Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Books - Man's best friend and mine :)

"Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Books were a fascination for me during childhood. Not because of me being a bookish guy or anything. But then I've always liked reading. My mom had a good collection of novels from her college days and I used to go through them(except the Mills & Boon section) during my high school days. My dad isn't a big fan of fiction and he feels that reading stories isn't the best way to learn about the world(especially when the stories are written by Sidney Sheldon). So to get rid of me begging him to buy all the books in the world, he took me to the state central Library or commonly known as the Trivandrum Public Library. It was a great day for me. I still remember the 1st time I entered the huge doors as a thirteen year old and being awe struck by the rows and rows of books in the various reading halls. Since then my love story with books and authors had started and this relation, though had its ups and downs, is still going strong - much stronger than my OTHER love stories :).

This post will be about my fascination about books, some of the books that have changed my view about life and some of my favourite authors. The books and authors all came from different cultures, countries and ages, but influenced me greatly to THINK! If you are interested, read on to know their names and it would be good befriending them based on your interests.

I always was a fan of paperbacks; mainly because I liked reading lying on my bed before sleeping. This habit is still there with me and I still like the same type of stories. It started with comics when I was a kid; then Famous Five, Hardy Boys and then later on I graduated to novels and then stuff which I couldn't put my hands on as a kid :)

Books always used to be my 1st love, but since my life started having a new member called computer, books had taken a backseat. All through college my reading habit was lost and I picked up books again only when it was time for belling the cat - which ultimately belled me.

Then my focus started shifting from fiction to non-fiction. Particularly the autobiographies of business and political leaders and the so-called management books. Some of these were good reads, some were utter waste of time.

During my teenage I used to adore books by two authors; one was Sidney Sheldon and the other was Jeffrey Archer. I still remember the 1st Sheldon book I had read. It was Stranger in the mirror. It was like all of his other books, written like a movie with all the effects and special scenes that would make it a page-turner.

I'm proud to say that I've read all books written by Sheldon and Archer and I owe a lot of my reading habit to these two guys. If it weren't for their awesome narration and gripping tales I'd have left books a long time back.

Now any Indian in the 2000's who claims to be a book lover can't be ignorant of a certain individual named Chetan Bhagat. I've loved all his books and even though I feel that except for the 1st book, the others have had a very bad ending. Either being too filmy in style or too quickly wrapped up.

I’ll say that the books he writes talk about the social evils in our society, rather than just being funny. His 1st book talked about how parents just force their kids to take up ambitions for which they don’t feel the same way. The 2nd book talked about the youth’s lack of spiritualism in the present scenario. 3rd book talked about the evil of the religious riots. 4th book talks about the disconnect in our country when it comes to forming relations with people across the country.

So I feel he is someone who is required in our society which is at crossroads where parents are afraid to tell their kids what to do and what not to do, and even though Mr Bhagat has this cool dude image, his books actually help in putting some semblance into the Indian fast changing lifestyle :).

Top 25 books that I would love to mention are:(not all are from the world of fiction)

  1. The Godfather - Mario Puzo - The greatest novel I've ever read, truly amazing.
  2. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - A truly amazing tale of life,love and desire.
  3. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman - An interesting side of a serious scientist.
  4. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkein - The only book which inspite of being a fantasy is in this list.
  5. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - A totally outrageous but interesting philosophy.
  6. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - The confused teens story which was a great read.
  7. Lateral Thinking-Creativity Step by Step - Edward De Bono - A good one for creativity.
  8. iCon:Steve Jobs - Jeffrey Young - About an Icon's comeback to be the most admired CEO
  9. Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler - I wanted to know what was in the mind of the evil genius!
  10. The World is Flat - Thomas Friedman - A great tale about the present world we live in.
  11. Freakonomics - Steven D Levitt and Steven J Dubner - An interesting outlook to practical economics.
  12. Relativity: the special and the general theory - Albert Einstein - The greatest physicist explains the most complex theory in the simplest way possible.
  13. The Motorcycle Diaries - Ernesto "Che" Guevara - An awesome travelogue with great thoughts.
  14. The Google Story - David A Vise - The most detailed account of Google's spectacular rise
  15. The Communist Manifesto - Marx and Engels - Being a Malayalee, I couldn't miss this one!
  16. Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig - A good insight into the human psyche
  17. The Art of Computer Programming - Donald Knuth - For a non-software guy this is a bible to understand programming(for the software guys too)
  18. Theory of Game and Economic Behaviour - John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - An awesome book which explains the most baffling economic theory with ease.
  19. Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking - A man who's life is a great example to follow, explaining the toughest concepts with just 1 equation in the entire book.
  20. Joker in the Pack - Nitesh Pahlajani & Ritesh Sharma - An awesome tale of love, friendship and life in a B-School, a must read for any MBA aspirant and .
  21. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - An awesome story of justice and a good eye-opener about the American society in those times.
  22. Day of the Jackal - Fredrick Forsyth - A tale so realistic that I felt it was too much of a story.
  23. Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - The best love story I've ever read.
  24. Jeeves Series - PG Wodehouse - An awesome set of books which though funny are a great read anytime :)
  25. Kiterunner - Khaled Hosseini - The last in the list is a book which made me feel sad and happy at the same time.
I hope you find the above interesting and thought provoking as they were for me.


manvi said... usual crisp sweet and short...being a bibliophile my self I could visualize the library scene...kudos for the post..!

ch1nmay said...

totally cliched list of books...
some of the ones in the list are quite boring...the world is flat for instance..
but yes some of the others are my faves too...
to kill a mockingbird, lord of the rings, freakonomics and wodehouses(notice its plural, im yet to come across a wodehouse i dint like)...
read hitch-hikers guide to galaxy...its plain outrageous...

srinivas said...

nice one..Makes me think of Bangalore Central Library..and Lord of the Rings was a nice addition to tht list. :-)

Saurav said...

great write up.. Just to comment on Chetan Bhagat's writings.. Most of the readers criticised him because of his style but I just read his comment the other day which said that I have an audience and I write only for them and believe me ppl his audience are very loyal to him be it three mistakes or two states, his audience have liked him. I feel very close to his writings because in his every character I doesnt see a very hi fi person but a person like u and me.

pankaj said...

Abhi well said that man`s best frnd are books.i love reading the books like Super Achievers. Mein Kamf-Adolf Hitler is good one.

manoranjini said...

It is hard for a bibliophile to not make a confession of this sort , as I have done in one of my posts too.Good set of books,though dominated by the non-fiction ones.
Did you miss out on the HP series?Then again, no list can ever be comprehensive.

akhilesh said...

abhi-except the mills and boons part is a give away! :-p

Suchi said...

Hi I am a bookworm too! So couldnt resist commenting here. I do love Enid Blyton....apart from the Famous Fives, did you ever read the Five Findouters?

My first Sheldon book was The Other Side of Midnight. I was in class ix and I must say the story shocked me so much that I did not read Sheldon again for 2 years. Eventually I found his other books.

Among Jeffery Archer my favourite is Shall We Tell the President?....

Oh I must stop and introduce myself...I am Suchi. This is a nice post....I should come out with a similar list but that list would have loads of romance books including M&Bs.

Do visit me sometimes,



Quest said...

I was searching for love in the time of cholera among those titles ;) :D