Inspired by a post on LinkedIn on the number of books read in the year, I thought I’d take a look at what I have read and/ or listened to over the year. Here goes:
The Wheel of Time: I started on the journey of the Wheel of Time sometime in 2021 and it took me until the end of July to complete it. In 2022, I started and finished on the Books #2 through number 14. I found me willing myself through the long drawn-out fiction series. It is true of most writers – they become a victim of their own success and let the stories meander on and on without reaching a conclusion. In the case of Robert Jordan, the great man who created the series, it took another person to land the story to an ending through the Books 12, 13 and 14. I see The Song of Ice and Fire also heading in a similar direction. It may well need someone other than George RR Martin to finally pen the denouement of the saga of the Game of Thrones! Nevertheless, every one of these authors must pay homage to the Grand daddy of them all, JRR Tolkien, for creating The Lord of The Rings, my all time favourite.
During the time I was ploughing through the Wheel of Time, I listened to The Promised Land by Barack Obama. I was impressed by his voice, his diction and the simplicity of the man who was admired by many, including me, during his tenure as the President of the United States. The admiration remained and in fact, I borrowed a phrase from the book, during a recent event I was hosting – Fired Up, Ready to Go! Continuing the series of autobiographies that I read, Matthew McConaughey’s GreenLights was a good insight into the man who has acted in so many different kinds of movies, the most memorable of which remain A Time To Kill and Dallas Buyer’s Club. The one thing that stays with me from his story is the fact that he had made a list of 10 items that he wished to accomplish in his life. That list included winning an Oscar and he accomplished all of them in the following 20 years. Remarkable achievement. Inspiring story. A very different style of writing. Other autobiographies that I read this year included Indra Nooyi’s My Life in Full and Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. I have reviewed these books in earlier blog posts.
Switching to my interest in learning more of India’s history viewed through the eyes of the Opium trade, I was impressed by the audiobook, Opium, Inc. Brilliantly researched and insightful, it exposed me to the other, less discussed side of the East India Company and the British colonial rule in India through the 18th and 19th centuries. Opium played such a huge role in shaping the world as it exists today and so little about it is ever discussed in our history books. I easily recommend Opium, Inc. to anyone who wishes to learn more about India’s history viewed through the lens of the economic and political impact created by the Opium growth and trade. The Ibis trilogy by Amitav Ghosh introduced me to the topic and Opium, Inc. simply rounded it off.
Towards the end of the year, I reverted to fiction with Neil Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others. Although a little slow going at times, even this was a well researched book with great insights into farming and the Naxalite movement in the West Bengal of the 1960s.
It was a good year for reading, dominated by The Wheel of Time. Here’s looking forward to what 2023 will bring. If you have any recommendations for books, I am all ears and eyes!