Books of year 2009: My Picks

I did manage to read good number of books this year too. However more than books, this year I read more of online material. Let me list down some books I read this year

1. India After Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha

It summarized India’s history from independence till today. The book was engaging as well as entertaining but is not meant for serious readers of history. A good buy.

2. India: A wounded Civilization by V.S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul is too straight forward for most of the people and this time he writes about Indian Civilization. In the initial chapters he describes beautifully how R. K. Narayan’s otherwise ordinary books actually represent a psyche very characteristic of Indian civilization. He analyses India’s transformation as a civilization and does it very competently.

3.  Nehru : A contemporaries estimate by Walter Crocker

Walter Crocker was working with Australian Embassy to India. He got an opportunity to observe Nehru very closely. Unlike Indian authors he had no compulsion to glorify this man and wrote truthfully whatever he felt of this man. While admiring Nehru he also noted that many things that Nehru stood for was not really his characteristics. The way it is potrayed that Nehru liked Children, it wasn’t really so.

4. Are We deceiving ourself again? by Arun Shourie

Arun Shourie, my favorite author revisits Sino-India conflicts and puts before the readers role played by Nehru in the same. He points out the mistakes that Nehru made and related them to the current situation suggesting that we are repeating our age old mistakes again.

5. Muhammad: Biogrpahy of a Prophet by Karen Amrstrong

Karen argues that Muhammad is man misunderstood by western society and his life is truly impressive. She has written this book with the wester audience in mind and does a good job of introducing muhammad to the uninitiated.

6. A life to Ride

A 60+ year old biker decides to go on his second voyage to Ladakh from Pune. As expected it is an adventure with many small stories to share. Any person who likes to travel would be delighted to read this book.

7. We must have no price.. by Arun Shourie

Arun Shourie’s collection of essays and lecture published. I have written a more elaborate review of this book on my blog.

8. Black Swan by Taleb

Black Swan is one of the best seller book that argues that our plans have little significance on our future. It ridicules the idea of conventional wisdom and art of predicting the future based on past data. To gain extraordinary results one has to more rely on chance. This is a must read book.

9. The Middleman by Sankar (Jana Aranya in Bengali)

This is a Bengali novel written by a celebrated author Shankar. The story of the book is about a youth in Kolkata during the hay days of socialism in India and his struggle to get employment. In his search for job he realizes that the world around him is nothing but a jungle. Later when becomes successful he realizes that he has paid a too heavy price. Story was indeed very compelling. Satyajit Ray even made an Award winning movie based on this Novel.

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