Book recommendations from my Covid reading list

I’m getting back to blogging after a looong time. This post is slightly different. I spent the major portion of the last 2 years working from my home due to COVID. This freed up a lot of my time. Among other things, I did a lot of reading during this period. & some of these books have had a lasting impression on my world view. Here I just wanted to talk about some of the most mind bending books that led me to change or atleast challenge my existing world views.

Mindfulness in Plain English - Bhante Gunaratne

Goodreads link

This book’s major focus is Vipassana meditation. I had done a 10-day Vipassana course a few years back but didn’t really continue the daily practise. As for the course experience, it’s really something you’ve to got to try out and experience yourself first hand. Atleast for now, I think any attempt by me to describe that journey would not remotely do any justice to it.
In the last few months, I tried to go back to practising Vipassana or mindfulness meditation, and this book is a very clear and helpful guide for anyone who wants to explore mindfulness.

Practical Vedanta - Swami Vivekananda

Goodreads link

Or practicially, any other book by Vivekanada. It’s a pity I discovered Vivekananda’s books so late. I also read My Master & currently reading Raja Yoga. Vivekananda was a strong proponent of Vedanta, especially the philosphy of Advaita or non-duality. Advaita Vedanta & Buddhist philosophy seem to be like mirror images of each other. One talks about infinity while the other talks about shunyata or the void. It’s no surprise that the concepts of 0 & infinity were discovered in India much earlier than anywhere else.

Autobiography of a Yogi & Apprenticed to a Himalyan Master

Link 1 & Link 2

For an alternate perpective on life, these 2 books offer a peak into the world of mysticism. Read either one or both. I’m clubbing them together because both books talk about a specific path of yoga & offer amazing & sometimes bizarre accounts of 2 real life practitioners. A couple of interesting facts about the writers of these 2 books -

100’s of copies of Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi were distributed at the memorial service of Steve Jobs as his last gift.

Mumtaz Ali, referred to as Sri M, author of Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master, received the 3rd highest civilian honor of India, Padma Bhushan in 2020.

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking

Goodreads link

What is time ? Does it really exist ? Or is it a figment of imagination ? After all, we always live in the present moment, the now. The past only lives in the memory & the future is but an expectation or projection of the mind. Is time a trick played by our mind ? The continuity of our stream of thoughts leading us to believe we are definite entity moving forward in time, and space. This book is surely a mind bending experience & it was exciting to try to understand a brilliant physicist’s views on the concepts of space-time. A couple of my take-aways :

All theories are wrong. Some are useful.  

Science moves forward one funeral at a time. 


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Fun with Haskell

3 minute read

My notes halfway through the book Learn You A Haskell

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