Category Archives: reading

Now Reading: Samit basu – The Gameworld Trilogy

Ashish recently got me started on Samit Basu’s Gameworld trilogy, and I have to admit, I have been hooked to the books over the last week or two. I have already finished the first two books in the series. I bet you are wondering where in ISB I am finding the time – but well, sleep is the only thing that can be reduced in ISB if you want to do something more. However, I hope I am able to put off starting on the third book till I have some free time from all the project reports and exams looming over the next 10 days or so.
Its a weird series of books for sure, with a lot of twists and young Samit (who’s apparently an IIM-A dropout and only 23 when he published the first book!), bringing together stuff from Indian/Greek mythology as well as famous fantasy novels (LOTR/Harry Potter?) and movies as well (James Bond inspirations included)! All this results in a funny combination of characters and stories that are quite sarcastic and I have to admit, the writing is pretty funny as well. The plotline of the first book was quite good, with the second one a bit weaker in my opinion. Its now up to the third one to decide whether it falls down or zooms up in quality.
For an Indian writer, writing an English fantasy novel and doing it reasonably well (The Gameworld series has sold well in India, but not internationally in comparison.) is a worthy achievement and the series is definitely worth a read.

Samit Basu’s Blog/personal website is linked here.

My World Flattened – Courtesy Mr. Friedman

If you still havent guessed it till now, this post is about the thoroughly irritating book by Thomas Friedman.
When I got into a management course, one promise I made to myself was to read books other than my normal sci-fi/fantasy genres. ‘The World is Flat’ seemed a good choice, considering that I had heard friends raving about it all the time. Well, I got down to it. No mean feat, considering that I barely get some time to myself at all, so its quite a valuable resource I am spending here. I have been trying to read a small section daily……. and I can honestly say that I am appalled. 😛
The quality of writing in itself is enough to make one want to put it down. Grammar is pretty much ignored throughout the book, and the writing style is nothing to write home about either. Every couple of sentences I read how he talked to someone (could be someone famous/important with a out of context quote, or a random person he met who’s name may not be mentioned) and how so-and-so or such-and-such is leading to a ‘flattening’ of the world. The repetition of the word has gotten to be so bad that I am ready to throttle the next person I meet who talks about ‘flattening’ something outside of a book. Not to mention jargon like 1.0, 2.0, which I assume he uses to show relevance with the tech world as such.
The book may have ‘some’ positive things to say about India/China, but has some bloopers as well. e.g. A wall street guy of Indian Origin is heard saying that India as a country has ‘no resources’. Thats actually funny, once you read it. Reminds me of something I read years ago which was a survey of the average American (I think). Basically the end result was that a large %age of them thought that Bangalore was the capital of India and had a billion people living around it. Seems co-incidental, considering that Friedman seems to have been based out of Bangalore for quite some time. Mr. Friedman may need a crash cource on some ‘Indian Resources.’
So as you can probably guess from my rant by now, I am pretty disappointed by what I have read so far (around 200 pages). For those wondering why I am still banging my head on it, its only because I pride myself on finishing whatever book I start reading, and also because I have at a couple of places that it gets interesting towards the last 100 pages or so.

Wish me luck……………

PS: A ‘review’ of the same book. I happen to agree with many points made by the author of the article: (Language is a bit strong)
http://www.nypress.com/article-11419-flathead.html