Tag Archives: books

Know This Book: ‘Premendra Mitrer Shrestho Golpo’ By Premendra Mitra

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Another book that I read this year was Premendra Mitrer Shrestho Golpo (Best Stories of Premendra Mitra). As the title suggests, this book is a compilation of short stories by Bengali writer Premendra Mitra. Honestly speaking, I had difficulty appreciating most of the stories mainly because they have been written in an abstract manner. The stress of the writer is on depiction of the environment, human expressions and emotions, whereas the plot is secondary. But certainly, the description is flawless — all stories help you in experiencing life in varied colours. This is a characteristic of nearly whole Bengali literature irrespective of genre — it evokes emotions in you that you yourself weren’t aware of.

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Know This Book: ‘Kiriti Roy’ By Nihar Ranjan Gupta

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I had survived the first COVID wave last year with art as my only recourse. And to survive the second wave, I took refuge in literature, particularly fiction. With rising number of COVID cases, general indifference and influx of bad news and negative communication, the need for a strong distraction grew immensely. I knew that only nicely written detective novels or stories have the ability to engage the mind and keep it away from external influences. Another genre is horror; however, I am not very aware of literature in that genre, and have read only short stories. Anyway, coming back to detective novels, I had a good experience in the past from Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and innumerable stories published in Anandamela. Problem with detective stories is that there is no scope of re-reading. Once you have read a particular story, you already know who the culprit was and all the nitty-gritty of the crime. So another reading of the same story has no charm and nothing new to offer. I keep it in my mind that the first reading is going to be my only reading of the story and therefore try to give my full attention to it.

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Know This Book: ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’

The most important book that I read this year was titled ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’, published by Krishnamurti Foundation India. I had purchased this book sometime around 2006 when I was in Ahmedabad, and had already read it once or may be twice. This was my third reading of this book. Krishnamurti rarely fails us and always impresses us by his insight into problems and issues we come across in our everyday lives. After a biographical sketch and an outline of Krishnamurti’s philosophy by Radhika Herzberger, this book presents a collection of Krishnamurti’s writings, diary notes, speeches, dialogues and conversations. He does not belong to any religious sect or philosophical school; instead, he has a direct and straightforward way of looking at things, and through every piece of writing or conversation he encourages you to look at ‘what is’ instead of ‘what should be’. According to him, this conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ is the root cause of most of the problems. 

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Book Review: ‘Every Day Is Earth Day’ By Harriet Dyer

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I frequently receive books on climate change for review. Each one of them presents the subject from a different perspective and addresses different aspects of the problem. After reading my reviews, most of the time my readers put this question to me — “What are we supposed to do?”, and ask me reference of any book which might be able to answer this question. They want to contribute in the fight against climate change but they do not have any idea how to go ahead with it. The book Every Day is Earth Day: Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Harriet Dyer answers precisely this question. The most noteworthy feature of this book is that it does not deviate a bit from its focus and successfully delivers what it promises. It is a hand-manual for citizens to help them reduce their carbon footprint by making few changes in their lifestyle. The book is loaded with data and facts, excellent graphics, and sound suggestions and advice. There are no typographical errors. The book has been compiled very nicely and you will sense the commitment to the cause on part of the writer and publisher. As such, I do not have any criticism or negative feedback for this book; so I will give you a brief summary of the book.  

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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: ‘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