Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reading Lists

The problem with language is it both reveals and conceals. When one says here is my reading list, you can interpret the statement in so many ways - I'm reading only this, I'm reading them in the order I've listed them, I'm reading them all, I'm reading about them (this is a scary phenomenon because I expend a lot of energy with the background reading), I would love to read these books, etc. The interpretation may depend on what kind of a reader you are. In my case I usually assume that people who put up reading lists are parallely reading all or most of the books in that list. I also assume that it is likely that they are reading other things that they aren't listing (which is why a blogger like dovegreyreader scares me with her lists - check out her sidebar(s) and you'll know why.)

When a timeframe is not mentioned what stops one from thinking that the list has been going on forever? Something like all the books I've ever read, am reading, will ever read or want to? Oh no I did not want to go down the Babel path. Retrace: Close this para. Start another with new train of thought.

I was lying in bed last night next to a sleeping G who every now and then would put out an arm and manage to tug off the earphones of my iPod. Then, oh so carefully, I'd extricate the coveted accessory and press resume to continue listening to the World Book Club podcast with Lionel Shriver. The book being discussed was, of course, We Need to Talk About Kevin. I made a mental note to add said book to my reading list and this action led me to think about the various books I'd read and/or abandoned this year and somewhere in the consideration of The Gift or perhaps Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger, I slept. It may have been a dream or a crossthought but I also thought of Chenthil's post on books, which he called long, which I call woefully short, where he had tantalisingly set up his story of how he took to reading and then abruptly put a fullstop to it. I felt like turning the page to see if someone had torn off the rest (Chenthil: part two please!) The mashup of my pre-sleep pondering led to one good idea though - that of creating another list, this time for the year 2010 and focusing on Language.

For instance this Year 2010 list - and no cliched ten books in '10 - will necessarily include Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, which I shall cheat and read this year and buy myself some time (yes the absurd is always around the corner.) I guess Bill Bryson, Noam Chomsky, Anne Fadiman, ...gosh there are plenty...So if you have any wonderful titles to recommend, I'd be grateful.

PS: I like the play on the title but I recommend you read it as reading 'lists'
PS2: the problem with language is it both expands and limits expression

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Osho: Gathering the data

Hey everyone: this is a quick post to ask a question. I did it a while ago on Twitter and am doing it here too. This 'a question' is going to be chopped into chunks. Many thanks for your time.

Have you read Osho?
a) If yes, do you think the label 'sex guru' holds good?
c) What would you say about the nature of his work?
d) Like? Dislike? Why?

I am going somewhere with these questions. I will have a post up once I have sufficient replies from friends.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Year of Lists - Progress Report

Quick note to see where I stand on the nine books to read target at the half-year mark:
  1. Words in Air: Got book via mail today. Started reading immediately. Love it already. Plan to read off and on throughout rest of the year
  2. Negotiating with the Dead: One of the first books I read this year. Had lots of fun with it. Definite reread later this year or next
  3. White Heat: Because of 1, am reconsidering this one. I do not want to be confusing correspondences. Likely to move book to next year's list (assuming there's one)
  4. Netherland: Have not made any procurement plans yet for said book. But do intend to read it this year
  5. The Blind Assassin: Work in progress. Been that way for a few months now. Likely to finish this year
  6. Harvesting the Heart: Err...what was I thinking when I added this one to the list. Strike it out
  7. Ticknor: You know I haven't seen this book in India at all. Must make plans to acquire or must push to next year
  8. Christine Falls: Done done done. Yay
  9. The White Tiger: Have copy. Will read when I run out of excuses to not read it
I have shown YES on four, NO on three, MAYBE on three. Not bad.