Posted in Books

Book list 2011

There was a time when I used to update my book shelf  regularly. Well there was a time when I used to blog regularly.

Anyhow, I have made it a point to update the book shelf atleast once a year, and finally todays the chosen day for book list 2011.

2011 was an year of new ventures when it comes to books. I finally broke away from my known territory of non fiction, and made major inroads into fiction.  Towards the end of the year I also experimented with Science Fiction with considerably good results.   I also had a good year in terms of numbers, 25 books in 12 months was way above my usual numbers. No wonder I haven’t been blogging. 2011 also saw a major addition to my book shelf, the Kindle.

The pillars of the earth Ken Follett **

A historical fictional story set in medieval times. Gives a brief insight into architectural masterpieces and what goes behind them. Huge book in terms of pages. In between had a feeling that I was watching a television series or a bollywood movie. In all an OK read

Dork Sadin Vidukut *

Got mislead by a charming cover, and a unknown familiarity to the title. This is one of those time pass books which have flooded Indian book shops. I did laugh over a couple of pages, but then in all a very dull affair.

Urban Shots Paritosh Uttam *

I expected the book to be good. Its actually a collection of short stories, many of them which I could not relate to, or sounds too filmy. Definitely worth a skip.

Corporate Atyaachaar Abhay Nagarajan *

This was probably the book which made me stop buying contemporary [Read Chetan Bhagat Wannabes] indian books. Books   set either in IIM’s IIT’s or today’s corporate world, with a story plot which involves an underdog making it big or having an OK life at the end of all campus fun seems to be the plot of all books these days.

Wish Melina Geroza Bellows *

I picked this up at a second hand online book auction. Its actually categorized under chick lit. Unfortunately I didn’t read much about the book and just ordered. Its an OK book, which my wife liked more than me. If you are one those who like sex and the city, then probably you would like to read this book.

The prince of mist Carloz Ruiz Zafon **

After having loved Angel’s game and Shadow of the wind, I wanted to read the Prince of Mist written by Zafon. This was actually meant for young adults. The highlight of the book according to me is the writing style and the emphasis given to expressions of the young adults in the plot. The images are so vivid that one can actually see the book unfold in 3D.

Dreaming in Hindi Katherine Russell Rich *

This book is about a person suffering from a serious illness accepting a writing assignment which requires her to travel to India and study hindi. I actually loved the plot of the book, and had high expectations from it. This book was very boring, and had to struggle to finish it. May be its the lack of humor or the dry presentation. The book didn’t work for me at all.

84 Charing cross road Helene Hanff ***

I think this must be one of the most read books in the world. The book does not fail to meet the expectations. Its a collection of letters written by a reader to a book store. What I liked the most about the book was the innocence which is evident in the letters. I actually wanted to read some more when the book ended. Definitely worth a read.

Delhi Adventures in a megacity Sam Miller *

I started reading this because of my strange fixation towards travelogues. This is actually a very good and detailed documentation of Sam Miller about the Delhi city. If I had probably read this an year back I might have loved it, Now that the reader in me is spoiled because of all the spice of fiction, this book came across as a very bland one. I actually remembered the passages when I was recently in delhi, reading the road side boards.

Agastya [Kannada] ***

This is a detailed story of the sage Agastya. If you are into mythology and keen on reading more about not much written about people, this is a must read. It also helped considering I was recently watching a lot of documentaries on the subject.

Animal Farm George Orwell ***

If there is any book which can come close to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, it has to be this one. The idea of a fable being used to depict something as big as this one, is an amazing thing a writer can accomplish. Its a small book, but very profound. Yet again a must read.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Dr Seuss **

Its actually a kids book, but fun to read. If you are a parent, you should definitely read this to your children.

1984 A Novel George Orwell ****

Probably one of the best book I read in 2011. I got hooked onto it like a magnet. The book has amazing narrative and puts you in a complex set of motions. I just love the ending, and the eventuality with which the story unfolds. A must read.

Aleph Paulo Coelho *

Paulo Coelho has never been this disappointing. Apart from a couple of quotes, I did not relate to the whole book. Its as though the author is trying to describe a huge phenomenon which is extremely hard to believe in. I would rather reread eleven minutes.

The Great Gatsby Scott F. Fitzgerald ***

This is a good little book. Its very different from the usual ones, and an unusual love story. At the end of the book, it makes you wonder, can it happen like this?. I have heard they are making a movie on this book with Leo De Caprio. One thing is for sure, I will not watch the movie.

Anna Karenina Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Joel Carmichael **

If you are game for a looooong unending filmy tale of people, this book is for you. I struggled to finish this one, and almost visualized a tele series with Ekta Kapoor directing this.
One thing which I liked about the book was its setting. It is set in Russia, and the culture and the attitude of the people there was something which I was not aware of. This book gave a pretty insight into medieval Russian outlook.

Indian calendar system ***

Its a book describing Indian calendar system and mathematical principles behind this. It explained so many things which I used to follow blindly. If anyone is interested in Indian calendar, and significance of various special days we follow, this is a must read book.

Devuru DVG [Kannada] ***

This is a short essay in kannada written by DVG, arguably the greatest Kannada poet of all times. Its about explaining GOD and his features. There is no myth in the essay, its just a collection of advantages disadvantages of belief in god, the characters of such an almighty and more discussion about the same. A definite read for all the people. Its also available in English.

Wise and other wise Sudha Murthy **

A collection of short writings by Sudha Murthy. Its a good read.

The finkler’s question Howard Jacobson **

It gives a good insight about jewish culture, and also is humorous at many parts. Its about a Christian who has a doubt that he is a jew. Its about a looser and things he goes through in life. Its a fun read.

The Postman Always Rings Twice Cain, James M. ***

Its a mystery. Its set in olden times in America. I had fun reading some parts of it.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #1) Adams, Douglas ***

My first attempt at reading science fiction. The book makes you imagine a lot. The idea of a space travel, and earth being an experiment kind of intrigues the reader.

 If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler Calvino, Italo **

I have to admit, this must be the book with the most bizarre narrative I have ever read. Its very confusing, and very difficult to follow. But thats the selling point of the book. There is no way I can describe the book in few sentences. A very unique read.

Foundation (Foundation, #1) Asimov, Isaac ***

Foundation, The first of the books in the trilogy, had me glued to it for most of the time. The fictional aspect of the book is good and different. What struck me most is the similarity between the content and Indian Mythology. I actually would love to do a long post on parallels between the two. A must read book.

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller **

I had heard a lot about this book. I had borrowed this once from the library in 2009 and had returned after reading a few pages. The book has too much explicit content and language for my comfort. However This time around I could complete the book. I couldn’t find the reason for the hype around the book. Its about an American in France, who is leading a close to a homeless life doing small chores in France. His frustration with life and sexual encounters form the main plot of the book.

Posted in Personal, Randomness

Randomly Random

  • This weekend I worked on a painful project. I called it mission 50. The idea was to dig into my wardrobe and get rid of 50% of my clothes. My wardrobe had got filled up over years and I used to have an odd feeling, looking at the heaps of clothes. Mission 50 was on my mind for a long time, and Saturday ended up being ‘The’ day. Its amazing how we attach memories to everything, including clothes. I let my wife do the honors and donate many of them. Felt good looking at a half empty wardrobe. No wonder my wife sneaked in couple of her hangers into my space.
  • Only time I miss staying in the US is during Christmas. I miss the sound of carols, and me humming just a line throughout the day “Its the season to be jolly fala lalaa la lalla.”
  • I had a fun vacation with my wife up the hills of kumaon in Uttaranchal. Traveling around Binsar, chakori, kasauni, Ranikhet, was so much fun. Now that we are back, we miss a lot of things
    We really miss the cold climate and the hot soups,
    We miss trying to slip into warm spots left by each other on the bed and then fighting over it.
    We miss the sunrises and sneaking out barefeet into balcony and then running back in with a numb foot.
    We miss the 5 clock sunset, and pitch darkness by 6pm.
  • Vacation reminds me of a quirk. Whats wrong with the hotels up north. I am not sure what is the thought process which goes on, when I order a tea. Do they think I take a bath in the tea?, or order it to drink. When I order a tea, why would they always give me 3 cups in a flask?. Considering my wife does not drink tea, I had a tough time finishing 3 cups twice in the morning. Towards the end of my vacation, I started ordering half a cup of tea. pheew.
  • Have you ever wondering looking at children play. I see kids in the city with their wiis and psps, TV’s and elaborate toys and still bored. I was looking at a couple of kids up in the mountains playing. I was drawn into the object of the game. The object was that, they had picked up two empty bottles and they were hitting a pole with it. After half an hour, they were still doing the same. They had broad smiles on their face, just loved how simpler things can bring happiness to kids.
  • Rambler has been bitten by SciFi bug these days. His kindle is full of Asimov.
  • I got to watch the movie “Dirty Picture” recently. Without getting into my opinion about the movie, let me just quote one of the dialogues which me and my wife thoroughly enjoyed. “Har aadmi ke liye ek aurat hoti hai. Usse bach gaye, toh life ban jayegi “, [ For every man there is an woman, if you escape from her, your life will be set ]. When this came on screen, instantly I looked at my wife, and she had turned towards me too, and we both had a hearty laugh.
  • Finally the Inox has introduced a fruit vendor. Instead of the junk fries, now we have an option of digging into freshly cut fruits.