Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

The Paradise of Food by Khalid Jawed

Blurb from Goodreads

A landmark Urdu classic translated for the first time.

Khalid Jawed is one of the most original and extraordinary writers in Urdu today. The Paradise of Food is an Urdu classic known for its radical, experimental form and savage and dark honesty.

It tells the story of a middle-class Muslim joint family over a span of fifty years. As India – and Islamic culture – hardens, the narrator, whose life we follow from boyhood to old age, struggles to find a place for himself, at odds in his home and in the world outside.

But to describe the novel in its plot is to do its originality no justice. In this profoundly daring work – tense, mysterious, even unfathomable on occasion – Jawed builds an atmosphere of gloom and grotesqueness to draw out his themes. And in doing so he penetrates deep into the dark heart of middle-class Muslims today.

Superbly translated, The Paradise of Food is a novel like no other.

Why I Want To Read It

Just like that, the weekends are over. It is again time to don those office clothes. Woah, it is Monday again and we have no choice but to kick the ground running again. We have to kick into high gear even though we are still feeling a little sluggish. I know I do. HAHA. But, wow. Time does fly fast. Today is the last Monday of March, which means that in a couple of days, we will be greeting a new month and a new quarter. I sure hope that the first three months of the year have been kind to everyone. If it went the other way, I hope that the remaining nine months will be brimming with good news and good tidings. I hope that the rest of the year will be great. I hope it will be filled with fun, adventure, and happiness. More importantly, I hope everyone will be healthy in mind, body, and spirit, for the rest of the year.

But before we can start waving goodbye to March, let me share my last Goodreads Monday update for the month. Goodreads Mondays have become part of a weekly ritual. I am not complaining though for it allows me to talk about books that I have added to my (perpetually) growing reading list. In the past two months, I have been immersed in the works of British and Irish literature. Although I still have quite a long list of unread works from this part of the literary world, I can say that I have made quite a lot of progress. However, for this Goodreads Monday update, I am not going to feature a work of a British or Irish writer who is part of my reading list. Instead, I am featuring Khalid Jawed’s The Paradise of Food.

Actually, it was Goodreads that suggested Jawed and his novel. I have no iota about who Jawed was but the book did pique my interest. Besides, the opening line of referred to the book as a classic of Urdu literature. I guess it made sense that the book was suggested to me by the Goodreads algorithm. I have previously read and rated  Mirza Hadi Ruswa’s Umrao Jan Ada, widely considered the first Urdu novel. This is also important as I recently realized that my foray into Indian literature is lacking. The number of books written by Indian writers I read is paltry compared to its vastness. At least that is how I perceive it.

For a country that has a long and rich literary tradition, it is embarrassing how little I have explored it. It is about time that I redress this. In 2022 I read my first book originally written in Hindi. I also have a book by Perumal Murugan who writes in Tamil; Murugan’s Pyre has also been longlisted for the International Booker Prize which was won by Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand (originally written in Hindi) last year. The majority of the works of Indian literature I read were written in English (thanks to Salman Rushdie). Beyond this, I am interested in The Paradise of Food because it is a family saga that, I believe, was juxtaposed to seminal historical events; family sagas often do, case in point is Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko.

I sure hope I get to obtain a copy of the book. How about you fellow reader? How was your Monday? What books have you added to your reading list? Do drop it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday and, as always, happy reading!