My Reading List

Books finished in 2011 :

1.

Title : Tuesdays With Morrie – An Old Man, A Young Man & The Last Great Lesson

Author :Mitch Albom

Summary :Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie’s lasting gift with the world.

Finished : February 2011

Rating : *****

2.

Title : Almost Single

Author :Advaita Kala

Summary :My name is Aisha Bhatia, I am twenty-nine years old and single. I work as a Guest Relations Manager at the Grand Orchid Hotel. I dine at luxury hotels and stay in five-stars during my travels; I can name old and new world wines with great élan, and can tell my cheeses apart.  I tolerate my job, hate my boss, and bond big-time with my friends, while routinely suffering from umbilical cord whiplash. I don’t really care for my vital stats at the moment, and I don’t have a cute/funny nickname either. Hence this introduction: it stinks, but it sticks. In fact, sometimes I think there should be support groups like the AA out there for people like me.Wickedly irreverent and laugh-aloud funny, Almost Single is a delightful romp through the five-star world of champagne brunches, gay soirées, and the dilemmas of hip, young girls on the lookout for love and matrimony.

Finished : February 2011

Rating : ***

3.

Title : A Farewell to Arms

Author :Ernest Hemingway

Summary :

In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the ‘war to end all wars’. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Farewell to Arms. In an unforgettable depiction of war, Hemingway recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteers and the men and women he encounters along the way with conviction and brutal honesty. A love story of immense drama and uncompromising passion, A Farewell to Arms is a testament to Hemingway’s unique and unflinching view of the world and the people around him.

Finished : March 2011

Rating : ****

4.

Title : Persepolis- The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return

Author :Marjane Satrapi

Summary :

Wise, often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood tells the story of Marjane Satrapi’s life in Tehran from the ages of six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane’s child’s eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi’s drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts. Persepolis ends on a cliffhanger in 1984, just as fourteen-year-old Marjane is leaving behind her home in Tehran, escaping fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in the West. In Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return we follow our young, intrepid heroine through the next eight years of her life: an eye-opening and sometimes lonely four years of high school in Vienna, followed by a supremely educational and heartwrenching four years back home in Iran. Just as funny and heartbreaking as its predecessor – with perhaps an even greater sense of the ridiculous inspired by life in a fundamentalist state – Persepolis 2 is also as clear-eyed and searing in its condemnation of fundamentalism and its cost to the human spirit. In its depiction of the universal trials of adolescent life and growing into adulthood – here compounded by being an outsider both abroad and at home, and by living in a state where you have no right to show your hair, wear make-up, run in public, date, or question authority – it’s raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

Finished : March 2011

Rating : ****

5.

Title : Discover The Diamond In You

Author : Arindam Choudhuri

Summary :

“This one, which you are holding your hands, I can assure you is a real diamond. The 9Ps of success that Arindam so swiftly and lucidly narrates will help you overcome failures and achieve success because we all need some guidelines when we are down. This book is guaranteed to inspire you and it will definitely get you started on your path to discover the diamond within. There is a lifetime of learning squeezed into this innovative book. 59 minutes is all Arindam asks from you and you will have a more positive approach to your life forever. I finished this book in 59 minutes flat and it read like a story I have often lived and experienced. You too will discover a part of yourself in these pages and get inspired.”

Table of Contents

1.The 9P Success Trilliant

2.How Many CARATS Is The Diamond Within You, The First P Of The Discovery:PASSION, The Second P Of The Discovery:POSITIVE ENERGY

3.How Well CUT Is The Diamond Within You, The Third P OF The Discovery:PERFORMANCE, The Fourth P Of The Discovery:PERSEVERANCE

4.Whar Is The COLOUR Of The Diamond Within You, The Ffith P Of The Discovery:PERSONALITY, The Sixth P Of The Discovery:PEOPLE

5.What Is The CLARITY Of The Diamond Within You, The Seventh P Of The Discovery:PERSPECTIVE, The Eighth P Of The Discovery:PRINCIPLES, The Ninth P Of The Discovery:PATRIOTISM

6.You Are A Diamond! Now Dazzle! (Source: flipkart.com)

Finished : March 2011

Rating : ***

6.
Title : Tales From Firozsha Bagh

Author : Rohinton Mistry

Summary :

“Patterns of life are selfish and unforgiving,” explains Nariman Hansotia, the resident storyteller of Firozsha Baag. And in these eleven intersecting stories Rohinton Mistry opens our eyes and our hearts to the rich, complex patterns of life inside this Bombay apartment building. The occupants”from Jaakaylee, the ghost-seer, through Najamai, the only owner of a refrigerator in Firozsha Baag, to Rustomji the Curmudgeon and Kersi, the young boy whose life threads through the book and who narrates the final story, “Swimming Lessons”, as an adult in Toronto, all express, knowingly or unknowingly, the tensions between the past and the present, between the old world and the new. Compassionate and funny in turns, Tales from Firozsha Baag illuminates the very meaning of change through this pungent and exuberantly textured mosaic of lives.
(source: Penguin Books)

Finished : April 2011

Rating : ****

7.
Title : The Enchantress of Florence

Author : Salman Rushdie

Summary :

A tall, yellow-haired young European traveller calling himself ‘Mogor dell Amore’, the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the real Grand Mughal, the Emperor Akbar, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the whole imperial capital. The stranger claims to be the child of a lost Mughal princess, the youngest sister of Akbar s grandfather Babar: Qara K z, ‘Lady Black Eyes’, a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, who is taken captive first by an Uzbek warlord, then by the Shah of Persia, and finally becomes the lover of a certain Argalia, a Florentine soldier of fortune, commander of the armies of the Ottoman Sultan. When Argalia returns home with his Mughal mistress the city is mesmerized by her presence, and much trouble ensues. nnThe Enchantress of Florence is the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man s world. It brings together two cities that barely know each other – the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire and the treachery of sons, and the equally sensual Florentine world of powerful courtesans, humanist philosophy and inhuman torture, where Argalia s boyhood friend il Machia – Niccol Machiavelli – is learning, the hard way, about the true brutality of power. These two worlds, so far apart, turn out to be uncannily alike, and the enchantments of women hold sway over them both.nnBut is Mogor s story true? And if so, then what happened to the lost princess? And if he s a liar, must he die?

Finished : April 2011

Rating : ****

8.
Title : The Old Man and the Sea

Author : Ernest Hemingway

Summary :

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal — a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Annotation

An old Cuban fisherman triumphs over a giant marlin–only to have his prized catch literally eaten away by circling sharks.(source :barnesandnoble.com)

Finished : June 2011

Rating : ****

9.
Title : The Catcher In The RYE

Author : J.D.Salinger

Summary :

Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger’s New Yorker stories ? particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme ? With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

Annotation

Salinger’s classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man’s funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.(source: barnesandnoble.com)

Finished : July 2011

Rating : ****

10.
Title : One

Author : Richard Bach

Summary :

What would it be like to meet oneself in the future, or to encounter oneself in the past before making a life-altering decision? What if there were not simply one reality, but many concurrent realities where each of the possible paths one could take were all played out? What might one learn from an encounter with these different selves? These are the questions Richard Bach asks in his latest novel ONE.

As the book opens, Bach and his wife Leslie are flying into Los Angeles for a meeting when suddenly the familiar landscape disappears beneath them. As their spiritual guide Pye later explains, they have stumbled into another dimension that allows them to view reality as it really is, timeless, the past concurrent with the future, where each life is played out according to an infinitude of different choices. Before they return to their own “spacetime,” Richard and Leslie meet with their other selves, a young pianist, a bomber pilot, a married couple living in Russia, a primitive warlord, a futuristic fighter pilot whose “kills” are as harmless as those in video games, and others. Ultimately Bach and his wife learn that there is more unity in the world than diversity: We are all one, our differences deriving only from the different choices we make.

Bach’s prose is easy reading though not especially elegant. His treatment of characters and scenes is cursory, even superficial. The point of the book, however, is not so much the texture of the story as it is the lessons it tries to teach. At times even the lessons are somewhat simplistic, such as making peace is better than making war, or nothing is more important than love. ONE is not a profound book, but it is thought-provoking. Even if one dos not buy the premise that there are parallel lives, that time is concurrent, and that we are all one, there are still many jewels of insight, such as that hate is simply love without all the information, or that the celebrated unconditional love is really more like indifference. By its very simplicity, ONE invites the reader’s mind to wander, so the reader can make his own connections, think about his own choices, and perhaps even imagine his own alternate selves.

Finished : August 2011

Rating : ***/2

11.
Title : The Elephant Vanishes

Author : Haruki Murakami

Summary :

When a man’s favourite elephant vanishes, the balance of his whole life is subtly upset; a couple’s midnight hunger pangs drive them to hold up a McDonald’s; a woman finds she is irresistible to a small green monster that burrows through her front garden; an insomniac wife wakes up to a twilight world of semi-consciousness in which anything seems possible – even death. In every one of the stories that make up The Elephant Vanishes, Murakami makes a determined assault on the normal. He has a deadpan genius for dislocating realities to uncover the surreal in the everyday, the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Finished : September 2011

Rating : ***


Books finished in 2010 :

1. 

Title : The Prophet

Author :Khalil Gibran

Summary : The prophet Al-mustafa who has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses many issues of life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

Finished : February 2010

Rating : *****

2.

Title : To Kill a Mocking Bird

Author : Harper Lee

Summary :  To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story of Scout Finch and her brother, Jem, in 1930’s Alabama. Through their neighborhood meanderings and the example of their father, they grow to understand that the world isn’t always fair and that prejudice is a very real aspect of their world no matter how subtle it seems.

Finished : March 2010

Rating : ****

3.

Title : Keep Off the Grass

Author : Karan Bajaj

Summary : What do you do when you are a twenty-five-year-old Yale graduate making half-a-million dollars a year as a hotshot investment banker on Wall Street?

You bust your ass and become a millionaire by thirty, of course.
Not if you are Samrat Ratan, born in the USA to immigrant Indian parents; you quit and enrol in business school in India instead.
Samrat’s rollercoaster journey begins at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore, where he spends his time getting high on marijuana while his grades – and self-confidence – plummet. Soon, Samrat’s quest for identity turns increasingly bizarre as it takes him places he hadn’t planned on visiting – prison, for example – and makes him do things he hadn’t banked on doing: ‘meditating’ stoned with a sexy Danish hippie in the Himalayas, hanging out with a cannibal on the banks of the Ganga, and peddling soap to the formidable Raja Bhaiya in Benares.
Does Samrat – Yale valedictorian, investment banker, convict, pothead – survive his fall from grace?(Source: flipkart.com)

Finished : March 2010

Rating : **

4.

Title : The Alchemist

Author :Paulo Coelho

Summary : My Heart Is Afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.”Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Paulo Coelho’s charming fable, now available in English for the first time, will enchant and inspire an even wider audience of readers for generations to come.

The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.

The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams. (Source: harpercollins.com)

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ****

5.

Title : Moth Smoke

Author :Mohsin Hamid

Summary : The year is 1998, the summer of Pakistan’s nuclear tests, and Darashikoh Shezad has just managed to lose his job in Lahore. As the economy crumbles around him, his electricity is cut off, and the jet set parties behind high walls, Daru takes the bright steps of falling for his best friend’s wife and giving heroin a try. This is the story of his decline.(source:penguinbooksindia.com)

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ****

6.

Title : Marx & Engels – A biographical introduction

Author :Ernesto ‘che’ Guevara

Summary : An unpublished work by Che Guevara. A thoughtfully succinct introduction to the lives and work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by Che Guevara, who himself made an original and unique contribution to Marxist theory and practice.

“Now St. Karl is paramount, the axis, as he will be for all the years I remain on the face of the earth…” So wrote young Ernesto Guevara referring to Karl Marx in a letter to his mother from Mexico in October 1956.

Che learned from the German revolutionary, and in his extensive travels never ceased immersing himself in the classics of  Marxism.

Many of Che’s comments about Marx might also refer to Che himself, such as his observation:

“Such a humane man whose capacity for affection extended to all those suffering throughout the world, offering a message of  committed struggle and indomitable optimism, has been distorted by history and turned into a stone idol.”

Written after Che’s 1965 mission to Africa, this unpublished biographical introduction to Marx and Engels will assist a new  generation to understand not just the key concepts of Marxism but also to learn more about the author himself, whose image and example continues to inspire rebels on every continent.

This book also includes Che’s suggested reading list of the works of Marx and Engels and facsimiles from his original  manuscript.(Source:oceanbooks.com)

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ***

7.

Title : Blasphemy: A Novel

Author :Tehmina Durrani

Summary : Extract:

“” To me, my husband was… My son’s murderer…. He was also my daughter’s molester…. A parasite nibbling… On the Holy Book… He was Lucifer… Holding me by the throat…. and driving me to sin every night…. He was Bhai’s destoyer… Amma Sain’s tormentor… Ma’s humbler…. And the people’s exploiter…. He was the rapist of orphans… and the fiend that fed on the weak…. But… over and above all this… he was known to be… the man closest to Allah… the one who could reach Him… and save us.””

Description:

The author made her sensational literary debut in 1991 with her controversial autobiography, My Feudal Lord (see the Politics section in DesiStore), which won Italy’s prestigious Marissa Bellasario prize. Blasphemy promises to generate the same degree of excitement as her first book. Set in South Pakistan, Blasphemy is an enticing novel by Tehmina Durrani. Angry and courageous in outlook, it establishes Ms.Durrani among the foremost writers of the Subcontinent.

Inspired by a true story, Blasphemy is a searing study of evil, an uncompromising look at the distortion of Islam by predatory religious leaders. In prose of great power and intensity, the author tells the tragic story of the beautiful Heer, brutalized and corrupted by Pir Sain, the man of God, her Husband.

Blasphemy depicts the struggle of a Muslim Woman against all that is contrary to what Islam stands for. It is an amalgamation of fact and fiction, blending to disguise and protect the victims of a horrible human tragedy, while exposing the powerful religious imposters who prey on a wretched and powerless people. A shocking tale of cruelty, sex and violence.

In order to find a cure for any disease its imperative that you detect it early, isolate it and then try and cure it. It is in this regard that credit should go to Ms.Durrani for getting to the root of a disease that has been rampant in many of the urban and rural areas of Pakistan. Blasphemy is a tale that demands concentrated effort from its readers to try and rid the country of the menace of female abuse.

It gives a horrific account of how the custodians of religon are using their ‘special knowledge’ to exploit the illiterate masses. The central character, Heer, is one such victim of this form of designed oppression by the antagonist Pir Sain. It’s her exceptional beauty that catches Pir Sain’s eyes at first. After abusing her body on the night of their marriage, Pir Sain sets out to control her mind and soul as Heer is forcibly adapted to a life alien to her and unbearable to any human being. Blasphemy is a tale where day after day the body keeps surrendering and the soul keeps rebelling as Heer searches for a moment of peace.

Through Heer’s experience the author brings out a blasphemous way of life, unknown to the layman, practiced not only by Pir Sain but also by his followers. Pir Sain’s abstinence from going to his wife during Ramadan is the action of any orthodox Muslim. His beating of Heer for missing her prayers further secures his image in front of the extremists. But then there is his demand that Heer aborts their child so he may satisfy his carnal desires, demands immediate retribution. Despite all his vices, he is holy and almost divine by his followers. Blasphemy is a tale where Heer exposes the evils of these ‘holy-men’ – first to herself and then to us.

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ****

8.

Title : The Little Prince

Author : ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY

Summary : Since 1943, the wise little boy from Asteroid B-612 has led children and their adults to deeper understandings of love, friendship, and responsibility. The Little Prince is a cherished story, read by millions of people in more than a hundred languages. In honor of its sixtieth anniversary, Harcourt is proud to present this special edition of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s treasure, which includes a satin bookmark and presentation page, and comes in an elegant cloth slipcase enhanced with gold stamping and embossing. A must-have edition for any collector, this lovely book is also the perfect gift for those new to the wisdom of the Little Prince and the charms of his rose-and-star-filled worlds.

ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY (1900-1944) was born in Lyons, France. He took his first flight at the age of eleven, and became a pilot at twenty-six. He was a pioneer of international commercial aviation and flew in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. His writings include The Little Prince; Wind, Sand and Stars; and Southern Mail. In 1944, while serving with his French air squadron, he disappeared during a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean.

Annotation

An aviator whose plane is forced down in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince from a small planet who relates his adventures in seeking the secret of what is important in life.

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ****

9.

Title : French Lover

Author : Taslima Nasreen

Summary : A woman?s search for love and independence in a strange city far away from home. French Lover is the story of Nilanjana, a young Bengali woman from Kolkata who moves to Paris after her marriage to Kishanlal, a restaurant owner. Her marriage, where she functions as little more than a housekeeper and a sex object, is far from fulfilling and Nilanjana looks desperately for a way out of the boredom and depression that threaten to engulf her life. It is at this point that she meets Benoir Dupont, a blond, blue-eyed handsome Frenchman, and is swept off her feet. Benoir introduces Nilanjana to the streets, the cafes and the art galleries of Paris. In her passionate, sexually liberating relationship with Benoir, she finally begins to have an inkling of her own desires. The relationship ends when Nilanjana realizes that Benoir?s first priority is himself and not the woman he loves, and that her need for him has ended. But her road to self-discovery has only just begun…[Source: Penguin Books]

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ***

10.

Title : Who Moved my Cheese?

Author : Dr.  Spencer Johnson

Summary : Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, published in 1998, is a motivational book by Spencer Johnson written in the style of a parable or business fable. It describes change in one’s work and life, and four typical reactions to said change by two mice and two “littlepeople”, during their hunt for cheese. A New York Times business bestseller since release, Who Moved My Cheese? remained on the list for almost five years and spent over 200 weeks on Publishers Weekly’s hardcover nonfiction list.[Source:wikipedia]

Finished : April 2010

Rating : ****

11.

Title : The Story Of My Experiments With Truth

Author : M.K.Ghandhi

Summary : Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, one of the greatest men to walk this earth, begins the story of his life with descriptions of his childhood in Porbandar and Rajkot in Gujarat, his schooldays, his early marriage, the lessons he learnt when he tried stealing, told lies and smoked cigarettes, and his unshakable devotion to his parents. He then tells us of his journeys abroad, first to England and then to South Africa, and narrates in simple, lucid language his transformation from a shy, diffident young man with a chronic fear of public speaking to a fearless lawyer and leader of men who took on the might of the British empire.

Finished : May 2010

Rating : ****

12.

Title : The Japanese Wife

Author : Kunal Basu

Summary : An Indian man writes to Japanese woman. She writes back. The pen-friends fall in love and exchange teir vows over letters, then live as man and wife without ever setting eyes on each other their intimacy of words tested finally by lifes miraculous upheavals. The twelve stories in this collection are about the unexpected. An American professor visits India with the purpose of committing suicide, and goes on a desert journey with the daughter of a snake charmer. A honeymooning Indian couple is caught up in the Tiananmen Square unrest. A Russian prostitute discovers her roots in the company of Calcutta revolutionaries. A holocaust victim stands tall among strangers in a landscape of hate.

Finished : May 2010

Rating : ****

13.

Title : The Professional

Author : Subroto Bagchi

Summary : Moving and deeply empathetic From richly varied experiences, Bagchi explains how to conduct ones career with both intelligence and integrity. This fine book will command a deservedly wide readership. This book is important because it equates professionalism with an inspirational capacity to serve with total integrity a central attribute of the most important change-makers of our time.

Finished : May 2010

Rating : ****

14.

Title : Weight Loss

Author : Upamanyu Chatterjee

Summary : Innocent and unremarkable, but for his near crippling obsessions with sex and running, Bhola goes through life falling for all the wrong people. At school, he lusts indiscriminately after his teachers, both male and female, and is equally attracted to eunuchs. While in college, he has vaguely demeaning affairs with his landlady, and a vegetable vendor-cum-nurse and her husband. Later, he marries (a woman with a voice like liquid gold), fathers a daughter and suspects he is close to balance and beauty. Then his past catches up with him.

Finished : June 2010

Rating : ****

15.

Title : Outliers (The Story of Success)

Author : Malcolm Gladwell

Summary : In this provocative and inspiring book, Malcolm Gladwell examines everyone from business giants to scientific geniuses, sports stars to musicians, and reveals what they have in common. He looks behind the spectacular results, the myths and the legends to show what really explains exceptionally successful people. Gladwell argues that, when we try to understand success, we normally start with the wrong question. We ask ‘what is this person like?’ when we should really be asking ‘where are they from?’ The real secret of success turns out to be surprisingly simple, and it hinges on a few crucial twists in people’s life stories – on the culture they grow up in and the way they spend their time. What does Bill Gates have in common with the Beatles? How does your IQ relate to your salary? What can a linguist tell us about airline safety? How does the way your child speaks to an adult affect their success in life? What do rice paddies have to do with maths results? And how can you predict a maths star without even making them take a test? Malcolm Gladwell has the answers.

Finished : June 2010

Rating : ****

16.

Title : Ladies Coupe

Author : Anita Nair

Summary : Meet Akhila: forty-five and single, an income-tax clerk, and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life – always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider – until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari. In the intimate atmosphere of the all-women sleeping car – the ‘Ladies Coupe’ – Akhila asks the five women the question that has been haunting her all her adult life: can a woman stay single and be happy, or does she need a man to feel complete?

This wonderfully atmospheric, deliciously warm novel takes the reader into the heart of woman’s lives in contemporary India, revealing how the dilemmas that women face in their relationships with husbands, mothers, friends, employers and children are the same world over.

Finished : July 2010

Rating : ****

17.

Title : Love in the time of Cholera

Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Summary : Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza’s impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Florentino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn his eternal love to her, he lives for the day he can court her again. When Fermina’s husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives?

Finished : August 2010

Rating : ****

18.

Title : Skipping Christmas

Author : John Grisam

Summary : Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences–and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

Finished : September 2010

Rating : ***

Books finished in 2009 :

1.  Anne Frank Dairy

Title : The Diary of a Young Girl

Author : Anne Frank

Summary : The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944. It has been translated into many languages, has become one of the world’s most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films. Anne Frank has been acknowledged for the quality of her writing, and has become one of the most renowned and most discussed victims of the Holocaust.

Finished : February 2009

Rating : *****

2. Interpreter of Maladies

Title : Interpreter of Maladies

Author : Jhumpa Lahiri

Summary : Interpreter of Maladies was published in 2000. It is a collection of nine short stories by Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri. It won the ‘Pulitzer Prize for Fiction’ and the ‘Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award’. It was also chosen as The ‘New Yorker’s Best Debut of the Year’. The stories are about the lives of Indians and Indian Americans who are caught between the culture they have inherited and the “New World” they now find themselves in.

Finished : March 2009

Rating : *****

3.

bookcover

Title : Ferighat

Author : Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Summary : Ferighat is fiction written by famous Bengali author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, its based in Kolkaka. Its the saga of Madhu who basically is a failure with his business crumbling after being duped by his business partner and marraige with Hansi failing, that is he’s in a complete hopeless condition. Madhu often sees actually day dreams about a ‘Ferighat’  – a jetty from where steamers (a type of motor boats popular in Bengal ferry passengers across the river).  Why does Madhu see a ‘Ferighat’ ? What happens to his business ? Is he able to save his marraige ?

Finished : Apr’09

Rating : ***

4. Malgudi_79_128

Title : Malgudi Days

Author : R. K. Narayan

Summary : A collection of 32 stories in which the author portrays an astrologer, a snake-charmer, a postman, a vendor of pies and chappatis – all kinds of people, drawn in full colour and domestic detail. The imaginary city of Malgudi springs to life, revealing the essence of India and of human experience.

Finished :June,  2009

Rating : *****

5.

TheReluctantFundmentalist

Title :The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Author : Mohsin Hamid

Summary : A novel written in a monologue format. At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an American stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting . . .

Among the brightest and best of his graduating class at Princeton, Changez is snapped up by Underwood and Samson, an elite firm that specializes in valuation’ of companies ripe for acquisition. He thrives on New York and the intensity of his work, and his infatuation with the beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in the city he loves suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and perhaps even love.

Finished :July,  2009

Rating : *****

6. Thesecret

Title :The Secret

Author : Rhonda Byrne

Summary : Have you been wondering about what ‘The Secret’ is, and why it took the country by storm? You’re not alone. The book, which discusses the Law of Attraction and how to use it in your life, rose to the top of many bestseller lists and inspired offshoots like The Secret Gratitude Book, The Secret Day-To-Day Calendar, and its own official website. The book introduced many people to the concept that their thoughts may influence not only their actions, but the experiences that they bring into their lives as well.

Finished :July,  2009

Rating : ****

7.

I_too_had_a_love_story

Title : I too had a love story

Author : Ravinder Singh

Summary : Do love stories ever die? Can modern day gadgets like mobile phones and the http:www era internet bring you the love of real life? You havent met her earlier, but commit to marry. Will you still call this a love marriage? And what if on the engagement day while you pull the ring out from your pocket, you realize what you planned was just a dream which never comes true? How would you react when a beautiful person comes into your life, becomes your most precious possession and then one day goes away from youforever? Not all love stories are meant to have a perfect ending. Some stay incomplete. Yet they are beautiful in their own way. Ravins love story is one such innocent and beautiful story. He believes love stories seldom die. They are meant to stay for the generations yet to come and read them. And given that one chance to narrate his love story, this is how he began….

Finished :July,  2009

Rating : ***

8.

swami_vivekananda_portrait_128x160Title : Swami Vivekanda : His life and his Message

Author : Swami Lokeswaranada

Summary : A comprehensive book about the life of Swamiji and his message and his teachings.  A must for everybody just to get an idea of the great philosophy of Swamiji.

Finished :July,  2009

Rating : *****

9.

Dollar_bahuTitle : Dollar Bahu

Author : Sudha Murthy

Summary : A story of how money corrupts the way people look at one another and how it can almost tear a family apart
Vinuta marries Girish, a bank clerk, and starts living with his family in Bangalore. She adjusts to her new family well, looking after her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law Gouramma, not taking to heart her mother-in-law’s constant picking. But when Girish’s elder brother Chandru, who is in the US, decides to get married, Vinuta has to listen to the constant comparisons made between her and Chandru’s wife, the ‘Dollar Bahu’, whose husband earns the valuable dollars that has brought the family its recent affluence. Vinuta slowly loses her peace of mind and health.
Then Gouramma decides to visit her US-based son and daughter-in-law. Once there, she sees how liberating life can be, away from the strict norms that govern Indian middle-class life. But she also begins to understand that mere dollars cannot buy the love and respect that she gets as her due back in India.
Does Gouramma forge a new relationship with Vinuta and can Vinuta forgive and forget the past?

Finished :July,  2009

Rating : ****

10.

102384_who-will-cry-when-you-die_pbilimage1Title : Who will Cry when you Die?

Author : Robin Sharma

Summary : After two previous books, this is the third book in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari series by internationally acclaimed leadership guru, Robin Sharma. In this easy-to-read yet wisdom-rich manual, Robin Sharma offers 101 simple solutions to life.Who will cry when you die “sets about making us think hard as to how

Finished :August,  2009

Rating : *****

11.

jonathan-livingston-seagullTitle : Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Author : Richard Bach

Summary : Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach, is a fable in novella form about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. First published in 1970 as “Jonathan Livingston Seagull — a story”, it became a favorite throughout the United States. By the end of 1972, over a million copies were in print, Reader’s Digest had published a condensed version, and the book reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list where it remained for 38 weeks. In 1972 and 1973 the book topped the Publishers Weekly list of bestselling novels in the United States. It is still in print as of 2009.

Finished :August,  2009

Rating : *****

12.

life-of-pi1Title : Life of Pi

Author : Yann Martel

Summary : It is easy to see why Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, Life of Pi, was widely praised and went on to become an international bestseller. Martel tells a story both striking and unique, the life story of Piscine Patel. When he was growing up in India as the son of a zookeeper, Piscine was teased unmercifully for his name, so he shortened it to Pi, as in the mathematical symbol π. This change of name is only the first of several fascinating changes Pi experiences. Some are more or less under his control, like his pursuit of truth by simultaneously studying Christianity Hinduism, and Islam. Some, like his father’s decision to move the family to Canada, are not under Pi’s control, especially when the ship carrying the Patel family sinks and Pi is stranded in a lifeboat with only a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a 450-pound tiger for company.

The bulk of this fascinating, colorful novel focuses on Pi’s struggles to survive and to make sense of this dehumanizing condition in which he finds himself. Every setting, from India to the lifeboat and on to Mexico once Pi is rescued, is vividly rendered. Martel has an eye for vivid details and piles them on, making this novel a joy to read and supremely easy to imagine.

Finished :September,  2009

Rating : ****

13.

Title : The Pillars of the Earth

Author : Ken Follet

Summary : “The Pillars of the Earth” is a 1989 historical fiction novel written by the author Ken Follett. Set in 12th century England, the book is about the building of a cathedral in Kingsbridge. It’s a very interesting novel, rich in detail and always incredibly engaging to read. As well as writing historical novels; Follett also has experience in writing thrillers, he’s a fine author and for those with a historical interest then this is most definitely a book which begs to be picked up and read.

Finished :November,  2009

Rating : ****

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chintan
    Apr 29, 2009 @ 22:00:16

    Nice to read about this page.. I would self tag myself and try to complete 20 books in 2009.
    Thanks,
    Chintan

    Reply

    • dmanji
      Apr 29, 2009 @ 23:20:01

      Welcome on board Chintan, Best of Luck for your 20 in 2009 🙂

      Reply

  2. sweetnothings
    Jul 17, 2009 @ 15:19:13

    Good to read about the books mentioned , i too am a voracious reader but it i difficult for me to pen down about the book. well would try ..

    Dhiman: I am not a voracious reader as such but got hooked on to this challenge. And now I feel its a good way to track books I have read. Specially when wordpress.com does not support Widgets from Shelfari.

    Reply

  3. Nish
    Oct 21, 2009 @ 06:12:26

    Nice variety of books you have read 🙂

    Dhiman: Thanks but you have a much more impressive list honestly 😀

    Reply

  4. gyanban
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 20:59:51

    Recommend Irvin Yalom – When Nietzsche wept.

    Dhiman: Thanks I’ll certainly read it….

    Reply

  5. Jeevan Krishnakumar
    Feb 24, 2010 @ 21:20:55

    He He, you have got good variety, I’ll most probably pick up my next few books from this shelf. Actually, our reading list layout look strikingly similar!

    Dhiman: Thanks Jeevan…. I too thought the same about the reading list layout… do you think there is any IT connection to this 😉

    Reply

  6. Indian Homemaker
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 14:44:35

    Nice list!! ‘To Kill a Mocking bird’ remains my all time favorite 🙂

    But’Kite Runner’ and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ are missing here!!

    Dhiman: Yeah… I read ‘Kite Runner’ in 2008 and I am maintaining the list from 2009 😀 and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is sitting in my shelf for a long time I am to read it 😛 … I am getting lazy these days 😀

    Reply

  7. abc
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 11:19:34

    hey you missed chetan bhagat books..how could you dude:\

    Dhiman: I have not read any chetan bhagat books since last year …I did read one in 2008 last and this list compiles the readings from 2009 so naturally CB’s books missing….BTW CB’s latest book 2 states is lying in my shelf yet to read it 😛

    Reply

  8. Smitha
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 02:19:02

    I really like what you have done here! And you have almost all the best books covered 🙂

    Dhiman: Thanks ! Actually I have some more to cover . 🙂

    Reply

  9. Avada Kedavra
    May 18, 2013 @ 07:52:21

    Nice list. I had not noticed this page before.

    Dhiman: 🙂 … this page is now gathering dust.. like those books on my shelf 😦 … thanks for bringing this page back to life…

    Reply

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