Yes, these are indeed hard times. No matter what we say, how we pretend that everything is OK, it just isn’t. We’re lucky, we console ourselves. We have food on the table, an air-conditioned home to keep away the summer heat, Netflix to watch, Zoom and GoogleMeet to chat with our family and friends…But hey, it’s just not the same!
When will we get back our beautiful, familiar world? When can we meet our friends without fear? When can we go to a barber shop or a beauty salon without covering ourselves like someone from outer space? When? When? When?
It is during these trying times that our books give us extra solace. Lockdown and WFH gives us time aplenty to read. Depending on our mood or our tastes, we may pick up light books with just a flimsy story-plot, or dark and serious books that make us think.
But I need a bit of both — something light, but which also yields nuggets of wisdom. Not too light, but nothing that drags me down too. And most importantly, a book with a positive message, a cheesecake of a book. For this, Rachel Joyce is my go-to author.
So far, I’ve read three of her books: the iconic The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, followed by The Music Shop and then Perfect. I love her quirky characters, I love the Englishness of her books, and, most important, I love the positive vibes at the end of the tale.
I think reading humour helps in these depressive times. I honestly can’t think of anyone funnier than PG Wodehouse. He’s old-fashioned, yes, even archaic. I’m not sure if younger readers have even heard of him. But can you name any present-day writer who writes pure comedy like he does? Of course, there are plenty of brilliant authors who write comedy, but their comedy is also interlaced with darker elements; it may be a sci-fi with comic elements (like David Wong’s This Book is Full of Spiders),or even crime with humour, like the Baby Ganesh Agency books by Vaseem Khan. Or of course, Alexander McCall Smith.
The inimitable PG Wodehouse
I love Amor Towles for his wry humor. (A Gentleman in Moscow is excruciatingly funny in places, but framed within a rather dark period in history). But I can’t think of anyone with the laugh-out-loud kind of humour of PG Wodehouse. If you can, do tell me, and I’ll make it a point to read him or her.
Well, on this note, I am signing off. And, although I am not putting myself on the same pedestal as these famous writers, can I give you a gentle reminder that my book, The Mother of all Parties, is also a comic romp through the incredible lives of Dubai’s nouveau riche. It’s available on all the Amazon platforms from July 10th, (and as a hard copy too on Amazon.in) and I’d be honoured if you read it.
Until then, take time to laugh…
The mother of all parties Kindle Edition