Recent reads

2017

  1. Tales of Love and Loss by Knut Hamsun **** (SS)
  2. Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb ***** (NF)
  3. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene **** 
  4. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht *** 
  5. The Europeans by Henry James ** (kindle) 
  6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens *** (kindle) - finally a CD book read! Seems like I have watched countless movies/ shows 'inspired' by those themes. Entertaining, like a high drama movie. 
  7. The Red and the Black by Stendhal *** 
  8. The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola *** (Or should I call it an education in modern retail?) 
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell *** (Such unfairness, corruption, nepotism, politics! Heartbreaking. This book has long been staring at me from the bookshelf, for years now. Quick read, like a long short story. But packs a big punch, or satire showing how truth is created, recreated, and revised and created again to suit the ones in power. Good to read it as I pace myself through The Gene, and August 1814.)
  10. The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee **** (NF)
  11. The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov (SF) *** Short Story like. Novella. (kindle)
  12. A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Book 2 of My Struggle). ***
  13. 1984 by George Orwell **** (kindle)
  14. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway *** (kindle)
  15. Jump and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer **** (SS)
  16. Foundation by Isaac Asimov *** (SF)
  17. Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov ** (SF) kindle
  18. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley *** (SF) kindle
  19. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson ** (SF) kindle
  20. The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis *** (NF)
  21. The Duel and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov *** (SS)



2016
  1. The Lady and the Monk - Four Seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer ***
  2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie *****
  3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry ***
  4. The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk ****
  5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ***
  6. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster ***
  7. Mosby's Memoirs by Saul Bellow **** (Short stories)
  8. Smart Money by Andrew Palmer **** (NF)
  9. Macbeth by William Shakespeare ***
  10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ***
  11. Voss by Patrick White ****
  12. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway *****
  13. On Writing by Stephen King *** (Memoir)
  14. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri ***
  15. If On a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvio *** Translated
  16. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams *** (SF)
  17. Browsings by Michael Dirda *** (NF -Collection of notes/ essays on books)
  18. The Years by Virginia Woolf *** (If everything were as simple as good, bad, or ugly, this one had a lot of ugly in it)
  19. Rabbit, Run by John Updike ***
  20. Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov *** (SF)
  21. The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier **  (Short stories)
  22. Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke *** (SF)
  23. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf ****
  24. The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick *** (SF, kindle)
  25. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad ***** (kindle)
  26. Middlemarch by George Eliot **** (kindle)
  27. Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick *** (SF)
  28. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury *** (SF)
  29. The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf ****
  30. The American by Henry James *** (kindle)
  31. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot *** (kindle)
  32. Hunger by Knut Hamsun **** (kindle). Translated. 
  33. Unflattening by Nick Sousanis **** (Literary comic(?))
  34. Contact by Carl Sagan *** (SF)
  35. The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen ***
  36. Bliss and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield *** (Short stories)
  37. Collected Stories by John Cheever *** (Short Stories) 
  38. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli **** (NF)
  39. The Prospector by J.M.G. Le Clezio **** translated
  40. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem *** (SF)
  41. The Occupation Trilogy by Patrick Modiano ****
  42. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison ***


2015
  1. Moments of Reprieve by Primo Levi. (January). **** Short Stories
  2. The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer 
  3. Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano (March) **** three short novellas
  4. Emerald City and other stories by Jeniffer Egan (April) **** short stories 
  5. One flew over the cuckoo's nest by Ken Kesey (April) 
  6. Drown by Junot Diaz *** short stories
  7. Both Flesh And Not, David Foster Wallace ***** essays
  8. Less Than One, Joseph Brodsky ***** essays
  9. 2666, Roberto Bolano **** 
  10. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain ***
  11. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway *****
  12. The Festival of Insignificance  by Milan Kundera ***
  13. My Struggle 1 - A Death in the Family - Karl Ove Knausgaard ***
  14. Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov ***
  15. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton *** 
  16. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou *** 
  17. V. by Thomas Pynchon *** kindle
  18. The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald **** Oct
  19. Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace *** short stories
  20. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut ***** 
  21. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut **** 
  22. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke ***
  23. African Stories by Doris Lessing **** short stories
  24. Three Sisters by Bi Feiyu **
  25. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ***
  26. The Search For Roots - A Personal Anthology by Primo Levi ***** (anthology/ extracts - essential reading as recommended by P. Levi)
  27. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn *****
  28. Rama II by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee *
  29. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway ****
  30. The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse ****
  31. The First Forty-Nine Stories by Ernest Hemingway **** short stories
  32. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner ***
  33. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ****
  34. Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari ****
  35. Between You and Me by Mary Norris ***


2014
  1. Periodic Table by Primo Levi (I missed adding this I guess..one of the first few books I read this year). (deadtree). Beautiful sketches of people! And you get to wonder so much more about Turin, chemistry, War, prejudices, with the author's very clean succinct writing...it draws you in. The curious in me got really intrigued by Chemistry  & geography - and noticed what the author says about the land on my recent trip to Italy and the swiss land. Keen to read more from him. He shares so much more on the world around him in those times...enjoyed it, and would rate it ****
  2. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (January) - deadtree (Such a lovely book! I have decided that I'll just add my notes here since I have not been able to write any posts. The book gladdened my heart! The middle one third might seem like a drag, but the different culture, different landscape, makes it so much more interesting!) My recco to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about Japan in a fun way.
  3. Raised from the ground by Jose Saramago (April/ May) - deadtree (picked this up on vacation in Italy. Was trying to pick up something more local but ended up with Portugese. Liked it much better than the other Saramago I've read - Seeing or Blindness, one of them)
  4. Clifton Chronicles - 3 - Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer (May; quick read, airport buy; deadtree) - its more like I had to read it (and yes, I do enjoy JA - its just that both these seem hurriedly written and very very filmy, but what the heck. A very quick unput-downable read - both of them)
  5. Clifton Chronicles - 4 - Be careful what you wish for by Jeffrey Archer (Kindle (finally!!). Both K and I have been reading the series...now until next year, hope not to read more of Jeffrey Archer) finished over the weekend. And I have promised myself not to read any more page turners until I finish a couple of proper lit. (So Stieg Larsson 3 has to wait)
  6. An artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (May, deadtree). This was bought long long time ago, but finally got read in almost one go. I realise for whatever I might have said in the past, I am not an Ishiguro fan (this is my emotional self speaking). The book is another amazing piece - on Japan (and different times Japan than deZoet's - this one is around the wars, and just post war), and the changing mindsets. In its heart the book carries a sort of disappointment - in the autumn of your life if you realise that you have lived your life for a wrong cause, its not highly heartening. Read it for understanding the land and what shaped some of its people some more. But try to read something happy soon after. (I am reading Science by Asimov - have been learning all new sort of intriguing facts. Sometimes, a dose of wonder is good to kill disappointments; it brings back a lot of perspective)
  7. Circle by Dave Eggers (May, deadtree) Seems like May (and not just Mae) is bringing my old reading me back. And the same old me which tries to slow down and says read no more books for a while, because I seem to go on some kind of binge, ignoring everything else. Hopefully, I'll slow down. Page turners don't help. I should commit to reading Ulysses next probably. I like the book, and found it of our times. Concept is intriguing, but there is a lot that I disagree with. But as K says, you can't disagree with people opinions or judgement, they are true for where they come from, they are not universal facts...but when people make such choices in the book, without crying out or standing for themselves at times, I feel not so happy. Then it is only about the story, like any other page turner - I don't think it claims to be serious lit anyway. Very interesting premise, but the writing is non remarkable. Read it for the premise and what it portrays. (Emotions post reading - unresolved. Didn't like the choices and the weakness in people, disagreed, but I was hooked)
  8. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (June, deadtree). We read the part 3 after reading the first two parts 3 years ago. So it was good that I watched the Part 1 movie recently. I had Daniel Craig as Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth in my head...and yes, Robin Wright as Erica Berger as I breezed through the book. Well, its the end, and it ends the thriller...it leaves you wanting to read some other thriller... but I guess its shortlived feeling. I'll watch the other two movies sometime. How to rate it - read it for the thrill. Rest its the same feeling I got last time...its very transactional text.
  9. Murder in the dark by Margaret Atwood (July) - deadtree. Short, poetic book. Seems like I might have read this earlier. This one is akin to a series of blog posts with interesting premise and thought flow and sketches. Playing in mind - "How does it feel to play God - even for five minutes"
  10. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (September, kindled on idevices)...quick notes: a bit of a let down like his other books...don't know why I expect more from him. As I begin his books, as in the last two as well, generally I like the premise and hope and wish that he would deal with them better. Its a good very fast read, but then I wasn't hoping for a page turner...I sometimes so so so wish that DFW or Doris Lessing could pick up the premises like those and complete those books. But as DFW would say, 'it is more invigorating to want than to have'. Tangential thought, but overall, its good quick read. Don't expect greatness, awesomeness...'read and forget' category, like so much of the fiction I read this year.
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (September, holidays)...really don't want to say much about this one. Goes in my 'read and forget'...I just didn't like the characters...the book asks for no empathy...its not even like Archer or Larsson kind of thrillers. Picked it up from Sydney airport before the holiday - was in the rank 1 box.   Am looking forward to my next read, Muriel Spark's short stories...and the book purchase (a wonderful, small but heavenly book store in Hobart) will hopefully inspire a blog post about book stores, and reading inspiration and quality.
  12. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara (November) ****. Loved the book, pleasantly surprised by it. Che Guevara is adorable. I am not sure many people will begin with that. But first time ever in my life I actually gave thought to learning & practicing medicine (as a would have been!). And given that this is the same weekend as watching Interstellar, I am quite enamored by the whole 'explorer' spirit. 'Old men should be explorers, here and there does not matter'. Should attempt a post about the book. (Am really glad I finished any book after a long while. Last few weeks have seen my mood darken for some random reasons, and this one is a gust of fresh air which I have been seeking badly at some level - lifts me up a bit, and am thankful for that.) Will recommend to anyone keen to know more about Latin America, probably supplemented by one of the fiction accounts of those regions, and then just for feeding the youth within us. And before this book, I had never thought about Che. Now I want to buy a Tshirt with his image (and a beret ;).
  13. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (November, deadtree, ***). My first Pynchon! Not a long one, this one is a novella. It has been with me for a long while, and I have attempted many many times to read it (given the length, it was a very attractive target to kickstart reading), many times reaching almost a third....but finally, managed to read it. It reminded me of DFW...in the way subjects are touched and woven together...the thread through the books is that of mail delivery/ and I was intrigued to look at how messenger services were so central to the rise & fall of empires...in this age and time, one forgets! Good to imagine an older world.... Someday I might write about the book. Not today. Other things beckon.
  14. The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith (December, deadtree, ***) This is a longer short story than a book. Different to what I have read recently. I feel at times that I need to grow up to some of the books. May be read again later to see how they end. I end up feeling that I need to know more about those characters..and understand what happens next rather than let the story end where it ends. This took less than an hour...and is time snatched from 'On the Road' by Kerouac which I have been reading for a few weeks now. Somewhere midway.
  15. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (Nov, Dec - deadtree ****) Just a couple of words: 'beat' and 'dig it'!
  16. Guerrillas by VS Naipaul (Dec - deadtree ***) Picked the book at Lucknow airport before boarding a flight to Mumbai. Glad to get back to reading with this one. Sounds so much like Nadine Gordimer. May be, its the description, the struggles...but this one had so many dark undertones...so much of despair floating around in the book. Books like these though give one a lot of perspective, and at least some understanding of how the world lives, breathes, functions...the rest of the world, outside of the homogeneous world that we occupy. These are good to ground one...to remember that life can be so different,..its just by fluke that I am writing this and you are reading this. It could have been very very different. And then, a gratefulness that we have what we have, the resources, the thoughts, and the most important thing - freedom to think, say, write, read...it can be such a different life. The book is set on a Caribbean island, and runs through a few episodes over the course of a few months. Lots of immigrants, and struggle to control resources, and probably, some struggle for freedom...some politics...(it would be a different world if politics were devoid of personal ambitions)...I didn't understand the exact struggle completely...and may be some of that was the point of the book.  (I am reading 2666 now...Bolano. And a couple of others which I picked up in Mumbai...one of the best hangouts for finding new books has closed down in Lucknow...which contributed to my listless and foul mood initially, but could pick up some stuff in Mumbai...I realize it'll be counting time soon (27/12 today). But 2666 is 900 pages long!). By reading my first Naipaul - i have added another to the read the prize list. 
  17. Also, meanwhile, between July and Sept...I didn't finish the books, but I could leaf through a lot of essays, and science/messenger space stuff...could read some of them on and off...separate blog to talk about my thoughts on these ones. Current list includes - DFW by DT Max, Susan Sontag essays, trying to refine my reading list for fiction as well. There is so little time and so much to read. I can't and shouldn't waste time on random fiction

2013
  • Goodbye to Berlin (Novel/ SS) by Christopher Isherwood (June) - deadtree
  • Too Much Happiness (SS) by Alice Munro (Jun) - deadtree
  • Mr Norris Changes Trains (Novel) by Christopher Isherwood (Jul) - deadtree
  • Life and Times of Michael K (Novel) by J M Coetzee (Jul) - deadtree ***** wonderful read
  • Of Mice and Men (N) by John Steinbeck (Jul) - deadtree
  • Arne - a sketch of Norwegian Country Life by Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson (Nov) - deadtree. ***** (Beautiful read, poetic, describes a time and life when things were simpler and life had different meanings than the superbusy & complicated times of now ...sorry, i must correct myself - not different meanings, just different contexts and ways of living, but the meaning of life stays the same across countries, centuries - the drives of people and love, feelings, story stays the same. Times change, people don't change at their core. Lovely book, lyrical, poetic, uncomplicated, minimalist. 
  • Dear Life, Short stories by Alice Munro (Dec) - deadtree ***** Lovely read. 



2012 (As I read)

  • The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen (deadtree; ***) (Dec 2011 end - Jan 2012 beginning)
  • The Help by Katherine Stockett (iPad; ***)
  • Slow Man by J M Coetzee (deadtree; ****)
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (deadtree; *****)
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (deadtree; ****)
  • The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer (deadtree; **)
  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (deadtree;*****)
  • The Master of Petersburg by J M Coetzee (deadtree; ***) (A little bit grim. But writing is always engaging)
  • What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami (deadtree; *****) Inspirational. A book to go to again and again
  • Aunt Julia and the scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa (deadtree; **) No I didn't like it. I wanted to read it. And since I had already read it past mid point once, started reading it again, and finally finished it. Its supposed to be humor. I like it but am not keen to read more of him right away. May be I picked the wrong book.
  • Down Under by Bill Bryson (iPad-kindle; *****) Fun, informative 
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (deadtree + ipad; *****). (Took two months, after many starts. But loved it, and want more of it. Will read it again someday.) (April, May 2012)
  • Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (deadtree; ****) (June 2012 first half)
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (deadtree; *****); re-read
  • We'll always have Paris (Short Story collection) by Ray Bradbury (deadtree; **) I don't agree with most of it, was saddened and wish for other endings. Felt a bit unresolved. May be, I need to grow up to these stories. (These are not science fiction, more like portraits and dream like revisions of somebody's life).
  • The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald (deadtree;****); a very saddening portrayal of downfall and wastage. Was flustered and carried some of the disappointments out of the book as well. Too many recriminations against weak will and lethargy...scared. Comparing this to the Great Gatsby won't be fair to this book. Some really inspiring passages and the story is saddening, the portrayal is not.
  • The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (deadtree;*****) (before I begin the main novel, I needed to read this prologue) I have tried to read this book twice over the last 10 years - once from District Library in Bhl, and once, sitting in IIMA library, I just happened upon this book. And it has been brought out often but kept back. This time, 5 pages a day, enough time to research on what he says and to let it sink in..and I'm through. The annotations helped a lot. I couldn't have got from the book what I did if it were not for those notes. What stays with me is: terror and pity, in stasis, above desire or loathing, which is kinesis.(proper art)
  • WIP - The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (I realised I am re-reading the book, only after the second section started). I have given this up midway. May finish it before Venice. (later: yep, should do it, have kept it back in the book shelf though)
  • WIP - The Total Library (Non Fiction collection) by Jorge Luis Borges - Loving this, and wish this too lasts for longer. A total re-readable collection, read often and get inspired. (later:)Too much of  thought and new ideas with Portrait. Now, should begin this again. (later - mid Sept - am reading this still, currently in sequence, a couple pages daily. Now somewhere at 220. Rereading earlier read stuff as well)
  • WIP - War & Peace (finally, I've crossed 200 pages. Still less than 10 pc


2011 (Not much read during the second half of 2010 and during 2011)
  • Collected Stories by Paul Theroux (deadree; SS; ****)
  • Tales of Freedom by Ben Okri (deadtree; ***)
  • The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk (deadtree;  ***)
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jeniffer Egan (iPad; SS/Novel; ****) 
  • My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier (deadtree;  **)
  • Barbarians at the Gate by J M Coetzee (deadtree; *****)
  • The Appointment by Herta Muller (deadtree; ****)
2010

  1. 2010 by Aurther Clarke
  2. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. In Other rooms, other wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Short stories)
  4. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (Kindle)
  5. The Matisse Stories by AS Byatt (Short stories)
  6. The Tent by Margaret Atwood (Short stories)
  7. The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger (Kindle)
  8. Diamond Dust by Anita Desai (Short stories)
  9. Franny and Zooey - J D Salinger
  10. Dork - Sidin Vadukut
  11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  12. And thereby hangs a tale by Jeffrey Archer (Short stories)
  13. To kill a mocking bird (kindle)
  14. Everything ravaged, everything burned by Wells Tower (Short stories)
  15. Despair by Nabokov
  16. Dance of the happy shades by Alice Munro (Short stories)
  17. The Girl who played with fire – Stieg Larsson
  18. The Stranger at the Palazzao D’oro – Paul Theroux (Short Stories)
  19. Beethoven was One Sixteenth Black – Nadine Gordimer (Short Stories)
  20. The Financial Lives of the Poets - Jess Walter
  21. Alice Adams short stories
  22. I am Number 4 (Ipad)

2009
    1. QnA - Vikas Swarup
    2. Nine Stories - J D Salingar
    3. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
    4. Love, Again - Doris Lessing
    5. To catch a butterfly - Vivek Kumar
    6. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
    7. Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott F
    8. The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
    9. Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri
    10. The runaway Jury - John Grisham
    11. The Dip - Seth Godin
    12. Paths of Glory - Jeffrey Archer
    13. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
    14. A room of one's own -Virginia Woolf
    15. A room with a view - E M Forster
    16. The Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
    17. Three Guineas - Virginia Woolf
    18. Identity - Milan Kundera
    19. The first Women in Love - D H Lawrence
    20. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
    21. Queen of Spades and other stories - Pushkin
    22. Nocturnes - Kazuo Ishiguro
    23. Howard's End - EM Forster (Kindled)
    24. Murder in the dark - Margaret Atwood
    25. The wife and other stories - Anton Chekhov (Kindled)
    26. Selected Short Stories - Balzac
    27. Never Let me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (KIndled)
    28. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison (Kindled)
    29. Chariots of God - Erich Von Daniken (Kindled)
    30. 2001: A space odyssey - Arthur C Clarke(Kindled)
    31. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
    32. The land of Green Plums - Herta Muller


2008

2007
... (lost the lists. Will be there in some old notebooks. Will add as I get them)

Till Feb 2006
(my earlier blog)
Had read 10 by March 2006.

2005
- 20 books

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