Monday, September 17, 2018

A classic and a drag - Two Books in August

In August, both the books I read were gifted to me by someone. It is good at times to jump genres, given the fact that I wouldn't have picked these ones myself. The possibility of a pleasant surprise makes it worth it. 

I am still on track vis-à-vis my reading goals for the year. I have read 16 books (two a month) this year and have posted about them on this blog. Here are my views on the August reads.

Book 1: Better Than Good by Zig Ziglar (Non Fiction)

This one was a drag. I resist reading the books that fall under the genre of self help and motivation. Because I feel if getting motivation from books was so easy, everyone would be successful. Reading this one, reinforced the perception. It was my first Zig Ziglar book gifted to me at an office event, so I was also under the false impression, that it is a management or business book. But the book turned out to be the gospel in the garb of self-help. 

While I was staying with the book, when it was talking about Passion, as I identify with this aspect; it was saying all things we already know are right. So from the point of view of learning new things I wasn't sure, if this book was helpful. May be it would have impacted me subconsciously or spiritually, but I am unaware of that yet.

As the book moved to aspects related to Peak Performance it almost went into the zone of what we call in India as Global Gyaan. But it was still tolerable. In the third part, about Purpose of Life, the book went into religion and Christianity and its spread. I felt alienated here as I hadn't expected a book so explicit in its religious leanings and brazen in its attempt to establish superiority of one religion. 

The only chapter in the whole book that made sense to me was on Habits. It was practical and useful. I can read that one again. I believe if you have to lead a Better than Good life, there are better books than this one. Your chequebook is one of them!!!

Book 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Fiction)

It is a fast paced and interesting travelogue. I can safely say, it is one of the greatest adventure books I have read. Given that it was written in 1873, I was surprised by the detailing of each scene and place. The writing is rich with sounds, smells and colors of each place, the lead protagonist travels to. I was constantly wondering what kind of research author would have done to write this book. The readers of that era would have felt exhilarated reading this one, as the book really makes you travel across the world. 

Another interesting thing was distinct characterization of each player in this book . Each protagonist has his or her own quirks which makes them endearing. The lead player goes by the name of Fogg and he emerges as an unlikely hero by the end. The insights the book gives us about the life of English during those times are funny, especially knowing that these guys ruled us for centuries.

It could have been a great thriller too had the stakes been really high. As a reader you enjoy it but there is nothing that provides you that edge of the seat thrill and also the ending is a little too soft.

Looking forward to September reads, where I go back to my favorite genres.