Book Taggin'

For starters, there is a meme that’s rolling in the Indian Blogosphere which intends to make bloggers list their acquaintance with books. It was Chenthil who tagged me. So here is my list.

Total Number of Books I Own : Must be close to 200. This excludes the book that I gave off to cousins at various points in time.

Last Book I Bought : I imported Collection of Sujatha’s Shortstories Part II through a friend in India recently. Bought J D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye last week, for my personal collection.

Last Book I Read : Best American Shortstories 2004, Fred Moody’s Seattle and the Demons of Ambition, Ashokamithran’s Thaneer and Jumpha Lahiri’s The Namesake. Actually I tend to read around 3-4 books at a time, being lazy !!. One before bed, one/two during commute, one in the bathroom. There are 30 books that I’ve booked in the library and I’ve no idea when I will read them.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me : I’m going against the meme. Who cares !!. I can’t get just 5 books listed. No way.

In Tamil

Sujatha’s Nilla Nizhal. I read this during my teens and it made me fall in love with tamil fiction. Though this wasn’t the first story of Sujatha that I read it was my breaking point. The protagonist Mukundan is partly me and partly you. While I read it today, I don’t see why I loved this book so much but at that point, it reflected my teenage thinking towards various things in life. Include 24 Rubaai Theevu also in this category.

Sujatha‘s Shortstory Collection and Guru Prasadin Kadaisi Dhinam. Read them to agree with me. Guru Prasadin Kadaisi Dhinam is arguably Sujatha’s best small-big story.

Aadhavan‘s Enn Peyar Ramaseshan. I only wished Aathavan lived to write more stories like this and enthrall us.

Kalki’s Parthiban Kanavu. Though Ponniyin Selvan is also hugely inspiring, as you read Parthiban Kanavu, one could directly feel a virtual movie screen opening up before you. A perfect historical thriller. Kalki is probably the most inspiring writer after Bharathi.

Ashokamithran‘s Pathinettaavadhu Atchakkodu and Thaneer. Pathinettaavadhu Atchakkodu explains why Ashokamithran is Ashokamithran.

G Nagarajan’s Naalai Matrumoru Naaley. An unknown classic.

In English

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Basic Writings and Nausea. A good friend of mine introduced me to Sartre. It was Krishna who first spoke about Existentialism and Karma in Bhagavat Gita. Then it was Sartre.

Dostoevsky’s Demons. A Russian classic and often compared to the George Orwell’s best.

R K Narayan‘s Swami and Friends. The simple yet classy style of writing of RK Narayan is something that many of us yearn for. It was with Swami and Friends, the world of Malgudi was uncovered to the world. An classic forerunner to Harry Potter and Hogwarts adventures.

George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman. The king of sarcasm with wits unlimited and philosophy topped.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick, Lolita was a true classic of it’s times. I saw the movie first and then I went back to read the book. Unlike the general opinion, I liked the rather long, descriptive and romantic version of Nabokov’s Lolita as a book than the movie. Thought the movie by itself was fun, in my personal opinion, the true work of Nabokov wasn’t reflected in the movie.

Mark Twain’s Tom of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Jules Verne’s Passepartout of Around the World in Eighty Days and the Dickensian pathos of Oliver Twist had great impact in me during my early teens.

Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs:

Desikan, Kinglsey, Anand, Latha, Ragu and Ramesh.

Thought the last three don’t have blogs and they are my offline friends, I will send this across to them on email to see if they can fill this up. Anyone who reads this and is interested, please pick it up.

23 thoughts on “Book Taggin'

  1. My favorite top 5 english books:

    1) “Franny and Zooey” by J.D.Salinger. You might find Salinger’s “Catcher in the rye” to be very enhralling. But F&Z is a very intimate and a personal – spiritual – struggle of a person.

    2)”The Razor’s Edge” by W. Sommerset Maugham – a great book set in the colorful European neighborhood. You would be sweetly surprised that this is based on a real story of a person travelling to India, and that too to Thirvannamalai in the early 1930’s to meet the most popular spritual giant of South India.

    3) “A farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemmingway. I consider this to be the greatest work by Hemmingway. What a joy to read this book!!

    4) “To kill a Mocking Bird” – Harper Lee. Only book written by Lee. If a writer writes the best story he/she could in the very first attempt, then it is the best thing not to write anymore. Harper lee did just the same.

    5) “Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance” – Rober M Prisig. If you ever wanted to re-read a book thousand times, and get a new perspective every time, this is the book for you. As the cover says that this book is neither about motor cycle maintenance nor about Zen!

    Top 5 Tamil Books:

    1) Appavin Snegidhar – Short story collection ( Ashoka mitran) .

    2) Brahma Upadhesam ( Jayaganthan).

    3) Oru puliyamarathi kathai. (Sundara Ramasamy)

    4) Visaranai commission ( Sa. Kandaswamy).

    5) Mogamul (Thi.ja)

  2. “Naalai matroru naalaey” is a classic.G.Nagarajan at his best..also try “Kurathi muduku” and “g.nagarajan sirukathaigal”..i guess he is a very very underrated writer in tamil.

  3. Somebody, Great list. How did I forget Appavin snegithar ?? Thanks for listing Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. I haven’t read it until now. Will do it.

    Mogamul was nice but I probably say the movie first and couldn’t finish the book.

    Arvind, I have the collection of G Ngarajan’s stories. Just got it in this year’s book fair. A friend listed in the post, Ragu wanted me to read it. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks to him.

    Mukund, So do you play cricket too and had tons of crushes in teenage ??? If yes, then yes is my answer.

    Keerthi, I probably think this book tagging is just to introduce books to people reading the blog. Athaan orey linkmayam.

  4. Always tough to list the top5 books. I am listing my favourites in no particular order.
    English
    1. I have devoured all of Michael Crichton’s novels. The best part of his novels for me is that his stand on most issues match mine( with the exception of State Of Fear). His JurassicPark and Lost World must top my list. One reason why I did Masters in Physics was his description of Chaos Theory in Lost World and Jurassic Park.
    He is so meticulous in his research and has the knack of making a very technical topic easily understandable to the common woman.
    2. Ofcourse SWAMI AND FRIENDS….in my (not so humble) opinion the best novel to come out of India. RK Narayanan is plainly brilliant.
    3. Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree Series. I still read them when i feel like it.No JK Rowling’s for me…It will be Dame Enid Blyton all the way for the me.
    4. Ah ofcourse the classics Gandhi’s “My experiments with truth” and Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”.Simply profound, these two books taught me more than what 20 years of schooling and colleging did.
    5. How can i miss out on that brilliant work from India, the Mahabharat.
    The largest epic in the world, this is probably the first “book” to capture the best and the worst of man’s nature. Storehouse of stories, it never ceases to amaze me with the breadth of concepts and ideas covered. And a million thanks to Uncle Pai who introduced me and thousands of others to this wonderful epic.

    In Tamil…
    a) Madhan’s Vanthargal Vendrargal. They should make this book the official history text book in schools. If that happens i am sure we would produce more historians of worth.
    b) Naan Krishna Deva Rayan…by Ra Ki Rangarajan. Ra Ki Ra writes in the foreword that
    Kamal gave him I Claudius and asked him to translate it. But Ra Ki Ra adopted the autobiographical mode of writing from I Claudius and went on to describe certain sections of KDRaya’s life as told by himself.
    c) And ofcourse Ponnyin Selvan and Alai Osai..needless to comment on these. Kalki was probably the last literary geniuses that Tamil Nadu produced. PS is tryly a world class book.
    d) I liked BalaKumaran’s Irumbu Kuthiraigal a lot, especially the chapter where the protagonist recites the long poem on horses. Just too good in concept and execution.

  5. Hey..I have to come up with a different username, until then real name.
    I am going with a few of Mutrupulli’s..great choices…
    1. Mahabharatam..CRR
    2. Swami and friends…just brilliant..adhu enna ‘plainly’, abharam. attaghasam
    3. I actually posted because I love the Far Away trees too..oh, me becoming nostalgic..

    The Enchanted forest, the magic faraway land..
    mutrupulli..help me out. what is the other one..

    4. Currently, I am reading Dave Barry’s : A guide to guys..hilarious..

    My all time favorites change with time..
    so I will keep posting..hee, hee

  6. I hope we have not forgotten Khushwant sigh here. His novel, Delhi, to all those who love history and soft-erotica. It was a runaway hit with me.. I love both.

    If you have read “A hangman’s journal” by Satish Warrier – a lesser known writer of the English language – very powerful.

    Other non fiction books I loved reading:-

    Anita pratap’s Island of blood.

    Roots of terrorism by Kanti Bajpai

  7. Guru, I feel the same about Aadhavan. We lost a great writer in his prime. Have you noticed similarities between Catcher in The Rye and Enn Peyar Ramaseshan? I felt Aadhavan’s novel was better than Salinger’s.

  8. offtopic, have you guys heard the songs from oru naal oru kanavu, music by illayaraja. sonu nigam has sung a couple songs in it, i didnt know sonu nigam could sing tamil songs, he sings so well in tamil too.

  9. Book Tag

    Thanks to Surya for tagging me. This is part of the meme that is bouncing in the Indian Blogosphere. Total number of books I own:I don’t own lot of books. Right now the count will be less than 100. All…

  10. I still remember chewing ‘swami & friends’ when it was prescribed in my school days. (As part of the studies).. Still remember Anandnag in that serial, as Swami’s dad.

    Balakumaran’s ‘Thaayumaanavan’ is still one of my favourite…..

  11. Alright, alright..promise this is my last avatar. No more name changes. Mutrupulli, I could not resist this username. Ennakku sutthama nyabhagam illai…the last of the trilogy…Folks of the faraway tree..I thinked and thanked and thinked and thanked..absolutely cannot recall. I keep thinking of the ‘Land of Goodies’..saapatil thaan gavanam…
    I am going to actually get the series now and read it again.

  12. Lazy thanks for introducing this section, as I feel there isn’t much of a serious reading going on even among the “educated” lot.maybe reasons for all the communal problems, I guess(weird?!…I don’t think so).

    Surely I wud rate Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things” as an english classic coming from India.it evoked all sorts of review, for its “strange” narrative,uncanny use of language, an unnecessary inclusion of sex at the end, description of exotica…
    but it is nonetheless a great master-work(oops…mistress-work?).the pathos underlying the killing of Velutha,the mental breakdown of Estha, the Child abuse and most importantly the caste prejudice of our fragmented society,oh dear! it still lingers in my memory…and I haven’t said yet abt the novel.maybe sometime later.

    Recently I finished reading biography on Darwin by White and Griffith. I must admit that it was an interesting read.surely Periyar wud have liked him very much.

  13. Guru,

    Thanks for the email and quoting me on the list of people who can contribute. In view of my very vast and wide cast intellectual interests, i would end up best 5 books under some 10 different categories like Philosophy(Western,Eastern(sub menu), Psychology,Economics, Sociology,Spirituality,Fiction-Class (English,tamil,kannada),Ficton-Mass(Mystical,Magical,Criminology,Pulp,Legal,Psychology) Non fiction(english,tamil),Music, Sexuality,Feminism,Politics,….sorry this looks like a bibliography for a book on my intellectual pursuits….
    The best thing I can do is quote may 10-15 significant authors(tamils) and their fiction work…shall send by email when time permits…
    Sorry to be sounding too conceited, I am just speaking plain truth….-Ragu

  14. How come I am not finding Jayakanthan in this big list ? Personally I have read only “yuga santhi” and was very much impressed. But I have come across so much refrences to his writing from other authors (mainly Bala kumaran)…
    Maybe he will find a mention if our parents are putting their list ?
    But all in all, a great list. I would like to add “Mara Kaal” and “Aasai ennum vedham” by Bala kumaran, “Madhyamar” short stories from Sujatha, “Fountain Head” by Ayn Rand.

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