Mélange

Several months back, I began reading Salman Rushdie’s “Enchantress of Florence”. Even brilliance of prose can be tedious, as I realized not too far into the book. Nonetheless, it did trigger in me some interest in history. Out came a dusty paperback from my bookshelf, an old edition of History of India Vol. 2 by Percival Spear. A trip down its pages was so much more refreshing than the gibberish (sorry Mr. Rushdie, I like your writing, but everyone should retire one day, no?) I’d been digesting, that I returned to it with much reluctance. The end result of course was that my persistence fell short of my impatience, and I abandoned the book more than halfway through it.

Then came another book that I was hard pressed to finish – Manil Suri’s “Death of Vishnu”.  I did finish it though (with much gritting of teeth), overcoming the profusely ornamental style and unending series of cliches. The ennui of plodding through two (well, almost) painstaking books clearly signaled that I needed a break, perhaps into stuff not classified as “literary”, or even non fiction for while.

Michio Kaku’s “Parallel Worlds” was as intriguing read, next. But physics itself seems so limiting in trying to explain the non-physical, that I have a hard time carrying on, at least beyond one book. Projecting something as the pinnacle of knowledge when the source itself is dependent on our perception is a futile, if not unwise, exercise. Interestingly, I picked up Kaku’s book after watching a few episodes of the hilarious sitcom – Big Bang Theory (The title, science, books … you know, one thing led to the other). It’s about a bunch of bungling Caltech geeks and their hot neighbor.  Incidentally, I’ve become a fan, and recently watched the entire Season 1 on DVD

From physics to metaphysics – I re-read Dr. David Hawkins’ “I: Reality and Subjectivity“, the third of his trilogy(or what I knew as a trilogy till today before I checked amazon.com. I really need to catch up on his more recent works), a profound piece of work that highlights the importance of kinesiology for the serious spiritual seeker, a vehicle for intuitively discerning truth from falsehood. Yet despite the depth, I feel he should have kept away from opining on politics and other trivia (which seems oscillate more towards the right wing, to a degree). They act as  mere hindrances. Still, a very valuable book, for its insights. The book itself is in a question/answer format, somewhat like the compilaiton of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s discourses “I am That“, an advaita classic. David Hawkins himself greatly revers Maharaj, who, in his kinesiologic test, calibrates at 740.

But wait, I haven’t entirely given up on ficiton and literature. I couldn’t. One refreshing read was Gita Mehta’s “A River Sutra”. Written simply, it’s an allegorical tale of a retired bureaucrat’s search for meaning. It reminded me of Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”. Perhaps I’ll write about it next. In the meantime, I’d very much welcome tips on anything recent (Booker perhaps? Haven’t paid much attention to it), or even the not so recent.

10 thoughts on “Mélange

  1. Jasdeep

    Hey i subscribed to your blog long time ago..
    I liked some of your reviews then … Then the massive influx of things to read in my readerlist pushed me to read just a few..

    But recently i watched entire season 2 of Big Bang Theory , and that prompted me to drop a note, as you was doing that at same span of time i guess..

    You have read a lot, i am new to english fiction but ‘Sea of poppies’ and ‘Unaccustomed earth” are what i read lately and i am in awe of the literary wonders authors can create..

    keep blogging..
    or join me at http://twitter.com/jasdeep
    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. mystic wanderer Post author

      The two you mention were both very good. I haven’t read too many good ones this year, at least in the fiction/literature category. But my reading has become somewhat sporadic of late.

      Reply
  2. Runil

    Hey, mystic, are you aware if the book(Enchantress of Florence) is available in torrents? Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to deprive Mr Rushdie of his livelihood, but the book is not available in my tiny little country. And I am really interested to read it. I have an idea: Since you didn’t read the book, could you please lend me the book? I think I’ll be in South India around October, and in Orissa sometime after that, so, it would be really kind of you if you lend me that book…

    Reply
    1. mystic wanderer Post author

      Runil, I’m not aware if it is available online. I would have gladly given away my copy to you, but I had borrowed it (which turned out to be a wise move). However, I would not recommend the book. It was painstaking, purposeless, self-indulgent drivel.

      Reply
  3. Runil

    I understand. But I actually like that man. I set down The Ground Beneath Her Feet three times, but continued, and later reread the book in almost a single reading. And I LOVE the unspeakable ‘The Satanic Verses’… I understand it has touched some religious nerves, but I feel that very few have actually read the book, maybe because it is so tedious(and all the adjectives you used are perfectly true for this book too).

    But then, there is this joy you get from doing things you don’t like. I like bitter-gourd, and perhaps that is why I’ll like that book too…

    Also, I have a senior(who, for all I know, could be you, because you have not disclosed your identity) who loves the book, and is a professional writer, the sort that reads New Yorker cover to cover;so maybe there is something to the book.

    Finally, I know the story and most of the major the twists and turns, and just want to know how he manages to pull it all off without being incoherent…

    I know you understand…:)

    Reply
    1. mystic wanderer Post author

      Sounds like a true fan. The opinion on Enchantress… was of course mine and mine alone. I’m sure there are many who have liked the book. I have read Midnight’s Children and Shame, and feel both are vastly superior works. I had no problems reading them and acknowledging his talents. But not all the works of a master are equally made, and Enchantress is a testimony to that.

      Reply
  4. Runil

    Now that you say it, yeah, I have read reviews vastly differing on Enchantress…So now I’m not sure about it…

    Hey, may I ask help? A friend who happens to be a girl(we’re JUST FRIENDS) is leaving for another country to study, and I wanted to give her a book that would make her cry on the plane. I searched on amazon, and all I ended up with was a list of romantic novels, which I didn’t want to give. So I gave her ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch…I have seen the video, but have not read the book…What would you suggest? Sorry to bother you, but I thought the dilemma was rather intellectual than personal so…(Ahem)…

    Reply
  5. Runil

    Thanks a bunch! And very sorry for going off topic… But then, where else could I seek help? Now I have started getting the feeling that I know you…sorry…

    Reply

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