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Awesome Books (5-star)

Interesting Books

Books I could not finish


Awesome Movies (5-star)

Interesting Movies

Movies I would not watch again






Awesome Books

I like these books so much that I would like to recommend them to everyone without any reservations. Click the links to read my own thoughts/excerpts.


·       Siddhartha by Herman Hesse


·       The Meaning of it All by Richard Feynman


·       To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


·       The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins


·       The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple


·       The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


·       Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson: Benjamin Franklin is one of the most celebrated founding fathers of America. His life is an inspiring tale of public service, scientific work, and personal philosophy. I think Franklin is an essential study for anyone who is interested in public service, journalism, political affairs, diplomacy, leadership, etc. This book does a great job in bringing out all sides of Franklin's life and ideas. Click here to read my own takeaways about Franklin.





Interesting Books

These are highly interesting and readable books. Click the links to read my own thoughts/excerpts.


·       Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson


·       Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence


·       The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking


·       Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson


·       Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Gabriel’s mastery of human sexuality and old age is beyond doubt.


·       Narmade Har Har (Marathi) by Jagannath Kunte: Fascinating travelogue of circumnavigating the river Narmada.


·       Sex, Power and Pleasure by Mariana Valverde: Frank discussion of important women’s issues by an acclaimed feminist.


·       Diet and Lifestyle for Health in the 21st Century by Dr. Shantaram Kane: Very clinical and research-based.


·       Kamasutra by Vatsyayana: This classic is certainly an insightful read. Contrary to popular belief the original had no pictures!





Books I could not finish

Well, these books might actually be great in their own right. But, honestly, I was unable to read them to the end. I usually do not drop a book until I have read at least the first 50 pages. After that, I value my time more than the need to be courteous to the author. You know what I mean! And some of them, I went all the way to the end but I would say that they were grossly disappointing.


A Time to Kill by John Grisham: Totally avoidable.


Haj by Leon Uris: No idea where the author is going.


Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth: Unlike "The Day of the Jackal", this book doesn't have a gripping story-line. It starts with a good promise but just whimpers off.


The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown: This book starts well, has many exciting moments, the language is quite good, but the story loses its grip, the book gets too verbose and never-ending.


Digital Fortress by Dan Brown: To be fair, I found the story weak probably because I have experience in the software security field. But still, the story is not good enough for me.


Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore: This is actually a famous book about high tech marketing, very widely read and oft-quoted and so on. But I just could not read it beyond the first 50 pages. I must be nuts, right?


Animal Farm by George Orwell: Supposedly a classic of all times. It is a famous satirical allegory of Soviet totalitarianism. Published in 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Unfortunately for me, the metaphor of animals became quite ridiculous and so, difficult to handle, as the story progressed.






Five-star Movies

I like these movies so much that I would recommend them to everyone without any reservations. I would most likely watch them again and again.


·       Fiddler on the Roof (Musical): Story of a Jewish family living in a Russian ghetto. Topol plays the father of 4 daughters each of which breaks one of his cherished traditions.


·       Hamilton (Musical): recording of a Broadway show


·       La La Land (Musical): an artistic feast of colors and sounds, a beautiful visual and musical experience, a beautiful love story


·       Passengers (Sci-Fi): interesting story built around a long-distance voyage using hibernation, excellent cinematography. No ugly aliens or space wars!





Interesting Movies

These are highly interesting and watchable movies.


·       Awakenings (Robin Williams, Robert de Nero): true story of a doctor working in a mental hospital; about the mysteries of the brain

·       Cast Away (Tom Hanks): great story, photography, music

·       Crimson Tide (Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman): Action-packed, tight movie about nuclear submarine

·       Darkest Hour: about the days/weeks that led to Britain declaring war on Germany, Excellent acting by Gary Oldman (Severus Black in Potter)

·       The Departed (Martin Scorsese movie): Loaded with stars, Action-packed gangster movie

·       Don't Look up (Leonardo, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence): Sci-Fi comedy, Interesting mix of sci-fi story with commentary on current societal trends

·       Dostana (Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha): great acting by Amitabh, Zeenat looks cute, otherwise a typical masala movie

·       Ex Machina: an interesting take on AI/AGI

·       Eye of the Needle (based on Ken Follett's novel): Suspense, Hitchcock touch

·       Fried Green Tomatoes: beautiful story of 3 women (Southern backdrop)

·       Gods must be Crazy: a light comedy about the Bushmen of Africa

·       Great Train Robbery: A true story from the late 19th century England of a gold heist on a running train. Sean Connery is the chief robber in this spellbinding movie.

·       Just Mercy: true story of a Harvard-educated lawyer fighting for justice for death-row inmates, victims mostly black

·       Michael Clayton (George Clooney): Legal thriller, corporate greed

·       Minority Report (Tom Cruise, Spielberg): interesting sci-fi idea, spell-binding action

·       Namak Halal (Amitabh): one of the best Amitabh comedies, great songs, great dialogs, tolerable story

·       On the basis of Sex: true story about Ruth Bader Ginsberg

·       Regarding Henry (Harrison Ford): great acting by Harrison Ford, gentle, moving story of a person's transformation

·       Secret Superstar (Hindi): Touching story of teenage musician, Focused on mother-daughter relationship

·       Seven Years in Tibet (Brad Pitt, David Thewlis - Lupin in Potter): Story of friendship between a German mountaineer and young Dalai Lama, Beautiful cinematography, music

·       Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: Captain Kirk. Kirk and team steal Enterprise to rescue Spock and Genesis.

·       Star Trek IX: Insurrection: Good story, script, cinematography, effects. Captain Pickard rebels against a Federation plot against the inhabitants of a unique planet.

·       Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Captain Kirk. An old enemy comes looking for Kirk and Genesis.

·       Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Captain Kirk. Klingon Ambassador is killed while Kirk goes to receive him in space.

·       Unstoppable (Denzel Washington): A thrilling story about a train out of control, It keeps you at the edge of your seat!

·       Valkyrie (Tom Cruise): Story of the failed coup against Hitler, Tight, edge-of-the-seat suspense

·       Wake-up Sid: (Hindi): how a spoiled brat is reformed by love






Movies I would not watch again

Movie appreciation is highly subjective: some of those listed below might actually be great for some other folks. But, I would not watch them again unless it is the end of the world and all other movies were destroyed by the aliens or some such catastrophe.


Star Trek I: The Motion Picture

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier




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Last updated:14 July 2022


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