• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

Books you are reading

Wharfedale Speakers

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
Interestingly the 'heavy' book that I am reading (In Defense of Lost Causes- Slavoj Zizek) has this to say about Crichton...

"Crichton added to the genre (Capitalist Realism) a postmodern techno-thriller twist, in accordance with today's predominant politics of fear: he is the ultimate novelist of fear- fear of the past (Jurassic Park, Eaters of the Dead), of the nanotechnological future (Prey) of Japan's economic strength (The Rising Sun), of sexual harassment (Disclosure), of robotic technology (Westworld) of the medical industry (Coma), of alien intrusions (Andremeda Strain) of ecological catastrophes (State of Fear). State of Fear, his most recent book, brings an unexpected final addition to this series of shadowy forces which lurk among us, poised to wreak havoc: America's fiercest enemies are environmentalists themselves. " (page 52)

just sharing an interesting bit of trivia...
Bumping an old and interesting thread for bibliophiles :)
Michael Crichton was an author I enjoyed reading as a kid and still re-read them.
It's true that Crichton was a master of weaving a story around the unknown. It is known that fear and dread in humans comes from uncertainty. What makes this dread more sustaining is when it is associated with everyday objects and ideas we are used to, and never think of them as possible agents of harm.

Like H.G. Wells before him, Crichton was also a visionary. Many of his seemingly bizarre ideas and interpretations really did come to fruition later on. From the talking gorillas in Congo, self-replicating robots in Prey, pandemic from space in Andromeda strain, brain implants in Terminal Man to cloning dead or extinct animals in Jurassic Park and Lost World, several of his story plots turned out to be eerily true later on :)
 
SPONSORED ADS

SPONSORED ADS

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
It'll be very difficult to list my favorite books, but I'll include a few (in no particular order of preference). I prefer mostly fiction (that seems to be much better than the bitter reality :))
W. Somerset Maugham - Moon and Six Pence, Of Human Bondage
John Steinbeck - East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath
E.M. Forster - Howard's End
Wilkie Collins - Woman in White, The Moonstone
Anthony Trollope - The way we live now
Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance
Michael Palin - Himalaya (this is a non-fiction, travelogue :) )
 
Last edited:

arao

New Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
8
Points
3
Location
Bangalore
Interesting thread!

Currently reading:

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism - by Shoshana Zuboff
(The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power)

Do Dice Play God - by Ian Stewart
 

arj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2008
Messages
3,396
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
While I read Non Fiction very rarely was very impressed by Harari's "Species", Homo Deux less so and of course Freakonomics. Tipping point/Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell are another 2 books.

So many authors on Fiction. Just finished Men without Women by Murakami and am a voracious reader of anything written by David Baldacci, Daniel Silva, Greg iles, Harlan Coben, Ashok Banker

Can re-read any book by Alistair Maclean, Ludlum and Arthur Hailey
 

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
I'm currently re-reading W.Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" (this is the third time :)). The epigraph to the title reads as "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard" (Katha-Upanishad). This is a tale of a confused man's unraveling and his search for the meaning of life and at the same time a satirical view of the American high society post World War I.

A reader who is familiar with Maugham will find him as a keen observer of human nature. All his characters are extremely complex, imperfect, prejudiced and confused. In his own words (quoted from "Moon and Six Pence") - "I was perturbed by the suspicion that the anguish of love contemned was alloyed in her broken heart with the pangs, sordid in my young mind, of wounded vanity. I had not yet learnt how contradictory is human nature; I did not know how much pose there is in the sincere. how much baseness in the noble, nor how much goodness in the reprobate"

This tale unfolds with Maugham as the observer, and all the events that occur are from his objective point of view, which gives us, the reader, the impression that there is no judgement involved. There are parallels which we can draw to John Steinbeck's works which too surmise that human spirit can transcend the individual. In the protagonist's words “You see, money to you means freedom; to me it means bondage.”

I wouldn't delve more into the story, but would leave you all to enjoy the author's brilliant prose, poetic imagination in this captivating and complex tale!
 

moktan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
918
Points
93
Location
Kalimpong
I too read multiple books at a time. The ones I enjoyed were Nassim Taleb’s books from his Incerto series. The last one was Skin In The Game. A cantankerous but very entertaining and insightful writer. I especially like his reference to ancient books after invoking Lindy’s law- the future life of an idea or a book is proportionate to its present life. So if a book is old it will survive even longer , which makes reading ancient books kind of like a sound investment of time and effort.
I am reading Frankopan’s The Silk Roads , a very entertaining history of the world , with the premise that the ancient world was not as insular as we think it was. Trade , culture , war etc cross pollinated continents.
Another book I am looking forward to reading after having enjoyed his Debt: The First Five Thousand Years is Graebber’s Bullshit Jobs.
 

moktan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
918
Points
93
Location
Kalimpong
You will probably enjoy his Writer’s Notebook too.


I'm currently re-reading W.Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" (this is the third time :)). The epigraph to the title reads as "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard" (Katha-Upanishad). This is a tale of a confused man's unraveling and his search for the meaning of life and at the same time a satirical view of the American high society post World War I.

A reader who is familiar with Maugham will find him as a keen observer of human nature. All his characters are extremely complex, imperfect, prejudiced and confused. In his own words (quoted from "Moon and Six Pence") - "I was perturbed by the suspicion that the anguish of love contemned was alloyed in her broken heart with the pangs, sordid in my young mind, of wounded vanity. I had not yet learnt how contradictory is human nature; I did not know how much pose there is in the sincere. how much baseness in the noble, nor how much goodness in the reprobate"

This tale unfolds with Maugham as the observer, and all the events that occur are from his objective point of view, which gives us, the reader, the impression that there is no judgement involved. There are parallels which we can draw to John Steinbeck's works which too surmise that human spirit can transcend the individual. In the protagonist's words “You see, money to you means freedom; to me it means bondage.”

I wouldn't delve more into the story, but would leave you all to enjoy the author's brilliant prose, poetic imagination in this captivating and complex tale!
 

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
Nassim Taleb’s books
I had attempted to read his The Black Swan, but found it to be too dense with information (most of them went right over my head :)) and finally abandoned it midway. In the fiction world I would compare him to Umberto Eco :)
 

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
It has been raining heavily this week and the skies were sombre. To cheer things up, I got a copy of Wodehouse's novel from the library. A few chapters into the book, I can feel the sunshine already :)

This is what Marian Keyes has to say about a Wodehouse book, "The ultimate in comfort reading. For as long as I'm immersed in a P.G. Wodehouse book, it's possible to keep the real world at bay and live in a far, far nicer, funnier one where happy endings are the order of the day"

1565437061239.png
 
SPONSORED ADS

SachinChavan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Messages
465
Points
63
Location
Thane, Mumbai
Somehow I am reading books by female authors these days. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I just realised it.

Here’s the two currently I am on:

014E1B64-D028-4D88-B836-5BB29715B4C4.jpeg

‘Raseedi Ticket’ is Amrita Pritam’s autobiography. Perhaps the most influential of modern female Indian poets, her book is as open as her life was. Lived on her own terms, though self-conscious, kept bouncing back from personal downs. Highly intuitive person who perhaps was more often misunderstood than not.


63987B96-F2DD-4800-A1D9-9CD2B4214ADC.jpeg

‘Persepolis’ recounts Marjane Satrapi’s experience of the fundamentalist takeover of her county Iran from the 80’s from the lens of a child and adolescent. Written in a comic book format, it’s relevant for us today in more ways than one.
 

rksingh1

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
80
Points
18
Location
Bangalore / Kolkata
Currently reading "Are your lights on" by Donald Gause and Gerald Weinberg. It is a book on problem solving. Written very well. Half way through.

https://www.amazon.com/Are-Your-Lights-Figure-Problem/dp/0932633161

I mostly read fiction. "The Martian" - this was one of the "well-written" science fiction I have ever read. Was a fan of Dan Brown - Digital Fortress, Deception Point, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are classic. He seem to have become repetitive after that.

Looking to get another interesting book after "Are your lights on?".
 

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
Looking to get another interesting book after "Are your lights on?".
Hi, the non-fiction books I read occasionally are on wildlife, psychology and travelogues.
If you're interested in Psychology, you might find these two interesting:
Stumbling on Happiness - Daniel Gilbert
The Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz
 

moktan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
918
Points
93
Location
Kalimpong
I found Umberto Eco’s short and playful Misreadings a delightful read. Another one , Name Of The Rose was even made into a movie with Sean Connery playing the role of the medieval detective monk. Eco was into semiotics way before Dan Brown made it more fun with his paperbacks. If you like Eco you will perhaps enjoy Mythologies by the Frenchman Rolland Barthes and his beautiful and moving book on photography called Camera Lucida, too.
Taleb is a mathematician and a risk analyst. I like his books because even though his prose is pugilistic he is for the common man and has special respect for entrepreneurs. Sometimes he can be quite mean and petty when he takes on people like Steven Pinker and Kim Kardashian ( wow perhaps the first time the two have featured in the same sentence). This is his idea of putting his Skin In The Game ( also the name of his last book of the Incerto Series). He wants to take the risk of offending them so that he could be sued, skin in the game.
Taleb has this unique gift of quoting the ancient texts and milking modern lessons out of them. His obsession about ancient books is perhaps due to his deference to the fractal Lindy’s Laws , the future life of cultural ideas and artefacts like books is proportional to their present life - so if a book has survived , through readership for a thousand years, it will survive another thousand, which makes them definitely worth reading. Every book has a kernel of practical truth which he embellishes with anecdotes , references and if one is inclined to read such things , scientific papers , usually in the appendix. His Fooled By Randomness is similar to Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s Walk. But while the latter is almost academic and dignified ( though very readable) Taleb is cantankerous , sanctimonious but very fun. His Antifragile talks about growing stronger under stress. You could increase your Antifragility by spreading your bets, a taxi driver’s profession has more Antifragility than the bank clerk etc.
Speaking of professions , I look forward to reading David Graebber’s Bullshit Jobs.
I had attempted to read his The Black Swan, but found it to be too dense with information (most of them went right over my head :)) and finally abandoned it midway. In the fiction world I would compare him to Umberto Eco :)
 

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
I found Umberto Eco’s short and playful Misreadings a delightful read. Another one , Name Of The Rose was even made into a movie with Sean Connery playing the role of the medieval detective monk. Eco was into semiotics way before Dan Brown made it more fun with his paperbacks. If you like Eco you will perhaps enjoy Mythologies by the Frenchman Rolland Barthes and his beautiful and moving book on photography called Camera Lucida, too.
Taleb is a mathematician and a risk analyst. I like his books because even though his prose is pugilistic he is for the common man and has special respect for entrepreneurs. Sometimes he can be quite mean and petty when he takes on people like Steven Pinker and Kim Kardashian ( wow perhaps the first time the two have featured in the same sentence). This is his idea of putting his Skin In The Game ( also the name of his last book of the Incerto Series). He wants to take the risk of offending them so that he could be sued, skin in the game.
Taleb has this unique gift of quoting the ancient texts and milking modern lessons out of them. His obsession about ancient books is perhaps due to his deference to the fractal Lindy’s Laws , the future life of cultural ideas and artefacts like books is proportional to their present life - so if a book has survived , through readership for a thousand years, it will survive another thousand, which makes them definitely worth reading. Every book has a kernel of practical truth which he embellishes with anecdotes , references and if one is inclined to read such things , scientific papers , usually in the appendix. His Fooled By Randomness is similar to Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s Walk. But while the latter is almost academic and dignified ( though very readable) Taleb is cantankerous , sanctimonious but very fun. His Antifragile talks about growing stronger under stress. You could increase your Antifragility by spreading your bets, a taxi driver’s profession has more Antifragility than the bank clerk etc.
Speaking of professions , I look forward to reading David Graebber’s Bullshit Jobs.
Thanks a lot, Moktan, for the suggestions :)

I loved the movie, The name of the rose and ended up watching it twice :) I read the book later on and found the screenplay for the movie in line with the book, which accounts for the slow pace of the movie. Umberto Eco, clearly is a master of the subject he is writing on, that was evident from his book. Another book of his, which I liked was the "Island of the day before", which too is densely interspersed with historical facts.
Taleb (from my limited understanding) too has this trait of borrowing from his vast knowledge of what he has read. Since I'm not so well versed in reading non-fiction, I found the large volumes bit overwhelming, hence the struggle :)
I'll see if my local library has Camera Lucida, looking forward to read it! Yesterday got my hand on a Maugham's book, "The Merry-Go-Round" which is experimental in nature as it is a trio of stories, I had somehow missed.
 

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
The Merry-Go-Round (W.Somerset Maugham)


This is a book I have just finished reading. As with other books by Maugham, we are introduced to an independent, cynical, humorous and shrewd observer (Ms Ley) and the readers are supposed to assume that this person is the author himself. Ms Ley is an elderly spinster who inherits a windfall when her aged relative passes away. She is the observer and the pivot around which the stories of others revolve around. People confide in her and get much needed comfort and a good and friendly advice when needed. The title of the book refers to the Merry-Go-Round called life, with all its trials and tribulations, hope and despair, mix of right and wrong choices. The author tries to paint all this by narrating the lives of a few of Ms Ley’s close friends. The interesting part is that, from these interconnected stories we get to know a fundamental tenet of life, that all lives are more or less the same, in the end it is a balance between hope and despair. As one character observes in the book, “My dear, if you can suffer all things, you may venture all things”. This in essence describes the journey taken by each of the protagonists, the hope makes them try newer ventures, they suffer through it and at times these efforts turn to failure and despair.

A dialogue between Ms Ley and her friend Dr Frank Hurrell towards the end of the book summarizes the author’s viewpoint, exceedingly well. To quote from the book:

“I love them (the fresh flowers) because they’re the same roses as grow in Rome from the sarcophagi in the gardens. They grow out of those old coffins to show us that life always triumphs over death. What do I care for illness and old age and disease! The world may be full of misery and disillusion, it may not give a tithe of what we ask, it may offer hatred instead of love - disappointment, wretchedness, triviality, and heaven knows what; but there is one thing that compensates for all the rest, that takes away the merry-go-round from a sordid show, and gives it a meaning, a solemnity, and a magnificence, which make it worth while to live. And for that one thing called Beauty, all we suffer is richly overpaid.”

This is an earlier work from the writer, but we can see him in his element with brilliant prose, open-ended tale and complex characters. He describes in great detail, through his characters, the heavy power that social conventions hold and how it impacts the lives of those who follow them and fear questioning them. This book came out in 1904 and follows the workings of the London society of that time and has lots of similarities with Edith Wharton’s 1920 novel, The Age of Innocence (which was later made into a major motion picture of the same name in 1993 by Martin Scorsese).
 
Last edited:

sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
1570265980495.png

I got the Feluda omnibus from library today. This is a 1996 edition from Penguin classics India, translated by Chitrita Banerji from Ray's Bengali edition and covers his sleuth Feluda's initial adventures. There is also a Volume 2 featuring his later exploits.

As a preface to the book, Ray notes (quoting excerpts from the full note),
"I have been an avid reader of crime fiction for a very long time. I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories while still at school.
Although the Feluda stories were written for the largely teen aged readers of Sandesh (a children's magazine), I found they were being read by their parents as well. Soon longer stories followed - novellas taking place in a variety of picturesque settings.
When I wrote my first Feluda story, I scarcely imagined he would prove so popular that I would be forced to write a Feluda novel every year...." :)


Thanks to @Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra for recommending :)
 
Last edited:

skroderider

Active Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
168
Points
28
Location
Hyderabad
View attachment 39836

I got the Feluda omnibus from library today. This is a 1996 edition from Penguin classics India, translated by Chitrita Banerji from Ray's Bengali edition and covers his sleuth Feluda's initial adventures. There is also a Volume 2 featuring his later exploits.

As a preface to the book, Ray notes (quoting excerpts from the full note),
"I have been an avid reader of crime fiction for a very long time. I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories while still at school.
Although the Feluda stories were written for the largely teen aged readers of Sandesh (a children's magazine), I found they were being read by their parents as well. Soon longer stories followed - novellas taking place in a variety of picturesque settings.
When I wrote my first Feluda story, I scarcely imagined he would prove so popular that I would be forced to write a Feluda novel every year...." :)


Thanks to @Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra for recommending :)
They are brilliant. You won't regret. I have read them in the original Bengali, and there is probably no match for them in any other Indian language.
 

sound1

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
223
Points
28
Location
Bangalore
Already read and liked these:
Freakenomics - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner (non-fiction)
Fooled by Randomness - Nassim Taleb (non-fiction)
Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahamsa Yogananda (spirituality)
Holy Science - Swami Sri Yukteswara (spirituality)

Currently Reading:
How to Change your Mind - Michael Pollan (non-fiction)
Foundation - Isaac Asimov (fiction)
Leonardo da Vinci - Walter Isaacson (biography)
 
Last edited:

Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra

Active Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
157
Points
43
Location
Kolkata
Hi
Sandeepda
Some other facts about Feluda and Ray. Once I read in a newspaper that the fictitious character penned by Ray was actually his alter ego. I believe it to be true because Feluda's intelligence, his perseverance, sense of humour and his mind which is absolutely free from greed remind us of Ray. Besides, Feluda made adventure in that places where Ray himself went.
Regards
Bhaskar
 
SPONSORED ADS

Top