Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A book tag.

Shyamala Ramanathan-Edwards, who goes by the misleading name "Shyam", :) has tagged me with a very interesting tag, and here it is:

1. What is the total number of books you've owned?

If you include Tinkles and Amar Chitra Kathas, probably around a million.
Excluding them, probably around 500 - 1000? That reminds me, I should do an inventory sometime soon.

2. What is the last book you bought?

Folktales from India - by A.K. Ramanujam

3. What is the last book you've read?

My grandfather's autobiography in Kannada - Nenapina Alegalu (Waves of Memories) by Prof J.R.Lakshmana Rao.

4. What are you currently reading?

RK Narayan's Gods, Demons and Others. It is his rendering of the Ramayana, Mahabharatha, and other mythical stories, all in one book. A delightful read, and will make a wonderful gift, especially for youngsters.

5. What are the 5 books that have meant a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed?

This one is difficult. If I choose five, I will be doing an injustice to the others. Also, these books might not count among my favourite ones. But they have made a difference to me, or have been a turning point in my life :)

The Source - James A Michener. One of the best books ever. Michener chooses a plot of land in Israel, and traces the developments on that piece of land, across centuries. It is a thrilling story and a historical piece of work all rolled into one. Most of his books - Hawaii, Poland, The Covenant(about S. Africa) are written in a similar vein. It took me places, and opened up my mind. Out of the world. Alex Haley's Roots is also a similar piece of work. I would have wanted to add it separately, but I need the space for the other books :)

Gone with the wind - Changed my world. Changed my ideas of life, romance, my ideas of a novel, and how it should be written. The characters were my friends. The story was happening around me. I was immersed in the book so thoroughly, that I had to keep reminding myself that I was not in Southern USA before the civil war.

The Great Indian Novel - by Shashi Tharoor. - Enjoyed it just for the idea and the wonderful play with words. Opened up a new genre of writing for me. New ideas and new avenues. Difficult to explain.

The Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (abridged version) - for the simple reason that this is the first book that made me cry. I was 11 years old when I read it, I finished reading it, closed the book, and burst into tears. I remember that my mother was so worried.:) I do not remember the story very well, nor have I read the original, but I just remember it as the first book that made me cry.

Nenapina Alegalu - by Prof. J.R.Lakshmana Rao - An autobiography of my grandfather. Written in his typical style - can almost hear him speak. This book is special for many reasons. One is that it is a story of my own grandfather, a popular science writer in Kannada, a winner of many Sahitya Akademi awards, and a national award winner for popularization of science. This is his only non-scientific book. The second reason is that his story is of interest to everybody, coz for one, it speaks evocatively of life in those days. He talks about people, with such characters, that it is difficult to imagine that such people existed. It is so surprising that people could be so good, so kind, so helping and so honest, and so generous and unselfish. The third reason is that during his life and work, he came across many nationally and internationally renowned figures, and was fortunate enough to be close to them and know them well. This brings to light their other, lesser-known characteristics, and is thus a very interesting read.
Review of this book in The Hindu

6. What book(s) would you wish to buy next?

I want to buy a book which has the complete history of the world, condensed and made easy-to-read. I am looking for such a book, but have not found one which meets my criteria :)

7. What book(s) caught your attention but you never had a chance to read?

Nope, if something catches my attention, the next moment, I will have my paws on it. :) So this question will be bypassed :)

8. What book(s) have you owned for long but never read?

Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and War & Peace. I bought them coz I wanted to own them :) But haven't got a chance to read them.

9. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why

No, no, I am not passing the baton to anybody! But believe me, if you like books, this is a very very interesting tag to do. So please consider yourself tagged :)


Anonymous said...


Never knew the "Nenapina alegaLu" connection ! Good to know that :)

Every girl likes 'Gone with the wind' :D That is one book I have it from long time but never read....actually its an interesting story...I took it from library and had placed it in my apt for 15 days w/o reading...Last day I kept it in my bag to return it back....Sambhar had leaked from the lunch box and had made a small part of the book yellow....The librarian asked me to pay 10 francs fine. I paid it. As I was leaving the counter she added that I have an option of keeping the book as I have paid the money! Gladly I took it...I always thought it will be a good book to read in flight and airports 'coz of its size and I have taken it with me ever since ( ofcourse w/o reading it once )

PS: It was Anitha who gave me your blog link. Prolly she was bugged to hear me cribbing Blore is dirty and Mysore is heaven and gave the link to your Mysore blog :D

Shyam said...

Thanks for being so prompt, Shruthi :) Try Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything! - he's funny, informative AND interesting! :)

Supremus said...

Must read "Nenapina alegalu" if it was available in Engleees :D - I would love to read the autobiography.

This is certainly an interesting tag (must say, most interesting out of three) and I think I will self-tag myself and write on this one :D.



Shruthi said...

@Anon: How do you know Nenapina Alegalu?? It came out very recently! :) Hey Anon, when will u reveal your identity to me?

@Shyam: I loved this tag's idea, and I had lots of time on my hands, thats why the promptness :) How nice... just yday, my aunt suggested this same book to me when I told her what I am looking for!! Now, I will definitely look out for it.. Thanks!!

@Suyog: My sis and me are planning to translate it into English :)) Will definitely let you know then ;)
Greattt! Do the tag, its great fun!

Sri Harsha said...

Okay Shruthi....u need to help me out here. I'm too lazy to read everythin' abt taging.....i kinda know how it works....but did i tag u when i posted the "I luv" post ?

And to many tags at one time.....difficult for us to follow on.....pls slowdown and do it one tag a week.... :-)

Shruthi said...

@Harsha: There is no deep technology involved in tagging, Harsha. It is just that when you want someone else to do the same "exercise" you did, you mention their names in your post. If s/he is a regular reader of your blog, s/he will automatically see that you have tagged her/him. If not, you will need to leave a comment on his/her blog, saying that she has been tagged, so will u please check it out. And whether to work on the tag or not, is up to the person who has been tagged :)
As for my doing three in one day, sometimes, you just get the inspiration, and there's no stopping you :D

Madhooo said...

Good list of books out there, shruthi. I would definitely want to read "Nenapina Alegalu". Is it already available in the market?

Shruthi said...

@Madhooo: Thanks :) Yes, it is available in the market - Navakarnataka Publications.

Sri Harsha said...

Hey thnks for tht....thought so...just needed to confirm tht... :wink: !


Bhupi said...

Sorry Shruthi I just could not read this blog. u know how much i like books....

Shruthi said...

@Harsha: Always welcome :)

@Bhupi: Heyyy no compulsions :D

Anonymous said...

i am totally impressed - so writing is in your genes!

will look forward to ur book too - get it out soon!

PS: saw ur comments on my stories - welcome to the Mutual Admiration Society!! :))


dev said...

how do u read this much of stuff..!!

are u some libriarn or what..!

jst kiddn..
really impressed by ur erading habits.!

Shruthi said...

@Ano: No, no, it might be in my genes, but I am still trying to improve.. i have miles to go! :)
Mutual Admiration indeed :D Anyway I am glad about that ;) Admiration from you is admiration indeed :D {now that is not flattery ;)}

@Dev: Ha ha, thank you Dev! As a child, I wanted to be a librarian, though :)

Bhupi said...

i mailed my no. and was expecting a call....

Preet Singh said...

I second Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" - good light reading.
Detailed, accurate & well-written history - there's always Gibbon...but he's a bit heavy.

- -