Author Neel Mullick: My tastes are very eclectic

Destined to read

Oh, I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. Of course, my preferences have changed through the years but I remember reading even before I was a teen. Both my parents were voracious readers and their tastes are quite different from one another’s — I guess I was destined to discover reading at an early age!

Bookish memory

Haha! The most mischievous and hence the most memorable one is one of hiding books inside my text books, both at home and at school! The size of the textbooks did put a constraint on the kind of books I could hide, so often they would end up being comics!

Diverse choices

My tastes are very eclectic. I find myself reading a lot of non-fiction and biographies and when it comes to fiction I like books that not only have soul or meaning but also are either immersive or fast paced. The non-fiction that I recently finished is Autism Breakthrough by Raun Kaufman and whether or not you have a close or distant family member struggling with autism, it is filled with so many life lessons told in a simple and endearing manner that it’s a must read. The novel that I recently finished reading is 1Q84 by Murakami. While I find myself divided about the story and the plot, I do find his ability to slow down time and suck you into his world quite compelling.

Favourites rule

My favourite author is Ayn Rand for her ability to achieve with her writing many difficult things at the same time. I think she has been able to create characters that are unique yet their struggles are relatable, stories that are grand yet realistic, and a narration that is dogmatic yet immersive. My favourite book is The Fountainhead. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have read it as early as I did but it was the first stimulus other than people that gave me a sense of confidence in finding my own identity and being myself.

Taking time out

At this time I find myself managing two portfolios — product management and information security — at my full time job. Between that, promoting my current book, writing my second one, and some work with four NGOs across as many continents, I do find myself squeezed for time. So I try and catch up on reading either when I’m on my elliptical trainer every other day or while I’m traveling. I find long flights very fulfilling from that perspective because I am really able to get into the book that I happen to be reading at that time.

Monthly quota

These days, it’s a happy month when I can get to more than two. But usually I do end up reading three books of different genres at a time. This allows me to mix and match depending on what I feel like reading on a given day.

Clear winner

Even though I prefer kicking back with a hardcopy, I must say I have gotten accustomed to e-books. Their convenience and weight, especially since I find myself traveling quite often, is pretty hard to match.

Currently reading...

At this time I have two. And both that I am almost halfway through are coincidentally quite old. One was first published in 1926 — The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant and the other is the 1971 novel Grendel by John Gardner. While the former profiles many prominent Western philosophers, their lives, and ideas, the latter is an almost mellifluous telling of the story of an antihero, Grendel and is narrated from the antagonist’s perspective.

Book adaptations I loved

I have watched a few but the one I most love perhaps is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most often books trump movies because movies are seldom able to do justice to the worlds that our imaginations create. However, in the case of Lord of the Rings, the screen adaptation does justice and perhaps more.

Classic I have claimed to have read

The one I haven’t read is The Catcher in the Rye and I’d like to be able to rectify that, soon.

I recommend...

I doubt many would have heard of it but the one I would like to recommend is The Dive: A Story of Love and Obsession by Pipin Ferreras. It’s the true story of Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras, a world champion in the dangerous sport of free diving. The book served as somewhat of an inflection point in my reading habits and got me to reading other than fiction. Not only is it a true story but also has everything else one would possibly want in an excellent work of fiction. I guess it’s true what they say about truth being stranger than fiction, at times.

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