Following Fish – Samanth Subramanian
Genre: Non-fiction, travel, Indian author, food
There have been a lot of great reviews of Following Fish, the first book by Samanth Subramanian, this up and coming Indian writer, in the blogosphere. I don’t read many Indian authors, but this one I was tempted to pick up. And I am absolutely glad I did.
Following Fish, as the name suggests, is all about the author’s various trysts with fish, in different parts of India, not all of a culinary nature. It is a sort-of travel memoir, detailing the experiences the author has had with different varieties of fish, from the Hyderabadi fish cure for asthma and being witness to the preparation of fishing boats in Gujarat, to eating the famed Hilsa in Bengal and being faced with the grim realities of fishing as it is today in Goa.
The book is a delightful read, beautifully written, rich in narration, bubbling over with wit. The writing style is simple and crisp, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I loved how the book took me places in my mind – bringing back memories from our holidays to Veraval, Goa, and the backwaters of Kerala.
Irrespective of whether you love fish or not, this book comes highly recommended. Especially if you are a lover of travel.
The Reading Promise – Alice Ozma
Genre: Memoir, books, non-fiction
When Alice Ozma was just a little girl, her father and she made a promise to each other – to read books aloud, together, every single day, even if only for a brief while. Father and daughter started, and didn’t stop reading to each other for 3,218 days! Throughout school and various stages of life, Alice Ozma and her father read books together, often finding solace – and solutions – in their reading sessions. The Reading Promise is all about these 3,218 days.
I enjoyed the book, though I did not love it the way I thought I would. Alice and her father are quirky, and make for interesting characters. It was fun to read their exploits, but the book did feel rather amateur in places, the chapters seemed, sort of, unconnected sometimes. The author was in her 20s when she wrote the book, and so, the amateurish feeling of it can be excused. In parts, though, the author has a mature voice, and I could almost see her evolving from girl to woman.
There is talk of books in The Reading Promise – but, of course – not as much as I would have liked, though. Some chapters just seemed to ramble on, without any in-depth discussions about books, which is not what I had expected.
The end of the book is beautiful, I must say. I thoroughly loved it.
All in all, I would say it was an enjoyable read for me. I didn’t get what I had expected, but the book wasn’t entirely disappointing either.
A Dog’s Life – Peter Mayle
Genre: Dogs, light read
I have read quite a bit of Peter Mayle (A Year In Provence, Toujours Provence, Encore Provence, French Lessons and Confessions Of A French Baker), and have thoroughly enjoyed all his books. So, when I saw a marked-down copy of his A Dog’s Life in Blossoms recently, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up. I enjoyed this one, too – it was an entirely delightful read.
The author and his wife found a dog of suspect pedigree while in Provence, in a not-so-great condition. They promptly adopted him and, on a whim, named him Boy. A Dog’s Life is a memoir of Boy’s life, in Boy’s voice. It is full of Mayle’s trademark witty prose and charming descriptions, and the cartoon illustrations in the book only add to the delight factor of it all.
This book is not great literature, of course, but a nice, light read when you want something refreshing and intelligent to perk you up. Do give it a shot!
What are you reading at the moment?