Bookin’ it

May 23, 2011 § 8 Comments

I love reading. Bur very rarely do I keep a tab of the books I have read over a period of time. But a tweet by qtfan on twitter prompted me to make a list. Well without further ado, here is the list:-

1)The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger – A light and thoroughly enjoyable read. Narrated by Holden Caulfield, the book is about a guy who keeps getting kicked out of school. I guess the book captures the mood of that generation.

2)Catch 22 by Joseph Heller- Possibly pointless, but isn’t war pointless anyway? It makes a point by being pointless, Catch 22.

3) Trapped wings, Open sky by Nisha Arppit – Received for review but did not publish the review. Still laying in my drafts, did not enjoy the book.

4) The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga- Overrated.

5)Demian by Hermann Hesse – Review. I love Hermann Hesse’s writing.

6)Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse – Tale of a lonely middle-aged man, who opens himself up to new ideas. A bit of a drag, but meaningful and probably a Roman a clef of the author.

7)Hickory Dickory Shock by Sundip Gorai- Review. The author spammed my comment section because of the review had to delete the comments.

8)Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi- Review.

9)Fate, Fraud and a Friday Wedding by Bhavna Rai – Review.

10)1984 by George Orwell- Review

11)The Metamorphoses by Kafka – Weird, deep and very depressing.

12) The Old Man And The Sea by Ernst Hemingway Engaging, Simple and Beautiful.

13)Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P.G.Wodehouse – You should have read the book already.

14) Mayil Will Not Be Quiet by Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran – Review by sister on bookrack. Oh! and Sowmya is none other than Gounder Brownie ūüėÄ

15&16) ¬†I read the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide in one go. So probably, I read the last book or two in early January. Now that I look back, think it was the last two books.

So well that’s 16 books which I remember reading. Then there is “The Brothers Karamazov” By Dostoevsky, which I never seem able to finish.¬†I do pick up random books laying about the house, read a few pages and drop it. ¬† Generally I tend not to read while travelling, as I prefer to observe what is happening around me. Right now, I am reading Overland by Mark Stephen Levy. I also have Stilettos by Rashmi Kumar waiting to be read next. While Overland was sent by the publishers, Rashmi sent me the book personally for review.

I generally don’t like to set targets. After all, I read to learn, understand and appreciate the world. To me each book is a journey. I let the book set the pace. For example, the books by Hermann Hesse are slow-moving and spiritual whereas Chanakya’s Chant is fast and thrilling. Of the list I would suggest you read 1984 first, if you haven’t already.

So what have you read this year?

THE TIME MACHINE by H.G.WELLS(book review)

December 7, 2010 § 28 Comments

The Time Machine by H.G.Wells

What a book! Crisp and fascinating!

You can’t help admire, imagine and feel inspired by the book. This first person narrative(we do not know the name of the narrator) tells us about the time-travelers journey into the future.

In the year 820,701 humanity has divided into two spices- Murlocks and Eloi.The Elois are a childish, androgynous and small people, who live in what seems like a perfect communist society. The Murlocks are the labour class transformed- they live underground, provide for the Eloi and eat them(cattle class, anyone?).

The Time-traveler’s time machine is stolen by the Murlocks and he goes about trying to recover it. He rescues Weena from drowning and with her explores the London landscape. In the end, he falls for what surely is a bait, but reacts fast enough to escape.

I love the concept, the thought and the representation of the future humanity. I used to shy away from fantasy and Sci-fi, but now I have come to love them! The authors use the setting to talk about their times, the socio-political, religious, economic and scientific climate. Empirically, we still face many of the problems faced back then. No wonder this is a classic!

A must read!

Rating:-10/10

SNOW by ORHAN PAMUK

October 20, 2010 § 6 Comments

SNOW by ORHAN PAMUK

image from here.

Melancholic, political, thoughtful and poetic.

The book is about the life of Ka, a poet, his visits to Kars and what happens there. The book is narrated in third person, with the narrator talking directly in a couple of chapters.

You can feel a peace and a melancholy through out the book- what is about to happen is revealed to you- yet you read on,¬†because¬†you don’t want to feel sad without knowing why.

I love the way the author uses Snow to classify poems(albeit the protagonist being a poet, there are no poems in the book) and also the way ‘the coming’ of each poem is described. It shows us that petty things can influence and even be the tipping point for a poem to force itself on the world through the poet.

There is a lot of politics involved in the book, especially between the state and the Islamists. Kars is blocked from the outside world thanks to the snow. A renowned actor along with his friends decides to stage a revolution, quite literally.

The majority of the book, talks about Ka’s days in Kars, his love for Ipek and¬†jealousy¬†of ¬†Blue(supposedly an¬†extremist). The book’s pace is very slow- slow enough to make you feel trapped as well.

What I love about Orhan Pamuk, is the way he blends history, politics, love, art etc. His books always seem to be complete. They seem so real!

Read this if you don’t mind a slow paced book, with a bit of religion and lots of politics in it. I have become a fan of Pamuk.

rating:- 10/10

A SUITABLE BOY BY VIKRAM SETH(BOOK REVIEW)

July 19, 2009 § 24 Comments

Image from here.

Well I guess I know where our mega serials got their inspiration from ūüėČ This is one of the longest books I have ever read.

The story’s central theme is about a mother’s hunt to find a suitable boy for her daughter. In between the story spreads far and wide , much like our serials. Now I guess I can empathize with our tele addicts ,finally. I got so attached to the lives of the a few people , that at a particular point I couldn’t get myself to read a part, as I didn’t want a character to get hurt.

The second you browse through the book you feel a warmth about – the index in the form of poetry , the size of it and of course the beginning of the book , so bright and optimistic(ha seems like a century has passed since I read that part ūüėČ ) .The book starts with a wedding and ends with one.

Set in the early 1950s the book captures the then India – fresh from waking up at midnight . It shows the communal frictions , the political scenario and the the way people lived. Tales of love and hate , friendship and enmity flow free.

You can almost feel the author in this book. Some how I like Seth’s books , An Equal Music , had a class about it and this sketched with familiar paint , is more poignant and shows how much we have come forward. In a way it inspires you even more to think of taking this country further forward, after all we can see what the seeds buried back then has yielded.

Of course , the description of the girl and her personality made me wish she was mine ūüėČ

Rating:-10/10( well if you hate big , emotional books , stay away!)

THE NAME OF THE ROSE BY UMBERTO ECO(BOOK REVIEW)

July 2, 2009 § 13 Comments

Image from here.

I picked up this book , after reading an interview with Umberto Eco in my English textbook at school ( ha it seems like as if a centrury has passed since I finished my schooling) . The name appealed to me and since the book was based in medieval Italy , I was curious at the prospects of learning more about Christianity and medieval Europe .

Adso of Melk and his master Brother William of Baskerville visit an Italian abbey on ‘business’ . There they are informed about a murder(allegedly ) ¬†which took place before the arrival . The abbot , designates Brother William ( a former Inquisitor ) to solve the case . But by the time “the business” is done with , blood is shed (along with a few virtues) and the devil seems to have taken over the holy place .

The book displays the acumen , intellegence and shrewness of Brother William. Apart from the macabre , the book contains many a philosophical dilogue and argument.

It takes a while to get used to the style of writing . The first person narrative is complete with dreams and (something which people of the modern era seem to lack) euphaism. The book is well knit , the thread being the chapters which are divided according to liturgical hours .

The descriptions and movements are well articulated -Everything seems to come alive . But the Latin strewn in between ( without translation) is sort of irritating , but it sure does add to the medieval feel of the book .

I loved the book – the style and the presentation and well everything on the whole , makes it a “Vintage Future Classic”(as written on the book cover , at least on my copy ). If you have the time to apply your head and read , it is a good book to read . I managed to solve the “problem” to a certain extent(figured out who was behind the whole fiasco) . The book does draw a little bit of your emotion , especially the prosecution of the accused and the burning at the stake are described .

Rating- 7/10 . I might be underranking this , but then there are places where it does get boring .

The Fountainhead-Ayn Rand

October 10, 2008 § 19 Comments

A master piece. 

A book which is profound and well amazing! What is your value as an individual? Howard Roark is an architect, for whom architecture is everything.Creation is the hightest virtue of mankind.Those who scumb creation and consider it the property of everyone except the creator,are second handers ,the parasites.And Roark has to face them all,the great ‘society’ against a single man.Goodness,will always remain in those,who believe in it and in themselves and whatever the cost maybe,their is more joy in sticking to what you believe than in giving up and accpeting the tag of ” nobody”.

That love is reverence and worship and glory and the upward glance.Not a bandage for dirty sores.But they don’t know it.Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who’ve never felt it.They make some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy,compassion,contempt and general indifference and they call it love.Once you’ve felt what it means to love as you and I know it-the total passion for the total height-you’re incapable of anything else

One can’t love man without hating most of the creatures who pretend to bear his name.It’s one or the other.One doesn’t love God and sacrilege impartially.Except when one doesn’t know that sacrilege has been commited.Because one doesn’t know God.

The book is one of the best if not the best i have read till date.The book makes you realize that humanity will always have the two classes,those who create and those who eat the creation and the creator.It shows you that belief in yourself is more important belief in anything else.Life is what we make out of it.

The egoist in absolute sense is not the man who sacrifies others.He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner.He does not function through them.He is not concerned with them in any primary matter.Not in his aim,not in his motive,not in his thinking,not in his desires,not in the source of his energy.he does not exist for any other man-and he asks no other man to exist for him.This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men

The book gave me the confidence that I am right.Thinking is the way to live and for us to survive we need to think.The book showed me that the path is the same for everyone,when one desires to achieve something,there is always the society,one which doesn’t have a particular source,except within each and everyone of us.There maybe a lot of parasites but our aim is to create.The parasites can feed on and on,yet they can never drain out the energy of those who are born to create.

man cannot survive except through his mind.He comes on earth unarmed.His brain is his only weapon.

I love this book,for all that it says.And the truth is that we all here for a purpose and that purpose,is the goal of the self.It is not the goal of the masses we are here to fulfill but THE GOAL- to do what we want to do the most.If you haven’t read this book,read it.And think while you read.

Picture from here.

I exist because I think.

The light shines the brightest

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