Book Chain-4

This time I was advised to take this course on Happiness by my youngest daughter, not that I feel any paucity of it, but I agreed in my constant search for that ideal peak of sublime knowledge. This is the link if anyone is interested–A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment

It was while going through the videos I learned about this book-Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,”

I read the sample and the introduction and was amazed that I had never known about this book which is listed in the top hundred books of all time. I immediately sent the Kindle editions to my daughters. They were quick in their response despite their busy lives and said they had read the book ages ago. My response was “Lain, in Punjabi or What ho, in English!”

I have just received the paperback copy thanks to Amazon whom I rather vilify in other forums.

Thus starts another link in my chain link of books, thank you!

The Book Chain-3

A book which was ground baking in its cold war ambience and the boring corridors of power. The book was a great success!

“Saltzman wanted The Ipcress File to be an ironic and downbeat alternative to the portrayal of espionage in Ian Fleming‘s novels about the spy James Bond and the film series which followed from them.-) ”

Made into a movie with Michael Caine as the protagonist on a budget below a million dollars, It is ranked among the top 100 Best British Films of the 20th Century.

My Chain Mail of Happiness-Books 2

My standby books!


Inquisitive book readers are going through tough times. If we are interested in the news, we read newspapers and watch the news on television. It is spellbinding, but truly I have come to the conclusion that it can be very disturbing. Everything seems to be wrong with the world. The climate crisis, the energy crisis, Afghanistan, the bullying of China, the locking up of Navalny in Russia, the demise of a free press in most countries of the world and as a corollary the inability to listen to criticism by our world leaders.

Should an ordinary citizen be bothered by these massive issues? Could we not just roll up and read the History of Philosophy by Will Durant or Robinson Crusoe or Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations.”

“Do things external which happen to you distract you?” Marcus Aurelius asked, before offering his advice to “cease to be whirled around.”=Trump’s defense pick Mattis’ favorite philosopher Marcus Aurelius has wisdom for president-elect 

Alas, just reading books is for the professors and if you want to do that you have to get yourself educated to a high level. There is no getting away from it. If you want to climb the social ladder you have to study and graduate and Post Graduate and get a job and then learn more skills till you are a master in your field. Perhaps then you can curl up at home on a weekend and read a book.

It comes to that old joke but why do I need to work to find time to idle, I am idling anyway right now.

Books are friends when we cannot meet our friends as was shown in these Covid-19 times. Learn to love books and you will never be lonely.

I bought Meditations by Marcus Aurelius because I read somewhere General Mattis carried one in his bag when he was commanding in Iraq.–

Some books are like Ulysses by James Joyce and The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, they need keys or reference books to understand them.

“This episode (Nestor) is the source of some of the novel’s most famous lines, such as Dedalus’s claim that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” and that God is “a shout in the street”.” 

As if to corroborate my thoughts on my chain mail of letters The Name of the Rose– “The quote in the novel, “books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told”, refers to a postmodern idea that all texts perpetually refer to other texts, rather than external reality, while also harkening back to the medieval notion that citation and quotation of books was inherently necessary to write new stories.”- 

A detective novel that needs a key as in The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett



I sometimes wonder how I am reading the book in my hand. Who recommended it? The last book I just finished was The Camino by Shirley Maclaine.

We were watching Downton Abbey and I had to tell my children that the visiting American grandmother in the show (through WhatsApp)  was my favorite actress during my younger days and of course even now, Shirley Maclaine. Well, they sort of ignored my unsolicited information as they usually do. I went to Wikipedia and read about her. There I found this information about her journey in Spain on the Camino de Santiago-Camino de Santiago – Wikipedia 

I must mention another book on a religious journey. I had read thus but I have forgotten the link in the chain mail. It was From the Holy Mountain – Wikipedia by William Dalrymple. William Dalrymple is an amazing author and historian who has concentrated his life on Indian historical periods including the British Raj and the Mughal Era.

My youngest daughter has a friend who reads a book a day. When I am lost for a title to read I ask my daughter to ask her friend. She recommended “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson. Somewhere in the book I found a reference to Patricia Cornwell and I read Port Mortuary. Her heroine is Kay Scarpetta a medical examiner. Well the books are quite gory as they are usually centered around a Mortuary and killings.

To be continued—