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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Books and Beyond…

This is not a promotional campaign for the store. It’s a tag on some of my favourite books, passed on to me by Roshmi.


The rules are: "Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag up to 15 friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose."


1. Macbeth – Shakespeare’s characters are horrifyingly real. The image of Lady Macbeth trying to wash blood off her hands is a powerful metaphor.


2. Winning – It’s a joy to read Jack Welch’s insights into business. He avoids too much of jargon, and writes stuff that is awesomely readable. For any aspiring manager, this book ought to be one of the top-reads.


3. The Bartimaeus trilogy - (comprising The Amulet of Samarkand, Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate) This chap called Bartimaeus (henceforth called Barty) has an awesome sense of humour. Jonathan Stroud wrote this book for teens, but I think Barty’s wisecracks would have anyone in splits.


4. HMS Ulysses – If there’s one author whose war novels are irresistible, it is Alistair Maclean. I love the way he writes about war because you learn to not take sides. You don’t subscribe to the conventional notion of the holier-than-thou Allies and the evil Axis powers. All the killing that happens in incidental, and is almost regretted by the author. I rate this book better than ‘The Guns of Navarone’.


5. The Lord of the Rings – If you hadn’t guessed it already, I’m a sucker for the fantasy genre. (I guess the real world is just too brutal and ‘unreal’ sometimes.) Tolkien’s masterpiece is one of my favourites in fantasy. The entire realm of dwarves, elves, hobbits, ents, orcs, men and what not is simply magical!


6. Illusions – Richard Bach’s book is like a bible. Whenever in doubt, one could just flip it open, read the few insights on the page, and draw an entirely new meaning out of the words, than one did last time. Simple, flowing and poetic…


7. Murder on the Orient Express – The queen of crime, Agatha Christie weaves a plot that leaves one gasping for breath till the tense finale. It has to be one of THE best murder mysteries that I’ve read.


8. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish – A compilation of entrepreneurship stories, by Rashmi Bansal of JamMag fame, this is an inspiration for any budding entrepreneur.


9. Gerrard – The autobiography of one of the best footballers of our era, and my favourite player – Steven Gerrard of Liverpool. It is awesome to read about the 2005 Champions League final and see what was going through the minds of the players as they made one of the most historic turnarounds in the history of football to win the club. You’ll never walk alone!!


10. Atlas Shrugged – The masterfully crafted characters, the impeccably woven storyline, hold you spellbound as you are taken in by Ayn Rand and her theory of objectivism. Wonderful reading!


11. Brave New World – I wrote about this book earlier, and I find the satire created by Aldous Huxley both amusing and horrifying at the same time. It is terrifying to think of the lengths to which our society goes, in order to build conformity.


12. To Kill a Mockingbird – This has to be one of the best books ever written. Scout is a wonderful story-teller, and all characters like Atticus, Jem, and even Boo Radley are nicely fleshed out. Fluid and subtle, this is a wonderful book.


13. The Tale of Two Cities – The lines ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’ are immortal. I seriously salute Mr. Dickens for this book. I read David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations, but this book is simply incomparable. Fabulous job, Mr. Dickens! Take a bow. :)


14. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad writes about imperialism, the brutality heaped upon African ‘natives’, and how greed ruled the colonial powers. The horror of what man can do to another man for a few pieces of gold is shocking.


15. The Count of Monte Cristo – A tale of love, lust, betrayal and revenge is that this book is to me. Alexandre Dumas brings out the transformation of the innocent and naive Edmond Dante into the cold, calculating, suave Count beautifully. The best part is that he does not kill off the love Dante had for Mercedes. Even after coming back as the Count, Dante still dotes on the lovely Mercedes. In fact, Stephen King’s ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ also draws some loose parallels with this book.


Now, I get to decide who should be tagged for this. I choose to tag Carol, Floreta, Neha, Harshad, Himanshu, Ram, and Scriber for now. Of course, I’m supposed to tag Roshmi again. I’ll think of tagging more of you soon.


Shilpa Garg said...

That's a very impressive list! Will explore some of them!

Tangerine said...

Oh I love Barty's wisecracks too!

Roshmi Sinha said...

You missed out the tag name... its called: Came across an interesting 15 Books Tag!

and u didn't take up the second tag in my post... :(

Your list is quite impressive.... but no comics... how come?!! You don't like comics...??!! :-O :-O :-O

P.S. I have read "HMS Ulysses" a long time ago... gotta read it again, I guess.

Glad to know you liked: "The Tale of Two Cities" and "The Count of Monte Cristo"... :)

Scriber's Web said...

You tagged me? You want me to list 15 books? On da internet? LOL.

OK. Here is the deal. I post a list and you read all of them. Deal? You should know that I read tons of mindless books:) AKA romance novels. I hate reading anything that has violence, incest, rape, etc. I have to read a ton of technical books so when I read by choice, I pick Nora Roberts or something like that.

But I have to say that your list is very impressive!

guitzkrieg said...

Have you read 'The Wheel of Time' by James Oliver Rigney? A couple of my bookworms friends recommend it over Lord of the Rings in the fantasy genre. I haven't read it myself though but plan to some time :-)

Sumit said...

@Shilpa... thanks! Yes, some of the books on the list are eminently readable.

@Tang... he's fun, ain't her? :D

@Roshmi... oops! I'll fix it soon. And I will take the second tag too (today, I hope).

Btw, I do love comics like Asterix, Tintin, Calvin and Hobbes, and Dilbert, but I think they will have to be served by a separate tag sometime. :P

@Scriber... I think I'll take your challenge... as long as there are no set timelines to achieve. :D

Scriber's Web said...

You are so on! I'll do this after I get back from my vacation:)

Eidothia said...

Ow! So this is called tagging! Finally! You would be surprised that I am into IT and I design and sell solutions to customers and know not even zilch abt all these concepts! I wish I hadnt picked my list of books earlier... :) I am to start Count of Monte Cristo soon...!