Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: ‘301 Things To Draw’ By Editors Of Chartwell Books

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If you want to be successful in any form of art, you need to practise it regularly in order to hone up your skill. Otherwise, any gap in your practice would slide you back and erase whatever little progress you had made. This way you would find yourself forever beginning from scratch and never making any considerable progress. But easier said than done. If you are an artist, you would know that making a piece of art is easy when you are in mood or it is your hobby, but it loses its charm when you have to perform on demand. And here the demand is ‘regular practice’. Sometimes you do have the will and discipline to get up and sit at your working table, but have no idea where to start — what to draw and how to start with it. Note that here the first stroke is the most difficult step, for once you have overcome that hurdle, then the art would by itself pull you into it. Thereafter it becomes easy. But the first step — the artist’s block as it is called — is the most difficult phase. If you ask me, personally I do not consider it to be any issue. While sketching, I start drawing whatever object is lying in front of me.

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Book Review: ‘Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space’ By Miranda Paul, Illus. By Sija Hong

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Everyone has a vision for the future — how to change the world and how to make it a better place to live. We are nobody to challenge anyone’s personal views, but some ideas look more sound and workable. For example, Nehru was of the opinion that the progress of India can be achieved primarily by science and technology. Post-independence, Prof Sarabhai envisioned harnessing space technology for India’s progress and growth. Indeed, if one looks forward to a bright future for oneself, society, nation or the world, then there doesn’t seem to be any other way than to invest in scientific temperament. Note that by scientific temperament I do not simply mean scientific and technological innovations and inventions, instead I use the term in a rather broad sense which implies looking at the world logically, critically and sensibly.

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Book Review: ‘Words Of Change — Climate’ By Christina Limpert

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Today I am sharing my views on the book Words of Change: Climate — Powerful Voices, Inspiring Ideas by Christina Limpert which I have received for review. This book is a collection of quotes by climate activists from different walks of life and is purportedly meant to encourage and motivate people to think seriously about climate crisis and to join the movement demanding necessary action. Before I give my opinion about this book, I would like to say few words which should help you in appreciating the motivation and scope of this book. When we talk about climate change, a question arises in nearly everybody’s mind — If climate crisis is such a big problem, why aren’t governments doing anything in that direction? Why such widespread and general apathy towards the biggest problem of our times? Yes, I do mean it — one single climate calamity can erase years of development and progress, pushing us several decades into the past. 

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My Association With Sri Ramakrishna And The Kathamrita

My copy of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita as told by Sri M.

Today is the birth anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa (18 February 1836 — 16 August 1886). Although I had heard about him since my childhood, I didn’t know much about him. I always thought him to be similar to several other saints and divine personalities that this land has produced. I became more and more interested in him after reading Swami Vivekananda literature, who used to refer to his Master time and again. I got one small book containing compilation of quotes by Sri Ramakrishna, and was immediately touched and moved by the utter simplicity of his words and thoughts. It is remarkable to even think that such complex ideas of Indian philosophy and spirituality could be explained and elaborated in such simple words.

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Book Review: ‘Goodbye Phone, Hello World’ By Paul Greenberg

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Good Bye, Phone Hello World: 60 Ways to Disconnect from Tech and Reconnect to Joy by Paul Greenberg was the last book I read in 2020 and the first one that I am reviewing in 2021. In my opinion it is an important and an urgently needed book. That is the reason that I decided to start the book reviews this year with this book.

Good Bye Phone is about how we are losing out on our lives, our own interests, in small small bits and pieces, for the sake of something which is not even worth it. The focus of the whole book is to convey the urgency to get rid of smartphone addiction. In the first few pages of the book, the writer highlights the various ways in which smartphone is robbing you of your life. And remember that he is not just talking about the effect on your health or effect on your relationships. He tells you how seriously it is affecting your whole life and how you are being deprived of the various beautiful things which really mean to you.

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Book Review: ‘Is It Serious?’ By Burton Paul

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Today I will tell you about the book Is it Serious? How to Search for Health Information on the Internet by Burton Paul. I did not find any negative points in the book, so this ‘review’ may appear to be a summary of what this book is about. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Fickle Finger: An Inventor’s Lot’ By Martin Fone

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One of the most depressing and frustrating things to witness in today’s world is society’s apathy towards science and scientists. It is true, even after centuries of technological progress, people don’t seem to appreciate what science and technology mean to them, and what life would be without them. Everyday things, objects, devices, gadgets, which they take for granted, they don’t seem to care how that came into being if not by technological innovation. Note that science and technology need not mean only explorations like nuclear energy or Apollo or Chandrayaan, but also something as simple and small as a safety pin, or a TV set, computer operating system, or Hansom cab. Or it need not be reflected in the form of a palpable device, instead a scientific explanation of some phenomena like nuclear fission, properties of gases or child mortality. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space’ By Mark Thompson

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Physics is generally called as the queen of all sciences, perhaps because of its elegance, beauty, charm and glamour. And among the various branches of Physics, from mechanics to thermodynamics, and from electromagnetism to acoustics, none attracts so much attention as astrophysics. It is true that astronomy and astrophysics are among the most glamorous branches of physics; most of the young students who choose physics do so mostly due to their infatuation with astronomy and astrophysics. Also, as we progress in our research career, sooner or later we do try to link our research work with the terrestrial and celestial worlds. That being said, astrophysics is also the subject to invoke if you want to attract young students to take up science education, in particular physics. After all, the lessons do start with star gazing and solar/lunar eclipses! But at the same time, it is also interesting to note how less do we know about space. No, here I am not commenting on how little do we know about space even after so many centuries of research. Instead, I am taking note of the various facts which are known, and is supposed to be in public knowledge, yet the general audience is either ignorant of it or oblivious to such information. Mark Thompson has compiled about a hundred such pieces in his book 101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space. His aim is to bring the fascination of space science to general masses, and to educate them in an entertaining fun way. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Bright Dreams: The Brilliant Ideas of Nikola Tesla’ By Tracy Dockray

Tesla

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You have heard about scientists who were artists. In some of earlier posts, I have talked about collaborative efforts between artists and scientists. For example, the book Periodic Table presented scientific knowledge accompanied by beautiful graphic illustrations. Likewise, I talked about scenes from the movie 15 Park Avenue, which depicted struggles in the life of a physics professor. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success’ By Mark Jaccard

Climate1

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Today I will share my views about The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress by Mark Jaccard. This is a very interesting book. The moment you open this book, you will be drawn into reading it in full. Honestly speaking, I found it really hard to put this book down after having started it. The tone is neither overly passionate nor dull. The writer maintains a balanced tempo throughout the book, and except for few scattered passionate outbursts, he does not leave it. He talks to you slowly, allowing you sufficient time to absorb the knowledge that he is trying to impart. He ensures not to feed you too much information with each morsel, while at the same time makes sure that every page contains something new to learn. This book was an eye opener for me, and even though I took about three months reading it, I would not mind reading it again. It is because the book contains so much stuff which would stay relevant for years to come. This book does not aim at entertainment as it is addressing a very serious issue. At the same time, nowhere does it create any impression of a boring treatise. At one place the writer acknowledges that scientists are poor communicators and this has been one of the reasons behind the knowledge gap between (climate) science and general public. This book will certainly fill that gap, and considering the scarcity of texts aimed at general audience, it will remain a valuable source to refer to. Continue reading