For last months update, please go here.

I read 8 books in January.

They were:

  • Devils of Loudun - Aldous Huxley

I started the year with this excellent book. A friend bought me a copy of the book printed in 1952 by Chatto and Windus, which is just excellent.
A book that covers incidents in a town called Loudun in France in the middle ages - covers occurrences of devils, middle age church politics, witch trials, and middle age medicine.
A fantastic read if middle age Christianity is of interest to you.

[Source : Hardcover]

  • Based on a True Story: Not a Memoir - Norm Macdonald

A friend got me this book for my birthday last year. I’m a huge far of Norm and this book is like a bunch of sets that Norm performed put together in the form of a book. There are 2 entire pages of the book which are literally just Rodney Dangerfield’s set paraphrased into a narration.

It has been a while since I laughed this hard while reading a book. The book is for fans of Norm, it is best read with his voice in mind.

[ Source : Paperback ]

  • The Virtue of Selfishness - Ayn Rand

A book that’s been on my reading list for a while now.
A collection of essays by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden.
Terribly disappointing read, ploughed my way through the book hoping it would be worth but, it really wasn’t.
I’ve found Rand’s philosophy interesting in the past, but, the way it gets portrayed through this book makes me wonder why people consider it worth discussing - I will give Rand the benefit of the doubt and read Atlas Shrugged though ( something that is continuously advertised in this book )

[ Source : Ebook - Kindle ]

  • All Art is Propaganda - George Orwell

Excellent read.
I had to skip 3 essays because I had little to no context on them.
Orwell is a treat to read. Also a great source for book recommendations.
My personal favourite essays:

  • Charles Dickens
  • Benefit of Clergy : Some Notes on Salvador Dali
  • Propaganda and Demotic Speech (super relevant to modern political discourse)
  • Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool
  • Reflections on Gandhi
  • Politics and the English Language - this alone deserves a 5/5

[ Source : Ebook ]

  • Reasons to Live - Amy Hempel

A collection of short stories by Amy Hempel who I came across at random last year.
Covers a variety of themes and is in general engaging and succinct.
For the most part it left me wanting more.
Some of the stories do need multiple re-reads before they can truly be appreciated - or maybe that’s just me.
Definitely recommend this.

[ Source : Paperback ]

  • Altered Traits - Daniel Goleman

Quite a few people recommended this book to me after I came back from Vipassana last year.
I decided to pick it up and see what the fuss was about.
Pretty detailed book, falls prey to some unnecessary storytelling at times, but, an interesting take on the benefits of Meditation through the eyes of Neuroscientists.
Weirdly enough, I’d already read a book last year that is slightly relevant to this topic that covered a bunch of conversations between the Dalai Lama and some eminent Neuroscientists from the Mind and Life institute.

[ Source : Ebook - Kindle ]

  • Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

This book has been on my shelf for 5 years now, I finally got around to reading it.
The most important and redeeming feature of the book is the structure of the story within the story.
It’s an interesting effort, the book really pulls you in at one point mid sentence, if it doesn’t - drop the book you won’t enjoy it.

[ Source : Paperback ]

  • The Guns of Navarone - Alistair MacLean

A fast paced book, set in a fictional island in World War 2.
The entire book happens in the span of 3/4 days.
I’ve seen the movie and the book is as good as the movie.
Definitely recommend it.

[ Source : Hardcover ]


Do follow my Goodreads or Twitter for updates.

I read a lot more fiction that I usually do this month.

I’m also trying something a little different for this year, I’ve setup a pool of books to pick from for next year which I plan to keep updating, you can find the list here. If you have any book that you recommend I add to my list, do let me know.

Thank you for reading what I’m reading

Sainath