Sharing some good books I read from the beginning of our trip back in June. The list is random and doesn't have a particular theme, but perhaps someone will find some inspiration here for the next book to read.
- Shantaram by Gregory Roberts Novel based on a real life story of an Australian drugs and guns smuggler who escaped from prison in Australia and found his refuge and a new life in Bombay, India (now Mumbai) I simply love this book - the twisted plot, the lively characters, the intricate emotions and self realisations, the scene of Bombay's life at the very top and the very bottom of society. You'll enjoy this book and it will swallow you till you're done with it, and when you're done with it you'll beg for more of it.
- Flow: the psychology of the ultimate experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly - the classic you must read wether you're in psychology, business management, design, education or if you simply wonder too much about your life and the ultimate happiness. The approach Csikszentmihaly proposes is "Flow" and its based on the ability to concentrate your mind on what really matters. And when someone asks what are you reading you can use this trick I read somewhere some time ago for pronouncing the author's last name - just say "Chick sent me high E" ;)
- Zero: the biography of a dangerous idea by Charles Seife - a very very entertaining and insightful food for the brain, with a little theory, science and math the author presents the whole big story about number Zero and how it has messed up everything we know about everything.
- Burmese Days by George Orwell - yes, the same Orwell who wrote 1984 and Animal Farm also spent some time in Burma in early 20-ties serving for Indian Imperial Police in Burma. Even though the story is pretty short, the book gives a good picture of the European colonial powers in Burma and India in the beginning of the 20th century. Most importantly it shows how this power was abussed against the so called by the English "sons of a dog" and "nigger swines" (easy to guess that these refer to the local Burmese and Indian villagers) Sad but true.
- Designing for interaction by Dan Suffer - great book for interaction designers and also those who would like an insight into how interaction with numerous modern online and offline products works, and how to design for it.
- Hardcore Zen: Punk rock, Monster movies and the truth about reality - a very unique approach to Zen Buddhism, a story of growth and realisation of reality as it is told by a former punk (who is now a Zen master)
- The Origin of speeches by Isaac Mozeson - exciting (and suitable) book only for those who are really passionate about language theory, anthropology from linguistic perspective and can challenge a bit their brains with a less traditional view/theory of the history of languages. The author basically makes a point that all modern languages came from one ancient language (which is already partially proved by the linguists supporting the evidence of a single Proto-Indo-European language), but he also makes a really strong case of this ancient language, the Mother Tongue, being so called Edenic, an ancient form of Hebrew. It does make a lot of sense when you see in examples how combinations of sound+sense in Hebrew Alephbhet (Alphabet) give birth to so many modern words from English to Indonesian, and from Japanese to Portuguese.
- Indo-European origins by William Davey - a bit too dry, but still a good basis for understanding the most popular anthropological theory of today about the Indo European origins, migrations, languages and formation of modern nations. Part of my interest in this book was to find the evidence of Lithuanian and Latvian being one of the most archaic languages that share a lot with Sanscrit (meaning they are closer to the origin than other languages) How proud was I to discover it's true :)
- Designing the obvious by Robert Hoekman - brilliant book for anyone involved in application & web design, makes you re-think seemingly obvious approaches into something even more obvious. It's also simply structured and well written.
- The Man who mistook his wife for a hat by Oliver Sacks - collection of extraordinary stories from a psychiatric clinic about people with the most perplexing psychological/psychic disorders the world has seen. In some sense the stories are sad of course and most patients in these stories never recovered because the docs just couldn't figure out how their disorders work, but on the other hand it's amazing to discover what tricks your psyche can play on you and how people cope with them.
- Tapworthy by Josh Clark - a simply must read book for designing for iPhone and generally touch devices
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - I'm a bit late on this one (seems like everyone has already read it in school) I liked it, but it reminded me just a bit too much of the 1984 by Orwell. One of the reasons I read it is that I found it in digital format, in Latvian and for free (rare!) - got to practice at least not to forget the language.
Hope you found something useful here!