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Reading has kicked off to a better start this year. I have already finished four books and am on to my fifth. That’s two books ahead of the modest twenty-four I am aiming for this year. No, it is not a must-do something I am pushing myself to do against my wishes. It is just a number I have opted for in the challenge offered by Goodreads. Eventually, I might end up reading fewer or more depending on time available and my inclination (There are days when I walk around with my Kindle in my hand, but not read a single word!).

A couple of years back I set a goal of fifty-three, one book for every week. Imagine reaching the end of the year and finding there are only fifty-two weeks in a year. How the hell had I forgotten that? I haven’t felt as foolish as I felt that day. The number fifty-three had somehow pushed out fifty-two and ensconced itself in my head as the right one. Unfazed, for the year was about to end, I read one more book, a small one and completed the challenge. There! Fifty-three could go and hide its face for trying to make me look like a fool. Ha!

I love reading, and just as in music, I have an eclectic taste in books too. Autobiographies, historical novels, classics, thrillers, comics (I am an Asterix & Obelix fan out and out), fantasies, science fiction, you name it, I love them all and will gladly forget the world and immerse myself in them. I only ask that the author weave magic with words, I’ll surrender to the magic and let myself be led to wander whichever world they create.

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned poetry in my above list of genres I like. Yes, I don’t go out of my way to read poetry. Don’t ask me why, I just don’t. But I do write, and unceremoniously inflict them on unsuspecting people who happen to come across it. Just kidding, people, I have plans to read some books of poetry …..before I die.

The book I am reading now is the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, ‘Milkman’, by Anna Burns. It is an intriguing book (I have just begun reading it), written in the stream of consciousness narrative form which draws you in from the word go. Not surprisingly perhaps, I have loved all the Man Booker Prize winner books I have read so far (there are so many still to go!), the only exception among them being Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. Somehow it didn’t impress me at all. May be a second reading will change my mind, who knows? But then again, who has time to read a book a second time (unless it is a Wodehouse book. Yes, I am an all-time die-hard fan of the Master as those who know me are already aware!) when there are still so many books left to read in the world?

What are you reading now? Oh, by the way, not being a book snob, I won’t judge you if you are someone not into reading. There are other interesting pursuits in life too and if yours is something other than reading, more power to you. Enjoy whatever you do. That’s what matters.

© Shail Mohan 2019