Vantage point

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Tag, I'm IT!

Finally, I get off my bum and do something about this book tag that Yazad has chipkao-ed on me last week.

Total Number of Books I Own: Must be between two hundred and three hundred. That is still not even 1/10th of the number of books I actually want to own.

Last book I bought: Ulysses by James Joyce. Didn't own a copy of it so far.

Last Book I Read: The Marathi book "Yuganta", by Iravati Karve. It's a compilation of Karve's essays about the Mahabharat which appeared in newspapers through the 1960s. Karve, a historian, writes the essays in an endeavour to view the Mahabharat as an event in history, cutting out the mythological fantasy frills that it may have collected along the way. It also "humanises" many characters, and offers a really unqiue perspective on the epic and its central players. The book has also been translated into English, and is available in most bookstores.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me: Most bloggers will agree that this list is a function of the time at which the post is written. If I had written it yesterday, I might have listed 5 totally different books. So this is the list I have come up with today, 5th of June 2005. While this list may change tomorrow, the names will almost surely be from a list of 20-odd books which mean a lot to me -

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - Most people say Rand's books change their lives and they way they think about the world. I was never one of them, because my thinking was always by and large Objectivist. This book gave me a goood reference and an excellent articulation of a philosophy closest to my personal convictions.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare - Of all the Bard's creations, this one is my favourite. It is mysterious, unpredictable, dark, poignant, and rich. No wonder then that Maqbool is also one of my favourite movies of all time.

"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman - This "autobiography" is a very unique one. It consists mainly of anecdotes, but still manages to convey the joi de vivre that Feynman exemplified. In addition to it, the underlying theme is how to lead a truly "intelligent" life, understanding things you do by experimenting, rather than learning stuff from textbooks. The books makes you want to be a "curious character" too, and shatters the stereotype that physicists are just unidimensional geeks. Why this book means a lot to me is, that it is an inspiration for me to live my life like Feynman, doing something new, exploring mysteries, living 'intelligently', and having a lot of fun in the process.

The H2G2 Trilogy in Five Parts by Douglas Adams - Do I even need to explain why this book means a lot to me?

Vyakti AaNi Valli by P.L. "PuLa" Deshpande - This book, which won the 1965 Sahitya Akadami Award, is my favourite from the many that the Marathi legend PuLa has written. It is a collection of character sketches, most of them fictional, but drawn heavily from real life. Each character sketch is priceless, and they all make you laugh, cry, nod in agreement or shake your head in amazement.

Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs: I am taking the liberty of tagging a few more than 5.

Sarika Chuni
Sunil Joshi
Satyen Kale
Pushkar Paradkar
Tony Xavier
B.V. Harish Kumar
George Thomas

Happy Tagging!

P.S. - Check this post by Amit Varma to read all the other tags in the Indian blogdom so far. Nice way to learn about great books.