Showing posts from 2011

Seven Eight Nine - The Thirty Week Project

These three weeks included nine days of a very hectic India trip during which not much reading happened. I was able to get through two books over this period partly because I was determined to and partly because the books that I chose for these weeks were so damn funny.
I am talking about the first two books in the planned Dork trilogy by Sidin Vadukut.

You can find out more about the books here. The author's blog, and his twitter feed can also serve as a constant source of funnies alternating with insights (sometimes both clubbed into one).
The books follow the adventures of Robert Einstein Verghese through his life immediately after he completes his MBA (book 1) and then when he's on an assignment in London (book 2). All through this, he remains one of the most unlikeable fellows you can find, and keeping us interested in knowing more about someone like him is a great achievement on the author's part. The books are in the form of a diary, complete with dates and times, and s…

Five Six - The 30 week project

Just because I wasn't able to post here doesn't mean I wasn't true to my self-assigned project :-)
For week five I picked up the much recommended Google Hacks by Rael Dornfest. It ended up being my book for week six too since getting through the book involved some do-it-yourself stuff on the laptop as well.

Before getting this book from my library I wasn't aware of it being closer to a reference book. Nevertheless, I had fun reading this one and would say it's a good one to keep next to your computer (if you're one of those who still has a desktop at home) so that you can try the self-contained hacks when you have time. Also, hack here means a neat or clever trick as opposed to a dirty trick, and it's meant to act as a tool to help you get the most out of Google (or to get you out of those situations when even google can't rescue you). There is also some space devoted to tricks that would help you amuse/fool your friends, but I think that would work mostl…

The 30 Week Project - Week 4

So on with my book for this week, the promisingly titled Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Get Stuff out of Your Head, Find It When You Need It, and Get It Done Right by Douglas Merrill (former CIO of Google) and James Martin.
I have a self-imposed rule of not giving too much importance to self-help books. This one made it through my filters since it was a) heavily recommended and b) the premise appeared to be a bit different than your typical self-help literature. The author being a former CIO at Google definitely helped matters. In the end, it proved to be a bit of damp squib for me, but not necessarily because of the being particularly unreadable. I was more shocked than disappointed since I already practice most of the stuff suggested in the book, and I would definitely not describe myself as organized :-) But I guess I would have been a lot worse were it not for my judicious (hey I have to call it that, even the former CIO of Google recommends it :p) use of the various to…

The 30 Week Project - (2 week long) Week 3

Thanks to work, and preparations for Deepawali, the second week of my project lasted a couple of days longer than two weeks. But through it all I'm happy that I was able to stick to my rule of devoting only the non-productive time to the book at hand.
The book that I'm done with now is "Gandhi An Autobiography - The story of my experiments with truth", which, as I know now, was written in Gujarati originally. The style of the book is very simple and conversational, which makes it an easy read. The author didn't write it in one go, or take too much time out from his daily schedule to pen this. Instead, he tried to complete a chapter or two each week, which makes it easy for the reader to have breaks between chapters (and suited my reading pattern just fine).
The author is one of those people who bring out deeply polarizing opinions in people. I am yet to meet someone who looks at him objectively, he is either the Mahatma or the selfish politician who played favourit…

The 30 Week Project - still week 3

I have been totally swamped at work since I started Week 3, and so I've not made as much progress as I would've liked on the book. Actually, read that as no progress at all.
But I am not complaining, since I am enjoying this time at work, nice and interesting. Hopefully I will be back on Sunday with my view on the current book and my pick for the next week.

The 30 week project - week 3

Week 3 of The 30 Week Project beckons, and it is this week that will test my resolve for the first time for I am totally inundated with work. Nevertheless, I will try to stick to it, and hopefully will be successful.
Week 3 started on October 2nd, the birthday of one of the most well known Indians. So I decided it would be the right time to get to a book that has been on mylist for some time now. The book is "Gandhi An Autobiography - The story of my experiments with truth".
I have read parts of this book in Hindi a few years ago. Since then I've wanted to give it a complete reading but something or the other kept popping up. But now the stars have aligned in the form of my 30 week project, and my wife randomly buying this book, so I shall make full use of it. I went through the first few chapters this morning on the way to office and what stuck out for me from the introduction were the bits where he asks the readers to not take like/hate any idea because he does so, but to…

The 30 week project - week 2 conclusion

It wasn't too much of a reading week since I finished the book in a couple of days flat. Turns out that was for the best since I haven't had any time to spare from work since then.
As I'd mentioned, I'd taken up Lee Goldberg's "Mr Monk is miserable" last Sunday. It was a fun breezy read and for the most part it kept true to the portrayal that we have seen on TV. It was a good idea on the author's part to stick to Natalie's first person account of the events. She has the best view of Monk and the mystery at hand, and provides the much needed saner voice when Monk is going berserk in his own way. As is common with Monk, investigating is something that comes as second nature to him and it isn't really the centre-piece of the tale so to say. That honour goes to Monk being Monk  when experiencing Paris, trying to find order in chaos, trying to arrange all human skeletons by type in a Catacomb, trying to single-handedly clean up the streets of Paris, …

The 30 Week Project - Week 2

I am assuming you know about the 30 week project that I am on right now. Week 1 was a success and now I am on to week 2. I'd this vague idea that I'll try and mix up the kind of books that I read, to prevent boredom from setting in. And so the book that I have started in week 2 is Lee Goldberg's "Mr Monk is miserable".

Monk is one of my favourite TV characters, and one of quirkiest detectives that you will ever see. His cases are always a mix of good fun (for the viewer) and great detective work. As I have discovered after buying it, this book is not the first but the seventh in the series of Monk mystery books, so I assume they have had some success, thus patting my own back for this impulse buy being a good one. I have seen a lot of characters make their way from books to TV and cinema screen, this is the first time I will be following someone the other way round (full disclosure, I started on Sunday and I am already pretty deep into it). It looks like fun.

The 30 week project - week 1 conclusion

So week 1 of The 30 Week Project was successful, partly because I stuck to public transport, mostly because the book that I was reading held my interest.
I had no idea who Rob Lowe is till I'd seen Sam Seaborn. Without having seen too much of his work, I can say with certainty that Rob Lowe would be hard pressed to not put Sam's name forward were he asked to present just one of his roles to showcase his work. As I often tend to do when I like something, I read more about The West Wing and that was when I came to know of his unceremonious exit from the show, the controversies surrounding his video-tape, the early fame and the late blossoming as a dependable and sellable TV star. The stuff that I read was interesting enough to get this book on my reading list when it came out, and I am glad that it did.
What I like best about the book is that it is in first person throughout. It is not an adult Rob telling you what a 10 year old Rob did, it is the 10 year old Rob who navigates you…

The 30 week project - week 1

Starting today, for the next 30 weeks, I will be trying to finish one book each week. By trying I mean that I will be putting all my non-productive time into reading (mostly commute time), without actually going out of my way to meet this imaginary deadline that I am creating. Why am I doing this? Because I want to. Everything doesn't have to have a rock solid, well thought out reason :-) It's just one of those things I have decided to do on a hunch, and I plan to stick to it.
I started today with Rob Lowe's "Stories I Only Tell My Friends". I don't see too much of a problem in finishing this one on time :-)

Of timing, and ZNMD

There is something to be said about timing, some even go as far as to say that timing is everything. If you want to see a simple yet beautiful example of that then the ending of Zoya Akhtar's latest offering Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ज़िन्दगी ना मिलेगी दोबारा) would be the perfect example. She ends the movie at just the right moment. Few seconds ago would have been too early and few seconds later would have meant overstaying her welcome (something even the most accomplished directors tend to do). 

Which is not to say that the ending is the only thing worth looking forward to (as is the case with so many movies), just that it is the perfect icing on the delicious cake that is this movie. At two and a half hours, many might feel the movie to be too long, but I feel that even there Zoya got the timing right. One can always nit-pick and find weaker portions in the movie, but that would be missing the point.

On the face of it, the film looks to be about three childhood friends reconnecti…

Of Male Vulnerability

Pyar ka Punchnama’ is a movie that I’d been hearing a lot about over the past few weeks, and that scene (rant) from it is one of those that has been shared the most across the time-sink that is my Facebook and Twitter timeline. All that had given me an impression of it being one of the many forgettable comedies that the Hindi film industry keeps churning out, albeit one with a few laughs.
I was happy to be proven wrong when I realized that I was laughing harder than I had for a long time (in a Hindi movie), that I was not inclined to be updated on Twitter/Facebook while watching it (as I am prone to do when I am watching something at home that doesn’t have my complete attention). The movie has more than a few laughs, is very close to reality when depicting how guys in general and engineering grads in particular talk amongst each other (unlike for example the fruity exchanges shown in 3 Idiots) - and this depiction does not come with the impression that the director is trying too hard …