2014 has been a good reading year for me, though I have posted very sporadically. I completed my Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books this year, albeit with lot of huffing and puffing !! 🙂 .This trumped my last 2 years tally of 36 books each. Total pages read were more than 16000, an impressive 25% increase over last year’s 13000. In my last year-end’s post, I had vowed to read 50 pages a day; I came close – at 45 pages a day. Work front seems to be equally challenging in 2015 but I have planned to post more regularly this year.
Now back to some impressive books I read in 2014.
I started with Colin Cotterill’s Jimm Juree series. This is a fun series and immediately hooked me to Cotterill’s other more famous Dr. Siri Paiboun series set in communist Laos of the 70s. Cotterill writes with lot of affection for Laos and Thailand, their people and culture and the books are a good mix of politics and interesting plots.
The most memorable series this year was Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy. Set in the remote Hebridean islands of Scotland, the books follow retired police detective Fin Macleod. Peter May writes with beautiful, haunting prose. The windswept brooding landscape of Hebrides and its local customs and tradition form an integral part of the books.
Scott Turow’s Kindle County legal thrillers are in a league of their own. Narrated in first person, his books tell intriguing stories that delve deep into its main characters. His protagonists normally walk the fine line between legal and illegal, right and wrong (mostly crossing the line), yet we sympathise with them, even like them.
Two more interesting books I read this year are I am Pilgrim and Bamboo and Blood. You can read about the former here. Bamboo and Blood is set in North Korea. It has a labyrinthine plot and the pace is slow, but author James Church has a lyrical style. He uses his pen deftly to display the paranoid regime and the hardship of its subject like a skilful artist painting a vivid picture using few but bold brush strokes.
I continued my happy dalliance with Martin Walker’s lovely books set in rural France and Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano. I plan to finish these series this year. Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther is an interesting character. The books have World War II backdrop with Kerr building his plots around events during the war. Bernie is conscientious and uses his dark humour to point how revolting and ghastly ideologies were strutting themselves as ideal and best.
Naturalist Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy is charming, heart warming set of books. Written with lot of love for the beautiful Greek island and its people, this autobiographical memoir talks about Durrell’s childhood on the island that is resplendent with rich flaura and fauna.
I started with three new countries in 2014 – Laos, Thailand and North Korea. Italy was the most read country by me, thanks to Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Andrea Camilleri. I also started with Jonathan Holt’s Carnivia series set in modern day Venice and this one has a thrilling story line revolving around a mysterious website, its reclusive owner and horrors of the Bosnian War crimes.
I finally learnt (and liked it!) to read e-books, something that I somehow could never do earlier. My ipad has already turned into a full-fledged library.
Wish you a Happy reading 2015 !! 🙂