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?




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. 


What’s Your Superpower?


I was having a casual conversation with a colleague one day when he spouted something rather profound. I was more than impressed with what he had surmised. He looked at my open mouth when he had finished and said, “You know, that’s my superpower, the ability to discern blah, blah, blah…”.

It doesn’t matter now what he said just then or what that superpower was; what I thought rather intriguing was that he had thought about it long enough, introspected and analyzed to come to a conclusion about what his superpower was.

Since then, having thought about it some, I have reached my own conclusion and that is that for an individual exploring their own superpower it can be good for their soul. In fact, I have developed a few theories about this topic.  

No matter their stage in life, every individual has been gifted or gained a number of inherent strengths.  Nature or nurture, it doesn’t really matter how they have secured these, just that they do have them.  Of all these strengths, I would say that a person’s “superpower”  is one among those that is exceptional and truly stands out from the others. It is one that has been life-changing or has the potential to be for that individual. 

In this context, “superpower” is defined as “excessive or superior power“.   Yours and mine.  🙂  Yes, I believe everyone has at least one.

Once you have thought hard to determine what your superpower is (let’s assume one superpower, for simplicity), I believe you will never, ever take it for granted. And when life throws you some curveballs, you will tend to intentionally bring it out and let it do its work.  That’s my theory anyway.  One I’ve yet to practice – mostly because I had never given a thought to what my superpower might be.

In fact, I doubt that most people think about it that much, leave alone introspect more deeply about it.  [Unless you’re a narcissist, in which case you obsess about it, and think that you and you alone have a zillion superpowers.  Let’s assume you’re not one of those].  If you’re “normal”  (and not a narcissist), you can easily go through life ignoring the superpower(s) you have. For one thing, it takes some serious introspection that most people do not indulge in.  And for some,  it can be downright uncomfortable to even think about this.  Plus, of course, everyone’s “too busy” living life, so where’s the time?  Ha.

I had to stop and force myself to think about it. Indeed, it was a deliberate and purposeful action. I listed what I deduced to be my strengths, trying to be as objective and honest as possible about them.  Then, I scratched out all that I would consider “normal powered” strengths.   I was left with a shortlist of three “above-normal” strengths that I then further analyzed until one stood out as distinctive and “life changing”. I’m rather embarrassed to admit what it was since it is so mundane and actually quite boring.  But it’s a superpower for me because it has truly been life-changing…and life-making.

I think you should try out this exercise for yourself.  It may just be for the heck of it but as you traverse life, and when you recognize what you have in your power – nay, in your superpower, I believe you will be intentional about using it for your benefit.  Especially when life gets in the way, as it sometimes does.

Just for grins, I conducted this exercise on myself to also understand what my anti-superpower was.  [There’s not an antonym for “superpower” that I could find]. And what an interesting ride that was!  Just as before, I had to stop, think and make a list – and this time, it’s one with all my weaknesses, my failings, my deficiencies.  I shouldn’t be surprised that this was a longer list! Then, I ranked these qualities until I got to the one that has probably been the most impactful and life-changing – in a very negative way.  That is my anti-superpower.  It pays to know this too.  Now, I can be very intentional about keeping it at bay!

Come to think of it, this latter exercise is just as useful as (if not more than) the previous one.

Try it out, why don’t you?   When you have a few moments of do-nothing time on your hands, play this game.  It’s really not for anyone but yourself.   Go ahead, discover that superpower of yours that you’ve always had – but never appreciated or cherished. Recognize that you have this superpower and pull it to the forefront to help you navigate life.  And while you’re at it, find your anti-superpower – that major barrier, blocker, impediment to your happiness/growth/success – so that you can just tell it to go away and hide somewhere in the background.




Image Source:

By Fleischer Studios – File:Superman 1 The Mad Scientist 1941.ogv, Public Domain,

%d bloggers like this: