I Surprised Myself

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On January 1, 2015, I didn’t know I would read 72 books this year. I didn’t know I would turn 19,323 pages. I didn’t know that I would write 84 blogs. But I knew I was not in a race. Forgive me if the confession comes across as a humble brag. 🙂 These sentences are the testimony to the fact that I survived quite a few tempests this year, only because I took refuge in this loyal, non-judgmental, unassuming thing called books; reading restored my faith in life.

Forever, I will be grateful to those authors, who put words after words. Did they know that their works would save a girl, who thought she was the queen of lost causes? 🙂

While I dedicate this blog to books and reading, I also thank my blogger-friends here, who read my blogs, share warm comments, and give me intelligent company. I am here because you respected my stories. ❤

It will be an insult to Ray Bradbury, Rabih Alammeddine, and Alan Bennet if I fail to quote them now.

“Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.” ― Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

“I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so that I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books. Transmuting this sandy metaphor, if literature is my sandbox, then the real world is my hourglass — an hourglass that drains grain by grain. Literature gives me life, and life kills me. Well, life kills everyone.” — An Unnecessary Woman, Rabih Alameddine

When I am found with my head buried in a book, I am often questioned, “Why do you read so much?” Usually, I smile, and offer a feeble response like, “Because. I like it. It’s fun.” But, after the enquirer leaves, I bite my lips, and beat myself for not employing this line, which’s a fitting explanation.

“You don’t put your life into your books, you find it there.”  — The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett

I have found my life in it. A parallel life that’s better than reality. However, just like the real one, not everything in it is impeccable, and that’s not a complaint.

The stories can be flawed. But books are always, always perfect; reading is always, always comforting.

While nursing a heavy book-hangover, I would think of those empty days, when my life didn’t revolve around reading. Then, I read this book, and found my answer. 🙂

“Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.” — The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

I needed something to pull me out of a dark abyss this year. Books have walked in like silent, friendly strangers, who shower us with random act of kindness. I am content. I might not be happy yet. But, I am content. ❤

Book-wise, this is how 2015 looked:

❤ = My personal favourites 🙂 (Don’t blame me if you find too many.)

January:
1. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
2. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling ❤
3. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
4. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling ❤
5. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling ❤
6. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling ❤
7. The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time by Mark Haddon

February:
8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ❤
9. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
10. Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones ❤

March:
11. Coraline by Neil Gaiman ❤
12. How to Stop Your Grownup from Making Bad Decision by Judy Balan
13. Charlotte’s Web by EB White ❤
14. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ❤
15. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
16. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman ❤

April:
17. Stuart Little by EB White
18. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
19. The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White
20. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

May:
21. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman ❤
22. Talkative Man by RK Narayan
23. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

September:
24. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
25. Of Human Bondage by Somerset W. Maugham ❤
26. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
27. Compulsiveness to Consciousness by Jaggi Vasudev
28. Midnights with the Mystic by Jaggi Vasudev
29. A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce W. Cameron
30. Of Love and other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

October:
31. Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them by Susan Forward ❤
32. Stories of Hope by Kirthi Jayakumar ❤
33. Wild by Cheryl Strayed ❤
34. One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan
35. The Perfect Groom by Sumeetha Manikandan
36. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
37. I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
38. Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye
39. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery ❤
40. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine ❤
41. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
42. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart ❤
43. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

November:
44. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
45. I See You by Aindrila Roy
46. Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch
47. The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo ❤
48. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed ❤
49. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo ❤
50. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ❤
51. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot ❤
52. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ❤
53. The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie
54. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ❤
55. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
56. The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
57. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed ❤
58. Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
59. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett ❤
60. The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond ❤
61. Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto ❤
62. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
63. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault ❤
64. Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita ❤

December:
65. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult
66. The Phantom Tollboth by Norton Juster ❤
67. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty ❤
68. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ❤
69. Animal Madness by Laurel Braitman ❤
70. The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
71. The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan ❤
72. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin ❤

It’s evident, isn’t it? I have had a brilliant year. Book-wise at least. 🙂

I hope you had a kind year too. And, I am going to borrow my favourite author Neil Gaiman’s words to wish you a peaceful New Year.

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10 thoughts on “I Surprised Myself

  1. That is a brilliant reading year! So glad you found joy and comfort in so many wonderful books! So happy that we met in the blogosphere ❤
    Since you loved Harry Potter so much, who doesn’t 😉 , you have to try Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On!! 🙂
    Congrats on a wonderful reading year! And I see I will have to get a move on with reading Gaiman!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bina, thank you for all the kind words. ❤ 'Carry On' is in my 'immediate TBR'. I am surely going to read it in January.

      And, Gaiman is one of my favourite authors. Have you read 'Neverwhere'? Urban fantasy. Right up to your alley. 🙂 My most favourite book is 'The Ocean at the End of the Land'.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve read so many great books, Deepika. I can see some of my favorites in there. 🙂
    I must say, however, that I don’t like the “I want to read ___ books in (insert year)” on goodreads and if there was a way to delete that from my page I would gladly do it. I find it annoying and stressful. I’d rather have “I’m going to read some great books in (insert year)” or “This year I’m finally going to read (insert author name here). Quantity is not the best qualifier for books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Delia, I completely agree with you. Goodreads tried changing my mind by asking me to take up the reading challenge. But, I have decided not to accept it. I am going to read what I like reading, and spend time and money on great books. 🙂 So, to borrow your words — “I’m going to read some great books in 2016.” I promise. 🙂

      Like

  3. Wonderful post, Deepika! I loved it! You read 20 books in November?? Who are you?? 🙂 You are an incredibly voracious reader! I loved all the passages you have quoted, especially the one from ‘An Unnecessary Woman’. That Gabrielle Zevin quote is so true. It has happened to me that I have got a book and then read it many years later and I realize that I wouldn’t have liked it as much if I had read it earlier – books do find us at the right time. I was expecting ‘Fahrenheit 451’ to be on your favourites list, because you love quoting from it 🙂 I love that Neil Gaiman quote – so beautiful!

    Hope you have a wonderful reading and personal year in 2016, Deepika, filled with lots of bookish and general happiness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Vishy. 🙂 You inspire me, and recommend some lovely reads.

      And, that is a nice catch about Bradbury’s. I should have given a heart to that book. It is one of my favourites. I wonder how I missed it. 🙂

      Like

      1. She is wonderful, Vishy. I have read her first book alone. ‘Stories of Hope’ was moving. Her second book ‘The Dove’s Lament’ is out too. I am yet to read it. She has also contributed to a couple anthologies. 🙂

        Like

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