Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

The strange case of the alchemist’s daughter

July 23, 2017

A very well-written novel by Theodora Goss. It was a pleasure reading it. Might even re-read it sometime. Strongly recommended.

Here is a more complete review.

The Gene: an intimate history

July 16, 2017

This book by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a very enjoyable, exciting and interesting. It not only explains the concepts but also brings to life the scientists and researchers involved in genetic research vividly — from Darwin and Mendeleev to some of the recent Nobel laureates (such as the ones who were studying cheese and ended up contributing to genetic research). Strongly recommended. A very satisfying and enjoyable read.

Ambedkar: The Attendant Details

May 31, 2017

A good read and strongly recommended!

Some recent reads

May 20, 2017

Mirrored mind: my life in letters and code by Vikram Chandra. A very interesting read.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Enjoyed!

Louise Penny’s A great reckoning

September 5, 2016

A very satisfying and wonderful read. Strongly recommended.


Thi. Jaanakiraman’s Chembaruththi

September 4, 2016

I read Chembaruththi after more than a decade. The book is still gripping; parts of it are still so intense that I had to stop reading; and, still, days after reading the book, Chattanathan and Bhuvana keep popping up in my thoughts (as I noted a while back)!

One of the reasons, I think I enjoy Chembaruththi is the way Thi Jaa describes birds, flowers and scenery. The other is the fidelity with which he reproduces the speeches of his different characters. But the most important reason, I believe, is that in a few sentences Thi Jaa brings up his characters to life on the pages of the book — I read a couple of sentences and I feel as if I had known that person for ages!

A great novel and I am lucky that I can read it in the original and enjoy!

Applied Minds

August 13, 2016

Guru Madhavan’s book on how engineers think is a short, interesting and fairly easy read. Some portions of the book are so great that I wanted to make copies of those few pages and ask my class to read them!


Yann Martel’s High Mountains of Portugal

August 8, 2016

Of the three parts, I liked the last one the best. However, though the book is not uniform, it holds your attention throughout. Recommended.

Moral Disorder of Margaret Atwood

April 30, 2016

Atwood’s prose is always such a pleasure to read; enjoyed it thoroughly. As Ursula Le Guin says:

What the stories do have in common, though, is a clear eye, a fine wit, and a command of language so complete it’s invisible except when it’s dazzling.

A good read and recommended.

Tamil Brahmans of Fuller and Narasimhan

April 12, 2016

Any book with coffee, the Hindu and the computer keyboard on cover is hard to resist. And if it titled Tamil Brahmans, more so. I read it and enjoyed it a lot.

I could identify with many of the anecdotes and opinions described in the book since I have personal experience with similar opinions and people growing up in rural Tamilnadu  in the 1980s (though as a linguistic minority — not as a Tamil Brahman). In any case, the value of books like this is that they help you understand your own experience and attitudes at a broader level; in doing so,  they also give a perspective that is generally missing and is very different from what you would get if you are not exposed these kinds of arguments and viewpoints.

Even though reading the book is not  as great an experience for me as, for example, reading Srinivas’ Remembered village, it is still one of the best books of this type I have read — I liked it better than I remember liking Beteille’s book (though Beteille’s book is a very good one too).

Strongly recommended if you are a South Indian; if not, it might still be an interesting read.

Here is an interview with the authors; here is an opinion piece on the book (with some awesome pictures).