On the 2nd last day of 2017, I am much too excited about getting together my reading lists, plans and challenges for 2018, than about the fiction I read in 2017. The most frustrating bit about this whole reading business is not being able to read enough; I can never stop bombarding myself with book lists from Twitter, Feedly, the Guardian, Goodreads and what not – and there is always just too much to read but too little time and too slow a reading speed to do it with!
I guess this is probably the most bitter-sweet of all frustrations in the world and like Ann Patchett said,
Its always better to have too much to read than not enough
So I will try and hold back the ranting for a bit 😛 and celebrate the good stuff I was actually able to read in two-oh-one-seven!
I embarrassingly admit that it was in 2017 that I finally discovered Oscar Wilde, and it was probably the best thing to have happened in all the good things that happened this year. And what fun it was to read all three plays aloud and dramatically – funny, witty, layered and oh that punchiness that comes with the refined language and dialogue! So artful, so satisfying.
The Importance of Being Earnest is the first one I read and it is my favourite, though An Ideal Husband and Lady Windermere’s Fan are super too. After having read the plays I craved for more and found a couple of film versions, which are apparently pretty popular. I watched these two – and I must say, I was NOT IMPRESSED – at all!.
Neither of these are even half as good as the written play. So, if you’ve seen the movies but haven’t read the plays, I would highly highly recommend you read the plays and enjoy how brilliant they really are!
Madhavi by Bhisham Sahni
Another brilliant play I read this year, in Hindi, was Madhavi. Written by renowned writer, playwright and actor Bhisham Sahni, Madhavi is the story of one woman’s sacrifices in the face of the duties that all the men in her life must fulfil.
The play is based on the story of Madhavi, King Yayati’s daughter from Mahabharata and brings out the notions of how male pride and honour often, if not always, supersede female sacrifices – that go unrecognised and unconsidered, obscure in the pride and vanity that each man feels – even though, without her, they could never have fulfilled their duties.
Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
I really really enjoyed reading both these books by Liz Nugent and read them back to back. Unravelling Oliver was her first book (so brilliant!) and won the Irish Crime Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2014. It has also been translated into 7 languages. Lying in Wait is also pretty brilliant.
Both stories are based on a foundation of human depravity and auto-centric conniving characters. I like that every chapter is narrated by a character, moving the story forward, revealing differing perspectives and conclusions on the same event. This is especially interesting when one of the characters fails to understand the depths of another character’s deceit or duplicity.
Both stories begin with powerful hooks and after the first sentence, you can forget about doing anything else for the rest of the day. Isn’t that the best kind of thing ever! here are the opening lines of both these books:
‘I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.’ – Unravelling Oliver
‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’ – Lying in Wait
The reveal is so gradual that the event itself becomes less important. It is the reasons that led to the event that become much more interesting. There is something satisfying about the author’s unrestrained depiction of her low-life characters. Just go get them!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I closed the year with this sweet, warm, funny, touching, witty book. By the end of if, I just wanted to give Eleanor a few hugs and tell her, she really was completely fine 🙂
Another great debut – I don’t know how people are so good at writing their first book, but who’s complaining eh!
If you’re looking for a meaningful, funny, easy to read and uplifting book, then I highly recommend this one. I waited nearly 6 months to get a copy and when I finally did, it was absolutely worth it.
And that wraps up the Best of 2017: Fiction edition! I’ve really enjoyed thinking about all of these books again and I really hope you will give some of these a shot.
Officially looking on to 2018 now, and all the amazing, stunning, astounding, astonishing, awe-inspiring, stupendous, staggering, extraordinary and incredible books that I will get to read!
Happy New Year!!! And see you in 2018!!!
😀 😀 😀