Random Wits

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Books on my shelf

These are some of books and other miscellaneous writings that are currently on my shelf.

Challenge: Search your favourite author or a book in the search bar. If you can't find it, feel free to send me your name and the book suggestion. I will give you a shout-out by adding your name in the comments.

Title Author Rating Comments
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
Acclaimed as world's greatest novel but was a tedious read. Philosophical ramblings of Lenin & fall of Anna from grace to the tragic end of extramarital affair with dashing cavalry officer Count Alexi makes it a great read.
Great Expectation Charles Dickens
This was my first novel of Charles Dickens. The rustic charm of Dickens is apparent throughtout the novel. It's humorous at times, often grim but retains the literary prowess of Dickens. If you're a fan of classics, it's a fascinating read.
Man's Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor and a neurologist and psychiatrist. In his memoir he narrates his life in Nazi concentrated camps. It's an interesting read on how he proposes to find meaning in life amidst hostile environment.
Wings of Fire: An Autobiography A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
He was the most loved President of India. It's an autobiography where he covers his humble beginning & his journey in becoming "Missile Man" of India.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
Mitch's stories are often inspiring trying to illuminate the meaning of life. It's a story of a veteran where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people.
Heidi Johanna Spyri
One of my favourite novels while growing up. I was in love with Heidi as well as envied her. The story is about an orphan girl, Heidi, who has been sent to live with a lonely, angry man at the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alp. A must read if you love nature.
The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins
Listed as the most influential science book of all time in a poll to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Royal Society science book prize. Richard Dawkins is an outspoken evolutionary scientist and an atheist. He is an eloquent writer and a popularizer of science.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
Absolute classics if you're fan of detective stories. Sherlock Holmes is the one of the most imparishable characters of history.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Robin Sharma
It's a self help book. It's an easy read. It discusses seven virtues of enlightened Learning that could be incorporated in daily life.
Left hand of darkness Ursula K. Le Guin
A classic must-read in science-fiction genre, the story revolves around Genly Ai, an earthling, on his perilous journey in an alien planet Gethen to pursuade them to join Ekumen (an intergalactic civilization). Living with androgynous people of Gethens, he embraces contradictory aspects of psychology, society, patriotism, friendship, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
Plato and platypus Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein
A quick read, a blend of jokes and philosophy. Read it for a lighter introduction to philosophy.
The Discovery of India Jawaharlal Nehru
Legacy of Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, is controversial. The left-wing often glorifies him while the right-wing demeans him. His fascination for Fabian socialism, his impetus for education in India or commitment to secularism & parliamentary democracy along with blunders in dealing with China makes his memoir a great read.
Five Point Someone Chetan Bhagat
If you are an engineering student college, you are probably enamoured by it. It's a story of three friends in IIT who bunks classes, succumb to drinking & smoking, have sex, yet manage to secure jobs at the end of the college. It's a quick read though it lacks literary merit.
The Code Book Simon Singh
From the mlecchita-vikalpa, a 4th century AD manuscript, to the Enigma machine, Simon Singh dives into the world secret ciphers which have not only won wars but also altered history. This is probably a breathtaking book who want to stroll into the world of cryptography.
Macbeth William Shakespeare
A Shakespeare's classic and a must read. It's a great trajedy which traces the rise and fall of Macbeth. I am usually relish the soliloquies in the Shakespeare's play.
Network Security Charlie Kaufman
It's an excellent book for introduction to security & cryptography. Was a great help in my semester project.
Our Tress Still Grow in Dehra Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond is India's Wordsworth. Fourteen engaging stories from one of India's master story-tellers Semi-autobiographical in nature, these stories span the period from the author's childhood to the present.
Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn Amanda Gefter
This book won Physics World's 2015 book of the year award. It's a memoir where Amanda tracers her life from a fifteeen year old teenager to being an editor of New Scientist while meeting prominent scientists in understanding the physical reality of the universe.
The Hindu View Of Life Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
He was the first Vice President of independent India & the most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy. His interpretation of Hindiusm is quite liberal and pluralistic. He is a Hindu apologetics and lamented "uninformed Western criticism", contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity.
Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine Randolph M. Nesse
Recommended by Richard Dawkins. The book's main title is misleading as it's not a book about diseases & cure. However it tries to explore the evolutionary reasons for certain diseases. Like uric acid would not have been a problem for our African savannah dwelling ancestors that barely lived forty years. However with the surge of human's life expectancy, the higher uric acid, despite being an antioxidant, leads to gout. Must read to understand Darwinian origin of diseases & medicine.
The Demon-Haunted World Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, scientist & a science popularizer. He coined the concept of baloney detection kit, rules for critical thinking. Why do people belive in UFO, astrology, paranormal, etc? Isn't science itself interesting. However it's not always eays to detect pseudoscience. This book is most relevant in our times as we live in post-truth world rampant with psuedoscience, fake news, etc.
Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie
It won both the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1981. To be updated...
Why I am an atheist Bhagat Singh
To be updated...
The Gene: An Intimate History Siddhartha Mukherjee
To be updated...
The Overcoat Nikolai Gogol
To be updated...
Silent Spring Rachel Carson
Recommended by Peter Singer & Varun Gandhi. To be updated...
The Emperor of All Maladies Siddhartha Mukherjee
This book won the 2011 Pultizer Prize for General Non-fiction. It's a fascinating biography of a morbid disease, cancer. It's a riveting account of quest to understand cancer and finding its cure from ancient ancient Egypt till 20th century. Siddhartha Mukherjee's anecdotes of his cancer patients succinctly conveys the trauma experienced by cancer patients.
Fooled by Randomness Nassim Nicholas Taleb
To be updated...
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud William Wordsworth
It's a short beautiful poem. Wordsworth was inspired by a long belt of "daffodills" as visited a lake with his sister. "They flash upon that inward eye, which is the bliss of solitude". I guess my only remorse is that my solitude doesn't have any daffodils.
Kafka: The Definitive Guide Gwen Shapira, Neha Narkhede, Todd Palino
Co-author Neha Narkhede helped develop Apache Kafka at LinkedIn. To be updated...
Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets John J. Murphy
Recommended by @BlogJulianKomar. To be updated...
Glimpse of the World History Jawaharlal Nehru
To be updated...
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution Steven Levy
To be updated...
The Evolution of Physics Albert Einstein, Leopold Infeld
To be updated...
Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud Arun Shourie
To be updated...


  Terrible, trash, useless
  Poor, disappointing, disliked
  Okay, readable, useful
  Liked well enough to recommend to others
  Liked well enough to reread and recommend enthusiastically to other

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