Saturday, 7 June 2008

Read any good books lately? - A quick blegging experiment

I'm out of reading material and I don't want to have to keep staring at my comp screen for intellectual stimulation. Also, I don't have WiFi, so I can't take the laptop (or my spanking new iPod touch) into the loo to read through the RSS feeds on my Google Reader account (673 new items, at last count). I'm making do (or doo-doo, in this case) with a free copy of 'Men's Fitness' someone gave me on the street my first weekend in Boston, which is especially irritating since I prefer 'Men's Health'.
So instead, since all of you readers are such intelligent, cultured, beautiful people, I'm inviting you to recommend stuff for me to read in the comments for this post. It doesn't have to be something you think I will definitely like - just something you wouldn't mind sharing. I won't promise that I will go out and read it, but if I do, I'll post my views here. Let's see how that goes.

Oh, incidentally, this is what I meant by 'blegging'. But you probably knew that already, right? Right?


  1. You want to borrow a book? Or go out and buy one? You should check out the old book stores here. Brookline Booksmith is quite good, and it's near my place -- we should also meet up. Arup lives near here as well.

  2. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    well i do have some reccomendations over at me blog. am currently rereading all the georgette heyer and gerald durrell in the house so i doubt thats very useful.

    there's the new amitav ghosh. sea of poppies. havent read it but he rarely disappoints me. also reading queen of the south by arturo perez reverte. if you can find anything by julia alvarez, especially in the time of the butterflies or how the garcia girls lost their accents, you could try that.

    somehow i think we dont read the same books anymore.

  3. @han: name the book, I'll see how I can get my hands on it.And yes, we should meet.

    @mincat: Firstly, welcome. Secondly, you have a ton of blogs on your profile - it took me some time trying to figure out which one you were referring to.
    I'm not sure about Heyer, Durrell maybe, Julia Alvarez seems to have some interesting titles, so maybe. Of the ones on your blog, maybe the Percy Jackson story. Keep the recommendations coming though.

  4. That's it? only 2 people bothered commenting? Where is everybody?

    I'm disappointed. :-(

  5. ok ok...I'm lurking about in the shadows.

    Really don't have a book recommend - haven't read one of those in a while now.
    Picked up 'Cardus on Cricket' at Blossoms...excellent stuff. I bought my first Bond as an experiment - not sure I'll like it. I also just finished Norrell and Strange - fabulous.

    When are you back? Having fun?

  6. Cardus eh? I flipped through the first chapter of 'Beyond a Boundary' at Crossword. Good stuff, though I'm probably not going to find it in Boston.

    I suppose I might just have to read the Strange/Norrell book - I guess it's at that stage where enough people I know have read it for it to come up in conversation, but it's not so big that I can faff my way through the conversation based on book reviews and other references in pop culture.

    In other news, I got around to watching 'Hot Fuzz' last night. I shall now be able to contribute to at least one more conversation...

  7. Haha. You try to convince people you've read books you haven't? Why?

    I guess there really was a difference between artsies and sciencies after all.

  8. try Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans, if you haven't already.

    and btw have u seen Jason's videos on youtube yet? We might have a M. Night in the family (with an 80's flavour.

    they're really funny!

  9. @hanimal: I don't try to convince people I've read the book - I just like to add to conversation sometimes. It's possibly a fall-out of being a very generalist quizzer, I think: being able to faff through most conversations. As a result, most people gravely over-estimate my intellect and/or breadth of knowledge. Also, I think some of it it might run in the genes - my dad works for the government, after all...
    Nothing to do with the Artsie/Sciencie divide.

    @cucumber: Firstly, is there something Freudian behind naming oyur blog after something that's long, dark(ish) and cylindrical? I'm not sure I want to know, but maybe you can think that through.
    Secondly, yes I have seen the videos (met him in Houston, incidentally). Good fun, and unlike Shyamalan, unless you consider the fact that both are Indians in the US with cameras.
    Thirdly, must you put up snaps of the house on your blog? It's vaguely embarassing.

  10. Don't sell yourself short. You're a voracious reader, and not exactly unintellectual.

    But I'm curious about all these conversations you have. You should do a post about them. Or even make a spoof arty/lit conversation.

  11. Must you go deconstructing everything? How about a nice "wat up, couzz?" once in a while.
    And yes, the only similarity between Jason and M. Night is the fact that they're both Indians in the US with cameras. That's what I meant.
    About the snap, sorry. But I did still maintain anonymity, and it wouldn't have had the same effect without the pic.

  12. The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille

  13. jc why is it embarassing to have your house pic pitted against urban poor establishment?

  14. It's vaguely embarassing to have a picture of the house online, irrespective of the life of the urban poor. After a lifetime of living in smaller, cosier government housing with iffy plumbing, it just feels weird.
    You haven't come over yet, have you? Come sometime when I'm there. Actually, that's an open invitation to all.

  15. Incidentally, thank you Sneha for good anon-commenter etiquette. People - this is 'best practice', right here.

    And thank you all for the suggestions. In the meantime I did manage to go get a few other books, as you will see from the little Shelfari widget on the side-bar of my blog. 'The Far Side Gallery' is great for the loo, while 'Fargo Rock City' is truly educational. I might do a post on how it's changed my POV on Aerosmith, Van Halen and big-haired 80's rockers in general. And that's just in the first 4 chapters.

  16. oooh my i forgot about all the blogs on the profile. sowwie. we shall leave a note saying pick THIS ONE PLEASE or something. heh.

    im still reading heyer. however, since i managed to read the one i like least last night i think im done. for now. avast back to Serious Books.

    also hot fuzz is just....i am speechless its so fabulous! sorry i took so long i forgot i had commented so never came back to check :D

  17. Fargo Rock City is typical of how people don't "get" the idea of heavy metal. I've read it in snatches, and it all seemed to talk about Guns and Roses, and Bon Jovi and Motley Crue.

    Now, I have nothing against those bands.

    But they will never find their way into what I call really good bands.

    The greatest thing that happened in the late 80's was not the glam rock stupidity but (a) the development of "thrash" metal (Master of Puppets; Rust in Piece); (b) the beginning of "power" metal (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest (although I dislike Priest very much), Helloween and countless european bands); and (c) Queensryche's 'Operation Mindcrime' an album so incredible nothing they did afterward came even close (mostly).

    By the time these bands started making money, they mostly ran out of ideas. Metallica is the best example of this.

    But James Hetfield can sit in his room and write out a hit song in 20 minutes, which is what he did. I have the highest respect for him, but Metallica's output in the last 15 years has been average at best. By their standards.

    Evaluated against Bon Jovi's "Its my life", any nonsense Metallica puts out is going to be better. Well almost any.

  18. And, dude, Eddie Van Halen is one of the supremely talented guitar players to walk this earth.

    That he chose to waste his gift is unfortunate, but if you listen carefully to almost any van Halen song (esp in the early 80s), I tell you those riffs are...interesting.

  19. Boy are you worked up, Kracker. Take it easy - I didn't mean to say that I had an epiphany after reading FRC. I've just never really given a shit abt 80's music, especially the glam-rock/metal stuff. The fact that the book focuses on Bon Jovi/ Poison etc is probably the most charming thing to me - the fact that someone takes those guys seriously enough to write a book about them.

    I'll admit, part of the reason for mentioning the book was to see if that budding rock historian in you would rise up in debate. Is still around?

  20. ha ha budding rock historian? as they say in umrika - sweet!

    nope freshlimesoda went down many years ago...

    and, I haven't heard any new bands really apart from the more indie/rock + pop my promising future career as rock historian is not so promising.

  21. I don't know how useful this will be or if you're still looking for recommendations or have read these already...
    1. Hons and Rebels, by Jessica Mitford.
    2. Toast, by Nigel Slater.
    3. Gödel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter.

  22. ummm because the truth must be known, these articles are what I feel reasonable descriptions of 80's music:

    "Of Bargain Bins and Gateway Drugs"
    (part I)

    "A Hesitant Defence of the Power Ballad" (part II)

  23. sorry for multiple post, but this quote is...well just read it...

    "None of us expected mainstream metal (your Dios, your Accepts, your Kroki) to dwindle so precipitously or to get squeezed out by two polarized camps, one full of day-glo cross-dressers and the other full of psychotic snake-handlers. "