“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss,
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[ Day 37 of 2000 ]
I cannot believe that I got to Day 37 with only posts that talk about Early Retirement, Saving Money or Finance. One of the joys of my life is reading. I somehow find time for it even if that means forgoing sleep. 2017 is coming to an end, and let me tell you about the three best books I read this year. One of them was one of the best books I have ever read in my life. And I do not even identify with the main character – He is not a mom, he is not busy, he doesn’t like reading and he is not even working towards early retirement.
Before I talk about the three best books I read this year, let me tell you about the Downtime Diaries series that I am starting today. I have been trying to figure out a schedule for my blog posts, and I think I can write about all the Early Retirement related posts on Mondays and Fridays. Although I enjoy writing these very much, I do not really know a lot, and writing takes a lot of effort. At least for me. I do not think I can sustain it for more than twice a week. However, I have decided to start the Downtime Diaries series – I will try and post every Wednesday – to tell you about the rest of my life. That will talk about what I do when I am not obsessing over my early retirement. After all, this blog is about my 2000 day journey towards early retirement; It will not be complete without me talking about things not related to money.
Back to reading. Growing up, I didn’t have access to a lot of books. If you have read my other posts, you already know that I grew up in India. I didn’t have access to a public library, and my school library system was pathetic because they didn’t have a proper librarian. Each class was taken to the library once a year, and the students could pick any of the books they wanted. After that, you exchange among your classmates once a month. That didn’t work for me because I would have borrowed and read all of my classmates books within the first one month.
Reading wasn’t really a popular habit – I had exactly one friend whose parents liked reading, and would actually buy her books. This friend would lend me books, and I would devour all of them. She was the one who introduced me to Agatha Christie books, and I still love her for that. I had one neighbor who had some books and she had to walk past my house to get to her work. I would wait for her daily so that I could borrow books.
My parents didn’t like me reading because I would forget everything else – I wouldn’t eat, sleep or do my school work once I had a book. They never bought me books because of this. Plus they couldn’t really afford it.
I remember re-reading books and human interest stories in old newspapers, just because I wanted to read something.
When I was in the equivalent of junior year at high school, my fortunes changed. I moved to another school where we could borrow and read up to 3 books at a time from the library. I spent the whole year reading, and not paying attention to what was going on at school. Luckily I was back to my senses in a year, and learnt how to balance my reading and my life. I have always had access to books since that time, and that was the one thing that compensates the responsibilities of being a grown up.
These days, I don’t read as much as I would love to. I still manage to read most days. Once I hit my early retirement, I am going to be reading a lot more. BusyDad and GBoy also like reading, except BusyDad lets being busy stop him from reading. GBoy, not being that busy, reads a lot.
GBoy and I end up at the local library at least once a week. And on an average, we get around 40 to 50 books each time. Most of them are small and are for GBoy. Reading is his way of filling up any free time he has. I get myself 3-4 books each time. I don’t always read all of them. Some of them, I start but don’t finish. Most of them, I finish. There are some I borrow, but have to return unread because I just couldn’t get to it in time. I have been known to take vacation time from work just because I cannot put down the book I am reading. The books I really like, I re-read them multiple times because I tend to forget the details.
Since I usually read books from the library, I don’t often read the latest books. So when I tell you about the three best books I read this year, they are not all really from this year.
I somehow loved Mia Warren, even though she does things that I couldn’t dream of doing. For most of the decisions she make, I would have done the exact opposite. It is hard to write about a book’s story without spoiling any surprises. May be I should stop trying to write a description 🙂
Ok, let me just tell you that I liked every single character in the book, and it is mostly because the author painted such a vivid picture of each person in my mind. It is almost like I knew them personally. I was sad to let go of that world once the book was over.
At No 2, I have The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. This book has been around for a while, but I had never got to reading it. I have tried another book by him, The Red House, but didn’t like it a lot.
The way the story is narrated is awesome. And I caught myself trying to retain quotes from the book just because simple things I know were narrated from a different view point. It was truly a loss, not reading it for so long.
I honestly didn’t expect to like a book by an author just for the writing style when I have tried another book of his, and didn’t like. Like I said, my loss. I am sure to read this book again sometime in 2018.
And finally, the book I loved the most this year. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. Like I said earlier, Ove is totally different from me, and he doesn’t do anything the way I would do. But I would do anything to get back to the world I was in, while reading the book.
I have tried another book by the same author, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. It had more in common with me than Ove, but I didn’t like it as much. Amazon reviews seem to rate it high. May be you will like it.
This is the one book I have bought so many copies of this year. Every single gift I gave after I read this book, also included a copy of this book. I don’t own one yet, but I might give in and buy myself a copy too. And this is my gift for one of you this Holiday season.
You don’t have to jump through hoops to get the book. You are eligible to participate if your mailing address is in the contiguous USA. Just leave me a comment below so that I will know that you are interested. While you are at it, if you could also give me a suggestion as to how I can improve my blog, that will be very much appreciated. I am still new to this, and you have all been either blogging or reading blogs for way longer that I have. Any feedback is appreciated. If you subscribe to notifications of new posts (on the right side), you get an additional entry. This is going to be open for a week, and I will declare the winner next Wednesday. I am going to randomly pick one from all the comments and subscription requests I get, and send you a copy of A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman if you are picked.
I still haven’t figured out the logistics for this, but you may have to give me your name and address if you win, so that I can ship it to you. We can do this over email. If any of you have better ideas about that, I am open to suggestions.
I loved this book The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per J Andersson as well. It didn’t make the top 3, but was a close contender. As to recommending it to you, I do not know if you will truly appreciate the book without really knowing about the political and socio-economic background. If you would like to take a chance, it was a really interesting read.
Thank you, and please let me know how I can make this blog better. Also let me know what books you loved reading so that I can try them as well.