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Update on Reading Update Posts

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I will no longer post regular reading updates. I don’t see the point of recycling the same list of books month after month. What I will do is post a list I’m currently working through and only update when there is either a new list; or if I change my reading list for any reason.

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April 5th, 2013 at 9:10 pm

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Reading Update – Mid-February 2013

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Unlike my previous reading updates, I will dispense with oft-repeated excuses why I’m not reading more. The excuses will be the same and will continue to be same until I say otherwise. Nevertheless, in keeping with my new year resolution, I’ve been reading much more.

So without further ado, here is my reading list as of today:

  • An Empire of Wealth by by John Steele Gordon
  • The Litigators by John Grisham
  • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
  • The Instant Economist by Timothy Taylor
  • Francona by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy

Two of the books are leftovers from my June 2012 reading list, but I’m proud to say I finished three out of the five listed:

  • Special Assignments by Boris Akunin
  • Travels With Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski
  • The Islamist by Ed Husain

Trying to get into the habit of reading more than one chapter – of reasonable length, of course – a night. More on the weekends and whenever free time permits.

I will also be augmenting my reading by listening to unabridged audio books I picked up for a song at a local discount store. Since my drive to and from works is about 90 minutes, I should better use the time for edification rather than listening to repetitive sport talk radio. One can only hope, of course.

My reading list doesn’t include countless magazine and news articles, blog posts, white papers, and things I find via social media.

I will no longer give a target on when I will finish the books as I will be automatically setting myself up for failure. Better to let things happen when they happen.

Written by niraj

February 15th, 2013 at 11:45 am

Reading Update

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Here’s my latest reading update. Not that I’ve been reading anything of late (or blogging, for that matter). Social media is rudely intruding on both , to the point that it’s making me dumber than shit, if that’s even possible. My goal for June is simple: to read five short books. Here’s my stack:

  • The Instant Economist by Timothy Taylor
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Thomas Klein
  • Special Assignments by Boris Akunin
  • The Islamist by Ed Husain
  • Travels With Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski

Fortunately for me many of the aforementioned books are partially read. Some are even close to completion. Yet I’m so lazy I have abandoned them for the most part. Let’s see if I can finish them by end of June.

Wish me luck.

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June 1st, 2012 at 10:47 pm

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Kindle: Some Limitations

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I’m currently reading Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabiaon my Kindle and have encountered problems and limitations the reading device offers; though not displeasing it’s definitely annoying.

  • Often times I have encountered words that are treated as one when they are clearly suppose to be separate. For example, ‘and less’ reads as ‘andless’, which is not correct. This is due to the publisher’s sloppiness.
  • Since this is a biography, it is littered with footnotes. Accessing footnotes on the Kindle is a chore, as they are listed at the end of the chapter instead of the bottom of the page in the printed book. Kindle does offer a hyperlink, but it doesn’t link to a specific footnote, just the general one. Again this is due more to the publisher’s laziness then anything else.
  • This books contain a plethora of pictures which are just not as clear or vibrant on the Kindle as they are in the book. This is an example of the Kindle’s many limitations. Digital ink is great for words but lousy for pictures.

The technological limitations is an hindrance, but I still love my Kindle, knowing full well the technology will only get better with time.

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July 15th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

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Books: Recent Acquistions

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I’m slowly acquiring all the books written by late Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski. I have three of his brilliant books in my possession:

  • Another Day of Life
  • Shah of Shahs
  • Travels with Herodotus

I’ve only read Shah of Shahs. A brilliant piece of literary journalism about the fall of the Shah of Iran during the 1979 revolution. After I read it, I said to myself: I want to write like him. Even though these books are English translations (Kapuscinski only wrote in Polish), his genius shines through. Like many writers, his power is the economy and elegance of his prose.

I highly recommend him.

Written by niraj

July 1st, 2011 at 10:40 pm

You Should Be Reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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If you are looking for something enjoyable to read during lazy summer days, you should  read Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s brilliant novels. They are that good. Both his novels, The Shadow in the Wind and The Angel’s Tale, are what I like to call children stories for adults. They are books infused with mystery, adventure, magic, mysticism, faith, romance. Like classic 19th-century novels but written for the modern age.

What makes these novels  interesting is that they revolve around literature: the protagonists in the novels is either a bookseller or writer, and the core of their conflict is a single book. It is this one book that they and the reader chases to the end, leading to god knows where. You’ll have to read the novels yourself to find out what happenes. But I must tell you thing, it’s one hell of a ride!

Like all good stories, Zafon’s novels are vivid in their detail as in the intricacy of the plot. Zafon paints Barcelona, which he is both a native of and is the setting for his novels, with such detail it can be used as a travel guide. Both novels take place during the middle of the 20th century, a turbulent time for Spain, on the cusp of revolution, and the world at large. And the characters are rich as the city they reside in. Even the villains come off as sympathetic souls than the monster they are meant to be, which, of course, doesn’t make them any less evil but definitely more human.

Zafon novels also provide an intellectual bromide for the countless brainless thrillers that pass novels (you know who you are!). One thing about Zafon’s  novels are various philosophical dialogues that I found to be entertaining without being pedantic.  One of the key reasons is that Zafon’s prose flows smoothly from one sentence to the next, without getting bogged down.

These are novels of complexity, but not difficulty. Like I mentioned before it is one part mystery, adventure, ghost and romance. Don’t expect a conventional ending, it is not a police procedural where the criminal is finally caught; or a happy one. But it has a human ending.

I highly recommend these two novels, you will not be disappointed.

Written by niraj

April 29th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

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Reading Update: Vol. 1

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My last reading update was July 16, 2010. I believe it’s time for another.

Since my last update I have returned to work, which has seriously cut into my reading time, detrimentally so. In fact, three or four books listed in my last update are still lingering around, even with my best efforts to finish them off (fortunately, they are mostly anthologies of magazine essays). These will be listed below as well. In addition, I acquired a Kindle. An amazing device. In fact, two of the books in this update will be Kindle books.

The list:

  • The Best American Crime Writing: 2004 Edition
  • The Best American Science Writing 2009
  • The Best American Crime Reporting: 2010 Edition
  • The Accidental Billionaires
  • The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature
  • The Serialist: A Novel
  • The Angel’s Game: A Novel
  • Things Fall Apart: A Novel
  • The Schirmer Inheritance: A Novel
  • Molotov’s Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History [Kindle Edition]
  • Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia [Kindle Edition]

That’s a good list to work on for the first quarter of 2011. I will add more as necessary. I have no set goal in mind for this year, but I plan to read more novels, especially classic noir.

I would also like to list two books I’ve read in the interim of the two updates. They are:

  • The Archivist’s Story: A Novel
  • The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books That Shaped the Cold War

Written by niraj

January 31st, 2011 at 2:26 pm

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Planning My Ideal Library

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I have a good size library at my parent’s house, but it’s far from my ideal of what a library should be: a comfortable chair or sofa is a must.  Silence absolute: it must be like a monastery, whose inhabitants take a vow of silence.  Unfortunately, my library also doubles as a noisy home office, which is a distraction, as well as a home for a small television that is constantly on.  My ideal library would kind of look like this:

This library belongs to rock star Rod Stewart.  I didn’t know he was such a reader!  Except for being overrun with tacky knick-knacks, it looks like a good starting point.  I found this picture here, where you can see pictures of other celebrity libraries.

Written by niraj

January 12th, 2011 at 1:29 am

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