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Old 19th October 2010, 21:45   #406
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Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts

It's a 1000 page book, it took my timeslot for 3 books... But it's as good as 3 books in one.

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
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Old 19th October 2010, 22:17   #407
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For me its:
Reading now-
Keeping The Faith-Memoirs of a Parliamentarian by Somnath Chatterjee

My Top Five Books:-
(1) Lee Iaccoca- An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca
(2) India Wins Freedom by Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad
(3) The Crash of '79 by Paul Erdman
(4) Beyond The Last Blue Mountain (Biography of JRD Tata) by R.M. Lala
(5) Godfather Mario Puzo

Among the many!!
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Old 20th October 2010, 00:57   #408
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1. The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth

You probably haven't read this, and you probably should. A book that manages to be one of the most raunchy as well as the most scholarly books (at the same time!) I've ever had the immense pleasure of reading.

"A feast. Dense, funny, endlessly inventive this satire of the 18th-century picaresque novel is also an earnest picture of the pitfalls awaiting innocence as it makes its unsteady way in the world. It's the late 17th century and Ebenezer Cooke is a poet, dutiful son and determined virgin who travels from England to Maryland to take possession of his father's tobacco (or "sot weed") plantation. He is also eventually given to believe that he has been commissioned by the third Lord Baltimore to write an epic poem, The Marylandiad. But things are not always what they seem. Actually, things are almost never what they seem. Not since Candide has a steadfast soul witnessed so many strange scenes or faced so many perils. Pirates, Indians, shrewd prostitutes, armed insurrectionists — Cooke endures them all, plus assaults on his virginity from both women and men. Barth's language is impossibly rich, a wickedly funny take on old English rhetoric and American self-appraisals. For good measure he throws in stories within stories, including the funniest retelling of the Pocahontas tale —revealed to us in the "secret" journals of Capt. John Smith — that anyone has ever dared to tell."
~ TIME magazine's 100 best novels of all time.


Excerpt:
"In the last years of the seventeenth century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educated at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string-taut with similes stretched to the snapping-point." (p. 13)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Again a book that manages to combine historical text and subtext with a epic fictional story and unforgettable characters. Every time I read this masterpiece, I discover new, hidden levels. And yes, even if you are not really interested in history or the author's political viewpoints, just read it as a kind of soap opera spanning generations of a family, you will still enjoy it thoroughly.

Excerpt:
(When the hero's mother goes to a astrologer in Old Delhi and the latter basically predicts all that is going to happen in the rest of the book, beginning with the hero's birth)
'A son… such a son!' And then it comes, 'A son, Sahiba, who will never be older than his motherland-neither older nor younger.' And now, real fear amongst snake-charmer mongoose-dancer bone-setter and peepshow-wallah, because they have never heard Ramram like this, as he continues, singsong, high-pitched: 'There will be two heads-but you shall see only one-there will be knees and a nose, a nose and knees.' Nose and knees and
knees and nose… listen carefully, Padma; the fellow got nothing wrong! 'Newspapers praise him, two mothers raise him! Bicyclists love him-but, crowds will shove him! Sisters will weep; cobra will creep…' Ramram, circling fasterfaster, while four cousins murmur, 'What is this, baba?' and, 'Deo, Shiva, guard us!' While Ramram, 'Washing will hide him-voices will guide him! Friends mutilate him-blood will betray him!' And Amina Sinai, 'What does he mean? I don't understand-Lifafa Das-what has got into him?' But, inexorably, whirling egg-eyed around her statue-still presence, goes Ramram Seth: 'Spittoons will brain him-doctors will drain him-jungle will claim him-wizards reclaim him! Soldiers will try him-tyrants will fry
him…' While Amina begs for explanations and the cousins fall into a hand-flapping frenzy of helpless alarm because something has taken over and nobody dares touch Ramram Seth as he whirls to his climax: 'He will
have sons without having sons! He will be old before he is old! And he will die… before he is dead.'

----------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Three Men And a Boat +Three Men on the Bummel byJerome K Jerome



I'm sure most of us have read this. A timeless classic about three men who go on a boat trip, and there isn't really more to the plot than that, but the author has a knack for turning the most mundane everyday things into hilarious prose (rather like our own Sam Kapasi!). There is of course, the lesser known though equally funny sequel Three Men on the Bummel about the friends' trip to Germany (shades of Kapasi again).

Excerpt:

I said I’d pack.


I rather pride myself on my packing. Packing is one of those many things that I feel I know more about than any other person living. (It surprises me myself, sometimes, how many of these subjects there are.) I impressed the fact upon George and Harris, and told them that they had better leave the whole matter entirely to me. They fell into the suggestion with a readiness that had something uncanny about it. George put on a pipe and spread himself over the easy-chair, and Harris cocked his legs on the table and lit a cigar.


This was hardly what I intended. What I had meant, of course, was, that I should boss the job, and that Harris and George should potter about under my directions, I pushing them aside every now and then with, “Oh, you – !” “Here, let me do it.” “There you are, simple enough!” – really teaching them, as you might say. Their taking it in the way they did irritated me. There is nothing does irritate me more than seeing other people sitting about doing nothing when I’m working.

However, I did not say anything, but started the packing. It seemed a longer job than I had thought it was going to be; but I got the bag finished at last, and I sat on it and strapped it.

“Ain’t you going to put the boots in?” said Harris.

And I looked round, and found I had forgotten them. That’s just like Harris. He couldn’t have said a word until I’d got the bag shut and strapped, of course. And George laughed – one of those irritating, senseless, chuckle-headed, crack-jawed laughs of his. They do make me so wild.


When I had finished, George asked if the soap was in. I said I didn’t care a hang whether the soap was in or whether it wasn’t; and I slammed the bag to and strapped it, and found that I had packed my tobacco-pouch in it, and had to re-open it. It got shut up finally at 10.5 p.m., and then there remained the hampers to do. Harris said that we should be wanting to start in less than twelve hours’ time, and thought that he and George had better do the rest; and I agreed and sat down, and they had a go.

They began in a light-hearted spirit, evidently intending to show me how to do it. I made no comment; I only waited. When George is hanged, Harris will be the worst packer in this world; and I looked at the piles of plates and cups, and kettles, and bottles and jars, and pies, and stoves, and cakes, and tomatoes, &c., and felt that the thing would soon become exciting.
It did. They started with breaking a cup. That was the first thing they did. They did that just to show you what they COULD do, and to get you interested.


Then Harris packed the strawberry jam on top of a tomato and squashed it, and they had to pick out the tomato with a teaspoon.


And then it was George’s turn, and he trod on the butter. I didn’t say anything, but I came over and sat on the edge of the table and watched them. It irritated them more than anything I could have said. I felt that. It made them nervous and excited, and they stepped on things, and put things behind them, and then couldn’t find them when they wanted them; and they packed the pies at the bottom, and put heavy things on top, and smashed the pies in.


They upset salt over everything, and as for the butter! I never saw two men do more with one-and-twopence worth of butter in my whole life than they did. After George had got it off his slipper, they tried to put it in the kettle. It wouldn’t go in, and what WAS in wouldn’t come out. They did scrape it out at last, and put it down on a chair, and Harris sat on it, and it stuck to him, and they went looking for it all over the room.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

4. The Flashman Series by George Macdonald Fraser

This is the most enjoyable series ever!! Very hard to get the complete 12 book collection (at least in India) but worth it! These are picaresque novels, which means that the author inserts his fictional character into real events of the 19th century, making him the central and most influential figure in the way the world was shaped during those times!



The setting is the 19th century. The British Empire is at it's zenith. Enter Harry Flashman: coward, cad, lecher and knave-of-all-trades.

Flashman becomes an unwilling participant (unwilling because he is the greatest coward in Her Majesty's army!) in almost every significant battle and drama of his times, from the disastrous retreat from Kabul (Afghanistan, 1842) to the defense of Rorke's Drift (Zululand, 1879). He was caught up in the Charge of the Light Brigade (Balaclava, 1855), survived Custer's Last Stand (Little Big Horn, 1876), cringed his way through the Great Mutiny (India, 1857), and was a prisoner of the empress-to-be Yehonala (Tzu-hsi) during the Taiping Rebellion (China, 1860).

Unwilling he may be on the battlefield, but in combat between the sheets he is dauntless. Among his innumerable amorous conquests are:

1. The Rani of Jhansi
2. Ci Xi - Empress of China
3. Lola Montez - Famous courtesan of Europe
4. Jind Kaur, Dowager Maharani of Punjab
5. Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar


Note: These are all real historical figures!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Raag Darbari by Shrilal Shukla

If there is only one Hindi novel you read in your life, let this be the one. An incomparable satire of the state of India - as applicable today as when it was written, this just dwarfs some of the recent Booker winning entries by Indian authors. Of course, there is a English translation available, but trust me, it is not a fraction of the fun the original Hindi version is.


Excerpt:

Quote:
सड़क के एक ओर पेट्रोल-स्टेशन था; दूसरी ओर छप्परों, लकड़ी और टीन के सड़े टुकड़ों और स्थानीय क्षमता के अनुसार निकलने वाले कबाड़ की मदद से खड़ी की हुई दुकानें थीं. पहली निगाह में ही मालूम हो जाता था कि दुकानों की गिनती नहीं हो सकती. प्रायः सभी में जनता का एक मन-पसंद पेय मिलता था जिसे वहाँ गर्द, चीकट, चाय की कई बार इस्तेमाल की हुई पत्ती और खौलते पानी आदि की सहायता से बनाया जाता था. उनमें मिठाइयाँ भी थीं जो दिन-रात आँधी-पानी और मक्खी-मच्छरों के हमलों का बहादुरी से मुक़ाबला करतीं थीं. वे हमारे देसी कारीगरों के हस्तकौशल और उनकी वैज्ञानिक दक्षता का सबूत देतीं थीं. वे बताती थीं कि हमें एक अच्छा रेज़र-ब्लेड बनाने का नुस्खा भले ही न मालूम हो, पर कूड़े को स्वादिष्ट खाद्य पदार्थों में बदल देने की तरक़ीब सारी दुनिया में अकेले हमीं को आती है.
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Old 20th October 2010, 12:06   #409
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
The most amazing series of books I have read are Jean Auel's Earth' Children series. Since 29 years, she has only written 5 books, the last one was written in 2002. For the last 7 years Jean Auel's fans have been waiting, waiting and waiting for the sixth book.

Earth's Children - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Read any book and you would want to read every one of them. I read the 3rd book first, and now I have all 5 books, all have been read many many times. These books have enormous re-readability unlike other books.
And the wait will finally end. After 9 years, the final book of the series will be released in March. Her earlier books have sold 45 million copies. She took 31 years to write a 6 book series.

Final book in Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series will be published in 2011 | OregonLive.com

Last edited by Samurai : 20th October 2010 at 12:11.
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Old 20th October 2010, 12:35   #410
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Forgot to mention about another fantastic book that I read recently.

Phantoms in the Brain By V.S. Ramachandran


Twenty four hours before buying the book, neither I knew what phantom limbs are nor I had any interest in neurology. Came to know about the book from a wall post in face book and read some reviews and bought the book the very next day.

Yes, it is dumb-head friendly (oops, now on I will hesitate calling anyone dumb as I am now aware how intelligent even a dumb head is) and the author keeps the interest intact.

Other lesser said aspect that I love about the book is author's approach to research. It is apparent that he has made phenomenal deductions based on very simple experiments. His treatments with a simple cardboard box and mirror have worked wonder in many of his patients.

It is a must read for people involved in research (be it any field) as he strongly advocate against our common notion that it is necessary to have million dollar budgets and hi-tech gadgets to do any meaningful research. Must read.

** By the way, I was not able to fully understand concepts explained in the last chapter (Do Martians see red, I guess). Tried reading it twice, but failed. Have to revisit it on a later date.

tifosi.
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Old 20th October 2010, 13:47   #411
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I just finished Johnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj. I found this book highly immature and unbelievable. This is about an MIT graduate who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and the story follows his journey across the world. Each of his decisions (that eventually make him go from one place to another) are not backed up by enough character or justification, just gut feel. Ok, he can be brilliant, strong, brave, all in one, but I found it incredulous.

Well, the above statements are contrary to all the reviews of the book I read on the internet. They describe the book as a thriller, un-put-downable page turner. I managed to finish the book in 2 sitting and it was worth the 49/- I spent on it through flipkart

The other book I am reading now is called Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi. I have finished about half the book, and am finding it pretty interesting, but the format is too episodic. It is a mix of a few historical facts, speculative information and loosely built story line. Till now, I am reading it because of my interest in history and religion, lets see how it all unfolds and ends.

There is another book that I am reading now, its another interpretation of the Mahabharata. Its called Jaya by Devdutt Patnaik. This is a pretty interesting interpretation with simple line drawings to illustrate a few scenes. I am through about 1/4 the book and I like it!
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Old 20th October 2010, 14:08   #412
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Xinger,

Just now bought Three Men and a Boat. Will share my review soon.

Thanks.
tifosi.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xinger View Post

Three Men And a Boat +Three Men on the Bummel byJerome K Jerome


Last edited by Samurai : 20th October 2010 at 15:10. Reason: Avoid quoting the whole post
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Old 20th October 2010, 16:31   #413
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Bigflix has spoilt me. My reading has decreased phenomenally and watching movies has increased exponentially. Bad!

Been off the reading scene for quite a few months.

Any inputs on latest releases from some of my favorite authors?

a) David Baldacci
b) John Grisham
c) Stephen King
d) Tom Clancy
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Old 20th October 2010, 20:31   #414
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Has anyone explored the world of free books?

Top 100 - Project Gutenberg
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Old 20th October 2010, 22:46   #415
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Missed this thread for a long time, blame it on the movies ;-). Well, I've started reading again and just got some books randomly in last few weeks. Just started with some books with lighter veins and smaller sizes so that I won't again get bored of too long novels. Couldn't finish Shantaram last year due to the shear size of the book.
Anyway, finished Gamechangers by Fake IPL Player, funny story and if anyone liked the FIP blogs during the IPL2 then they'll definitely like this book. Others I feel might give it a miss.
Next come was Dork by Sidin Vadukut. Story was that of a guy who is really stupid and man it's hilarious. Many times you'll feel can someone be such an idiot but then you'ld probably remember meeting someone just like that.
Also finished Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Another fast paced thriller with loads of reference to history/historical figures but this time set in USofA. I found it very entertaining although somehow felt the ending left lot more to be desired for. But it was a roller-coaster thrill ride.
Next in line, well not sure as of now. Might be Digital Fortress or Deception Point by Dan Brown.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 20:29   #416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Has anyone explored the world of free books?

Top 100 - Project Gutenberg
It's a mammoth collection of ebooks in the public domain (copyright not applicable, either due to nature of the book or due vintage).

For those with kids (even adults), Hans Anderson's Fairy Tales are reccommended, they are ILLUSTRATED too with great old pics. Many other books. The format is plain text, html, pdf etc.

Useful for old classics, I had read Jane Austin from the site after watching Pride and Prejudice.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 20:54   #417
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I just finished reading- Echo Burning by Lee Child. It's a superb book and one of my favorite characters ( Jack Reacher-ex US Military Guy). I really liked all books by Lee Child, do give it a try guys.
Indeed. Lee Child is a superb author. His character Jack Reacher is simply brilliant. A real hero. Read all the books except 61 hours.

I got a Kindle recently - lined that book up there.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 21:39   #418
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1) Story about a Real Man - Boris Polevoi
2) He came Back - Boris Polevoi

Top 5 is not yet there for me, Hope they come soon.

But i enjoyed all books of Chetan Bhagat. A nice story teller
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Old 2nd November 2010, 15:44   #419
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Picked 3 books from landmark on sunday:

1) Small Wonder - The making of the Nano by Philip Chacko
2) The India way - by Peter Cappelli
3) The Maruti story - by RC Bhargava

I dont understand why Indian books by Indian authors on Indian subject are expensive. Do they want to limit number of readers? :-)
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Old 2nd November 2010, 16:21   #420
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Any inputs on latest releases from some of my favorite authors?

a) David Baldacci
b) John Grisham
c) Stephen King
d) Tom Clancy
What was the last Grisham you read?

My last 3 were Appeal (2008) which is super (I have read it 3-4 times atleast), Associate (2009) which is decent, Ford County(2009) - short stories, not so good. I think I have read each & every one of his earlier books.

Plan to read his next 2 soon - Theodore Boone & Confession. I think Confession was released very recently (October).

Last edited by carboy : 2nd November 2010 at 16:25.
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