Thursday, April 03, 2014

Books read in 2014 : 1-9

1) கரும்புனல் - ராம்சுரேஷ் . Good one. Wrote a review in my blog.

2) புத்ர - லா.ச.ரா
La.Sa.Ra.'s writing is addictive. Once you are trapped in his words, there is no way out. This novel has his standard tropes - strong women, weak men, mystical experiences. One of his best.

3) Stalin's General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov - Geoffrey Roberts
For a self confessed WWII enthusiast, I had read very little about the Eastern Front. This biography of Zhukov filled that gap. I was surprised to know that the Russians lost 1.5 million men in WWII and a significant percent of them were shot by Russian Army while deserting or for indiscipline. More than the WWII portions, Zhukov's tribulations in post war USSR made interesting reading.

4) Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman - James Gleick
An absolute must read for a Feynman fan boy. This isn't a hagiography. Gleick presents Feynman with his faults. There is a lot of physics in this book (can't help when your subject was one of the century's greatest physicists) but I could get a broad understanding of it with my Engineering College level Physics. Path Integrals and Quantum stuff I pretended to understand. Biggest take away from the book - When attempting to solve a problem, start with as little assumptions as possible.

5) Roosevelt:The Lion and the fox
My knowledge of FDR was from the time of his Polio attack up to his 4th term as US President. This book covers a lot of ground about his early years in Politics. At the end of it, I was cleared of a lot of misconceptions and FDR became just another politician. As a Supreme Court Judge remarks in the book "Second rate intellect but a First rate temperament".

6) The Confession - John Grisham
A mistake. In my defense, this was forced upon me.

7) Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
An arresting novel. Completely different from Kafka on the shore. You can see it as a coming off age novel, but it is much more than that. The novel traces a couple of years in the life of a 19 year old college student in 1969 Japan. It is a love story that pains your heart. Thanks to the novel, I learned that Norwegian Wood is a famous Beatles song. Hearing the song after reading the novel, it is mesmerizing to see how the 5 stanza song and the novel complement each other.

8) The Great Gatsby - Scott Fitzgerald
This was a re read. Murakami keeps referring to Gatsby in Norwegian Wood often. That made me go back to this novel. What is left untold is as important as what is told in this novel. Murakami rates this as the important novel of his life and translated this to Japanese. At the heart of the novel is the age old dilemma - selling your soul to achieve an ideal which turns out to be made of dust instead of gold.

9) The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
This was the first novel of Wilde I read apart from his quotes. Then I found out that this was the only novel he wrote (other than poems, plays and journalism). What can I say? The wit, the philosophical questions - this novel hasn't dated a bit.

1 comment:

Sujai Antony said...

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