Sunday, January 21, 2007
Of abandoned books...
Over the last 2 months I attempted reading 4 books, of which 3 of them were unfortunately dumped at various stages of progress. Generally, even if the book that I am reading is unreadable or simply not my type I try to take it to completion, the only notable exception to this rule being 'Fountain Head'. Hence, the last 2 months reveals a disturbing trend indeed. And Oh , please ignore the phrase 'I try to take it to completion', in this blog and any others that I may subsequently post, its just become..well lets say the most repeated phrase in my writing over the last few months.
The first in this series of abandoned books was 'The World is Flat' by Thomas L. Friedman. The book was pretty good till I hit the halfway mark. The chapters on the ten forces that contributed to flattening of the world (in Friedman's opinion) are informative and worth a read. The problem starts immediately after this phase, when he tries to needlessly 'stretch' on the principles that he had stated in the earlier half of the book. I wonder if he had a word limit to adhere too!! In some chapters he even paraphrases and summarizes what was discussed in the chapter, uhmm.. great help if this book is part of your college syllabus, I suppose. (or maybe if you are required to write a quick summary of the book over a weekend.;-) )
Next in line was 'The Duel and Other Stories' by Anton Chekhov. I had heard a lot about Chekhov's short stories and needless to say, I had high expectations from this book. The first 3 short stories were decent enough (not great though), and then I ran into the story titled 'The Duel'. 'The Duel', which is about 100 pages long, was not exactly my idea of a 'short' story. Additionally, I had to contend with a barrage of unpronounceable Russian names. Eventually I gave up. I had most certainly lost this duel.
Felt like I was trailing by two goals in a football match, and I had to stay on in the ground, atleast to make a match of it. 'The Elephant Paradigm' by 'Gurcharan Das' was a tricky opponent right from the start of the match. I thought I knew and understood what was coming, but soon I realized that I didn't. I had my fleeting moments of glory, but was steamrolled by the opposition by half time. As individual essays, the content makes sense, but attempting to connect them logically together into a book seems to have been a bad idea.
And, finally I stumbled upon 'From Beirut to Jerusalem' by Thomas L. Friedman. I am half way through the book, and I am relishing this one, perhaps in part due to my pre-disposition towards middle east politics. I only hope that the second half of the book is not needlessly stretched, making the readers plight more troubled than that of the Israeli forces that invaded Lebanon.