Dec 15, 2014

Shelfie - A selfie on my bookshelf - part 1

This December, I came across an interesting social media trend initiated by Penguin India. That is the #BookADayIndia Event. The questions posed for each day are so intriguing and prompting me to look back into all the pages that I have read so far to find the answer. As an account of this month-long voyage, I register this blog with all answers compiled into one post. Of course, I started a bit late. So there was some catch up to do. Here we go. Part 1 of this post compiles all my answers in the first half of this December.

Dec 1 : Ideal december read ?

I am not a seasonal reader. My reading patterns vary hugely. One month I will be reading about the famines in the last century. The next month I may be reading about a bird that tries to fly higher than its species. Generally, I don't plan my reading. I chance upon books. And absorb all experiences that books give me. This december, I chanced upon two interesting Tamil books. One is a translation (originally written in Malayalam). Both are fiction but of completely different genres. One book is about a middle-aged Malayali woman's life and the other is a fascinating story of many stories told by three story-tellers who go on a long journey in a single story :-)

Dec 2 : Most beautiful cover ?

This is the first cover that came to my mind when I searched my memory for an answer. Undoubtedly the best cover from all books that I have read.

Dec 3 : A book you identify with ? 

Several. In multiple dimensions. But I choose this book above all because in addition to me, a friend of mine had also pointed out that I resembled the Jonathan Livingston Seagull from this book to him. In fact, I came to know about this book only through this remark and read it smitten by a curiosity. I would be grateful to him forever for introducing me to this book. The seagull remains an inspiration to me till date.

Dec 4 : A book character you'd like to meet?

Henry Maxwell, a busy broker in one of O. Henry's short stories 'The Romance of a Busy Broker'. His absent-mindedness and the twist in the story have made him a very interesting character. In reality, I will be curious to see such an absent minded man. Some well-read Tamil movie maker had already created a character inspired by him in a Tamil movie. If you watch the Tamil comedy channels often, you might have seen Janagaraj acting as the absent minded guy with an unbeatable BGM.

Dec 5 : Wisest book you've ever read?

Usually, I do not re-read books. This is the only book that I have read twice so far. 'The Alchemist' - the book that inspired me to chase my dreams, that helped me to understand the grand design and that which helped me to connect with nature. I have a yearning to travel to a desert to experience the journey in this book.

Dec 6 : A book you keep going back to ?

Like I said, I do not typically read books again after the first read. But there is one author I keep going back to again and again. And each time I go to him with a question, he points me in the direction of the answer and challenges me to find the answer myself. Paulo Coelho!

Dec 7 : Your perfect winter read ?

Ah, I am not a season-specific reader. In fact, I don't even recollect a book where the winter played a major part in the setting. One distinct scene I remember from Paulo Coelho's Zahir where the hero has to face the cold desert all alone as a challenge. His master instructs him to let the chill enter into him and feel it and let his body embrace the chillness. He does so. Once his body and mind embrace the freezing chillness, he does not shiver any more. Whenever I have been in harsh winter conditions, this scene comes to my mind and I try to embrace the chill. Here is one such picture of me trying to embrace the chillness in Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim at an altitude of around 18,000 ft. 

Dec 8 : First book you ever remember reading ? 

Tom Sawyer. Pocket sized book. With big sized fonts. Read it when I was in 3rd grade or 4th grade. I felt good when I completed reading the book. It was the feeling of completing the first novel! I still remember the fence paint bluff that Tom Sawyer pulled on his friends. Clever fellow :-)

Dec 9 : A book that gives you the chills ?

If 'The Alchemist' is the book that showed me the best of sunshines, there is one book which almost made me a pessimist. The book was so powerful and dark that I felt like I could murder someone and walk away without being caught and more importantly, not feeling guilty at all. Arvind Adiga. 'The White Tiger'. 

Dec 10 : Favourite mythological tale ? 

I was reminded of this tale last saturday on watching the famous Adelaide Test match. This is the story of Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, who bravely fought the war and impressed everybody in the senior ranks with his skill and aggression. Unfortunately, he would not settle for a draw and wanted an outright win even at the cost of a defeat. So he walked into the Chakra vyugam knowing that is tough to break out of it. He was pumped up to try and find his way out of the trap. He lost his partners one by one but still fought valiantly and gave shivers to the opposition before falling by the sword. If Abhimanyu had watched that match, he would have said 'Virat played like me'!

Dec 11 : A book that makes you want to write ? 

Almost every book that I read inspires me to write something. Sometimes I write about my experience reading the book. Sometimes I get a spark from some random sentence in a book and build on that lead to write some original piece of imagination. Sigmund Freud to Paulo Coelho - many books have inspired me to write. My blogs (both in Tamil and English) have a section dedicated to posts inspired by books. 

Dec 12 : A book character you want to marry ?

Poonguzhali. Ponniyin Selvan. What a woman! I fell in love with her even as I was reading the book. Such wit and charm. Such courage. Such individuality. Such sincerity and such emotional stability. Poonguzhali, will you marry me?

Dec 13 : A book that you have pretended to have read ? 

Joseph Murphy's 'The Power of your subconscious mind'. My dad gifted this book to me to read. I am never a fan of self-help but started this book for my dad. Of course I found the book interesting and I am still practising some learnings I took from the book with a significant impact in my life. But after the first 60 odd pages, the book went on a redundancy mode (like most self-help books) and hence I did not bother to finish the book. But whenever someone brings up this book, I have shamelessly claimed that I have read the book. 

Dec 14 : Your curl-up read? 

401 காதல் கவிதைகள் - குறுந்தொகை - ஓர் எளிய அறிமுகம் - சுஜாதா (தமிழ்) - For about 40 odd days, I read this book at the rate of 10 poems each day. Sangam literature and love! Truly loved that feeling. Love remains the same even after all these centuries. Sujatha's simple and easy adaptations to the book made the read even more interesting.

Dec 15 : Your favourite book series ?

There are a few contentions to this answer. Harry Potter. Ponniyin Selvan. Shiva Trilogy. All excellent series but Harry Potter makes it to this list because of it's magic. Yes, pun intended! Shiva Trilogy failed expectations in the climax. Otherwise, it was one brilliant piece. Ponniyin Selvan is a flawless series with people discussing about certain open ended portions in the book even now. That is the writer's power. But Potter scores above all because of the distinct connect that Hogwarts gave to me. In fact, I have even written a post explaining how reading the Harry Potter series helped me personally in my entrepreneurial life


(To be continued)

Images sourced from Google images. 


  1. I have only read a handful of the books that you had mentioned, i like the abhimanyu comparison with Virat Kohli. :)