Food for Thought: 5 Books I Read in 2017

Winter weekend, a cup of coffee, a cosy chair and a book makes for a perfect day spent. I managed to read quite a few books this year, but not so much to be able to brag. Nonetheless, I have picked and compiled a short but unique book recommendation list for those who want to read but never get around doing so. And also for those who are avid book readers.

 Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundati Roy

One of the themes revolves around Anjum who was born a boy but not a normal one.  The reader gets to meet a number of other characters through Anjum’s journey of finding her place in the world.  Roy also deals with the Kashmir issue through some eccentric characters of Tillotama and Musa Yeswi. The long time span that the book cover seems to make it a slow read. 

This is Arundati Roy’s second novel that she wrote after a long break of 20 years. First things first, if you have read her first novel The God of Small Things, beware you might not like it right away.  A lot of her followers were disappointed with this novel. But let us be pragmatic. Writing books is no piece of cake. Roy put her blood and soul into this work I m sure. But I speak as a die hard fan of hers.

Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka

By picking up the above book by Frank Kafka I take you way back to 1915 when the novella was published. This has been on my to read list for a long time. Can’t say what made me pick it up, but my initial thoughts were ‘meh’. However, by the time I finished it, I could see the themes dealt with.

This story is about the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa who wakes up one day to find out he has changed into an insect. What appears to be strange is that Samsa isn’t shocked at being changed from his human form but his worry of missing  work and the repercussions that would follow.  On many levels it points out the pressure of a capitalist society, one’s own isolation despite friends and family around, and the need for survival.

If you want to read something short, pick this classic book and peek into the the mind of Frank Kafka.

After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split by Lesley Hazleton

Having read The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad, picking up this wasn’t a hard choice. Lesley Hazleton has a way with words. She has the skill to weave the historical account into an appealing narration. As a Muslim, the theme of Shia Sunni conflict is close to my heart. It is a sensitive and unavoidable topic for Muslims all over the world.

If you want to reading something about the history of Muslims and how we got divided into Shia Sunni wars, this is a good read.

A Room of One’s Own & Three Guineas By Virginia Woolf

The Collins Classics edition of Virginia Woolf’s work covers two of her long essays that she presented at Cambridge. A Room of One’s Own was published in 1929, while Three Guineas was written a decade later.

If you are intrigued by the life and death of Woolf, I recommend you pick up this book. Especially if you are interested in knowing Woolf’s experience as a female writer back in the early 1900s. She explores the themes of why women should have their own room for writing (an interesting thought). She talks about war and the gender inequality with her own style of wit and sarcasm in the Three Guineas.

Logic: The Fallacy of Love by Max Shulman

This is a short story I picked up considering that we generally look for quick and easy reads these days. The story is about a college boy who attempts to educate his girlfriend, whom he thinks to be a little slow. She uses her lessons in logic with him to eventually pick another guy as her boyfriend. The short story is a perfect read if you are looking for something funny, light and interesting.

You can read the story here