Book Tag

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)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

You can read all my book reviews here.
Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs:
Nirajtags
Parag

Babu
Ashishtags
bhavanetags

12 thoughts on “Book Tag

  1. Thanks for posting the link to the english translation of MT Vasudevan Nair’s book. I have has always wanted to read the Mahabharata from Bhima’s perspective as I have felt ( like the author) that he seems to given the most and has always got the least. For now I’ll make do with a badly translated version. I have an article presented by SSN Murthy of JNU that the Mahabharata is probably a dramitization of the Dasarajnya war. But the aricle falls short on some accounts. However it does make interesting points. I will probably collect my thoughts and post them on the study group.

  2. In search isn’t all that good, especially if you’ve read god’s sages and kings. I thouhgt the book was a little “loose” – all the threads they opened weren’t tied up properly.
    But a good read nevertheless.

  3. Ravages, I haven’t read Gods sages and kings. But after reading lot of Romila Thapar and DD Kosambi, it was refreshing to read, “In Serch of..”.
    Ashwini, talking of retellings, I tried to read Ashok Banker’s Prince of Ayodhya. Somehow could not proceed past the first chapter. He used Diwan-e-Khas somewhere there which I felt was an anachronistic word to be used in Ramayana.

  4. Ashwini, In the book “The Second Turn”, MT says that he wrote it after reading two Mahabharatha’s. One is a Malayalam one by Kodungallur Knjikuttan Thampuran and the other in English by Kesari Mohan Ganguli. During my next trip to India, I plan to get both.
    Regarding Ashok Banker’s book, it would be safe to get one from the library and read before buying the entire set. Here in our library, it was classified under “Science Fiction”.

  5. JK,
    KMG’s translation of the Mahabharta is available online here.
    The translations are in text format and can be downloaded from the website. I am currently reading the KMG’ s translation. The language used is victorian english. It seems to be a direct translation from Sanskrit to victorian english so it can make reading hard at times and leaves it open to further interpretation. I am in my second read of the Adi Parva and I have a feeling that it would probably not be my last either.
    You can also download other translated works here.
    These are mainly translations that were undertaken towards the end of the the 19th century.

  6. BOOK TAG: I’M IT!
    I would like to thank JK for tagging me, I find these kinds of memes to be a lot of fun.
    How many books I own: Not sure of the exact number, but I would say that I own about 1,000 or so books. This doesn

  7. Book Tag
    I was thinking about putting up a post describing my favorite books. Thanks to Varnam for tagging me as a part of the book tagging meme. Total number of books I own: Close to 500. Most of the books I

  8. Book Tag
    I was thinking about putting up a post describing my favorite books. Thanks to Varnam for tagging me as a part of the book tagging meme. Total number of books I own: Close to 500. Most of the books I

  9. Book Tag
    Thanks to JK for tagging me. Although I love to collect and read books, my book-reading habits have changed in last 2 years or so. 90% of the books that I read these days are children’s books. Hence, I…

  10. Hmmm… I’ve not ready any good book lately. Most of those I read are no longer fresh (except of course Asterix and Tintin).
    If I get time (hee hee, my baby daughter has monopoly on my time when I am at home these days), may be I will join the party by writing about:
    Oru Desathinte Katha (Malayalam, S.K. Pottekkat)
    , Pithamahan (Malayalam, VKN)
    , Kunjan Menon (Malayalam, VKN)
    , The Godfather (English)
    , The Namesake (English, Jhumpa Lahiri)

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