Hmm…let’s see. Two years of intense lockdowns, second, third waves, Delta, Omicron, isolation, weekend curfews, reopening of offices only to get back to WFH again…a rollercoaster life is what we eventually got used to, am I right?
What have you been doing?
- Cooking and Baking
- Tailoring (because why not?)
- Learning a new skill(s)
You get the drift. Every possible way to engage the brain has been used up. New innovations have seen the light of the day. Records are being broken in writing and clearing professional and non-professional exams. New ideas are becoming startups. And new content is being created…like never seen before. Completely not connected to this but… did you get a notice from Google saying that people are filling up 15 GB worth of free storage every year? In my case, it’s 3 but then I am super stingy about what I save.
But that’s neither here nor there. So, back to the topic at hand. Masalamug emerged out of collaboration amongst friends to experiment with content creation. Here at Masalamug, a casual scan will reveal the following main topics
- Travel (driving focused)
- Investing (you have money, the stock market is booming, so why not)
- Movies and actors
- Biking (one of the highest-ranking articles!)
You may find the occasional blog not conforming to the above, but these have seen good traffic (or that’s what our super techie friends say to complete non techies like us).
You know what I miss? A good blog about books. Personal reads, great reads, escape reads, stuff in other languages, strong recommendations, self-help stuff (if that’s your thing), it could be anything. So, here’s my attempt at a list of stuff that I have read in the last year. It will be in no order or preference, it will mostly be fiction (as you will see), and sadly it will be smaller than the actual amount of stuff I have read. Why? Because I have forgotten much of all that I had read in the last year and only remember the last few months or so.
I am a fantasy and science fiction geek; mostly creativity and imagination being the key reasons. In the last year, they have also offered the greatest avenues for escape for my mind. New Earths, New worlds, New Planets, existential threats, and superheroes emerging to combat those. What’s not to like?
So, here’s what I have been reading the last 6 months or so.
1. Rhythm Of War- Brandon Sanderson
I bought my second Kindle for this one. Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War, book 4 of his 10-book opus – The StormLight Archives. This is a BIG book with approximately half a million words. The 4 books together are ~1.8 million words (source: www.coppermind.net). It took me about a month to finish and only made me angry that I finished it so fast. The next book isn’t out for at least 3 more years, more if Brandon decides to concentrate on other stories.
The story is of a pikeman in an army who discovers a living species that have magical powers and that the species are interested in sharing such powers with people capable of swearing ideals of honor. The book deals in themes of winning, losing, losing and falling, coping with PTSD, and loss. It also creates notions of Gods who die but leave memories of themselves and cults who believe that those memories are Gods themselves. Once I finished this monster, I moved on to a couple of his novellas Dawn Shards, Mistborn, and his collection of stories Arcanum Unbounded: A Cosmere Collection. These are powerful stories of magic and morality and doing the right thing.
2. The Crippled God- Steven Ericson
Where to start with this one. This was my second attempt at a reread. I had failed the first time to get through the reread, the themes overwhelming me. At one level, the pandemic has mentally strengthened me. I could separate myself from the book and read it for its literary merits. The Crippled God is book 10 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen – series written by Steven Ericson and Ian C Esselmont. It’s a cult amongst high fantasy readers and the world-building feels more complicated than Tolkien (now there’s a heresy, right there). It challenges world views, expands our capacity for imagination and indeed our capacity for empathy and compassion. My first reading of the books left me broken and crying. My second was better and I could find hope. If you are a fantasy reader, this is a series that I would strongly recommend.
3. The 4-Hour Workweek- Timothy Ferriss
Declaration: I am not a self-help genre fan. But The 4-hour work week by Timothy Ferriss worked. It had very real, very executable ideas that I could implement without doing much, or even leaving my desk, and they gave me some time back. Definitely. If you are someone struggling to make time for yourself or even for more work (God Forbid), I would urge a reading of this book. It’s an easy read and it doesn’t expect you to read it in one go. Instead, read some parts, implement them. Let them add up to give you time and then go back and read some more. What I found the most useful? Finding out the two things that you need to get done urgently and getting to them first in the day – before your emails, before your calls. In fact, a super trick to productivity is to close your email client and block time in your diary for quiet time. You are welcome.
4. Why We Sleep- Mathew Walker
All about it HERE.
5. The Broken Earth Trilogy – N.K. Jemisin
A fantastic fantasy. The series won Hugo and Nebula awards for storytelling and original fantasy. And boy was it original. I hadn’t ever experienced creatures that were discussed, I hadn’t experienced dystopia quite this way before. The storytelling feels abrupt – almost as if it was keeping pace with the abruptness in the protagonists. I motored through the 3 books racing to find out what would happen next. Mostly because there was no way to predict behaviours of these types of fantastical species.
Currently I am reading Will Wight and his world of magical martial arts. It’s a fantasy (yup) series called Cradle and follows the adventures of Wei Shi Lindon as he grows.
Read it aloud to my daughter and thoroughly enjoyed my umpteenth reread of the story. Always catch nuggets if you read something often enough.
As they say in Hindi – Naam hi kaafi hai (the name is enough).
8. Five Little Pigs & The Big Four (Hercule Poirot)– Agatha Christie
Again – the name is enough.
If you are interested in reading fantasy and science fiction, do get in touch. I can recommend stuff based on what you might like. Also, sign up for newsletters such as ones from GoodReads or Tor.com. Lots of stories and recommendations to explore.