Monday, 29 December 2014

Stoner by John Williams

I confess that I had not heard of the American novelist John Williams till I  purchased and read this extra ordinary novel , Stoner.William Stoner is the name of the protagonist, and the book derives its name from that.This book was published in 1965 and sold moderately.It was in 2013  that it became a bestseller ,and its rights have since  been sold in 21 countries.
                      It is a novel which indicates that literature might be the best  way to understand life.It reinforces the very value of reading and study.Many readers  may find the life of Stoner sad.In some  ways , I also felt this way .But the  author had a different view.In an interview , he said,"I think , he had a very good life.He had a better life than most people do., certainly.He was doing what he wanted to do,he had some feeling for what he was doing,he had some sense of the importance of the job he was doing . . .The important  thing in the novel to me is Stoner's sense of a job . . .a job in the good and honourable sense of the word.His job  gave him a particular kind of identity and made him what he was.
               Life is good ,if we have a good job .Stoner had a hands on job of  a teacher in a university.He was very good at it , and enjoyed his job .The "world outside" was not  ready to let him do it , because of jealousies,power politics within the organisation , social  and other  factors.But Stoner  went ahead with his job , with honesty , dedication , professional integrity and without compromise.He had to fore go promotions , and at times face  inconvenient situations , but he held on .This is one central idea which has made this book a bestseller in our times.I recommend you to read this book .It will enrich your mind.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

I just finished reading this very warm and  touching book second time, and I enjoyed it immensely.With 61 chapters and 207 pages,it is the story of  the   life   of Randy Pausch,a  Computer Science  Professor of Carnegie Mellon , in the last few months of his life  before he  died of pancreatic  cancer.It is the story of events and  feelings of an intelligent , pure, decent ,loving and honest  human being who died at the age of 47 , and left behind  three young children and a wife, whom he loved dearly.The book was published in 2008, and became an instant bestseller.
              The Last Lecture is about life more than death,the story of a man trying to die as decently as he lived.   The key- line in the book is;"If you lead your life the right way,the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you"Pausch  repeatedly says that one should have fun in every thing one does .Go after your childhood dreams and help others to achieve theirs.It tells about his dedication to give back to community.
After reading this book this time, I asked myself(Is asking like this a conceit?)  :"What will be the topic ,if I were asked to give the  last lecture?What do I consider the most important lesson in my life , so far?"It is good to have a clear picture of what you have learnt in life , and share it with others.
                His dream of meeting Captain Kirk(Or at least , William Shatner) reminded me about  the memories of The Star Trek and all connected  associations  . 
                                            Disney gave Pausch a boost in his final months.The publisher Hyperion,that paid a multi-million advance on Pausch's book is owned by Disney.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The man who loved books too much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The full title of this book is long:The man who loved books too much:The true story of a thief , a detective, and a world of literary obsessions.The man is John Gilkey , who steals rare books worth thousand of dollars because he loves to collect the rare books.The detective is  Ken Sanders, who is actually a seller of rare books but devotes a lot of his time to catch a thief like Gilkey successfully.Bartlett takes us to the worlds of literary obsessions of book thief , book seller  and the writer herself.It is a story of real crime.When in the process of  writing about  real crime  you possess information and confession  about a real crime and plans about a future crime , what is your ethical conduct?Is it to inform the police , or is it to  protect the source?
                                Since the book takes you into the world of books all the time , while reading it , you tend to fall in love with books all over again.At least , I did.I am talking about the printed books, not the on line editions.Every printed book has a life of its own , a biography .Who gave you the book,or when and where you bought it,when you read it , when you read it a second time ,did you read it fast or in slow instalments , where have you stored it after reading, how do you catalogue your books, and so on.Do your possessions represent who you are?What emotional needs are your collections fulfilling?Are our collections more for ourselves , or are they more to impress others?Are you passionate and possessive about your books?What is your relationship to your books?Is it same for every books , or do you have different relationship with each book?Where does the love and reverence  for books convert into  obsession   like bibliophilia or bibliomania?Where do I stand  and how close I am, as a book lover , to the thin boundary line that separates reverence from obsession .
                  I end this with a quote from the book(Page 254):"As I thought about Gilkey's and Sanders's stories, and those of other collectors and thieves I encountered, they merged in my mind into a collection of their own, the larger story of which is a testament to the passion for books--their content and histories, their leathery , papery,smooth , musty,warped,foxed , torn , engraved and inscribed bodies.This passion I share with them all."