Ten Kilorupees of Books

That’s what I won when I won the Chennai landmark quiz two weekends back, along with Kodhi and Aadisht. Ten kilorupees of book coupons to be cashed at any Landmark book store. Correct that – it’s one coupon worth ten kilorupees. Which means that I’ll need to spend all of it at once. In another words, I’ll need to binge. And that I’m not a big fan of.

Over the course of the last one year, I’ve done several mini-binges (purchase of 3-4 books at a time). Let me list out the books that I’ve bought as part of these binges. Maybe that’ll help you recommend what to buy this time around. Standard rules apply. I’m not a fan of fiction. Have outgrown popular economics. Still very interested in popular science level stufff. History. Geography. General fundaes. And oh, I’m also a member of a lending library in Bangalore called Goobe.

I’ve marked the books with stars (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being best).

Online shopping on Rediff, September 08:

  • The (mis)Behaviour of Markets – Benoit Mandelbrot; ****

Binge at Landmark, Gurgaon, September 08:

  • Liar’s Poker – Michael Lewis; ****
  • More Sex is Safer Sex – Steven Landsburg; **
  • Games Indians Play – V Raghunathan; *

Binge at Premier Bookshop, Bangalore, before it closed; November 08:

  • The Human Zoo  – Desmond Morris (yet to read)
  • The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins *****
  • An artist and a mathematician (a book about the fictional mathematician Nicholas Bourbaki; forgot the author) ** (halfway through)
  • India: A History – John Keay *****
  • Longitude – Dava Sobel ** (halfway through)
  • The Stuff of Thought – Steven Pinker ** (language too tough; not able to get through it)

Landmark, Gurgaon; New Year’s Day 2009

  • Discovering the Vedas – Frits Staal; ****
  • The Maths Gene – Keith Devlin ;***
  • Small Worlds – Duncan Watts; ** (halfway through)
  • The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins; ****
  • Collapse – Jared Diamond ; ****
  • Entry from backside only – Binoo K John; ****

There were no more binges for a while. But I bought the following books as one-offs

  • The Language Instinct – Steven Pinker; * (not able to get started)
  • Imagining India – Nandan Nilekani; ****
  • The Book of Hindu Calendar Art – Devdutt Patnaik; ** (halfway through; very weak so far)

And then, in June-July this year, I did a couple of small binges at Blossoms (once with Udupa, Gajju and Siby; and once with Mukka). Collectively, I bought the following books

  • Walking on Grass – Iain Banks (yet to read)
  • The Politics of Change – N K Singh *  (atrocious)
  • Thug (yet to read)
  • The Professor and the Madman (about the making of the oxford english dictionary; yet to read)
  • The Age of Revolution (not sure of title; book is about 19th cnetury europe; yet to read)
  • Beyond the Blues – Aakash Chopra *****

Broadly, I’ve liked the books by Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins. Not able to get through Steven Pinker. Hate Douglas Hofstadter (again, very tough to go through). Had borrowed Dr S Radhakrishnan’s commentary on the Upanishads and again found it unreadable – language too tough. Recently read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (borrowed from library) and find it excellent. However, Goobe has decent collection of graphic novels, so I’m not willing to invest in buying any of those.

So I’ve told you about the books I’ve liked, and not liked, and found atrocious, in the last 12 months. Now I have in hand a coupon worth Ten Kilorupees and want to make good use of it. I plan to do it in 2-3 passes. First pass at Landmark (later today), I’ll just browse. Second pass, I’ll reserve and order for the books that I want. And in the third pass (when I’ll go by car) I’ll buy the books. So, dear reader, recommend. Tell me what you think I should read. I think I’ve given you enough information to help you help me make an informed decision.

Oh, and I’ve run out of space in my bookshelf. I also need to figure out where I’ll store the new maal.

22 thoughts on “Ten Kilorupees of Books”

  1. >>Correct that – it’s one coupon worth ten kilorupees. Which means that I’ll need to spend all of it at once. In another words, I’ll need to binge. And that I’m not a big fan of.

    When I had the big Landmark voucher to dispose of, they were happy to make me a new voucher in the amount that I didn’t spend in the first trip there. So feel free to make n trips, as long as the validity does not expire.

  2. Try getting little arty da…Or how about some history?

    >Vijayanagara: Splendour in Ruins ISBN 13: 9780944142769

    worth it for the rare pictures.

    >Get some Lonely planets

  3. Survival of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalem

    Find out why deadly diseases are bred into our genetic code and lots of other super fundaes.A pretty easy read and I was begging for more fundaes at the end of the book.

  4. #. Cosmos – Carl Sagan
    #. The Man Who Knew Infinity, A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, – Robert Kanigel
    #. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

  5. you dont need to binge at once if it is a standard landmark gift card (size of a credit card?)

    not really going by your list, but mostly on a hunch that you might like it..
    1. glass bead game
    2. creativity by mihaly csikzsentmihalyi
    3. lang. in thought and action (havent read, only heard good things about it)

    if you like the suggestions, will suggest more..

    1. no it’s not a card. it’s a coupon. will try exchanging it for a card, though.

      what are the books you’ve recommended about?

  6. It talks about how sex and sexual reproduction is a way for organisms to keep one step ahead of diseases and predators; the constant arms-race that all this is a part of. And the insights the book gives into polygamy, monogamy, adultery etc. are worth it as well. A very good read, especially if you enjoyed Dawkins’ Selfish Gene.

  7. Congratulations on winning Landmark Chennai!

    A few recommendations based on your blog interests:
    1. The Myth of Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies – Kaplan
    2. Life’s Splendour – Stephen Gould (if you like Dawkins, you’d enjoy him) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Gould
    3. Fallen off the Map – Pico Iyer http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Off-Map-Lonely-Places/dp/0679746129
    4. Empire of the Indua – Alice Albinia http://www.empiresoftheindus.co.uk/index.html

    Let me know if you don’t get any of them. The 4th is easily available. I am not sure if Landmark stocks 1-3

    1. oh yeah! thanks for reminding me about 1. I should ask Landmark to procure it.

      and thanks for the other recos also. I should check them out.

  8. You can try ‘I am a Strange Loop’ by Douglas Hofstadter.
    Unlike GEB this one is not at all tough to go through.

    1. borrowed it from the library and couldn’t get past the first four pages. that is also a data point that I’ve used in order to conclude that I find Hofstadter tedious

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