Category Archives: books

Not Just My Own Booklist – Part 1

If you are anything like me, you too find chain emails and chain social media posts annoying and easy to ignore.  “I know which of my friends will like/love/repost this”.  Really?  Then you know it won’t be me.  “Send this to 10 friends and watch your luck multiply. You will win the lottery soon!”   Spare me, please. Don’t make me one of your ten friends and don’t tag me.  That has been and is my normal reaction to these time wasters.

But there’s always an exception that proves the rule. Someone came up with a brilliant idea to promote reading and literacy.  Simply post the cover of a favorite book for seven days and tag a friend each day to carry on this good work. And just like that, within a matter of mere days, I had created a curated list of fabulous reads!  Some, I was lucky enough to have read.  Others, I count myself even luckier to have the anticipation of reading.

adult-beautiful-book-2393789I now gave myself a task to make a list in one place of all these book lists created by my own circle of friends (including seven from me) both for planning to read myself and to share.

What better way to meet both goals by scribing and sharing on a blog post? Or two.

Just within the small set of friends who participated there were more books than I could share in a single usable, readable blog post so I now have the pleasure of breaking them up into multiple posts.

And when I say “pleasure”, I really do mean it because as I create these consolidated lists, I get to once again explore and savor each book title.

A word or two about the circle of friends who participated…all were women of differing ages and generations and most had a connection to India, as you will also see from the genres of their book selections.  Given only seven posts and seven books, all were clearly top of their much loved books, which makes this a gift worth sharing.  They are an eclectic assortment indeed…some classics, some not, some fiction, some not. All worth giving a try.

So, here goes, in random order and now with links to more information about each book, for your convenience and enjoyment:

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh

Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramhansa Yogananda

Being Mortal – Atul Gawande

Wolf of the Plains – Conn Iggulden

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne

Remnants of a Separation – Aanchal Malhotra

11/22/63 – Stephen King

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

A Suitable BoyVikram Seth

A Search in Secret India – Paul Brunton

Born to Run – Christopher McDougall

The House of Kanooru – Kuvempu

Auschwitz: The Nazis & the ‘Final Solution’ – Laurence Rees

The Elephant Whisperer – Lawrence Anthony

Tiger Hills – Sarita Mandanna

Four Steps From Paradise – Timeri N Murari

On the Origin of Species – Charles Darwin

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

A Passage to AfricaGeorge Alagiah

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

What wondrous world do we live in that we have such bountiful treasure of reading available to us?

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P.S. As I said, these are not all there are. There are more treasures to come as I use my friends’ shared book lists and create at least one, may be two, more blog posts. 

I like to think I am Stoic

My journey to understanding and wanting to be Stoic began fairly recently.  Perhaps it’s true that with age and wisdom, one gets more philosophical about life and living. In any case, I was fortunate to be introduced to a book called The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday a few years ago.  It literally changed my perspective about living and especially about how to deal with the lemons that life throws us.

I was enamoured enough about this book of learning that I wrote a post about it back in 2014.  It taught me how to react to anything in life, good or bad.  I’ve practiced what I have learnt and over time, it has become a more normal way of thinking and acting.  I know people who go to see “gurus” to learn about life and living.  To me, this book and everything I have read and learnt about stoicism since then has been my best guru about life.

The author based this so very easy to read book upon all of his readings of a single book himself – Meditations by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.  And from everything in this book, a single paragraph formed the core of this philosophy:

“THE IMPEDIMENT TO ACTION ADVANCES ACTION. WHAT STANDS IN THE WAY BECOMES THE WAY.”

— MARCUS AURELIUS

 

Can you read that once again and let it sink in?

Really. Sink. In.

I haven’t read Meditations but I was fortunate to get the Cliff Notes version created by a friend – he had taken the 45000 word tome and condensed it to the core principles in about 3000 words.  Every word is meaningful!  I am still learning. So, while I like to think that I am a Stoic, it’s fair to say that I expect to continue to learn, observe and practice. I am no more than an aspiring Stoic – and very fortunate to have discovered it in the first place.

If you think I am speaking gibberish when I talk Stoic or Stoicism, I encourage you to read this bit about what it means to be Stoic:

What Is Stoicism? A Definition & 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started

Ultimately, what this philosophy has taught me to do is to examine and turn every adversity I encounter, big or small, into opportunity and advantage.  I try.  It’s the first thing I do.

I can’t imagine anything else that can be so useful in life than this way of living – using obstacles to practice excellence.

Is it because I have had more than my fair share of failures and adversities?

Or is it simply that I am human?

person with a problem

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