Archive for the ‘book’ Category
I just completed reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I had been meaning to read this book because I had heard so much about it. I purchased it last winter with other books in this list thinking that there is no better time to get some reading done than cold winter days. However, I quickly got distracted with responsibilities and never got around to it. Recently, I decided that I would much rather read a book than flip though channels aimlessly. I am not saying I am abandoning TV. I am just trying to make better choices in terms of what I watch and not spend the entire weekend watching whatever is on for the sake of watching. Clearly, I digress.
So where were we? Oh yes, Life of Pi. To be honest, I do not know what to think of the book. Initially, I was angry at the main character, Pi Patel, because of his claim that zoo animals are just as happy, if not happier, within the confines of the zoo. I understand that there are ways where zoo animals can be given an environment that closely resembles their natural habitat. However, to claim that this simulated, confined environment is better did not sit right with me. It seemed that Pi, or the author, needed to read Ishmael before making that argument. I realized that the mild hangover I had might have something to do with my grumpiness and overall negative attitude towards the book. So I went to get coffee before reading further. The coffee seemed to do the trick because once I got back, the book seemed a lot less annoying. That’s a positive, right?
This is one of the few books that I have read in just a couple of days. I am not a reader by any stretch of the imagination. I never really read that many fiction or non-fiction growing up outside of what I needed to read for my classes. It was not until high school that I actually started reading few books here and there that I realized the impact a good book has on one’s perception of everything around them. And I started blabbering again.
Going back to the topic at hand, one thing that I find interesting in this book is the religious nature of the main character. What was interesting to me is that for someone who was a devout Hindu, Muslim & Christian at the same time, he never seemed to thank God for being alive with a tiger in the boat throughout his ordeal at sea. He always provided proper reasoning based on what he had learned as a zoo keeper’s son to explain why the tiger let him live. It was only when he saw nature in action, whether it be in the form of lightning storm or the marine life in the sea that he thought of God. To me it felt like he saw God as someone who is responsible for running all the different cycles and not the usual all loving God who shall come to save him like the mainstream religious crowd (not to mention he did not blame God for his plight either).
However, I still cannot decide how I feel about the book. Even though I read the book in just a couple of days, I think it was more because it was just a good story rather than the fact that I felt like I was growing as a person because of the abundance of wisdom throughout the book. Maybe it is just supposed to be a good story and that’s fine but I was expecting the book that has won numerous accolades to have a little more impact on me than it actually did. It could be that I did not pay proper attention or somehow unconsciously tuned out all the lessons for whatever reasons but I do not feel like I have grown as a person after reading this book. As someone who does not read often, that is something I look for in a book. I want the books I read to make me see things in a different light or make me aware of something that I did not know. I want reading to be a learning experience rather than just passive experience and unfortunately, Life of Pi did not rate too high for me in that scale.
I recently finished reading & working through the example code for Eldon Alameda’s Foundation Rails 2 book. As someone who has been struggling to learn Rails for the past few years, Eldon’s approach of teaching the fundamentals before diving into building an app was very helpful. This may not apply to everyone but I was always frustrated with the previous books & tutorials where the application building was done before explaining how the plumbing works.
Another good thing about the book is that Eldon talks about how a particular feature in rails has evolved over the years as well as explains the reasoning behind the changes. He also introduces related topics such as RESTful Architecture as an aside without going too far off topic. The fact that we play around with the console immediately is also helpful.
One of the thing that I really enjoyed is how Eldon would give a basic solution to a give problem and walk us through refactoring that piece and turning it into a more elegant code. This is great not only because it teaches us how to go about refactoring our code but also makes sure that the reader first understands the solution in a simple version that is easier to understand before introducing Ruby syntactic sugar & rails magic. I love the fact that Eldon introduces the idea of TDD in the book because it is definitely a good habit to develop and a requirement to be a successful Rails developer.
Eldon also does a really good job of introducing the readers to plugins as well. Rails is known for the extensibility and there are a lot of plugins out there that give us additional functionality. By showing us how to develop applications using plugins, he gives us an idea of what are the kinds of things to consider when using plugins as well as customizing it to fit your needs. All in all, it is a great introductory book for Rails and I highly recommend it to any beginners who are trying to learn Rails.
The owner of the Commercial Complex where my office is gave us a $100 coupon that can be used ONCE and one of the retailers within the campus. The only retailer that is attractive to me is an used book shop. It works out because I have been wanting to read some more books.
Of the books I have read so far, I really liked Shantaram, The Catcher in the Rye, and Ishmael, to name a few. What I like out of my reading experience is not just to be engaged in the book while I read it but growing from the reading experience intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.
So far I have come up with a list by going to Amazon and looking at other books people bought in addition to one of the books listed above. I asked for recommendations through Twitter, which also updates my facebook status and so far have only received recommendations on facebook (C’mon Twitter friends!). The books I have so far are listed below:
- Life of Pi
- Things Fall Apart
- Slaughterhouse 5
- Lord of the Flies
- The God of Small Things
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Of Mice and Men
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- On the Road
- The Good Earth
- A Short History of Nearly Everything
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
I am sure that I might be missing a lot of good books. While the $100 is a limiting factor for now, I would love to hear from anyone who stumbled upon this post. I promise to post on my experience on books I read as well. I hope to hear from everyone.