Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tags Gone Wild

As a reader, I am all over the place. There is no rhyme or good reason to what I read, and why I read it, other than the simple fact that it caught my fancy at that point in time. I do have a list of books that I'd love to read sometime and I'm slowly crossing off (and adding) books from it.

Anyway in keeping with the meme going around, here goes:

How Many Books I Own: Must be in the range of 20-30 including here and in India. Excludes books my parents and brother/sis-in-law own, and only includes books I bought on my own initiative. The rest I've read in India were all borrowed - thanks to friends and family. Here, the wonder of public libraries has kept me solvent and sane.

The Last Book I Read: The Best American Non-Required Reading 2003. - A delightful menagerie of short non-fiction pieces appearing in various places, including The New Yorker and Time on a variety of subjects ranging from meth abuse inThailand to sub-saharan African kids adopted to new lives in Minnesota. Picked it up off the ' paperback picks' at the library.

I tend to juggle more than one book at a time, and am presently reading Ten Things You Can't Say in America by libertarian talk show host Larry Elder (a $1 acquisition at a library sale), On Paradise Drive by NYT columnist David Brooks, and a project crawling-at-the-speed-of-my-brain - The Bhagwat Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda. I'll be happy if I finish (and understand) it before I die.

Books That Mean A Lot to Me:

The Fountainhead (sorry Sumedha :-)) by Ayn Rand - I personally like this more than Atlas Shrugged. Probably because it deals with the creative spirit more than the mercenary spirit, and it is mercifully shorter and less redundant. Reading this when I was around 18 shaped my beliefs as an individual more than all other books. I can still read Howard Roarke's monologue at the end over and over for his insights.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach - There is something inherently appealing about the loner who goes his own way to achieve something above and beyond him/herself and all of humankind (seagullkind in this case). Life's not about survival and this mundane, wasted existence that we lead. That's also the reason I love "Fight Club"...but I digress.

As The Crow Flies by Jeffrey Archer - I know this one springs a surprise - but I'd die to be able to write like Jeffrey Archer. He spins the most preposterous fictional epics in the most entertaining way, keeping you hooked all along. This one's in the saga mould with enough hairpin twists to give a Shyamalan movie competition.

Haroun And The Sea Of Stories by Salman Rushdie - for the kid in me. That I read it when I was 21( then 22, 24, 25 and counting) counts for nothing. With colorful names like the Shah of Blah, and Mudra Abhinaya, Batcheat, and two fish named Goopy and Bagha (in a reference to Satyajit Ray's film) this one's utterly entertaining and brings a smile to the face more often than not. Also had some nasty puns on my last name in Pune due to a pesky character called Butt in the book.Take that, J K Rowling!

Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig - Goes into IP law territory now. Trying to understand why companies want to sue people who share files on P2P networks led me to the mother-lode. Well-written and balanced prose without hysterics or polemics. Larry Lessig makes a convincing case for a strong public domain. The book where Creative Commons is described in detail. (The link points to the free downloadable version of the book)

Fictional Characters That Have Influenced Me: This one's tough - Jonathan Livingston Seagull for one. Not many others. Dunno why, but have been my own person mostly - hehehe.

I don't know if there is anyone in the blog world left to be tagged - but if you already haven't been, Sumeet, and Alhad stand tagged. Anyone else who is reading this, please consider yourself tagged, and leave a comment, saying you're it!


Sumedha said...

I do agree with your choice of Rushdie :) My favorite Rushdie is probably 'Shame'...

Sumeet said...

you've put me in a very difficult position..."what books do you read/have you read " is a question that makes me go red in the face.
But I will give it a shot soon

Ajay said...

I have read a few of his books, and plan to read more. Haven't read Shame tho.

Sumeet, so long as you don't list Millman-Halkias among your list of influences, I'll forgive you for any books you list :-)