Friday, January 09, 2009

A New Year..Back To My Reading
To anyone still reading this space, a very happy new year to you and your loved ones. Not a believer in new year resolutions and all that, but as 2009 began one of the things I did want to get back to was reading. While I do catch up on news and politics on the web and the newspaper, reading a book is one of the things that I truly enjoy.
The last few months of 2008 were pretty distracting what with a pivotal election and the iphone, which I used to follow the election and politics as often as I could during my waking hours. Took me away from the reading time I had on the train.
Now things are a bit quieter, and it is time to get back to reading. I was not sure what I would start reading though. These were the choices (as seen in the picture below)....

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

These are all very good books. My pick to read was "The Great War For Civilisation" by Robert Fisk. This is an author signed copy from my friend Dan. It is a huge book about 700 pages. I am on page 60 now. And I am already hooked. I hope to be able to post small synopsis of each chapter as I finish it. The Publisher's Weekly got it right I think. Here is what they have to say..

Fisk, who has lived in and reported on the Middle East since 1976, first for the (London) Times and now for the Independent, possesses deep knowledge of the broader history of the region, which allows him to discuss the Armenian genocide 90 years ago, the 2002 destruction of Jenin, and the battlefields of Iraq with equal aplomb. But it is his stunning capacity for visceral description—he has seen, or tracked down firsthand accounts of, all the major events of the past 25 years—that makes this volume unique. Some of the chapters contain detailed accounts of torture and murder, which more squeamish readers may be inclined to skip, but such scenes are not gratuitous. They are designed to drive home Fisk's belief that "war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death." Though Fisk's political stances may sometimes be controversial, no one can deny that this volume is a stunning achievement.

So how about you folks? What are you reading? Any new year resolutions?


Asha said...

Happy new year to you and A, Sanjay! :))

I came out of 5mnts of hibernation too, good to be back. I just bought Dan Brown's latest book "Digital Fortress", let's see if I can get some time to read that thriller! :D

Have a fun weekend.

donviti said...

I read the forever war. Great read actually! You aren't going to read anything that will surprise you. But at the same time, you will keep having to pinch yourself as a reminder that what you are reading is real and not fiction.

in the end, you will shake your head and realize our country just screwed up the middle east worse and spent your, our money doing it.

deepsat said...

Happy New Year to you and your family Sanjay!

I was hoping to find some good read. Now I know what to look for. Thanks!!


Sanjay said...

Thanks Asha. How's you? A happy new year to you and your loved ones as well.
5 months of hibernation? wow! That is long. Enjoy digital fortress and the weekend. Thank you for the comment.

Hey Donviti! Yep "the forever war" is a good read, which is why we picked it. Glad you liked it too. I do wonder what it says about us, that we won't be surprised by most of the revelations.
I agree that our country screwed up real bad and it is not over yet is it? Thank you for the comment.

Happy New Year to you as well Deepsat. Enjoy the books!

starry nights said...

Happy New year to you Sanjay.I am doing some reading too.I am reading Jhumpa Lahiris unacustomed earth and the Friday night knitting club and another book in line is Love,eat and pray. You have some good books on your shelf.

Lotus Reads said...

Happy, happy New Year Sanjay and you couldn't have chosen a nicer way to start it...with a book! The Fisk book sounds like something that I would definitely love to read, but at 700 pages it's a tome, so I might opt for the audio book instead. Please give us updates on the book when you can. I am sure Fisk has engaged in some fascinating writing with lots of historical facts etc. Considering what is going on Iraq and now in Gaza it is also a very timely read I am sure.

I am reading "Chicago" by Alaa Al Asamy who also wrote "Al Yacoubian Building", the Egyptian contemporary classic. So far I am loving it!

Hope to see more book posts from you!

Enjoy the read!!!

Sanjay said...

@ Starry. Thanks. I have read "unaccustomed earth" and it is a wonderful read. It was on the list of NYTimes top 10 books. Good reads on your list too.

Sanjay said...

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones too!!!!!!!
How are you? Thank you for your comment. I figured resolutions aren't my thing and I have been missing reading the past couple of months.
I agree that the Fisk book is a tome, but it is just such a page turner.
Fisk has a mix of historical facts and his reporting, none of which is dry and there is much to learn from this book for me.
I will try a chapter wise synopsis of this book.
I am thrilled to know that you are reading "Chicago" and that it is a good read. I came across a review of it a few days back and the NYT had good things to say about it.
Thank you for stopping by.

Id it is said...

Happy New Year to you too! Good to see you back!
As for new year resolutions, there were a few but fell apart within the first week itself...
I do have plans to read different sorts of readings , but haven't gotten down to making that discretionary change, as yet. Currently I am reading Naipaul's biography by French, and I like what I've read so far...

Anonymous said...

Hey..Happy reading! I just finished Gandhi and Churchill by Arthur Herman. An absolutely amazing book. If I wanted to I would read it through in one sitting, but life called. Also went through Indian Summer By Alex Von Tunzelmann. A really good book with a very interesting perspective. I am planning to read "The twentieth wife" and "Feast of roses" both by Indu sunderesan. Have fun. Let us know how they turned out.

Sanjay said...

@ Id, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. Ye.. new year resolutions have a way of being short lived.
I haven't read Naipaul's bio by French, but thoroughly enjoyed reading the review. Nice choice of reading to start of the new year I have to say.

@binaryfootprints. Quite an eclectic reading choice. Glad to see that you are getting a lot of reading done. I have to remember to come back to this comment for the books you read. I am hoping to do a chapter wise recap of the Fisk book, not sure how that will go.

Asha said...

Hey Sanjay, just wanted to let you know that Trisha just got accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill this morning, early admissions. She has applied only to Chapel Hill so far and she got it. She is on the Moon, so are we!:))
They have rejected almost 9000 applicants, record number of applicants this year and this is only the first phase of admissions!!

Sanjay said...

Wow! Asha please accept my congratulations and pass them on to the kiddo! She has really done well. UNC is a great school!
Thank you for letting me know!

Anonymous said...

What am I reading?

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Freakonomics - Levitt & Dubner
Holy Blood, Holy Grail - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln (wanted to read it because of the whole DaVinci Code plagiarism flap)
The Conscience of a Liberal - Krugman
The Drunkards Walk - Mlodinow
The Numerati - Baker

Happy New Year!

Sanjay said...

cdm, thank you for your comment and for sharing your list of reads.
It is a very interesting list I have to say. I have not heard of these two titles.
Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Drunkards Walk.
I will come back to this list as a reference of sorts.
BTW I think you may really like "The Numerati".