year—at least eight books and a dozen short stories every month. So far I have failed on both counts. I'm looking at the remaining ten months with renewed optimism.

However, I'm not letting all that take away the pleasure of reading the ones I do. I enjoyed four out of the five novels and novellas. The exception was Criminal Justice (2014) by Patrick Graham, a legal thriller with inexcusable grammatical and proofreading errors. It seemed as if the writer was keen to hammer out the story and have it self-published as soon as possible. I persisted till the end because that is what I usually do even with books that put me off and because I actually bought the ebook from Amazon.

As usual, I have listed the novels and short stories by year of publication and not in the order I read them. I plan to review at least three of these in coming days.

Novels & Novellas

1936 - The case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner - Crime

1937 - All’s Fair by Richard Wormser - General

1942 - The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas - Historical (Reread)

1976 - Swag by Elmore Leonard - Crime

2014 - Criminal Justice by Patrick Graham - Legal Thriller

Short Stories

1914 - Death at the Excelsior by P.G. Wodehouse - Detective-Mystery

2012 - Branham’s Due by Richard Prosch - Western

Meanwhile, I continue to join the family in watching Monk and Downton Abbey on week nights. While the former is becoming stereotyped, the latter is holding fascination for now. Adrian Monk’s OCD is getting to me. He is spending a better part of the hour being preoccupied with one thing or other and touching and straightening things rather than investigating the crime, which he eventually does in the last ten minutes or so. And I can see why some of my blog friends said Downton Abbey was like a soap opera. A polished one, I might add. My favourite character so far is Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith), on account of her one-liners told with a straight face. The makers of the series have started bumping off characters which means we’re in for some bad times.

As I mentioned earlier, personal and professional reasons have kept me away from blogging these past few days. I have been using my laptop at home only to pay bills. There are times when I feel like giving up blogging altogether. Although I enjoy blogging, I find it a bit overwhelming at times. In any case, the blogging world won’t be any poorer by my absence. For now I’ll stick around and see how things work out.

20 comments:

  1. Hang in there with the blogging. I think I know how you feel, though. There are days when it seems as the my keyboard noise is a bit like the tree falling the forest (i.e., if no one hears it, it makes no noise). However, in your case, I think you have plenty of people who very much enjoy your unique and perceptive perspectives. BTW, if you were to choose one book from your February reading as a recommendation to others (i.e., me), which would it be? All the best from the U.S. Gulf coast -- RTD

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    1. RTD, thank you for your kind words and your encouragement. I'll persist as long as I can. From the books I read last month, I'd pick THE ROBE. I loved it just as much as I did the first time, particularly for the author's writing style.

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  2. Hope you don't give up blogging. You'd be missed

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    1. Charles, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I'd miss blogging too. Right now I'm taking each day as it comes.

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  3. Take a bit of time-out and re-charge the batteries, then come back and entertain and enlighten us. BUT DON'T LEAVE!

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    1. Col, that's mighty nice of you — thank you. I have slowed my pace of blogging to about a dozen posts a month. I'd take a break from blogging only if I took a vacation which isn't even on the horizon. So I'll continue to blog for now.

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  4. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP BLOGGING! We love your blog and appreciate your comments on ours. Haven't seen you on Tip the Wink in a while.

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    1. Richard, I very much appreciate your sentiment and your appreciation of my blog and comments. I intend to stay the course for now. I haven't been visiting blogs, like yours, lately, because of system problem at home and pressures at work. I expect the former to sort out soon.

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  5. We all need to take short blogging breaks from time to time. You certainly *would* be missed.

    I like Violet, too. Wonderful one-liners.

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    1. Elizabeth, thank you very much. I take short breaks from blogging but sometimes I feel left out, posting on my blog and commenting on other blogs. It has become kind of addictive. As for Violet Crawley, I read Maggie Smith has decided to opt out after Season 6 which airs next year, which would be a real shame.

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  6. Prashant: I think every blogger wonders if the time spent blogging is well spent. As long as I am enjoying blogging I will carry on. If it ever becomes an unpaid job I expect to stop. I do like writing and believe you enjoy the chance to express yourself. I think you have more to blog about and hope you will continue.

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    1. Bill, I appreciate your kind words — thank you. I have enjoyed blogging, especially over the past three years when I got "acquainted" with you and your blog as well as other bloggers. I have learnt much about books and films from all of you. Like you, I'll stop blogging when I no longer enjoy it. Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel, so to speak. But that day isn't around yet.

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  7. Well done on the reading front Prashant - blogging can become perhaps too time-consuming and I do marvel at those who blog virtually every day. Hope you stick around a bit longer chum, but if it becomes a chore, then it's definitely time to move on!

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    1. Sergio, thank you! I plan to stick around for now though I might post fewer reviews than I did. There are times when I just don't get the time to write about the books I read and the films I watch or work on my own fiction, which can be pretty frustrating. However, I feel encouraged by you and our other blog friends on this page.

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  8. Could you blog less, and spend less time on followups? As you can tell from the comments above, everyone would really miss you if your left our community completely!

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    1. Moira, yours and everyone else's encouraging words is inspiring me stay on, for the truth is I do enjoy blogging and I’d miss being a part of our blogging community. Blogging less sounds like a good idea though I wouldn’t like to curtail my visits to other blogs.

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  9. I have felt overwhelmed by blogging at times, Prashant, probably because I worry about meeting my own expectations. I get so much out of it though, I know I would not stop. I am trying to find a good balance.

    I would miss your blogging and the variety of books and topics that you cover, so I hope you continue to find blogging rewarding.

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    1. Tracy, thank you for the appreciation. It means much to me. I have found blogging very rewarding too, particularly in the past three years when I got to know you and all our blog friends and read and savoured your reviews of all sorts of books and films. You're right, I must find a balance and take it from there.

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  10. A nice list, Parashant. I too stress about blogging. Someone was rude recently about a minor spelling mistake in my post and I really did wonder why I bother. But I would miss it if I stopped. I enjoy reading your posts, Prashant.

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    1. Sarah, thank you very much. Like Tracy, I, too, had certain expectations about my blogging, particularly in terms of posting as frequently as possible. This I found stressful and hence I decided to narrow down my posts to a dozen, and even less, every month. I don't see how anyone can be rude about a spelling mistake. It is downright petty. I enjoy reading your succinct reviews of the wonderful books you read.

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