Monday, June 06, 2005

So you want to know what I have been reading, do you?

These gentlement did: Anand, Dilip and Mandar. Curses galore on you, folks, curses galore...

Why? Because of one of more of the following reasons:
i) I don't read as much these days and being tagged was a rude reminder of that.
ii) Just when I thought I was over the compulsion of talking about myself endlessly, someone brings up the topic once again. Anyone interested in helping me found the Pune chapter of Narcissuses Anonymous? Oh, come on, at least the name sounds cool.
iii) Because I am bad at choosing favourites. As an example, if you asked me to pick a number between 11 and 13, I would pick 12, then change my mind and pick 11, and probably finally settle on 13. I am just very bad at making up my mind.
iv) It involves thinking, and remembering. Two things I don't like to indulge in, unless absolutely necessary for my survival. Some crazy Frenchman once said that he thought therefore he was. My humble advice to him -- please don't think too much, go get a pint.

Anyway, the three gentlemen referred to above have started making threatening phone calls to me already (or maybe it is my landlord for the rent due... I am not very discerning), so here goes.

Total number of books I own: I honestly don't know. Furthermore, my wife tells me that I don't own anything anymore and whatever was mine during my singularity is no longer so; therefore you should probably ask her. But, between the two of us, we have a lot of love. No, wait, I meant to say that between the two of us we own many books,

Last book I bought: The motorcycle diaries. Actually I bought Real Analysis by Royden after that, but I don't think it qualifies as a book -- it is a weapon of mass instruction.

Last book I read: Well, the last book I finished was Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke, thanks to a bet that I made with Senthil in which he claimed that I wouldn't be able to put the book down once I started. He technically lost, since I put the book on the floor while I read it, but I did finish it in one go.

Five books that mean a lot to me: I will just list books which I like, you pick up five from them.

o Rebecca and My cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier. I like to name both together because it is truly amazing that the same person could write two such astonishing books (from the point of view of two genders), and still get it right. I read both of them in single sessions, though I did put them down once in a while.

o Rendezvous with Rama for the amazing combination of deductive and predictive logic and the art of storytelling. Not a wasted word, not an extra sentence in this book.

o Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha and The Van by Roddy Doyle for such a smooth, yet not very ornate, language which he uses to describe life in small town Ireland.

o Any of the 43 (yes, f-o-r-t-y t-h-r-e-e) western novels by Louis l'Amour which I read when I was an adolescent. I loved how he combined common sense and poor man's philosophy with an exciting description of tough, yet glamourized, cowboy life. Cowboys talked tough, and I liked that. My parents did the same, and I hated that.

o All of Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes digests that I have. I do have to take a stand and proclaim that I prefer the simplicity of Peanuts to Calvin and Hobbes humour, even if you drop a brick or unleash a gully-cat on me.

o One by Richard Bach. In hindsight, it is probably just high flying philosophy, but I love it. I loved that book five years back, and I love it now. Something about believeing in yourself, ladies and gentlemen, which gives me goosebumps.

o To kill a mockingbird because of the simple description of life from a child's viewpoint. The god of small things for the same reason.

o Old man and the sea because of the matter of fact way it is.

o The hindi translation of a Maksim Gorky book called mera bachpan which used to fascinate me when I was a kid. It was my first peek into a foreign culture and left me spellbound.

o The story of a real man, another translation of a book by Boris Polevoi about Alexei Maersyev, a Russian WW-I pilot whose plane crashed behind enemy lines. He had to drag himself through snow for eighteen days before he got home, and he lost both legs to gangrene. He got prosthetic legs and flew again, after much struggle. He was my first hero, and much of what I am is influenced by the uncountable times I browsed through that book. I mean, the fact that I drag things around is probably because of that book.

Well, this is all I can remember right now, but seems like was able to name five books. I deserve a pat on my back and a beer. At this time of the night, I don't think I can expect either. Bye.


At 9:09 PM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Yo Anurag, Daphne du M: what a writer! Have you tried "House on the Strand"?

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Senthil said...

* Sestertius -> Sestertii
Narcissus -> Narcissi.

* About that frenchman and a pint, there is this old joke where a few students of philosophy go to a bar and see Descartes sitting there by himself. They ask him, "Hey there, Descartes, would you like a pint?"

To which the man coldly replies, "I think not."

And promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

Now please laugh.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Charu said...

er, Anurag, would a narcissist want to remain anonymous?

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anand said...

Royden is a weapon of mass destruction! That was really funny.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Anurag said...

Dilip, I haven't. But I will, now that you mention it.

Senthil, you committed a very common mistake. It's seter-tee-us -> sester-tee-i. It's Narci-sus, not Narci-see-us, therefore plural is not Narci-see-i. OK? :)

Charu: Good point. Hehehehe.

Anand: Weapon of mass intruction, though it destroys many self esteems too. :)

At 12:06 AM, Anonymous Mandar said...

hey! first of all, thanks for responding to the meme-call. :)
and some really really good books in that list of yours, man! i would love to read "to kill a mocking bird" and "one". have been planning on them since long, but havent bought them yet. :(

At 3:03 AM, Blogger Senthil said...

Ah, there is something in what you say. I should've given a better example. Here goes:

Sestertius -> sestertii
Nucleus -> nuclei
Fungus -> Fungi
Syllabus -> Syllabi
Focus -> foci


Narcissus -> Narcissi


At 10:51 AM, Blogger Mint Chutney said...

After reading your description of Rendezvous with Rama, that has moved up to the top of my Must Read List.

At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Elf said...

I love Rebecca. Haven't read the other one though. Think I will now.

Nice list.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Anurag said...

Mandar: Thanks for tagging me.

Senthil: OK, point taken. :)

Mint C: I hope you like it as much as I did.

elf: You must try it. I prefer it to Rebecca, actually.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Manish Bhatt said...

(Intimidated by the resident Grammarians, meekly puts forth a point)

But isn't Narcissus a person, a greek God rather. So do these grammatical rules really apply to him? I wonder.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger Anirudh Karnick said...

I've read Du Maurier's short stories and they were excellent. I don't know why she isn't more widely appreciated.

At 5:37 AM, Blogger Anirudh Karnick said...

@Anurag: We seem to have a few things in common. Plus, you've got a good journal. You've been linked. :)

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Swathi said...

i was lille intimidated by ur choice of books (like The motorcycle diaries and Real Analysis)but then i saw ur No.1 featuring my favorite writer Du Maurier and that too 2 of my favorites, sometimes i feel "My cousin Rachel" is much better than "Rebecca" in terms of the denouement but there r times when Rebecca takes the cake.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Swathi said...

oh n i forgot "To ill A Mocking Bird" also an all time favorite with me 'coz "Mocking Birds don't do one thing..."

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At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also an Engineer, a photography enthusiast, a lover of coffee and a late sleeper.

And I had a copy of Mera Bachpan.


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