Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reading List (part two)

9) The Brothers Karamzov: Fifth (?) re-read. Plenty more to follow.

10) The Insulted and the Humiliated: This was my second Dostoyevsky book overall. I think I read it first in 10th/11th standard. AK once mentioned (I think in final year) that this book in particular brought him close to tears before he pulled himself together. I'd like to imagine him shedding a couple of tears but the image doesn't quite gel up. How sad!

11) The Difference Engine: The two biggest stalwarts of Science Fiction - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling come together to invent a new sub-genre of Science Fiction - Steampunk. Imagine an alternative past in which Charles Babbage has managed to make his Difference Engine and Ada Lovelace has managed to program the machine. Throw in conspiracies and political intrigue and set up the great London smog of '52 in Victorian times, Lord Byron as the Prime Minister and what follows is a riveting experiment in alternative history telling by two of the most brilliant thinkers of our times.

12) Snow: Orhan Pamuk is a fashionable writer to follow. Especially if you move around in lit circles. So it's not without reason that I came to read him filled with a lot of prejudices. However, having read two of his books - The Black Book and Snow, I must concede that he's won me over. In particular, I think that The Black Book is a stunning read. Snow is awesome too. Very, very highbrow stuff. Recommended to lit junta.

13) Joker: I had blogged about the much anticipated book by Brian Azzarello before also. The book however, is a big let down. A very ordinary story with some stunning artwork in patches. Disappointing overall.

14) Notes from Underground: The most intense hundred page book I keep coming back to. Dostoyevsky kicks ass. Totally.

15) Still Life with Woodpecker: Tom Robbins is currently my favourite writer. This is a terrific book, an enchantingly bizarre love story full of obscure little details with a sardonic, witty, earth shattering explosion of an author. I'll quote the blurb
Still Life with Woodpecker is sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that include powerful Arabs, exiled royalty and pregnant cheerleaders. It also deals with the problem of redheads.

Another excerpt that I just have to post.

Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm.
There is only one serious question. And that is:
Who knows how to make love stay?
Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.
Answer me that and I will ease your mind about the beginning and the end of time.
Answer me that and I will reveal to you the purpose of the moon.

Terrific, heady stuff. I gave this book to AK to carry away to Stanford. I want it back!

Part three of the reading list to follow. Let's see when that happens.


sami in chains said...

FUck! I want Still Life... I want it... I just want it!!

Arvind Krishna said...

I have become (in)famous through your blog...I have always dreamed of it!

Nanga Fakir said...

@AK: A pleasure, as always!