Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Season's Greetings

Have a Great time this New Year's!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Time well spent: Books in 2005

After 2 years in a B-School, during which I managed to read just 5 books ('The Goal', 'Cuckold', 'Ravan & Eddie', 'The Rainmaker' & 'The Firm'. This excludes the many management novels that I left mid-way - Akio Morita's 'Made in Japan', Iacocca's 'IACOCCA' & Sculley's 'From Pepsi to Apple'), there was a conscious effort to spend more time with a book this year.
Starting April, these are the books that I read in 2005.

1. Chain Reaction by Eliyahu Goldratt
- First book on the job. Sequel to the much acclaimed 'Goal' by Eliyahu Goldratt, 'Chain Reaction' tries to apply the concepts of 'Goal' in Project Management. I was facinated by 'Goal', but 'Chain Reaction' goes one step further in terms of applicable take-aways. A really Good read.

2-4. The Murakami Novels
a) Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the world,
b) Dance Dance Dance
c) The Wild sheep chase

- Kraz and George raved about Murakami, but I was sceptical - from the Name, to Front cover to Story summary everything looked weird. Decided to check it out anyway.
Started with 'Hard-boiled Wonderland' and the style gripped me instantly. His is the kind of writing you can depend on when you want to re-invigorate your reading habits. 'Dance, Dance, Dance' proved he had a consistent style, though, he was probably not at his best in 'The Wild sheep chase'.

Have already bought his 'Norwegian Wood', 'Kafka on the shore' & 'Wind-up bird chronicle'.
If you thought the names didn't make sense, wait till you read one of his works. It hard to explain the plot and I don't want to try.

5. The Bhuj Story - After the quake by Rishi Sanwal
- Nice to see a friend publish.

6. 3 Men in a boat(Nothing to say about the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
- Witty, humorous and tiresome in parts. Good but not a classic. He has a largely funny and consistent screwball style that may at times make it a bit laborious.

7. 3 Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
- Continues where 3 Men in a Boat left off. Better than the previous one. This one is not so much about the cycle ('bummel') and their journey as his first work was about sailing. Though, his style remains consistent.

8. Seven sixes are forty three by Kiran Nagarkar
- Highly non-linear narrative. A coming of age, autobiographical work. Better than 'Ravan & Eddie' but does not have the Magnum Opus feel of 'Cuckold'. Though, we get more than a glimpse of the talent for intricate character studies that is so glaring in Cuckold. To be read again sometime.

9. 1984 by George Orwell
- A classic that triggerd my interest in Orwell. The explanations on why Anarchy and Class distinction are here to stay is outstanding.

10. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
- Like they say, 'A classic account of what it is like to be Down and Out'. An account of Orwell's tryst with poverty. Convinced me to explore lesser known works by popular authors.

11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Short and 'sweet' read. Have to see the movie to find out why they cast Johny Depp as the free spirited Willy Wonka.

12. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt
- Not as great as they have made it to be. You don't have to do a Ph.D and conduct research for understanding many of the day-to-day phenomenon described here. You can ask your Dad for a change!!

13. The Outsider by Albert Camus
- Classic. Nietzsche said,"God is dead" - Outsider will help one understand what he meant. On the lines of Fountainhead in terms of style - conveys a philosophy through stark characterisation. But unlike Fountainhead Camus does the job in around 100 pages.

14. Fear and Loathing in LA by Hunter S. Thompson
- One helluva Joy ride - 'Road Trippin', literally. The damning 'high' of a drop of live human adrenalin.

15. The Talkative Man by R.K. Narayanan
- Average. Fails to inspire one to read more of RKN's - something that 'Swami and Friends' achieved quite easily.

16. The curious incident of the dog in the night time by Mark Haddon
- Amazing work.

17. The Big sleep by Raymond Chandler
- Awakens a genre.

18. Intimacy - Hanif Khureishi
- Fascinating account of one man's arguments and counter arguments for leaving his wife and children. Spiced up with recollections of a troubled life and some interesting couch philosophy.

19. Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- Some interesting theories, but an average plot. I will be surprised if the movie survives the opening rush and interest.

20. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Last book I read in 2005 (to date). Failed to understand why this is a master-piece in American Literature. Interesting in parts and long-winded most of the time. Summarises a man's struggle to reclaim lost-love; a story of imperfect characters and the rather realistic decisions they make in life.

Should try more Non-fiction, some of the long pending classics (e.g. Catch-22, Catcher in the Rye, Walden) and inspect some of the younger writers (e.g. Zadie Smith) in 2006. 2005, seems to have produced some interesting books in both Fiction & Non-fiction. Should check them out too.
Recollection by Kraz, Nakul ,Vinod , DSine, Sluggard , Ubergeek , Mridul , Param & Moon Jungle should make a very good compilation.