Okay.. This probably is one among the favorites of my topics and I’ve come to this pretty late in my blogging life strangely.
Here goes the list :
- Papillon : This of course has to be the first one. My Bible. (The rest however are in no particular order) The adventures of a man wrongly convicted of murder in Colonial France and sentenced to imprisonment in New Guinea, a French Penal Colony. His struggles through the prison life that lasted 13 yrs, the various escape attempts and the what happens to him. Sad at times, thought provoking, pitiable but mostly inspiring. Makes you realize the cost and the value of freedom, and just how strong the quest for it can be.
- Truth, Love and a Little Malice : The Autobiography of Khushwant Singh. The 98 yr old sikh who writes with such candor and sarcasm. His humor is wonderful and the whole millenium told in a 300 page has so much of information packed into it. What makes this book likeable for me is his bare-it-all attitude of writing and the repeated references to poems, prose and couplets from some of the greatest poets in the past millenium who belonged to the Indian subcontinent, Ghalib, Faiz, Momin to name a few. He also refers to some of the English poets and their sonnets Some of these are timeless and you relate to his story in parts. The way he takes you through the journey is fun!. The English is simple and very easy to understand. I would love to read it again.
- Steve Jobs : This is one book I ordered pre-release and read it right up. I loved the book and how it is written. Being a computer science student my interest in this man and what he brought to the world was high. To hear a man speak of setting up a company, being ruthless to his best buddy, then being fired from his own company and then finally returning back to put it back on the world map as the most innovative and coveted brand in the world, is just wonderful. The other aspect that fascinates me is his Virtual reality that people close to him talk about. How he knew that if you think you can do it ! And this might sound a little off track but towards the end of the book Isaac checks Steve’s iPod. Both discuss the playlists in there and why Steve likes. Dylan, Beatles, Loni Mitchell and a few others. Beautiful!
- Losing my Virginity : Autobiography of Richard Branson. The book just takes off from the first page. You’ll run through his experiences. His outrageously audacious business deals. Ruthlessly expensive purchases, Love and family life, and best of all his adventures and his contribution to the society at large. It’s a must read for people who want some insight into how to approach business deals and the attitude it requires to pull off that kind of stuff.
- Freedom at Midnight : I’m not sure if there will ever be a better book about India’s independence struggle. If any other author will be able to pen down the scenes that unfolded one after the other, chronologically building up right from the dissolution of Rajas and their kingdoms in the early 1900s all the way up to the Quit India movement and the final triumph in 1947, like Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins do. You are left with goosebumps when you read the introductory lines of Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech “Tryst with Destiny” towards the end of the book.
“Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.”
I still get goosebumps ! The book was suggested by my mother for a long period of time until I finally read it and quite honestly it is the best account of the freedom struggle. Every Indian must read it to understand the pain that millions of people went through to win what we are so mercilessly slaughtering today, our country.
I’m waiting to read “O Jerusalem” by Lapierre and Collins.
There are a few other books but then I’ll stick to these, these stand up over the rest as of now.
By the By