Monday, January 02, 2017

2016 Books Round Up

My first blog post of every new year is on the books I crunched in the past 1 year. Here is the list for previous years - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

For 2016 I had a target of 52 ( 1 per week ).

Science Fiction


Adventure stories on present earth life is boring. Drama is boring. Romance on Earth is boring. Only Science Fiction keeps me interested - it has all and much more.

1. Dark Forest by Cixin Liu

Remember Stephen Hawking? Recently he gave an interview in which he said something ominous - if Aliens contact us please do not respond - this book gives the why.

This is the 2nd part of the trilogy written by Chinese Author. Compared to first part it was a bit dull, and the story meanders through various attempts Humans make to fight with the advanced Alien species - through our primitive technologies.

Towards the end the story unravels beautifully.

2. The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is a much acclaimed author who is good at painting Dystopian worlds. I heard her name mentioned during the US Election - on how a Trump world will be like Atwood’s so picked this one - was quite depressing at places, but loved the plot. Truly a great story teller. Regarding Trump’s new world - well even Atwood would not have imagined.

3. Red Rising ( Part 1 )
4. Golden Son ( Part 2 )
5. Morning Star ( Part 3 ) by Pierce Brown

Toooo good. As a Sci-Fi Lover lapped it up. The plot started like Hunger Games but got developed elaborately and loved how the story progressed. It is all about Strategy and how our Hero Darryl beats them all edging close to death all the time - everything is there betrayal, adventure,romance - heck they should make this as a movie.

6. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

This is the 2nd part of the Trilogy - the first part was Enders world which got made into a movie. Story starts with a mystery which gets unravelled at the end. Gripping through out - dull at a few places when the author takes pain to explain things in detail - but ending is really superb - how the aliens and humans come to an agreement to co-exist.

7. Survival Quest - Way of the Shaman by Vasily Mahaneko

In future prisoners are not put in Jails, but soaked in a virtual reality prison. And the prisoners have to mine day in and day out. Boring right - but they made an interesting story out of it. But you can skip.

Fiction


8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Want to understand India’s Political Elite - read this book. I think when the Politicians kin enters politics, they present this book - on how to rule the masses.

9. Immortals of Meluha
10. Secret of Nagas
11. Oath of Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi

Somewhere in the middle of 2016 I acquired an Amazon Kindle and promptly signed up for the buffet plan. Read all these books in one trot. Superb imagination. Thoroughly Entertaining.

12. 2 States by Chetan Bhagat

The following criticism might apply to me when I write my own book someday. I once read somewhere that Jeffrey Archer rewrote his book 7 times before he was satisfied. He will also write his books double spaced, so he can make corrections below the lines. 2 States had a nice plot, but felt Chetan Bhagat could have rewritten at a few places. Felt as if the book was written in a hurried manner.

However, to give Chetan Bhagat credit - it was simple fast reading and entertaining. Can see why he is such a roaring success. Has created his own style - and it works pretty well.

13 Stranger by Albert Camus

Much acclaimed. Weird book. Man commits murder and what goes on in his head. Reason why I should stick to Science Fiction.

14. Colorless Tsukumi Tazoki by Haruki Murakami

Story moves slowly. The protoganist discusses Classical Music, describes the food in detail - typical Murakami fare. Interesting plot. Loved it.

Productivity

15. Mastery by Robert Greene

Wish I had read this in the early days of my career. Heck, I would be a writer giving Chetan Bhagat run for his money - if I had read this book some 20 years back. Book has many insights on how to become the master of any domain.

16. Deep Work : Rules for Focussed Success in a Distracted Word by Cal Newport

I had arrived at a conclusion that Social Media is useless. This book goes one step further and drives home the point that Social media is not only useless, but very much evil.

Point well made - this book is a must read for the millenails. - I am depending on you milenials to spend the last years of my life on flying cars, and visting Mars - but if you guys squander the time liking and retweeting inane things - I dread to think how my old age will be. Millenials - please log off Social Media - and go create something awesome.

Comics

17. Amar Chitra Katha’s Mahabaratha I,II and III

Superbly done. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It is such an easy way to read Mahabaratha. Do it.

18. Watchmen - DC Comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Had I been born in US, I would have been a nerd no doubt. And with dark rimmed thick glasses would have read all the comics. This one is dark, depressing at places, totally weird and didnt make any sense dialogues at many places - but gripping and held me glued to it. The book was written in the backdrop of cold war - and the influence of Super heroes on the outcome.

Now I am curious what the Batman, Superman comics are all about.

19. Perspepolis by Marjane Satrapi


Autobiography comic - depressing at many places. The author describes how she squeezes in happiness. We get a glimpse of how Iran went from a Great open culture to smithereens and how it is difficult for a open minded free bird like the author.

Sigh. Why? When we can use our collective intelligence to build space ships to go conquer the Galaxy - here we are mired in petty religious squabbles. Depressing really - how we are wasting the potential of Human brain.

Spritituality

20. Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma

If you are curious on the Spiritual stuff, but do not want to sign into the Art of Living, Isha, Iskon etc.. camps - then read and follow this book. Has good simple tips for leading a good happy life - without being branded as a Spiritual guy. Liked the practical suggestions in the book.

21. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Much acclaimed. Some of the truths we already know - nothing earth shattering for us Indians who are already half awakened. Some are true eye openers.

And for 2017 have again set a target of 52 - 1 per week.