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Some pages flipped ...

I am just starting (on 2018.07.25) a "pinned" post to capture my reading journey. Of course, it is not going to contain all that I have read in the past; as I do not have a meticulous record of the same. But intend to try and maintain this going forward, insha Allah.

Even though such a thought may have criss-crossed my mind in the past, I owe the current inspiration to Kirsty Morgan's list here.

The kind of easy layout I ought to follow will trouble me for sure (and I'm pretty sure will see several revisions). For now, I'll stick to => [ writer — bookTitle (readInTheYear) ]

2007 (8 books) | 2008 (8 books) | 2009 (7 books) | 2010 (4 books) | 2011 (1 book) | 2013 (1 book) | 2014 (2 books) | 2016 (6 books) | 2017 (7 books) | 2018 (8 books)

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John Man - Saladin

Read during : 2018.10.11 (ibis OMR, Chennai) - 2018.10.29 (305, Hyderabad)


Quote(s) of Interest (the dates in the brackets, if any, indicate the first time I read that section) :

... Arab coins found their way north as far as Finland, and Muslim merchants wrote cheques honoured by banks in major cities. One trader had a warehouse on the Volga, another near Bukhara in present-day Uzbekistan and a third in Gujarat, India. (Pg. 25, 2015 Edition)
... Al-Athir said that, of all Islam's rulers, excluding of course the first caliphs, 'I have found no man as virtuous and just as Nur al-Din.' (Pg. 56, 2015 Edition)
... Nur al-Din... was a worthy predecessor, even a role model, for the young man who would become his protege, Saladin. (Pg. 57, 2015 Edition)
... Damascus was always famous for its water-supply.(Pg. 59, 2015 Edition)
... The tenth of September 1171 was the first Friday in the new year of 567, according to Muslim calendar. (Pg. 110, 2015 Edition)
... Saladin's best weapon, as often, was masterly inactivity (Pg. 120, 2015 Edition)
... As with all effective leaders, he knew the benefit of symbolic gestures. (Pg. 122, 2015 Edition)
... They key element in Saladin's campaign was his forbearance. (Pg. 125, 2015 Edition)
... 400,000 litres, enough to sustain 1,000 people for six months. (Pg. 129, 2015 Edition)
... philanthropic Ismaili leader, the Aga Khan, ... (Pg. 129, 2015 Edition)
... which is about as fast as an army can move - some kilometres a day. (Pg. 239, 2015 Edition)
... 4 September (1187 <- my addition),  about midday, as people remembered, because by coincidence the sun dimmed and vanished... total eclipse. (Pg. 240, 2015 Edition)
... Can you imagine any general in any recent war making a similar request to his main opponent? Since the seventeenth century, war has become ever more 'total'; in Saladin's day it was partial, with soldiers doubling as farmers, generals as leaders of towns and castles. enemies who became allies overnight. Why, of course Balian could retrieve his wife, if he agreed to spend only one night in Jerusalem and to travel unarmed. He agreed; but when he arrived he found the city leaderless and so keen to keep him that he had to stay, with profuse apologies to Saladin for breaking his promise. Saladin, ever polite, accepted the apology, and Balian duly set about finishing Jerusalem's defences. (Pg. 241, 242, 2015 Edition)
... Some of his emirs who were there asked why he was weeping. He said that no one should wonder at it because the things of this world are merely on loan and are then recalled. 'And I shall tell you the reason. For just as I am now disinheriting other men's children, my own will find that after my death they will be disinherited.' (Pg. 248, 2015 Edition)
... Friday... 9 October 1187,... first khutba (sermon) in eighty-eight years. ... chief qadi (judge) of Aleppo, Muhyi al-Din ibn al-Zaki. (Pg. 251, 2015 Edition)
... bearing appeals for aid, including propaganda drawings of the horses of Saladin's army stabled and urinating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Pg. 260, 2015 Edition)
... Emperor Frederick I, known as Barbarossa (Red Beard), (Pg. 261, 2015 Edition)
... Seljuks, being Turkish Muslims, (Pg. 263, 2015 Edition)
... anonymous author of the Continuation, (Pg. 269, 2015 Edition)
... Saladin frequently chose tolerance; Richard chose atrocity. (Pg. 283, 2015 Edition)
... The battle of Arsuf almost did for Richard what Hattin had done for Saladin. (Pg. 290, 2015 Edition)
... 'in all expeditions, he (my addition: Richard) was the first to advance, the last to retreat.' (Pg. 291, 2015 Edition)
... 'He was a bad son, a bad husband and a bad king, but a gallant and splendid soldier.' (Pg. 306, 2015 Edition)
... their drives spring from childhood patterns and experiences that have carried over into adulthood.' The successful leader carries enough insecurity to inspire a desire to change the world, and enough of a sense of security to confront this challenge without lapsing into paranoia, criminality or any number of behavior patterns that undermine his aims. (Pg. 322, 2015 Edition)
... Lord Shang and Machiavelli were all for duplicity, if it served the leader's purpose. That was not Saladin's way. Keeping promises is a fundamental attribute of good leadership,... As he recounts in his book Defeat Into Victory, 'morale is a state of mind', which must be created on three levels: spiritual, intellectual and material. (Pg. 328, 2015 Edition)
... Sunni Syrians and Shi'ite Egyptians...  (Pg. 329, 2015 Edition)
... Though hero-worshipped by Muslims at his death, Saladin was shortly afterwards forgotten,... Only in the late nineteenth century, with the rise of nationalism and Islamic internationalism, did Saladin once again become a Muslim hero.... The Turks had long feared that Russia wanted to dominate the Bosporous, because that was her gateway for her navy to get from the Black Sea through the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.  (Pg. 334, 2015 Edition)
... Lawrence, who liked to dramatize things, (Pg. 337, 2015 Edition)
... Mamluk rulers of Egypt... threw out the Mongols... Saladin's dynasty, the Ayyubids,... all this was done in the name of his own brand of Islam, Sunnism,... from Egyptian Shi'ism had sprung the Assassins and their murderous agenda,  (Pg. 338, 2015 Edition)
... Shi'ite sanctuary in Cairo that sheltered the head of al-Husain, the son of Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali (Pg. 339, 2015 Edition)


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Meena Iyer - Khullam Khulla Rishi Kapoor

Read during :
2018.09.25 - 2018.10.05, Hyderabad.

So far, the style of writing and narration is quite different and stark from Dev Anand's Romancing with Life. Probably, one factor could be the generation difference and also the different age at which both chose to capture their life in writing. Though Dev Sahab wrote his at a much later stage (and age), the emotions and energy portrayed is that of a much younger person.

Yet to see the tone of this. So far, it definitely is Khullam Khulla, but not at a level as Dev Sahab's.

Quote(s) of Interest (the dates in the brackets indicate the first time I read that section):

... We do not all lead false and empty lives. Under all the tinsel and sparkle, there is heart and soul.
... There are two life lessons I've given Ranbir as far as this profession goes. One is to put in the effort required to translate into ease on screen and the second is to never let success go to the head or failure to the heart. (Pg. 213, 2017 Edition; 2018.10.04)
... It's said that memory exists only for three generations. (Pg. 238, 2017 Edition; 2018.10.05)

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Dev Anand - Romancing with Life

Read during :
2018.09, Hyderabad.

Quote(s) of Interest (the dates in the brackets indicate the first time I read that section):

...While big money can help structure a big film project, with glitter and shine, it cannot give it the spine it needs to be a hit. A good story is the soul of a good film, not artificial glamour surrounding it. A great thought can be worth a million, but millions without a great thought are like so many pieces of diamonds hidden in rubble. (Pg. 138, 2011 Edition; 2018.09.10)

...Fame, power and money are three factors that make you great in the eyes of the world. The moment these desert you, you are like a particle of dust under one's feet. (Pg. 177, 2011 Edition; 2018.09.11)

...But all great works of art are born out of madness. You have to have a streak of madness in you, to break away from the shackles of accepted norms, for an achievement to go down in history. (Pg. 188, 2011 Edition; 2018.09.11)

...a thinking writer is constantly on the move, always contemplating on the theme he is focused on, always alive to what is going on around him, living every day with the hope of achieving a brighter tomorrow. As you live for tomorrow, your present is enriched too with hope and optimism; this is real living. (Pg. 213, 2011 Edition; 2018.09.17)

...I learnt from them, and from their achievements, like a student. Life teaches us at all levels. People who inhabit the earth are teachers as well as students, learning from each other all the time. Each in his or her own way, from an ordinary coolie to a multimillionaire, from an uneducated vagabond to a learned professor, from an ordinary mechanic to a top industrialist, gives to the other that the other that something that the other does not have. And one keeps learning, in a non-stop process that has no limits. There is no such thing as the last milestone. Every time you reach a landmark or a goal, another one comes into view up ahead in the distance. (Pg. 324, 2011 Edition; 2018.09.22)

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J K Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Read during :
2018.07, Hyderabad.

Last week also saw me taking a dive back into the world of reading fictional works, after a very long time. Harry Potter (gifted by Taruna last year to the kids when we met in Chennai), that was piling dust in the cupboard found a certain interest in me. I remember having taken an unspoken vow to keep away from the world of fantasies, magic, etc. Really didn’t strike a chord within me, or so I thought.

What started as random reading sessions to the kids; I found myself drawn into Potter’s world. Don’t know how far I’d go (like other pursuits of mine that lose fuel), but for now it looks like I might take the full plunge – books and the movies.

Quotes of interest:

... to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.
... the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things which are worst for them.

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Aliza Izetbegovic - Notes from Prison

Read during :
2017, Hyderabad.

A book compiled in a different format. My first experience reading such a book. Good insights, comments and observations by a body that was in captivation, but a mind that was absolutely free. The letters section towards the end I found boring, but got mentions of some books that I hope to read.

A related earlier post.