Last year many things, my Bengali study among them, were thrown slightly off course, largely due to my job hunting.
Although this was ultimately more successful than I could have imagined, it still consumed much of my attention over the summer and autumn, that thankfully not everything suffered.
I’ve got reacquainted with some old crime favourites like Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, and been slightly underwhelmed by books I expected to like more, such as Nadine Gordimer’s The Late Bourgeois World.
There have also been the books I thought might never end. Monica Ali’s In The Kitchen was perilously close to being one of these. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The General In His Labyrinth, Roberto Bolano’s The Savage Detectives, Peter Hoeg’s The History Of Danish Dreams and, disappointingly, Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night definitely were.
There were new discoveries along the way. Why have I never read John Irving before?
And, predictably, a lot of books by South Asian authors, though few Bengali ones this year.
The five best books I read this year were:
• A Widow For One Year – John Irving
• The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
• The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
• See A Little Light: The Trail Of Rage And Melody – Bob Mould
• A Case of Exploding Mangoes – Mohammed Hanif