When a friend tagged me in a top ten books challenge, or the book bucket challenge ( as it is called on Facebook following the huge success of the ice bucket challenge) I wrote down the following ten books in my status. But as per her suggestion, when I tried writing a reason behind each entry, I couldn’t fit it in a few words. So I made a blog post out of it.The books are listed in no specific order. Here I go
Phantoms in the brain
This appears at the top of the list because this is my most recent read and I can’t stop talking about it. Aptly called the “Sherlock Holmes of Brain Science”, V.S.Ramachandran, the author has made this book as informative as a text-book and as engaging as fiction. Must read for popular science lovers.
Surely you are joking Mr.Feynman
I remember borrowing this book from a friend after a discussion we had about Feynman. I have to shamefully admit that I don’t think I ever returned it. On the other hand, my brother claims that he actually bought it from a road-side used books stall. He could be right, because I have a feeling that I might be mistaking this book with “Tuesdays with Morrie”(probably because I read them around the same time ?). Either way, this book sits in my parents’ bookshelf in Pune reminding me of times when our young minds were eager to learn all we could about physics, mathematics, electronics and know more about the Feynmans of the world to find inspiration!
The Foundation Trilogy
My father told me about the wonderful universe of Asimov’s science fiction during one of our nightly family-dinner- discussions. Living so far away from home, those discussions, that covered a wide range of topics from science to cinema, are what I miss the most. I wish I could go back to those times again. Just like I wish I could read Asimov for the very first time and be spellbound, once again!
Vyakti ani Valli
I haven’t read much of Marathi literature, but I am glad I have read this book by P.L.Deshpande. What do I say about this author ? I just love him! But then again, who doesn’t ? The entire state of Maharashtra admired and adored this talented writer, comedian, musician, actor and director, who was an exceptional human being. The book is a series of character portrayals, with writing that is both humorous and poignant. That is probably what has prompted me to read it again and again.
When I read Fountain Head as a nineteen year old, I was taken by the story and the ideology outlined by the author. I loved the book, still do. Then I read Atlas Shrugged as a 25 year old, and I am glad that I took my time before I read it. As a work of fiction, I liked it much better than Fountain Head (except may be a few pages of monologues that were testing my patience). However my views about the author and her philosophy changed quite a bit. I went from unquestioning admiration to a mature combination of appreciation and criticism. I know this can be a topic of much debate, so I will leave it at that!
Perry Mason Novels
I inherited my love for reading mystery novels from my grandfather. Ajoba would bring home two novels at a time from the library and we would take alternate turns to read both the books. One summer, he repeatedly brought home Perry Mason novels and that is when my ever lasting love affair with this series by Erle Stanley Gardener began. As a young girl I dreamed of being Mason’s secretary, Della Street but with much more contribution in helping him solve his cases! Also, in my dreams, they were lovers 😉
Electronic Devices and Circuits
It was a big fat yellow book that I bought at the start of the semester. I remember wondering to myself if I was every going to read even a single page! But this book by Millman and Halkias is one of my top ten. Not because I read the entire book, because i didn’t. Not because I fully understood the principles outlined, because I didn’t. And not because I remember or use any of it now, because I don’t. This book has found its way to this list because this was the first technical book that I was happy to keep reading past many midnights! Amongst all the jugaads for submissions, month long studies to pass exams, bunking lectures and other shenanigans, this book gave me more “engineering joy” than anything else I ever did in my undergrad years!
I have lost count of how many versions I have read and who their authors are. I have read it as a comic book(Amar Chitra Katha), as a textbook (I believe my school used it as one for Reading in 8th grade), as a part of R.K.Narayan’s Indian Epics Retold and as a character commentary (Yuganta by Irawati Karwe). As a kid I repeatedly devoured a series of Marathi books called “Bharatiya Upakatha”, loosely translated “Indian subplots”, that have all the sub-plots and sub-sub-plots related to Mahabharata. The characters their stories and their backstories are all so captivating, interesting, motivating, illuminating! There is so much fun to be had and so much to be learned by reading this great epic! I am both surprised and sad to see that it doesn’t make it to many/any top ten lists!
Lord of the Rings
I resisted reading fantasy for a long time. It was childish of me to think that it was too childish 😛 Well, while I still think that is true of some fantasy novels that I won’t mention here, it is certainly not true of this epic series by Tolkien. This features in my “stranded-on-an-island-wishlist” ! Love the movies by Peter Jackson too. I watch at least one of them on every flight to India!
I don’t know how or why I landed my hands on this book at the public library. I don’t know what prompted me to pick it up and read it till the very end. And I don’t know why I liked it so much. The language was of course archaic. The narrative was coarse, disjointed and almost confused me at times. It underlined the wild and vulgar side of human nature. The story traveled a rough road but there was a soft rainbow waiting at the end. What can I say, I am a sucker for tragic love stories!