Monday, January 18, 2010

Year 2009 In Books

Book Review and Travelogue are two things that I never did on Knowprashant . which is a bit strange as reading and travelling are my when two of my fave blogger Aaron Swartz and Paul Buchheit  published their reading list for 2009( Link Link ) I was very much delighted to read them . I spotted some good books there which i would have missed other wise . I will be ordering them in months to come.

One thing I liked about those posts  was the sheer rawness of the list . There was just the name of book , link to amazon page with an occasional line or two thrown in stating blogger's opinion but by and large you have to do your own research and make your own judgement .which is a good thing cause Books are very subjective things . its subjective narration of something from author's point of view and its subjective interpretation of the same thing by lens of reader's perception. you and I might like the same book but how it effect you might be very different from how it shape me .

so I decided to compile a list of books i read in year 2009 with a few lines about them . i hope you find some good stuff here . (BTW here I would like to mention that there is a new website in India by name of  Flipkart most of these books are available there and at a good discount .I have ordered 5 books from their and I am very happy with their service .They are AMZ of india .Do check them out )

  • 1.In Search of Identity an Autobiography by Anwar El Sadat former president of Egypt . I first got to know about this book while reading Seven Habit of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey refereed to Mr.Sadat as a man who helped himself transform by sheer force of will. Book is good , straight forward and best part is when author talks about his time in prison . diplomatic shrewdness of Sadat is documented in brutal honesty when he talk about his experience of dealing with Soviet Russia and Swedge canal issue . I recommend it .Score 6 /10 .

  • 2 Barking by Tom Holt : A work of contemporary fiction where a submissive attorney from London suddenly finds himself amongst his school mates who transform him into Weer wolf , than he discover his wife is a vampire and Ex employer is a zombie. its funny and a bit gripping in the start  but gets boring toward the end . good for in flight reading. Score 4/10.

  • 3 Simulacra and Simulation By Jean Baudrillard :Its one of the very few e books i read and trust me this book was scary like hell. its a deeply philosophical book about the nature of reality and how we in modern world are totally separated from an objective reference of real and living is a simulacrum . this book was inspiration behind Matrix movies . It was originally written in French so English translation is a little TOO verbose and hard to understand .Honestly  I don't claim to understand it fully but whatever little i understood was enough to shake me . Recommended if you are in to philosophy Score 8.5/10.

  • 4 Journey to the source : Dr. Pradheep Chhalliyil . a Book about Matrix Trilogy and how vedic mythology and Upanishads have influenced it . a great read from Matrix Fan .A fascinating introduction to hidden symbolism in movie  I enjoyed reading it .you might not find it that good . make sure you have watched trilogy 10 times before you open the book . you will find it un putdownable : score 5/10.

  • 5 Logic of Life by Tim Harford : A good book about an economist's view on how our hidden rationality dictates our day to day decision making .worth reading once . Score : 6/10.

  • 6 Don Quixote by  Miguel de Cervantes :  A funny book about the adventure of a middle aged knight in search of adventure . I read it before heading out on journey to Himalayas this year. I am glad I did that . Score 7/10

  • 7 Autobiography of a Yogi : By Swami Paramhans Yogananda : A fascinating account of life story of a hindu yogi.This book dispel the myth that our Hindu religion is all about faith without any scientific basis . With humor, wisdom, and heart, Yogananda relates the extraordinary events of his life. But those events serve as a mere instrument for conveying sublime truths-truths expressed in such clear language that everyone can grasp them. you will not be bored reading this book that in itself is a big achievement for a book dealing with the subject of spirituality , philosophy and religion . Recommended reading : A Big Thanks to Mayukhini for recommending it .Score 8/10

  • 8 Siddhartha By Hermann Hesse :This was the book of year for me in more than one way . I have read it twice. all i can say is that after reading it I felt that  I should have read it few years back I would have been a different person today . Drop me a line in comment if you want me to buy this book for you I Will be more than happy to do that .seriously .A Big Thanks to Mayukhini for recommending it  Score : 9.5/10 

  • 9 Man's Eternal Quest : by Swami Paramhans Yogananda . A collection of essays / talks given by Swami Yogananda about Life ,Truth , search of God ,Philosophy , Non Dualism , Joy etc. Good read if you are into spirituality ans stuff . I read it as i was fascinated by the author after reading his auto biography.

  • 10.The Game by Neil Strauss: This is an outstanding book . on the face of it its just a autobiographical account of authors experience with the underground community of pickup artists . but under the surface this book teach every MAN an essential lesson of Self Worth  and confidence . This is a very  controversial book and some women might be (rightly) offended by the content of this book .Author's description of Women's behavior is less then flattering  but as author says in the book that at the end its a story of a guy who rewire his DNA and transform in to something of a girl magnet .This book teaches that external validation NEVER leads to self confidence it only creates dependency .its a Bestseller in all markets and every character in the book has made a booming business of workshops and seminar on the art of pickup .I can bet there will be a movie on this book very soon . Trust me  its INR 600 well spent . Score :9/10

  • 11 Hitch hiker's Guide to Galaxy Part 1,2,3,4,5 : by Douglas Adams :: I wanted to read this series for a long time but somehow never got around doing that so when I saw the 5 book set on 60% discount I had no choice but to buy it . Its a funny book . you can't help smiling on authors way of describing events . I am literally in love with a character named Marvin, a paranoid robot. every paragraph of Marvin was a laughing riots . One thing you realize while reading these books is that how arrogant we as a species are about our place in universe .Universe is so mindbogglingly big . we are just another species here . this book looks at our life , tradition, ritual from the view point of interstellar traveller . i liked the section where a tribe adopts modern management methods to evolve . this book was like no other book i read before .Light reading, a lot of fun and new perspective .  Read all 5 of them its worth it . Score 8/10 

  • 12 Jonathan Livingstone Seagull : By Richard Bach  It was on my reading list for a long long time .I was pleasantly surprised to receive it as a birthday present . A good allegorical story about the importance of following your heart's dream and doing what you believe in . It inspired me . Score 5/10.

  • 13 The Language Instinct : Steven Pinker : A good book if you are in to how we learn , epistemology and stuff , this deal with the debate about Language and how each one of us is born with a capacity /instinct for it . its not something we learn from external world . good stuff . Score 5/10 .

  • 14 Alice In Wonderland : Lewis Karol: Need i say something about this beautiful work ? Its timeless , simple and insightful . I am not good enough to rate or review it . 

  • 15 dot bomb : David Kuo  a typical story of rise and fall of a start up in dot com bubble of 90s .I still don't know why i spent 100 INR on this book . only lesson i learned is that never buy book if its available on sale with drastic discount . score 2/10

  • 16 The Secret : Rhonda Byrne : A VERY good book if you don't take the teachings too literally and make it an excuse for inertia and inaction. Law of attraction works . I have felt it . but Law of attraction is no excuse for inactivity you will still have to do the hard work . no silver bullet here in that sense . score 6/10 

  • 17 The Well Beloved : Thomas Hardy : This book was a gift and a very good gift .I never thanked the person so here is a formal "Thank You" . This book marks  my return to reading of classics after a gap of few years .Its a story of an artist who spend his life in search of perfect lover and Finlay dies . I felt bad to read the climax. I sometime worry that the book might be prophecy .because the person who gifted this to me believe in prophecy and fate . Score 7/10 

  • 19 The Choice  By Eli Goldratt Disclaimer:  I love author's way of thinking and often try to mimic his  approach in my day to day life ,with certain degree of success i guess  . if you want to buy this book i recommend please read The Goal by same author first .Score 8/10

  • 20 Kamayani : Jai Shankar Prasad : One of the best Hindi Epic ever written . its a writing about creation and elements of creation and human emotions. Jaishankar Prasad's description of women is nearest to what i am seeking in a partner  ( asking for too much Huh ??) Score :8/10. 

  • 22 Thus Spoke Zarthushtra : Friedrich Nietzsche : To deep and philosophical .I was not in a good frame of mind when I read it so i am not forming any opinion about it . will re read it . keep watching this space.

  • 24 2 States : Chetan Bhagat :A very  Light hearted  read about authors semi autobiographical account of convincing his parents for a cross cultural wedding .I like the simplicity of chetan's writing and his sense of humor . Score 5/10 

  • 25 Twilight : All right I admit I bought it shuffled through first 50 pages or so . couldn't understand what the hell was so special about it . apart from the fact that there is a boy who love to drink women's blood (Its usually other way round in real life ) . Luckily I had to go for a Birthday party in neighbourhood so i got this shit gift wrapped and gave it to a school going girl . Needless to say it was her fave gift this year . Weird World !! 

  • 26 Madhushala : re read it . Need i say something about it ? 

  • 27 Ignore Everybody :BY Hugh Macleod  This book is based on the hugely popular essay "How to be creative " by Hugh MacLoad . I have read this essay for more than 50times online I still  bought this book only for the purpose of gifting it to a friend. but ended up reading it one more time in print :) .You can read the transcript free online . Score 9/10.


the who said...

"borrowed this from a freind I have no intention of returning it"

your shelf stands the risk of being ransacked... and maybe even sabotaged!!

Prashant Singh said...

that would be of no use . it s not there on shelf .

Anonymous said...

i dont know you but this poem nishabd is terrific.So many times we let life flow by thinking that things will happen but they dont and will not.Reading your poetry i also felt like writing a long forgotten dream as I am busy earning a living


chetana singh

Prashant Singh said...

Thanks Chetna , Appreciate your kind words .

Shikha said...

From this list, I am glad to see 5 of them I have already read and my thoughts are exactly similar on the books.
ABOY, The Secret, Guide to Galaxy, Twilight, Jono The seagull.

2 recommendations from me.. though I myself not completed, i guess you will like them.
1. I am Harmony - a book about Babaji
2. Chariots of the gods - a bit slow in the end, but first few chapters will give a lot to your thinking cap.

Prashant Singh said...

Thanks Shikha

I will surely check these book out

Anonymous said...

Nice one blog....Informative..
You can buy all types of books form

deal of the day said...

Wonderful and it took long time to read...Really awesome...