I read and read … and as I look at the various reading challenges, I find that I have read a large number of the books in them. And I wonder if I want to be get tied down?? The time bound challenges – like so many books in 2015, and the like, I have totally rejected!! But, at some point I decided to set myself a challenge to read the TIME 100 all time greats – at my own leisurely pace. There are 17 books in the A-B section, of which I had previously read 6 – Animal Farm by George Orwell, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, The blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, The bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder. Over the last few weeks I have read another five and I have written about them in my blogs – American Pastoral by Philip Roth, The American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, Are you there God? It’s me Margaret by Judy Blume, The Assistant by Bernard Malamud, At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien.
And this week I read this Saul Bellow, the 12th book form the A-B section. An iconic author, I remember him being a favorite of my father. He owned many of them, and I remember that an attempt to read Herzog some time ago did not go so well. This book too (read on the Kindle) was a bit of a struggle, and it was a determination to finish it rather than the book itself which took me to the end, over many weeks I should add!! The prose is excellent, and the sentences string along in perfect balance. One can catch the air of the downbeat, Jewish side of New York in the post-depression years. But it was difficult to relates with the characters – the protagonist himself was the least complicated amongst a bunch of contorted and dysfunctional beings. And if this was par for the course, well then….maybe its all too dated to be enjoyed in 2015! A rich and spoilt young woman who loses her wealth, and plans to regain it by hunting for iguanas in Mexico!!! It was all far beyond my grasp…..
This was an excellent book – rooted, realistic with a very few characters who are so well sketched that they maybe a good friend of you or me! A simple story, which reveals so much of the society we live in – ably translated from the original Marathi by Jerry Pinto. It dos not for the most part read like a translation. However, there were still parts, where I did wish that I could read the original version.
And with this book I decided to join ‘TSBCReadsIndia’ – a challenge to read a book from each State and Union Territory! More of that in my next post