As I write this, the year is coming to a close. It's been a long year, a tough year, an enduring year, and at the same time, left little moments to cherish it by in life's long memory. I have read as many books as I did last year. I loved most of them, hated a few, and was indifferent to some. With 2009 setting into the past, and a new decade looming, I hope that by 2020 I would have read at least 50 books a year, making it around 500 books by then. Small ambitions. I know there are bloggers who read 500 books a year. Frankly, I don't know how they manage it. I wish I can do things to my life, sit at home, and read. But, if I were to do so, I can never afford the books I buy, and that loss is too much to bear. Better to lose time instead. During this year, the readership of this blog has tripled - I thank all of you, dear readers, for taking the time to read our trifles, and wish that you have a beautiful book-filled year.
Yes, before I forget, the last review of this year - Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. What can I say about this all-time classic? Set in South Africa, Alan Paton carries us on a mesmerizing journey as seen through the eyes of Stephen Kumalo, a priest who arrives in Johannesburg to help his sister, Gertrude, and search for his son Absalom. My heart ached for Kumalo - he is so gentle that I feared I would hurt him if I turned the page! Through his breathless journey to find Absalom, Paton takes us through the heart of South Africa - its problems with race, the seething city of Johannesburg and the frailties of the human spirit, which suffers only to endure in pain the death of happiness.
Vast in its theme, I will not do justice to the book's motifs. Apartheid, corruption, the beautiful South African countryside, the thorny relationship between the white man and blacks, poverty, emancipation, the bondage of fear, and above all, South Africa itself. How do you define a country? How do you understand it? Alan Paton shows us how.
My favorite quote:
"I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating."
I read through this book in a night. I can reread it again, it's that wonderful a novel. Read it, please. It's worth the next decade.
Verdict : Classic and touching. I had tears in the end. :(