Monday, December 21, 2015

BLAH AWARDS 2015 (yes it's a lot more than books this year, especially considering how much I eat!)

Top 5 Books: Fiction (mini reviews in the Books Read in 2015 post)
1) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
2) A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James 
3) The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro
4) Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
5)  Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball - Haruki Murakami 

Honourable mentions: Runaway (Alice Munro), Life after Life (Kate Atkinson)

This top 5 list is one of those where a few years later I'll go "what was I thinking?"? Because there are so many good books I read this year that I loved for such different reasons that it's hard to explain why I ranked one above the other. Maybe it's best to say that numbers 2-5 are equally good in their own way. But that The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was a magical book that affected me more than the rest.

Top 5 Books: Non-Fiction 
1) Dispatches - Michael Herr
2) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - William L Shirer.
3) Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India - Harsh Mander
4) Aarushi - Avirook Sen
5) The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert

Honourable mention: By-Line: Selected Journalism - Ernest Hemingway

Worst Book I've Read All Year:
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. I'd say it's one of the worst books I've read in the last 15 years 

Movies of the Year (as I saw them, not when they were released)
1) Mad Max: Thunder Road
2) Boyhood 
3) Whiplash
4) Inside Out 

Meals and Restaurants of the Year
1) The St.Jude's Project by Gresham Fernandes with Riyaaz Amlani, Mumbai 
2) Animal, LA
3) Trois Mec, LA
4) Son of a Gun, LA
5) Megu at The Leela, Delhi
6) Indian Accent by Manish Mehrotra
7) Tian by Vikramjit Roy at ITC Maurya, Delhi 8) Le Cirque at The Leela, Mumbai (the truffle festival and an off-menu meal cooked by the chef
9) A freshly cooked meal in a houseboat in Kerala
10) Bomras by Bomra, Candolim, Goa and The Table by Alex Sanchez at Colaba, Mumbai 

Honourable mentions: Bombay Canteen, Karavali at Taj Gateway in Bangalore, Poush at Phoenix Market City in Kurla, Mercado in LA, Monkey Bar in Bandra, Deluxe Hotel in Fort, Rosang Cafe at Green Park in Delhi, Bhatti Village in Nerul in Fort, Naga Kitchen in Bangalore, Grand Hotel in Cochin, Chello Kabab from Peter Cat in Kolkata, Umami Burger 

Footballer of the Year:
Neymar and Mesut Ozil 

Sportsperson of the Year: 
Stephen Curry and Novak Djokovic 

Memory of the Year (besides family obviously):
Snorkelling at Havelock Island, Meeting Manny Pacquiao 

Place of the Year:
1) Havelock Island. The most extraordinary place I have visited since Ladakh 
2) Delph in Holland. Big cities don't excite me anymore. I prefer the charm and warmth of small towns and their absence of tourists. And Delph with its incredible beer and churches and canals epitomised why these small towns feel so much more special and real 


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