Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami

The book started with a great promise. A bunch of Japanese teenagers have found their soul mates and they are the happiest they have ever been. But, everything does not continue to remain swell. Differences occur, the group falls apart. One young man, our protagonist, a colorless, dull (you could say in a manner) passionless, Tsukuru Tazaki is expelled from it and leads an almost normal looking but a solitary life after that. 16 years later he sets out to resolve the mystery of his expulsion and finds out what happened.

The buildup was quite good. Even till the end, one keeps looking for the next answer but the book does not end in a resolution. There is much pondering about loneliness. There are some characters here and there, a venture into mystical, supernatural etc…but in the end, it’s all pointless. It is quite a pointless book.

It was okay to read, i wanted to turn pages but not as often. I dont know but I am not as charmed by Murakami’s storytelling as others seem to be. It’s just an OK read.


Yes Please – Amy Poehler

Just finished reading this book by Amy Poehler and it looks like a half hearted attempt. Neither were the incidents entertaining nor were they funny. I am just bound to compare it with Tina Fey’s Bossypants and it was such a good book – genuine, witty and funny. This book has nothing.

I am disappointed as I like Amy’s comedy but the book just does not cut it.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

I finally read the novel by Gillian Flynn. I had been seeing it being hailed for a long time. Eventually, I decided to give in. Took me about two days of intense reading to get through the nearly 600 page novel.

It was interesting. The novel started a bit slow. But I was interested since the psychological exploration which the author does is quite deep and precise. Then there were twists. And the book got very interesting. However, after 400 pages, I started to feel it was a bit longer than needed.
Nonetheless, it was entertaining. Above all, it was the psychological tussle between a couple which I thought was well done. Reading the minds of relationships – that is something which Gillian Flynn has managed to do very well. She said in an interview that her goal was to make couples looks askance and trust me, for a day, I was really affected and upset after reading the book 🙂

It’s a book worth a read. I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

What I Talk About when I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

This is a book about that part of Murakami’s life where he runs. He has gained a lot of insight into himself by running for nearly 23 years and taking part in marathons and triathlons and an ultramarathon. It is a memoir of his running life. Is it well written?? Yeah. It is a simple book, easy to read and with a couple of takeaway lines full of life wisdom. It is inspiring in a lot of places. So much so that even a person like me, who is dead against running, was inspired to start to run. 

It is breezy. Murakami does not reveal a lot of himself. I sensed him being restrained all through out the book. Nonetheless, it can be picked up. It took me all of 5 hours to finish, so is a breezy read as well.

Breakout Nations – Ruchir Sharma

I am sure you must have heard about the great uplifting story of the economic miracle of China – of how India is just behind China and yet another nation which is becoming an economic superpower. You must have also heard about the South Korean manufacturing miracles and African resurgence.

What Ruchir Sharma does in his book is that he takes all these ’emerging’ economies one by one and dissects their economic policies and assesses their basic economic indicators like investment/trade/taxes as a % of the GDP and points out if that indicates good or bad tidings. His analysis is put forth in simple english sentences which is easy to understand and gives a pretty good picture of the nations which are discussed – macro economics wise.  He places his bets on economies which are relentless in their reformist attitudes and have stable political atmosphere or sound infrastructure in place.

For me the best takeaway from the book was the education about emerging markets and where these nations are placed. I was also able to understand what the actual level of development each of these economies have and what needs to be done to close the gap. I also learnt that even a decade worth of fast track growth does not necessarily mean that a nation will continue to grow. In fact, as a rule, the growth slows down and even reverses some times. It is not as uncommon as one might think. So, the road to become developed is a long one and requires constant innovation, attention to micro signals from domestic and international markets and also that saving and risk taking [in terms of reforms] are better strategies for growth and yield better returns in times of slow down.

All in all, a very informative book and comparatively breezy as compared to others on the same subject. Must read if you are interested in just getting to know about the world and how its economy moves.

The Blue Sweater – Jacqueline Novogratz

Inspiring! What an amazing and audacious journey she has had. All of it has been documented in this wonderful book. Gives a look into the mind and heart of a woman who dares to think of changing the world and not only does she think but actually acts on that in ways one can only think are fit for characters of movies or books. Her efforts have inspired many and changed lives for a large number of people and will continue to do so. If nothing else, one can appreciate the sense of initiative, commitment and daring which Jacqueline has shown all her life. She comes out as a leader who inspires by doing.

Charity for me always has been a topic of great conflict. While I agree that charity has some role to play in the society, I have always felt that the recipient of charity feels less dignified every time. JN’s concept of patient capital – her essence of the social entrepreneurship – focussed more on long term solutions than one time or short term grants is what is required to help those who are disadvantaged. That her organization – Acumen Fund – is making investments in multiple such programs is a great news for the world.

Jacqueline is a woman to emulate and she has told her story well in this book. For all the socially minded people and women who want to make a difference, this is a good book to read!

The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

A novel about deceptions of memory. What we choose to remember is not always all of it. What we choose to forget is sometimes the bigger story. The most unreliable of narrators – the memory. It is ruled by emotions and shaped by intentions.

This is what the author has tried to weave in an intriguing tale of awkwardness, humiliation, revenge, remorse and an attempt at peacefulness. Things are not what they seem at first. Many undercurrents catch you by surprise. It is a crafty book. Not so easy to get at the first time in its entirety. Will need to read it again and again.