Saturday, October 23, 2010

An Update - A Situation - And a Question

Hey everyone!!! Thank you for following my blog..

Today, I have a scenario, and question for you all:

So, I am in grad school currently, and am very busy reading for classes, so my personal reading has been on hold. I try to read when I have free time on the weekend, but I always end up with a new book every week, and can't seem to stick to just one - nothing is catching my attention enough. I came to my blog today, and thought, "hey! why don't I ask you guys for an opinion?"

This is what I need: something interesting (fiction, non-fiction, classic, etc.) - nothing too out there (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) - that is fairly short (under 200 pages), that I can be interested in and get through in one weekend. Preferably it can be found on the world wide web as a pdf or on amazon as a kindle book. (I do have access to a library, so that really is just a preference).

I'm excited to see what you all recommend! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Procrastination brings me here..

So, as usual, I have procrastinated. And hence, this blog post will have a little bit about the books I have read since my last post. Get Set, Ready? GO!

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari:
An excellent book! Although I have to say that the writing style was super simple, and the voice of the book felt as if it was trying to coddle me, the message was brilliant. The meaning and purpose behind this book has had a direct impact on my life (well, at least it's trying to). Without giving away the advice in the book (which is for the book to give and not me!) all I'll say is that I am more productive now, more methodical now. I was before too, but I have realized how to improve on that and how to not let stress get the best of me! Now I know that that has got to make you want to read the book, who knows, maybe your stress will run too! ;)

A Still Forest Pool:
Great advice from a great monk. Achaan Chah gives very simple, to the point, precise advice on how to go about our daily activities. You don't have to be a buddhist or have to follow all of what he says. Just reading his stories and points make things seem clearer. Especially his analogies - they are so meaningful. For example, he talks about planting a seed, watering it, and taking care of it - but ultimately giving it the space and time it needs to grow. You can sow a thought or action, and take care of it and be mindful, but you can't do much more than that so you have to cultivate patience and let it grow on its own. You can't control time!

Five People you Meet in Heaven:
This book was everything I had heard it would be. Strong, powerful, great. It was well written, and took turns you never expect from a book like this. The title tells you what to expect, but what you get is far different. The characters are vivid - the writer's expertise should be commended for that one! And the plot seemlessly flows from one part to another. This is a thinker book - I found myself constantly stopping to consider who my five people would be, who I would want to meet, what in my life is meaningful enough. But alas, it is something I will never know, but I did enjoy pondering over the book and my life - taking parallels - getting the message out of it that we are meant to be who we are. That our actions might inadvertently land us into what we will do for the rest of our lives. That sometimes what we think and hope for doesn't happen, and we have no one to blame or thank except ourselves.

Animal Farm:
A hilarious, satirical, political book by George Orwell. I wish I had read this sooner! Not only is the writing great, but the voices, the characters so real it is hard to not believe it. Of course the story seems ludacrious, but when thought about in depth, one that makes a lot of sense. Orwell wrote this with many current events of his time in mind. But it makes me wonder, isn't this story true to our world today too? A group of people overthrow or run out their leader because they are unhappy, they promise to run a "democracy" but eventually elect a leader to handle the democracy, the leader lets the position go to his head and becomes eventually into the leader that was once overthrown. A vicious cycle, where the people elected might be good, but the position and power corrupts them. How difficult is it in our society to have a fair, good for everyone, leader? Pretty darn difficult I would say! And I don't just mean in politics or in presidential positions - I mean all leaders - political, religious, professional - all of them. Orwell's book makes me wonder if we aren't just like those animals who get fooled by someone amongst their own? Perhaps we are smarter, or perhaps, we just think we are.

Well.. that's all folks! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

So Much To Say...

So, this is an update that is looong overdue.. but what can I say.. It's senior year of college, my last semester, and I'm bumping up the studying to prep for Grad school in the fall! :)

I'm going to begin with a book I read after my aforementioned trip to India - simply because I don't have much to say about it; "2 States: The Story of My Marriage" by Chetan Bhagat is an entertaining book. There is not much in terms of writing, but there is a lot in terms of laugh. He writes an enjoyable book about what happens when two people in India get married and come from different states. This is a very common occurence in today's day, and the folks that go through it face almost what he describes (minus the embellishments I feel). It's a feel good book because the families eventually do consent, and a hope for a united India perseveres. But all in all, this subliminal message is left quite subliminal for most who will read this book. However, it is still funny, it reads really quickly, and will leave you laughing and "aww-ing."


My trip to India was a lovely one, and the Kindle an equally lovely companion! I read my first book on the Kindle during my trip - Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.

There is a great irony in reading a book about the mountains of Pakistan and the villages that are there when you are sitting in a big city of India. I had to put aside my sentiments as an Indian with the whole Pakistan issue and read this book as Mr. Mortenson experienced it - the American way.

There is not much to say about the book except that it is simply phenomenal. It totally exemplifies the meaning of "one person can make a difference." Greg is just a mountain climber, and a Nurse by profession - but along his trek he accidently lands into a village where he witnesses something quite unusual. He is taken by the village elder to where the kids go to "school." He sees a large flat portion of the glacier this village is built on, and the kids are sitting on the ground, doing math sums in the snow with sticks - there is no adult in sight. Greg finds out that the Pakistani government never sent this village - Korphe - a teacher, so the teacher from a neighboring village - miles and miles away - comes to teach these children once a week, and the rest of the week they sit their alone, unsupervised, quietly doing their work.

Now - think about your own kids, or when you were a kid - how likely is this scenario?? I for one know I would never do that, and I remember my childhood in an American school as quite the opposite of the scenario Greg runs into. Now imagine, all of this within the last decade? People, in some parts of the world are living in what we call "primitive" conditions - and no one knows about it. If it wasn't for Greg's accident, neither would he have known! Well the book is all about Mortenson's experience with the Korphe village of Pakistan, his relationship with the locals, his efforts to gather funding, and the like. This is not a story of some rich man throwing money at poverty.. It's about an ordinary Joe who unknowingly comes across the rest of his life in a mountain far away from home. It's pretty darn cool! I personally cannot wait to read the follow up book to this: Stones into Schools.

Going back briefly to my trip to India and the concurrent reading of this book, perhaps a visit to my other blog: will reveal my thoughts/feelings/soul searching on the topic.

After a book like Three Cups of Tea, it is really hard to start another book immediately. Although Stones into Schools is out, and available on the Kindle, I have refrained from purchasing it so soon. The first book's impact is still lingering in my mind, and I'm not ready for that "I can't put this book down because it is so good" read just yet. I do have classes after all! lol.

So, in the mean time, I am collecting some free books on my Kindle, and making a list of what books I want to read. And enjoying my way through "Swami and Friends" by RK Narayan. It's a cute little book with short stories about a character named "Swami." This kid goes through friendships, bullying problems, arguments with his parents, story time with granny, exams, etc. - all the basics of growing up. I wish I had read this book as a kid, but since I didn't I am glad I am doing it now - It's a nice trip down memory lane. Totally recommended!

P.s. I am such a big fan of Kindle now it is unbelievable.. why didn't I get it sooner?! :)
P.P.S For those considering a Kindle worried about having to pay a lot for books they could buy cheaper in used book stores or get from their library, consider the fact that I was able to find 100+ books, non-classic, for free for my Kindle in pdf format. And most classics are available right on Amazon (put together by Google or Project Gutenberg) free for the kindle. Also, a lot of libraries (unfortunately not mine) now have an e-book lending system!

Well.. until next time! :)