In this blog post, we will look at some of the books that my colleague Anil and I were reading.
I finished reading a book that is part memoir, part tryst with philosophy by author scientist and journalist, Barbara Ehrenreich. The book is ironically named for a book by an atheist. It’s called Living with a Wild God.
The book was written on the basis of the author’s adolescent year diaries. It’s not the usual kind of adolescent diary that you would imagine. This is where perhaps I forget my adolescent days, when my thoughts were far more immediate and heart searing. Imagine if you went out on a quest for truth at such a young age, what would you come up with?
Ehrenreich forgoes of the godly presence. Her parents were atheists too and she held on to rationality as though it were her Bible. The problem was that the linearity of science suffered a huge blow in the twentieth century. Non-living things were actually filled with throbbing atoms. Science was standing on its head, and what erupted as anger and mistrust in her parents turned her into wreck.
Ehrenreich talks about mystical experiences she had, and her inability to talk about these to anyone. In India, such events happen to people quite often, and we don’t really question it or see it as any kind of delusion, but for Ehrenreich, her experiences amounted to downright sacrilege of her rationalist point of view. I did not know when I started the book that I would read it with such nail-biting curiosity.
Two other books I was reading at the time were The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan and Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose. The Silk Roads is an eye opener and a must read in these times when culture clashes are still all too common, in spite of the so-called globalization that has forced people to accept with open arms, rather than just tolerate them. To read Frankopan’s account, you must know a bit of history, otherwise you could get overwhelmed and stop half way. He goes back to the cradle of civilization and looks at the Crusades from the other side. It’s fascinating how a slight change in perspective can provide a more comprehensive world view.
The other book called Reading like a Writer is a book I’ll be talking more about on the blog. Suffice to say, a writer should read on high alert- every punctuation, choice of word, structure of sentence and length of paragraph plays a role in shaping the text. There is no better writing school than a good book.
Anil read a book called Ronaldo Obsession with Perfection, a biography of football great Cristiano Ronaldo, by a Madrid based journalist Luca Caioli. This choice of book immediately led to a flurry of discussion on Ronaldo’s field antics and how it’s harder to always be second in command. Apparently Ronaldo’s obsession with the ball superceded his love for any toy even from the time he was a boy. This book provides insights into his life and shows Cristiano the man, not just the footballer.