Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cuckold - Kiran Nagarkar

This tome took me over six months to get through! Yeah I went through it in numerous sittings but then again it was probably never worth all the effort I put in to make my way through the 600+ pages of ramblings through India in the sixteenth century. I wish I had never picked up this book. It is not to say that it's just pathetic but that the effort is really not worth it in either the story or writing style.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Red Gold - Alan Furst

Finally managed to plough through this book. Terribly slow, loose plot and not much of a storyline. Enough said!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time - mark haddon

A beautifully written book about a young autistic boy - Christopher John Francis Boone. He is a mathematical genius and likes order in everything around him but he's desperately lacking in any kind of social skills - just being in a place with lots of people makes him sick. He is infact writing this book and Mark Haddon has beautifully captured his thoughts and ideas. The book is saddening at times but uplifting and inspiring at others. There are a lot of books about people who've overcome life's challenges but I really like this one for it's very unique perspective and presentation.

But in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don't take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

An Equal Music - Vikram Seth

My knowledge of music is perhaps as deep and as wide as the ripples formed by an autumn leaf falling on a gushing river but this book does a really wonderful job of weaving in the music with the rest of the story and thus making it a lucid read. Vikram Seth plays his strings really well while telling the story of two people who are brought together by their love for music and are separated because of it. When they do run into each other after several years, lots of things have changed and past the point of no return. The story of an unfulfilled love told exquisitely by Vikram Seth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd

Coming back to this blog and my reading after a long break. Picked up this book in the local library since it looked like a good sized book to break the reading draught. Kidd weaves a story around a young girl running away from home in search of her mother's past and ends up getting more than what she'd asked for. I found it hard to keep going through this book from the very start (but remember I'd picked it up for a reason). The storyline is loose and the narrative not very impressive. The occasional references to bees are mildly interesting. The setting in late 1960's and attempts to describe the discrimination prevalent in the south at that time are not very effective either. So yeah thumbs down!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Slow Man - J.M. Coetzee

This is the first book I've read from Coetzee and I'm sure that I'm going to read a lot more of him. Slow Man tells the story of a 60 year old man who's life is irreversibly changed when a car knocks down his bicycle and crushes one of his legs. Refusing to replace his hacked off leg with a prosthetic the old man hobbles through life with the help of various nurses until he falls in love with one of them - Marijana who's much younger than him and is married with three children. Then begins the struggle between morality and passion. It's amazing how Coetzee can look into each of his characters and bring them to life with so few words. The book asks the questions which we ask of ourselves most often - what is the meaning of life, has my life been meaningful, what does it mean to live a meaningful life - but does not provide any answers. The protagonist is one most of us would relate with since he suppresses his passions, thinks everything twice and ends up taking the path which would ruffle the least feathers. But has his life been just full of regrets for all the things that he could but did not do? A very thought provoking and extremely readable novel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Touch the Top of the World - Erik Weihenmayer

This autobiography of Erik Weihenmayer is simply amazing and truly inspiring. Having lost his sight in his early teens he never gave into settling into a life for the blind but has challenged himself at every step - much more than a lot of us who can see would dare or dream to do. He could be the Howard Roark of mountain climbing if there was such a thing! Having climbed the tallest peaks on all continents in the world he has done a great job at putting it all together in this book as well. It is simply exhilarating to read his description of the various climbs and the views as described to him atop the various peaks. At times the book gets too deep down into the climbing details and might be a little laborious to work through but overall a very inspiring read. The book has it's funny moments as well esp with 'positive pessimism'.

The best and the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched. They must be felt with the heart. - Helen Keller

The Meaning Of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist - Richard P. Feynman

I recently came across this interesting set of short lectures that Feynman gave at UWash in 1963. It definitely made a dent in my unquestioning belief in religion and god and has me thinking more about it than ever before. This unusual set of lecture series has little to do with Physics. Curiously enough it tries to understand the tension between religion and science and brings out some very thought provoking questions. A very good short read.

Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

I'm definitely a latecomer to this book - most people having read this in their freshman years and there is little that I can write about it which hasn't been written before. This 700 page novel is one of the most engrossing and intellectually possessing books I've read thus far. Ayn Rand does a great job at building an almost mythical cast of characters which display amazing strength, courage and commitment. It definitely has me wanting to pick up some of the traits of Howard Roark :)

Man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress.

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.