Saturday, June 25, 2011

A few months back...

I have a 45 minute bus ride to and from work if I take the #26 and a longer ride if I take the #11.  Both rides allow me a lot of time to either listen to music, which I find hard to do as I often start singing.  I can do without embarrassing moments in my life without actually setting myself up for them. My partner being passionate about books and sharing this love with me ultimately gives me books for birthdays, Christmas and in lieu of flowers.  Also, because of reading so much lately, it was suggested by my friend Paula that I start another blog and review what I have been reading. Thus the birth of this blog began, of course it needed a title, I asked John who immediately came up with Books on the Bus (like Snakes on a Plane) and then I wondered where to begin. I could start at the beginning of the year, I've decided to hold off on the two books I read in January and April to lump them altogether as they are part of a series.  Instead I will start off with the book that took most of March 2011 to read.

Shantaram ~ Gregory David Roberts

Gregory David Roberts was born in Melbourne, Australia and was sentenced for 19 years in prison for a serious of armed robberies, he escaped and spent 10 of his fugitive years in Bombay.  Although this novel is not autobiographically the character Mr. Lindsay (Lin or Linbaba) has a similar life path of the author's.  This is a big novel - 933 pages that will take the reader on a journey through life in India, mostly in Bombay/Mumbai and introduce a cast of characters the you will come to love and hate.  It took me almost a month to read this book, not because of the amount of pages, but because I stopped often to mark pages to Google to find photos of an area or to just stop because a chapter or paragraph was so intense.  I laughed, I cried and I wanted to meet the people in the book. Yes, I even wanted to see Mumbai for myself.

 I even read the Acknowledgements section of Shantaram, in fact I read all 936 pages of this beautifully written novel. It was in the Acknowledgements section that I learnt Shantram as a novel had rather troubled beginnings.  It took thirteen long years to write! The first draft, six years and 600 pages were destroyed in prison.

I could write a very long review of this book.  I'd rather not, trust me though, although this book is almost 1000 pages it is worth reading.