Thanks to Surya for tagging me. This is part of the meme that is bouncing in the Indian Blogosphere.
Total number of books I own:I don’t own lot of books. Right now the count will be less than 100. All the places I have lived had excellent libraries and I prefer borrowing.
Last book I bought: In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India. After reading the columns of Subhash Kak in Sulekha, I had to get this book which offers revisions of Indian history by citing the latest archaeological, geological and linguistic evidence. This book demolishes the Aryan Invasion Theory convincingly.
Last book I read: The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman. After being impressed with his columns and two of his books, I was a bit disappointed with this one. This book is full of praise for India, but is preachy and full of irritating metaphors.
Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me: (today’s opinion)
- Randaam Oozham (Malayalam) by M T Vasudevan Nair: This novel is a retelling of the Mahabharata from Bhima’s point of view. There is no change in the framework of the story as put by Vyasa, but instead MT (as he is popularly known) has filled in silences in some portions of the original.
Dritharashtra said that the reason he could not sleep was because Bhima was on the other side. For MT, Bhima was the character who won the war for the Pandavas and the person who did not gain anything at the end. His son was sacrificed to save Arjuna. At the end of the war Yudhishtira said, “Let Bhima be the king”, but later changed his mind. So what happened in all these situations and how Bhima reacts is the basis of the novel.
You have to read the Malayalam version for the poetic language. But for non-Mallus, a bad English translation is also available.
- The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization by Thomas L. Friedman. This book explains the fundamentals of globalization in an easy to read way. Friedman travels all around the world and interviews the movers and shakers to validate his theories. My detailed review is here.
- The Asterix Series by Goscinny and Uderzo. The year is 50 BC and Gaul is occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely. Every character in this series is likable, from the pony tailed Gauls, with names like Asterix, Unhygenix, Fullyautomatix, to Julius Caesar, to the pirates, to the Roman foot soldiers (“Join the army they said, It’s a man’s world they said”). The drawings are filled with so much detail that you discover something about Dogmatix during each read. I love this more than Tintin since it combines history and humor.
- Dave Barry’s books. I did not like his work of fiction much, but his non-fiction will have you rolling down a staircase laughing. Being a fan of his columns in Miami Herald, it was finally a dream come true when I finally met him in Los Angeles.
- The Art of Living : Vipassana Meditation: As Taught by S. N. Goenka by William Hart. This was the technique by which Siddhartha became Buddha. This small book explains this 2500 year old technique which does not require the blessing of any God. The realization that 2500 years ago, a man was able to achieve such insights into human mind was actually, mindblowing.