How to Develop Cerebral Abs

Long time! Don’t tell me you didn’t miss me.

After a bunch of useless boring posts, I thought it’s better to write something that interests and helps people, which alternatively means, gets me more visitors (Oh I just love visitors!). And my old posts had also started smelling foul from, well, being old.

So, recently I found myself at a loss. I had no idea what to read next (for girls reading this post, it’s the same feeling you get while choosing what to wear; or moms, what to cook next). So I, of course, employed Google with search terms like “Books that make you think”, “Books expand mind”, “Books get smart”, “Best brain simulating books” etc. And after getting through the lists and reading quiet a lot of the suggested books, I think I am in a position to set down one such list myself.

This list knows no genre boundaries, and unapologetically contains many classic cliched novels for the sole reason that they still rock. Also, this is a very personal list, so all biasness is intentional and not regretted.

Arranged in no particular order:

The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand. There are authors. And then there is Ayn Rand. No adjective can do justice with what I feel for her. Don’t let the reviews fool you, pick it up and decide for yourself.

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Another great work by Ayn Rand. Disclaimer: Don’t read them in quick succession, or your friends might complain that you have changed.

The Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding. The book goes on to show the savages that we all have inside us, and how it comes out. The story tracks a group of young boys plane-wrecked on an uninhabited island and what follows. It gets a little (just a little) monotonous after a while but picks up soon enough.

Animal FarmGeorge Orwell. Chances are, if you are searching for books that make you ponder, you have already read it, but no such list is complete without a mention of Animal Farm. And if you haven’t, go start with this one! Also try 1984. Read full review here.

The God of Small ThingsArundhati Roy. Ohhhhhoooo, the god of books that will make you stop, and dive into your childhood and then come back, looking down upon yourself growing on the way back.

Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik. I picked it up because I wanted to learn about Mahabharata, in the most intersting way possible, so that I don’t quit midway (Like I did with the original Bhagvad Geeta). Jaya was the answer. Read if you want to know about what happened before, during and after the age-defining war, in less than 400 pages

Who Moved My Cheese?, Spencer Johnson. Trouble moving on in life, come have some cheese. Continue reading

Advertisements

Because We are All Made of Starstuff

I was (one of the) topper(s) in my sweet little school, until 4th standard. Plump, pink and successful, I could have easily been the youngest playboy in the world, adored by female creatures of all age, sizes and species. But life, as I knew it, changed when I joined a new school. I failed in half my subjects in the first cycle tests in this new school. And as it turned out, it was difficult being a playboy once you grow up, specially when you are still plump, and unsuccessful. My earlier school was an average institution, with no emphasis on spoken/written English. That is what pulled me down in this new place.

Eventually my performance in other subjects improved a little, but in English I could never do well. I did not know how to form sentences or to express as I would have wanted to. And conversing in English was an another story altogether, I just couldn’t manage to speak more than four words consecutively. Then two years later I made friends with a guy who had a thing for books. He would read 4 books in a week on an average and had a large collection (which only grew with time). As we came closer (okay this sounds gay), his book-reading habits rubbed on to me.

I made full use of his collection and our school library. I had no lack of sources and supplies, which I exploited to my heart’s content. Our school librarian and I shared the same ancestral village and I was still plump (it works with teachers even if you are 80 year old). She would issue three, sometimes four, books on my library card and many times I would get books even without a card, which means an instant death penalty if caught, by school standards. I had to keep my mouth shut and smuggle away those books discreetly.

Continue reading

“Animal Farm” – Book Review

A mass is dissatisfied with there present situation, wherein they are slaves to a master who feeds them enough to keep them alive, and makes them work as much as they can take without dying. Among-st the population, a visionary, with benevolence in his heart, rises and spreads his vision and makes his dream a dream everybody shares. It is the dream of a better society, where there is happiness abound and freedom the source of pride and joy. A rebellion is brought to turn this vision into reality. Everybody sings songs of equality and brotherhood, and a constitution is set. Thereby begins the journey towards becoming civilized. The rebels pick up work from where the master left it and adjusts themselves to suit the need of the society. Those with influence and brain get to the front of the things and lead others achieve better living standards. Everybody is happy.

But things don’t always remain happy, do they?

So gradually, this feeling of happiness gives way to a general feeling of just “contentment”. Rations are reduced and workload is more than ever. Joviality is gone, but complacency exists. Freedom, it seems, is worth more than grain. The leaders now start taking up their roles even more seriously, almost violently. Moving speeches are made first, to quieten the mass. When these moving speeches aren’t moving enough for the mass to lie down quietly, phantoms from the past are used to scare them into submission (“Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?”). When even that stops working, fear of life is thrown in next in the equation. The oppressed starts getting hints now. When finally the policymakers start acting the way the governing body (us humans) before the rebellion did, then does the mass realize that they are back to where they started.

Continue reading

“Room” – Book Review

So I had the opportunity of meeting this wonderful teacher who turned out to be a lover and collector of books. And I wasted no time in asking her if she could lend me her books for reading, politely. And Room, by Emma Donoghue, is hopefully the first among many.

Room

I have read my fair share of novels, and Room hit me with its unique style. Ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of a 5 year old? I don’t think I have read anything that answers this question better than Room. It is a story about a girl who was abducted by a stranger when she was 19 years old, and held captive for 7 years until she finally manages to escape with the help of her little son. A perfect description of how difficult it is for the mother-son duo to fit into the outside world follows their escape.

The beauty lies in the little details here and there that the author did not forget including. How a normal spoon is “the Spoon”. How a simple duvet for him is “the Duvet”. The child, Jack, has never set foot outside the room he was born in, and has used the same things since his birth. So these things we usually overlook, Jack sees as friends. The book is also a must read for to-be parents. The methods used by Jack’s mother, identified just as ‘Ma’ throughout the book, are commendable. She managed to raise a child who is not only physically sound, but also ahead of his counterparts mentally. All this without any professional help, and with limited resources.

Although it gets a little repetitive after some 50 pages due to overdose of details, the story again picks up after this brief low. The innocence of a five year old is duly captured and the story does not leave your thoughts hanging in the air. It makes you think, but not feel like something is missing, which is a very popular style of ending novels. Popular and Cruel.

Read it if you wish to see that great novels do not need hefty words, or complex narration, or useless characters. Read it if you wish to see that all a great novel needs is the ability to forge a connection with the reader, how you achieve it is your wish.

Your favorite is now my favorite too ma’am!

Bonne Nuit, or as Ma would say to Jack,

Night Night, Sleep tight. Don’t let the bugs bite.