100 Book Pact — 25 down!

When the new year was still only a day or two old, I saw this and decided I was going to read hundred books this year. The last time I attempted this (and finished with ease) was more than ten years ago. I was in school, and the idea of reading a book in 2–3 days was completely natural. I had probably been reading more that a hundred books each year without knowing that I had. This year is different—I have grown-up responsibilities now and between work, side-projects, chores and travel, it is going to be no cakewalk. But, I am happy to report that earlier this week I read my twenty-fifth book of the year. Even though I was a few days late and roughly 1.2 books behind, I believe I am on track to meet my goal at the end of 2016.

But there is more to this reading pact than just numbers. Because time is at a premium, is there a change in what I read and how? The most obvious pitfall in trying to read a fixed number of books in a limited time is the urge to read only those books that don’t require a great deal of time, effort or patience. When I realized how behind I was February, that option looked very attractive, but thankfully better sense prevailed. Reading several books simultaneously has been the single most helpful thing for me. It has made it harder for me to slack off. Long or difficult reads simmer along for weeks, while others take a couple of days, or sometimes just a few hours. Deciding what books to read simultaneously has brought me the same joy and satisfaction as planning a week’s meals. There is a balance to be struck between my latest infatuations, and that which is necessary; and between what will bring comfort at the end of a long, debilitating day, and what will be a taxing, but fulfilling project in itself. There need to be flavours and texture to appeal to different moods. If I get this right, things are a breeze.

Seeing all twenty-five books together means noticing patterns and biases. It is, for instance, easy to tell that of the books I have read so far less than a third are written by women. Or that I have only read English books. Roughly two thirds have subject matter connected to India, while less than half are by Indian authors. Fiction makes up just about a fifth of the books I have read, and there is only one graphic narrative. Some of these observations I am happy with; others not so much. I hope that by the time I reach a hundred, I’ll be more pleased with the mix of books I have read in the year.

Here are the books I have read so far, in the order I read them—

  1. Sophia: Princess, Revolutionary, Suffragette by Anita Anand
  2. Breaking Out: An Indian Woman’s American Journey by Padma Desai
  3. The Householder by Ruth Prawer Jhabwala
  4. An Independent Colonial Judiciary by Abhinav Chandrachud
  5. Bread: A Global History by William Rubel
  6. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  7. Wanderings in India and other sketches of life in Hindostan by John Lang
  8. The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee: The Filmmaker everyone Loves by Jai Arjun Singh
  9. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  10. The Presidency by Gerald W. Johnson
  11. The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan W. Watts
  12. Balmukund Gupta by Madan Gopal
  13. India and the World by Jawaharlal Nehru
  14. Ladybird by Design by Lawrence Zeegen
  15. Walking Towards Ourselves edited by Catriona Mitchell
  16. This Side, That Side: Restorying Partition curated by Vishwajyoti Ghosh
  17. Unbound: 2000 Years of Indian Women’s Writing edited by Annie Zaidi
  18. City Adrift: A Short Biography of Bombay by Naresh Fernandes
  19. Love and Marriage
  20. Sunlight on a Broken Column by Attia Hosain
  21. How to Thrive in the Digital Age by Tom Chatfield
  22. Dictionaries: A Very Short Introduction by Lynda Mugglestone
  23. Nehru: A Contemporary’s Estimate by Walter Crocker
  24. The King’s Harvest by Chetan Raj Shrestha
  25. Laurie Baker: Truth in Architecture by Atul Deulgaonkar

If you would like to follow what I am reading for the 100 Book Pact, I post about the books on Instagram under #MatraTypeReadsA100.

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Comments 2

  1. Pingback: 100 Book Pact — Halfway there – Its a Nerd’s Life!

  2. Pingback: 100 Book Pact — Within touching distance – Its a Nerd’s Life!

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