Tag Archives: Books

Books I read in February 2024

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in February 2024.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Tintin in the land of SovietsHergé2/10
Tintin in the CongoHergé6/10
Tintin in ThailandBaudouin de Duve3/10
Books I read in February 2024

I read so much science fiction last few months that I started having space themed dreams. So I decided to take a break and read something else.

I had always known off the presence of the Tintin app in the App Store, but never bought anything there. So this time, I decided to buy all the comics, because mine are packed in boxes in Gurgaon. Although I have read each book at least 20 times, I keep coming back to them from time to time.

Tintin in the land of Soviets

I decided to go sequentially and first up was Tintin in the land of Soviets, which is easily one of the worst books I have ever read. Shoddy drawing and pure anti-communist propaganda. Soviets are shown as brutal people. The bad guys keep using absurd phrases like “By Lenin’s goatee”. They are also shown to be spreading propaganda to Britishers, showing them their “great” factories, which are actually fake and empty inside. In one absurd scene, poor Soviet people are shown to queue up for free bread and only those who call communism great are given a loaf. Also, Tintin comes off as a jerk, attacking people for no reason.

Tintin in the Congo

The second book in the series is Tintin in the Congo. There’s no good way to say it, the book is racist as fuck. First of all, all the Africans have been shown resembling apes. Tintin says he needs to hire “a boy”. Many other things which would have gotten Hergé cancelled if he were alive. Tintin kills wild animals for no apparent reason. He kills 15 antelopes “for dinner”. He kills a monkey just to skin him and wear his skin as a coat. Kills an elephant and takes his tusks for ivory. Also kills a buffalo for fun.

When his European car collides with an African train, the train derails. Then he screams at the Africans on board the train and forces them to fix it. Missionaries are shown to be super smart and benevolent. African children are shown as stupid, after spending all day, he cannot teach them what 2+2 is.

The good part is, the drawing is epic and as per normal Tintin standards.

Tintin in Thailand

Tintin in Thailand is an illegal parody of Tintin comics. I decided to give it a fair shot.

The comic starts with Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus sick in Marlinspike Hall, with no money. Then Jolyon Wagg’s wife comes along to tell them that her husband went to Thailand many months ago and hasn’t come back. She asks them to track him down and bring him back. So they go to Bangkok and find out that Jolyon Wagg has run away to Chiang Mai with a Kathoey (Ladyboy). Haddock and Calculus immediately start whoring around while Tintin spends the night with the male toilet attendant.

Tintin and friends flying to Thailand
Tintin and friends flying to Thailand

Tintin, looking for more boys, finds Tchang, who reveals that the Yei in Tintin in Tibet had been raping him and now desensitised to it, he works as a prostitute.

Tintin and friends planning their debauchery in Thailand
Tintin and friends planning their debauchery in Thailand

Meanwhile, Snowy is having his own Siam experience fucking Haddock’s Siamese cat. Also, Jolyon Wagg’s wife starts fucking Nestor. Tchang gets drunk and tries to cut off Tintin’s dick. Tintin reveals that he doesn’t have one to begin with.

Eventually, they all ring in the new millennium together in Thailand.

Books I read in December 2023 & January 2024

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in December 2023 & January 2024, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Paradise and other short storiesKhushwant Singh8/10
Hope – How Street Dogs Taught Me the Meaning of Life: Featuring Rodney, McMuffin and King WhackerNiall Harbison8/10
The Three-Body ProblemLiu Cixin7/10
The Dark ForestLiu Cixin8/10
Death’s EndLiu Cixin9/10
Books I read in December 2023 & January 2024

I didn’t do much reading in October and November 2023. In December, I started reading again.

Paradise and other short stories is a bit different from other Khushwant Singh books. As in, they are not personal stories about his life, but short stories with the themes of sex and religious superstition. I really enjoyed it and half-way through also realised that I had already read it before, years ago.

I have been following Niall Harbison on social media for quite some time and donating to his dog rescue efforts. When I saw that he has released a book about dogs, I eagerly bought it. Interestingly, the book is not directly about dogs. Instead, Niall first goes through how toxic his life was and how dogs turned it around.

After this, I started Liu Cixin‘s The Three-Body Problem, a trilogy spanning millions of years. It is well written and entertaining, although, being a Chinese sci-fi, it overestimates the importance of China in the global order.

It was good enough for me to move on to the next book in the series, The Dark Forest, which was slightly better than the first part.

But the best book in the series was Death’s End. 2 things stand out :

  1. The description of how 3 dimensional beings perceive 3 dimensional objects in the fourth dimension. This part is so well done, I read it twice.
  2. The way Yun Tianming tells three stories to Cheng Xin to give her clues without alerting the Trisolarans is genius.

Books I read in September 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in September 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Wandering EarthLiu Cixin9/10
Hold up the skyLiu Cixin8/10
The Supernova EraLiu Cixin5/10
Twisted Planet Book OnePeter Schinkel7/10
On Love and SexKhushwant Singh8/10
Books I read in September 2023

At the end of August, I decided to read Liu Cixin‘s work. A bit intimidated by the behemoth trilogy that is Remembrance of Earth’s Past, I decided to start easy.

Wandering Earth is the name of a short story. But also the name of a book with a collection of other short stories. I found them immensely enjoyable. Unlike Ted Chiang, Liu Cixin‘s stories are centred around China with Chinese people as main characters. The stories are too good, I must write a bit about each of them individually.

Wandering Earth

  1. The Wandering Earth – This story is about the Sun eventually going supernova and humanity’s plan to move the earth to Proxima Centauri.
  2. Mountain – This story is about an alien spaceship visiting earth and how one man climbed a water mountain to speak with them.
  3. Sun of China – This story is about China constructing an artificial reflector in space to engineer their climate and a group of mere window-cleaners who maintain it.
  4. For the benefit of mankind – This story is about an assassin going about his business while an alien race is on the cusp of invading humanity.
  5. Curse 5.0 – This story is about a jilted lover unleashing a harmless computer virus to insult her ex. And how a bunch of drunk homeless people accidentally modify it to destroy humanity.
  6. The Micro-Era – This story is about how humanity genetically engineers themselves to microscopic size to escape annihilation. And a macro-human who was in space for decades’s encounter with them.
  7. Devourer – This story is about spacefaring dinosaurs coming back to earth to take humans with them and raise them for livestock.
  8. Taking Care of Gods – This story is about the gods returning to earth and how the earthlings treat them.
  9. With her eyes – Cannot say anything about it without spoiling it.
  10. Cannonball – A story of a Chinese scientist over decades of cryogenic sleep.

I really enjoyed Chinese sci-fi, so I decided to continue with Liu Cixin and read Hold up the sky. Just like Wandering Earth, it is a collection of Sino-centric stories.

Hold up the sky

  1. The Village Teacher – A story about a teacher’s dedication to his students and how that eventually saves the planet earth.
  2. The Time Migration – Is a story about immigrants travelling through time to experience what becomes of humanity.
  3. 2018-04-01 – This is a story about humans editing their genes to age slower and live longer.
  4. Fire in the Earth – This one is not actually Sci-Fi at all, but nonetheless a good story about mining reforms.
  5. Contraction – Perhaps the most fascinating of them all. It is about the universe stopping its expansion and beginning the contraction phase.
  6. Mirrors- This one is about someone inventing a supercomputer which can simulate everything since the Big Bang. It reminded me of the TV series Devs.
  7. Ode to Joy – A bizarre story about an alien mirror arriving to the Milky Way to play an inter-galactic concert.
  8. Full-Spectrum Barrage Jamming – A fascination story of war between NATO and Russia. Till the end you keep thinking “What does this have to do with Sci-Fi?” And then you realise.
  9. Sea of Dreams – This one is about a low-temperature artist visiting earth and putting all of earth’s oceans in orbit.
  10. Cloud of Poems – This one is about gods coming to the solar system and using its matter to write all combinations of Classical Chinese poetry possible.
  11. The Thinker – Is about a doctor and an astronomer stumbling into a galaxy-spanning discovery and how they track it over decades.

After this, I started reading The Supernova Era, my first full-length novel from Liu Cixin. It is about all the adults on earth being killed by a Supernova and the children taking charge. Much of it was Chinese propaganda and well-known stereotypes. American children doing drugs, carrying guns and shooting each other, threatening to sue, impeaching their President, Britishers always delivering memos about everything. Similarly, the Japanese children have been depicted as blood-thirsty savages, their children eating a live whale.

More Sci-Fi

Not willing to commit to another full-length novel, I started Twisted Planet Book One by a lesser-known author named Peter Schinkel. It contains many Sci-Fi short stories. I found them to be reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. My only gripe is that some of the stories were a bit too short. Like just a page.

No more Sci-Fi

I had enough of Sci-Fi by now, so I started reading On Love and Sex by Khushwant Singh. There was not much love in it, mostly sex. Lectures on sex, Khushwant’s first hand and second hand experiences. Like most Khushwant novels, it didn’t disappoint.

I probably won’t do much reading in October, because my parents are visiting and I have loads of TV shows to catch up on.

Books I read in August 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in August 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Project Hail MaryAndy Weir10/10
RecursionBlake Crouch8/10
ArtemisAndy Weir9/10
UpgradeBlake Crouch7/10
Randomize (Forward Collection)Andy Weir5/10
ExhalationTed Chiang7/10
Books I read in August 2023

In August, I decided to continue my Science Fiction streak. I saw an advertisement for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and decided to give it a go. Within a few pages, it was clear to me that this was the best Science Fiction novel I had ever read.

Andy Weir is quite unlike the other Sci-Fi authors I normally read (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov etc). While the latter are serious and scientific, I found Andy Weir to be positively comic. But that doesn’t mean the science is lacking; that is also explained in detail. After a long time, I had found a book that I couldn’t put down and was completely engrossed.

Apparently, there would be a movie based on this book which I will surely go watch it.

After this, I tried reading The Devgarh Royals trilogy by Alisha Kay, but didn’t like it after a few pages and abandoned it.


I saw a recommendation from Andy Weir for a book called Recursion by Blake Crouch, so decided to give it a go. Recursion is a psychological thriller mixed with Sci-Fi. It took a lot of mental power to keep track of all the time travel, but the story was engaging. I was afraid it would become as complicated as Tenet, but thankfully, it didn’t. One of the most intense books I have ever read.

After this, I went back to Andy Weir‘s Artemis. Just like Project Hail Mary, it was humorous Sci-Fi. The book also has a unique protagonist – A promiscuoussaudi female porter on the moon. I really enjoyed the book, although I found some parts a bit hard to believe.

After this, I went back to Blake Crouch‘s Upgrade. It was entertaining, but nothing special. I probably won’t go back to the author again.

Wanting to go back to Andy Weir; I considered reading The Martian, but since I had already seen the movie twice, gave it a skip. Instead, I bought Randomize (Forward Collection). The story started off interested, but then ended within 40 pages on a cliffhanger. WTF!

Amazon recommended me Exhalation by Ted Chiang, which is a collection of short stories. The short parables were perfect for weekday reading, where I could finish 1 story before I went to bed. The stories had a definite Black Mirror vibe.

PS: I also switched from reading on my Kindle Paperwhite to the Kindle app on the iPad, because I also wanted to read magazines. Below are the magazines I am reading

  1. Reader’s Digest India
  2. Travel+Leisure India

Books I read in July 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in July 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
2001: A Space OdysseyArthur C. Clarke8/10
2010: Odyssey TwoArthur C. Clarke9/10
2061: Odyssey ThreeArthur C. Clarke7/10
3001: The Final OdysseyArthur C. Clarke7/10
Books I read in July 2023

In July, I went back to my trusty Kindle. I had a yearning to read Sci-Fi and not able to find anything new that I wanted to read, I went back to books I had already read.

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the rare books, which was adapted from the screenplay of a movie, also written by Arthur C. Clarke along with Stanley Kubrick. Now, there are 2 versions of the book. The original one and the one based on the movie screenplay. I seem to have read the original one, because when I moved on to the second part, I could see several inconsistencies. That is because the second book onwards are adapted from the screenplay version instead.

2010: Odyssey Two is even better than the first part and I enjoyed reading it.

2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey were both above average, but not awesome. Although I had read all these books, it was long ago. And I did enjoy reading them again.

2001: Differences between original book and movie

After spotting the inconsistencies between the books 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two, I decided to watch the movie, and document the differences, because I did not find a good summary online

  1. In the book, TMA-2 is on Iapetus, a moon of Saturn. But in the movie and the sequels, TMA-2 is in Orbit around Io, a moon of Jupiter.
  2. In the book, Frank Poole is killed by HAL 9000 and floats away. But in the movie and the sequels Dave Bowman goes out to rescue him and gets locked out of the ship by HAL.
  3. In the book, Discovery uses Hydrogen as a propellant. But in the movie and the sequels, the propellant is Ammonia.
  4. In the book, Discovery carried only enough propellant to go into Orbit around Iapetus. But in the movie and the sequels, Discovery has enough propellant to return back to earth.
  5. In the book, Discovery was already running out of air when Dave Bowman left. But in the movie and the sequels, Discovery has sufficient air even after jettisoning the stale putrid air into space.

Books I read in May & June 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in May & June 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
The Blue UmbrellaRuskin Bond7/10
The Gopi Diaries: Coming HomeSudha Murty8/10
The Gopi Diaries: Finding LoveSudha Murty7/10
The Gopi Diaries: Growing UpSudha Murty8/10
Books I read in May & June 2023

I had an exam in May that I needed to prepare for. I also had guests over for a few days, so I didn’t read anything at all, all May. At the end of May, I started reading The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond. It was a nice sweet story about a little Garhwali girl who lives in the mountains. The only problem with this book was that it was too short.

Next, I moved on to Sudha Murty. I remember reading her books to my daughter when she was small and she had just launched a new book series, so I gave it a go.

The series is about a dog that Murty’s rich family adopts and how life is with him over the years. It was a nice read, although I feel it is targeted more towards children.

In July, my wife gifted me Chowringhee by Sankar, which is about the life of people working and staying at a Hotel in Kolkata. The book reminded me of the book Hotel by Arthur Hailey which I had read when I was young. It was still refreshing to read Chowringhee, as it brings many things new. The ending was too grim, however.

Books I read in March & April 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in March & April 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Delhi: A NovelKhushwant Singh8/10
Train to PakistanKhushwant Singh8/10
Whereabouts: A NovelJhumpa Lahiri7/10
Another Dozen StoriesSatyajit Ray8/10
Books I read in March & April 2023

Due to an unavoidable personal situation, I didn’t read anything for the first 2 weeks of March. After that, craving something familiar, I started reading Khushwant Singh, although I had read all his novels already many years ago.

It was nice reading those familiar novels, once more. I really enjoy Khushwant’s writing style.

After Khushwant, I went back to Jhumpa Lahiri. Whereabouts: A Novel was a collection of incoherent notes from the author. Entertaining, but nothing special.

After that, Amazon recommended me Satyajit Ray. I read his “Another Dozen Stories” which was full of short stories. Some of the stories were feel good, whereas others were paranormal or bordering paranormal. Overall, I found the stories quite entertaining.

Knowing that I didn’t do much reading the last 2 months, I will try to do better going forward.

I am thinking of revisiting Arthur C Clarke next.

Books I read in February 2023

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in February 2023, in sequence.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Midnight’s ChildrenSalman Rushdie7/10
The All Bengali Crime DetectivesSuparna Chatterjee6/10
Love UnlockedKavita Bhatnagar4/10
The Ministry of Utmost HappinessArundhati Roy9/10
Books I read in February 2023


At the end of January, I started reading Salman Rushdie. Compared to Arundhati Roy, I immediately found the writing much easier and funnier, too. However, I found the book much longer than it needed to be. I completely lost the plot in Book 3 where Saleem, the protagonist loses his memory and becomes a dog/tracker for the army (owing to his superior sense of smell) in the CUTIA unit. I skipped the chapters around this phase completely.

After the huge book that was Midnight’s children, I wanted to read something lighter and less well known. So when Amazon recommended me “The All Bengali Crime Detectives“, from a virtually unknown author Suvarna Chatterjee, I gave it a go. I found the story engaging, but found the setting of middle class Kolkata quite depressing.

From there, I went on to read another lesser known book Love Unlocked. It was about marital discord between a wife and her in-laws; always bickering. Eventually, when threatened with divorce by her husband, she mends her ways and learns to live with her in-laws.

I really Lol-ed at this one
I really Lol-ed hard at this one

Not only does she become a doting daughter-in-law, she develops excellent house-keeping skills, starts cooking meat and even becomes pregnant to please her in-laws. She even gets her adopted sister to come and do household chores for her in-laws.

Not trying my luck with unknown authors further, I went back to Arundhati Roy.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness was hands down one of the best books I have ever read. I would rate it 10/10 if not for the silliness of having real life politicians in the book but with slightly modified names (Kejriwal is Aggarwal, Modi is Lalla and Manmohan Singh is the trapped rabbit)

I also gave Kindle Unlimited a shot, but realised that the books on there are not the books I wanted to read and cancelled it soon after.

Books I read in January 2023

As promised, I took up reading again. In this post, I present the books I read in January 2023, in sequence.

When I started reading (after a gap of many years), I was in throes of medication withdrawal. Reading books made things easier.

I went to few of the biggest book stores in the city and was disappointed to see the slim selection of English books available, especially from Indian authors. I was also surprised to see how expensive English books were. Eventually, I decided to buy a Kindle instead.

I was a bit apprehensive and thought that maybe after so many years I may not be able to read after all. but to my relief, it all came back pretty easily. Below are the books I read in January 2023.

BookAuthorMy Rating
The LowlandJhumpa Lahiri9/10
Interpreter of MaladiesJhumpa Lahiri6/10
The NamesakeJhumpa Lahiri8/10
Unaccustomed EarthJhumpa Lahiri9/10
The God of Small ThingsArundhati Roy9/10
Books I read in January 2023

The book I chose to start the year with, turned out to be one of the best books I have ever read. The rest of Jhumpa’s books all had common themes. Expatriate Bengalis in America, cheating Bengali wives, neglected parents, children adjusting to their new lives in America. Also, people who don’t seem to do “real work’ after moving to America, but studying for years, writing thesis and dissertations.

From there, I moved on to Arundhati Roy. Initially I found her writing more complicated and convoluted. The timeline was disjointed. Also I couldn’t keep track of the 20 characters introduced within the first 2 pages. But eventually the novel gripped me and I enjoyed reading it.

Be back next month!