Me Meme

How many books do I own?

A few hundred probably. Over the last few years, I’ve been getting rid of my paperbacks and replacing them with hardcovers, a habit that has convinced my dad, mom and wife that I am slightly off my rocker. (“Why would you buy the same books again and again?” my dad asked me when he visited us, as my mom vigorously nodded.) My prized possessions include first editions of the World According to Garp, and a couple of books from the Earth’s Children series. And a signed first edition of QuickSilver, thanks to Manoj.

Last books bought

From Amazon: Seize the Day, a nice bound copy of Humboldt’s gift, Lolita, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

The Man who Knew Infinity was an impulse buy – we drove all the way to Miami to buy it – after a Sepia Mutiny comment that recommended it. Babyji too – I saw it at Barnes and Noble as a store employee recommendation. That and an excerpt that had Anamika proclaiming something about collapsing wave functions. No, the cover art had almost nothing to do with it.

And one called The Wisdom of Crowds, by New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki. That was the _last_ book bought. I am not a big reader of non-fiction, but the premise was intriguing (Why the Many are Smarter than the Few), and the first couple of chapters were interesting. Perhaps my next post…

Last books read

Babyji, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Wisdom Of Crowds. A little bit of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. And Seize the Day.

Five Books that mean a lot to me

The World According to Garp. quirky, witty and weird. For the unexpected pleasure it provided.

Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson’s best work. Snow Crash and Diamond Age were cool, but this one is uber cool. I can’t think of a book that was more fun than this. Stephenson’s irreverent prose, a complex plot, and large doses of irrelevant detail that is nevertheless interesting make for an amazing read. I still chuckle when I think of the scene where Daniel Waterhouse goes to London, and everyone calls him Woe-To-Hice. (Say it out loud) He spends the better part of an important meeting trying to figure out why they hate this dude called Hice so much.

A Confederacy of Dunces. Not many books make you laugh so hard, and leave you a little sad at the end. Sadder still when you know that the author committed suicide because the book got rejected for publication.

Gravity’s Rainbow Dense, Frenetic, intricately plotted, filled with arcane references and insider jokes. Also happens to be a classic. I must’ve spent a month reading the book, and it was worth every minute.

Humboldt’s Gift. Bellow’s best book. ’nuff said.

Don Quixote. I approached it with a little bit of trepidation, but it was thorougly enjoyable. Classics can be fun reads too.

Now the hard part, tag a few more people…. I got in late, so I have to try really hard.

Manoj. Updated.




More as I keep thinking of names.

Thanks again to Navin and Sybil.

6 thoughts on “Me Meme”

  1. great! now, that i have been tagged i will think up some great books that i have never read so people will think i am smart 😉
    keep pinging for my meme – will do it soon…

  2. The Man who knew Infinity is an awesome read. Great buy! After I read it, I was hooked onto biographies of mathematicians and physicians for a long long time. Also tried reading Kanigels “One Best Way..”. Didn’t get through more than a couple of chapters. Guess any writer, no matter how brilliant, needs a good subject, and it’s hard to beat Ramanujan!

  3. Did you like the confederacy of dunces that much? I don’t remember lking it too much and I am from N.O.
    I will give it another shot.

    Loved the man who knew infinity, of course

  4. I liked the Man Who Knew Infinity a lot, mostly because the subject that it chose to deal with was extremely interesting. Kanigel was very thorough in his research, but as a writer he was just competent. There was nothing in the book that made me want to read more books by the author – on the other hand, I was looking for more books on Ramanujan.

    Kanigel had a tendency to beat around the bush a little bit, and he seemed too nice to criticize anyone in the book. Hardy’s obvious selfishness, Ramanujan’s stubbornness (pigheaded, someone calls him in the book), his mom’s overbearing nature etc. were all mentioned in passing and then glossed over. He was trying to be fair I suppose, but sometimes equivocating too much can be a little boring.

    I’ve heard quite a few people say they didn’t like A Confederacy of Dunces (or didn’t like it enough). Not sure why, but the book worked for me – I laughed a lot. (“The portions where he finds a job in a failing textile factory, and one of his extremely old co-workers thinks he is a girl were hilarious…”)I think of Vernon God Little as a contemporary Confederacy.

    If the two of you like whacky science based books, you should check out Neal Stephenson. His older books (Snow Crash, Diamond Age etc) are easy introductions to cyberpunk, and there are lots of good books in this genre (William Gibson too). I used to hate conventional science fiction, but these books are irreverent tales with a dose of technology.

    Once I get back to the US (or maybe I will get to go to India from Penang), I will buy Fermat’s Enigma…

  5. I completely understand. I’ve also shifted allegiance from paper-backs to Hardbounds, much to my parents’ consternation. The heart got tired of bleeding at the sight of all those paper-backs spewing out pages…

    What would I consider my top favorites? That’s the TOUGHEST question you can ask a bibliophile… But I’ll try, so here goes:
    – The Blind Assassin – my most favorite Atwood
    – Leave it to Psmith – the thought of Efficient Baxter in lemon colored pj’s reduced to throwing flower pots at Lord Emsworth’s window can still reduce me to tears of laughter
    – A Widow for One Year – can’t resist a good cry
    – The Golden Gate – for convincing me that poetry isn’t only for English majors
    – Catch 22 – the only book where I laughed and cried at the same time – a feat I thought only Shivaji Ganesan could pull off
    – A Short History of Nearly Everything – an absolute page turner & laugh-out-loud-er for a non-fiction book
    – When we were orphans – even though it gets sorta mad towards the end, it has its moments of beauty…

    Well, I can go on & on & on. Terribly sorry about taking a month and then some to respond to your ‘tagging’ me.

    I haven’t read any of the books on your list. Will check out The Man who Knew Infinity after so many endorsements… On my list are ‘Saturday’, ‘Never Let me Go’, ‘Guns Germs and Steel’, & its sequel, ‘The Big Bang’. And of course, I have reserved my spot outside Barnes & Noble come July 16th for the next Potter 🙂

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