Monthly Archives: November 2006

Top 20 Books…

Found a “Top 20 Books Ever Written” thread on Orkut. That got me thinking… and I made my own list. This top 20 is my opinion of the best books in terms of impact and influence it made on me, the level of “greatness” in terms of writing style or what’s written in it(hence, the #1) and the amount of enjoyment I recieved in reading the book (if this was the sole criterion, #4 would top). So, the winners are…

1. The Bhagvad Gita by Anonymous. (Mythically, by Lord Krishna)
2. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
3. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
4. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
5. The Jeeves Series by PG Wodehouse
6. The Sherlock Holmes Series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne
8. Swami and Friends by RK Narayan
9. The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli
10. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
11. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
12. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Cristie
13. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
14. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
15. Divine Comedy by Dante
16. Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman! by Richard P Feynman
17. The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkein
18. Lectures in Physics by Richard P Feynman
19. The Corner of a Foreign Field – The Indian History of a British Sport by Ramachandra Guha
20. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke

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Much Ado About Nothing…

Alright. After killer reviews, I borrowed a copy of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead. It took me a month to read it and I must say that I am partly disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I really didn’t feel as if this book has changed my life. It’s well-written, but I disagree with the philosophy. Ironically, Rand talks about fighting society for what you believe in and yet I find her writing to be propaganda for HER philosophy. The statement that Roark is “man as man should be” is ridiculous. I believed that the Fountainhead was a mere explosion of Objectivist propaganda from a writer who is burdening and almost bullying her readers into accepting her vision. I believe that everyone who falls for the Fountainhead is missing the entire point of the book. Well-written, but I don’t agree with a word in it. I don’t mean to deamean people who like the Fountainhead, but to me, Rand sounds like a little girl yelling in a shrill voice that “I am right, I do not care what you think!” But the way the book is written expresses the completely opposite view. I use this word repeatedly while referring to the Fountainhead – Propaganda. The book is almost nazi-ist in its propaganda. Al Objectivists are displayed as perfect human beings mentally, physically and emotionally (as all Aryans were) and all non-Objectivists are weak, shrewd, cynics (the typical Nazi representation of Jews and Gypsies). I don’t have a problem with the supposed praise of a selfish person, but the book just contradicts itself when you realize that she was anti-communist and yet the tools she uses seem to be imported from Soviet Russia or Mein Kampf. Socrates always believed that “Know Thyself”. I interpret that as, every human being has a right (and should) to formulate his/her own individual philosophy rather than blindly follow that set by others. If your philosophy matches with that of others, good, but do not coerce people in following YOUR beliefs. That’s what Rand is not doing. She gives the reader a false sense of intellectual fulfillment while he’s really doing the same thing in the end, blindly following the principles laid down by others. What is the difference between Roark and Keating, they both were blind followers of two different sets of beliefs with neither one willing to have a mind dynamic enough to evolve and formulate their own beliefs. This is what I didn’t like in the book, it was hypocritical. It’s no different from mainstream pop-fiction where the hero is right simply because he is the hero. Terrible…

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