Wednesday 28 December 2022

What's Your Best Book of 2022?


I read mostly professional books this year and just when I thought I was done with books for the year, published a list of 100 Must-read Books of 2022 with the tag-line “Gripping novels, transporting poetry, and timely nonfiction that asked us to look deeper.” I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a look.

 Let me quickly say that if you thought that the rise in the use of social media would cause a dearth of writing and publication of brilliant and riveting materials, and even reading,  then you thought wrong. It is exciting to see that people are still writing and enriching the world with their creativity and talent. If you’re an aspiring writer, there’s never a better time than now to write. So, write away!

Back to the Must-read book list. I searched for some of the eye-catching titles on Apple books app which thankfully has a sample feature that allows you to read the first couple of pages, sometimes a whole chapter, and I found all the ones I checked out really interesting. Some of my favourites, tucked away in the “Want to read” section, are  Yiyun Li’s “The book of Goose”; “Butts: A Backstory” by Heather Radke; Silva Moreno-Garcia’s “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau”;  Viola Davis’s “Finding Me” just to mention a few. 

Interesting that the one that got me the most and gave me a mind-boner, which I bought and just finished reading, is Ed Young’s “An Immense World”. Never heard of the writer until now, but the first few pages, which begin with an Epigraph quoting William Blake, were captivating and brilliantly narrated, I just had to go all in. Although it’s a book about “How animal senses reveal the hidden realms around us”, it doesn’t try to be sciency or geeky. Instead, the author used the beautiful magic of story-telling, metaphors and dry humour to lead readers on an imaginative and mind-blowing voyage into “Umwelt … a unique sensory bubble” that is peculiar to different species. The book is a wakeup call to look to step out of our own Umwelt, into the world of animals  who are “not underlings;” but “other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth” (quoting American naturalist, Henry Benston on p. 10).

If you thought that the world revolved around humans and that we were solely responsible for sustaining (never mind destroying) the planet with our mix of brilliant and absurd inventions and what-nots, you just need to read this book and be humbled.  There’s so much to learn from these creatures that we share the planet with and “when we pay attention to other animals, our own world expands and deepens.” There’s a lot to learn about the 5 senses- more than meets the eye. The pages force you to look outwards, to step out of “the sensory spaces that lie outside our Umwelt and within those of other animals.”(p. 303). If, like me, you never gave much thought or attention to causes or campaigns to save endangered animals/species, you’d probably be giving a second thought after reading.  Please comment if you know of such worthy campaigns and causes. On the whole, I'll rate this book a 9/10. Too many footnotes… were distracting. I kept going back and forth between notes and pages. 

To reiterate my point about writers and writing, listen: “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time--proof that humans can work magic."  Carl Sagan. 

Writers will save the world.

Thanks for stopping by, see you next post!

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