Books I am reading

Updated: Jan 27, 2019


I update this entry from time to time, to reflect my current bookshelf.


List of books for 2017-18 (and beyond) which I have already read, (re-)reading currently or plan to read eventually. Many of these works deserve their own review article. Maybe I'll get to doing that someday!


Nothing beats the feel and smell of a good ol' paperback sourced from Blossoms bookstore, Church Street. I have, however, traded that romanticism for the convenience of Kindle and iBooks.


My rating system in a nutshell :


5/5 - Unputdownable. Quotable. Rereadable.

4/5 - Excellent. But, occasional loo breaks are permitted.

3/5 - Good. Read it when you have nothing better to read.

2/5 - Meh. Why do you have nothing better to read?

1/5 - Link to how such a book must be read.


Non-fiction


Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker (4/5)

I can see why this is Bill Gate's favourite book of all time. The inconsolable optimist in me hungrily devoured the case Pinker makes for reason, humanism, science and progress. With chapters ranging from health, poverty and terrorism to democracy, happiness and existentialism, there is something in it to assuage everyone's fears.


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (3.5/5)

Despite the deceiving title, this is not a self-help book. It is brimming with interesting case studies of people and businesses. If you enjoy Malcolm Gladwell books, you will surely enjoy this (or is it the other way round?).


Economics: The User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang (4/5)

A lucid, non-textbooky read about a field which has always intrigued me. Picked it up from where I had left off 3 years ago. Also recommended is Day to Day Economics, a more easy going introduction to the subject.


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World by Hans Rosling

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond


Science


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (5/5)

Is this my favourite book of all time? An amalgamation of various disciplines of science, history, economics, philosophy and so much more. I read and re-read this book like a cow ruminating cud. The decent sequel fails to match up to the standards set by the predecessor, but then again, very few books can.


A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (4/5)

The thing I love about 'A Short History...' is that Bill talks about the neglected history behind scientific achievements rather than the science itself. The book does slump towards the middle, but I enjoy re-reading the first chapter once in a while, to remind myself why I love popular science books so much!


The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (5/5)

The magnum opus of the world's most famous evolutionary biologist and atheist, is a difficult read - no two ways about it, but it is just as rewarding. I remember staying up in bed late night, feeling feverish and full with the mind blowing postulation I had just gulped down but equally ravenous and greedy to devour another chapter.


Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself by Adam Rutherford

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene

The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee


Psychology


Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (3/5)

I'll be honest. I had high expectations from the Nobel laureate's book and I was let down. It was a dry read about psychological biases I already was aware of. I gave up midway as I did not want to fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Philosophy


The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton (3.5/5)

The book is a nice-ish introduction to the world of philosophy (Socrates, Epicurus, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and the like) but it does not do justice to the talents of Mr. Alain de Botton. I would highly recommend you to visit his YouTube channel. Fair warning - you are going to fall in love with him. He is a total stud.


Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy by Sadhguru


India


India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha (5/5)

This is how history should be taught in school - not with dry dates but with anecdotes! I can only imagine how painstaking it must have been for Guha to cover decades of Indian history in an engaging and impartial (okay, he was slightly left-leaning) fashion. A highly rewarding 1000 page journey.


The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das (4/5)

I had been looking for a book like this for a long time - a detailed character analysis of the figures present in Mahabharata, dissecting their deeds, observing it under Dharma's microscope and comparing them to their contemporary counterparts. Thank you Mr. Gurcharan Das for this unique joyride.


The Wonder That Was India by Arthur Llewellyn Basham

A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India by Josy Joseph


Biography and memoirs


Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (5/5)

This book deserves it own review article. Heck, it deserves its own blog.

A gut wrenching account of a psychiatrist's survival in Nazi concentration camps.

The book's wisdom and philosophy will get you through tough times.

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” - Frankl


Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight (4/5)

I began reading this book out of politeness for the birthday gift that it was.

Knowing very little about Mr. Knight, Nike or even shoes for that matter, I was pleasantly surprised. The book reads like a novel - it is effortless, it is funny, it is thrilling and most of all it is inspiring. Really, really liked it!


Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Man for All Seasons by Kingshuk Nag

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I Too Had a Dream by Verghese Kurien

Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus


Self help


Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life by Cheryl Strayed (4/5)

This is an anthology of Q&A from an advice column. But, don't let that fool you. Strayed writes beautifully, a heart-touching-beautiful kind of way. Bookmarked quite a few sentences.


The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


Poems


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (3/5)

New age 'poems' that people read on the toilet seat and write as Instagram captions. Whom am I kidding? I actually enjoyed quite a few of them!

“The thing about writing is I can't tell if it's healing or destroying.” - Rupi Kaur


The Taste of Words : An Introduction to Urdu Poetry by Raza Mir

The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks


Fiction


The Martian by Andy Weir (4/5)

Like in most cases, the book was better than the film. Nicely paced, scientifically accurate and uncomfortably facetious. If Mark Watney can survive Mars, you and me can survive our 9 to 5 jobs. (In case my manager reads this - I really do like my job!).


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (5/5)

Not really my first choice of genre, but Rosie Project ended up being an unputdownable. A feel-good, funny and romantic tale of socially awkward Don's search for the perfect wife. Note to self : Read chick-lit more often.


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan

Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord

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