• Amrutha

    I have written Reading as my hobby knowing full well that it’s the most common thing anyone would say but all my life, whenever I got time, I did nothing but read. I have this appetite to read everything and anything but till last year I had mostly confined it to fiction. In the past one year, I have diversified my repertoire to include other genres which I thought would impress the panel. I started reading Indian authors, mainly autobiographies, but I am yet to find something that really makes an impression on me. I read the recent lecture of Mr. Shivshankar Menon to IFS batch and felt happy that I was on the right track because he urged them to read fiction too with historical underpinnings. I have learnt much more about the world wars from Ken Follett’s novels than any straight book describing the wars.

    • Where can we find the lectures of these sr diplomats(as you mentioned shiv Shankar menon here)
      ~sorry if this is not the place for my doubt
      ~ thanx(kindly reply)

    • Myrtle

      Could you suggest a few novels by Ken Follett? I’ve read ‘Whiteout’. Thanks.

      • Amrutha

        Hey, I would suggest the world war trilogy- Fall of the giants, Winter of the world. These two describe the world wars in detail and I didn’t have to study for GS paper-I syllabus specifically, thanks to the books 🙂

      • Navia

        try pillars of the earth…it is the first of a historical triology….simply amazing…

        • Akhil Nair

          Yeah have read Pillars Of Earth.It is a good book, havent read rest of Follet. I would recommend the Time Odyssey series of Arthur C Clarke canon by Stephen Baxter thrilling reads and insights to a fictional travel and meet up of great emperors and minds.

          I would also recommend a personal favorite which led my interest to history as a kid, Kim by Kipling.Its story of Great Game is a great story Of The Raj.

  • Hi,
    I have written reading as my hobby too..I mostly read non-fiction..Which book are you reading as of now?

    • Amrutha

      I am reading Nehru ji’s autobiography now. I just finished reading Khushwant Singh’s “Why I supported the emergency”. It was an entertaining read but nothing to write home about. How about you?

  • Kushwant Singh’s novels are generally entertaining but have little to offer as he freely mixes fact and fiction..I have just started reading ‘An uncertain glory’ by Prof. Amartya Sen and Prof. Jean Dreze…it is a very informative read about the current challenges India is facing…

    • Dr George

      read ‘an uncertain glory’ during mains prep.. its probably one of the best books on the contemporary challenges of our nation..high quality analysis n insightful ideas on the way forward..
      looking forward to a discussion on its crux with u deepali.

  • Prasoon Kaushik

    wow! so here is this another great offering from insights….guys ! count me in the same hobby club 🙂
    At my part I love black ink on yellow hardened pulp … much into biographies, non-fiction and modern world history 🙂

  • Nataraj

    Reading is bound to be a common hobby given the amount of reading we had to do for the exams. I’m reading Rahul Pandita’s “Our Moon Has Blood Clots”. It’s about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from J&K. It’s an excellent read; it’s a quick read too! I’d recommend it. Any suggestions for my next one?

    • docjoe

      i read it too…i’d suggest pax indica by shashi tharoor…good insight on foreign policy…

  • Dr George

    ive just finished up with ‘hello bastar’ and ‘escape to nowhere’. hello bastar offers a very interesting insight into the LWE. i will write a more elaborate review in the book review section. escape to nowhere was a delight for me cos i love anything that deals with intelligence and security. right now im reading 3 books. everyman’s war, ‘the indian police a critical review’ and ‘northeast india: going beyond counterinsurgency’.
    will be discussing more on similar lines. my hobby is reading about policing and internal security. questions will be much appreciated.
    thank u

    • Prasoon Kaushik

      Hello Bastar by Rahul Pundita remains a biased writing. Though it could be my persoal opinion but having witnessed worst of LW extremism I can atleast say so. There are many things the author has just overlooked most probably to not annoy the LWEs. The book although has been impessive in presenting to the common readers a not so close but clear view of maoist life. Nirmalangshu Mukherji has been critical of both the LWEs and the failure of Govt and society. His work is titled ‘The Maosits in India’ and has been published by Amaryllis. 🙂

  • Hi Amrutha and all,
    If you like historical fictions, I would recommend you the Flashman series. They are hilarious and yet a give a very correct picture of 18th century.

    And thanks for the link for ShivShankar Menon speech. It is interesting.

  • Kirthi

    Hi all
    Can you suggest some thought provoking and interesting books in the genre of both fiction and non fiction?

    • Prasoon Kaushik

      Hi Kirthi,
      You can read George Orwell’s “The Animal Farm”….it would be an interesting read. The book is a 92 page political satire written in 50s of the 20th century but has a relevance till today. Orwell’s 1984 is another wonderful fiction.

  • Babu

    Hello Insights,
    My hobbies are 1) Reading books on Gandhi, Nehru and 2) Psephology.
    Any suggestions?

    • PiRaTe

      You could read books by Mr. Kuldeep Nayar and Mr. Ramachandra Guha…

  • Piyu

    Hi friends,
    I am new here..
    My hobby is also reading books…especially short fiction novels…
    Any suggestions???

  • Akhil Nair

    As Reading is a hobby,I thought you know we must answer what kind so Here, i would say my interests are fiction generally Graphic novels, mangas, transgressive fiction,Classic fiction…

    Now a question to all those friends who are interested in historical fiction, would you agree with our PM’s statement that History will be kinder to him?
    How do you feel about this as seen in case of Field Marshal Haig’s case ?

    Note:Posting a question for fellow aspirants would be good idea. Thatswhat i think atleast

  • Navia

    Hi.i have given reading novels as my hobby….i have read books written b robin cook, michael chricton, ken follet, jeffery archer, robert ludlum, j.k rowling, dan brown, enid blyton,etc….very less of indian authors….anybody read the same books?…..shall we have a small discussion on these books?….

  • Aparna

    Hi..reading fiction has been my hobby all my life..although i have read almost all kind of fiction but I enjoy reading books which reflect certain societal issues, human emotions and human relational aspects the most. some of my favorites are To kill a mocking bird, Kite Runner, One flew over the cuckoo’s nest etc.
    Should I expand my horizons and venture into other genres including non fiction?can u people please suggest some titles?

  • TheAmazonian

    There is no harm in venturing into other areas.. In fact there are many good books out there.. I was myself till the last year, only into fiction books, which ranged from Matthew Reilly, Clive Cussler to J,K Rowling and Enid Blyton( I admit to still reading it…)
    I really love the play of words, which most of the non-fiction books do not seem to offer.
    Coming onto the topic, you can start with “Land of the Seven Rivers”. It is a geography cum history book.. I absolutely loved it.. Then you can slowly move onto:
    1. Gurcharan Das(“India Grows at Night” is a must read)
    2. Ramachandra Guha(India After Gandhi is a must read)
    3. Swaminathan Aiyyar( “Escape from the Benevolent Zookeeper’, it is actually a collection of his articles)
    4. Machiavelli(Prince)
    5. Freakonomics

    If you have time, then go through BossyPants by Tina Fey(It is the only autobiography I could manage to read fully)

    Hope it helped.. 🙂

  • Dr. Suneeta Meena

    My hobby is learning meaning and origin of English words, and reading English fiction books … will write this as my hobby in Detailed Application Form for Civil Services Mains Exam 2014 (I am positive that I would give it).

    I have read books by John Grisham, JRR Tolkein (The Lord of the Rings), J K Rowling (I still love her .. hehe), Shakespeare, Charles Dickens (Great Expectations, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist), Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice), Emily Bronte, Tolstoy (Anna Karenina), Mark Twain, D.H. Lawrence (Sons and Lovers), Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat), Christopher Paolini (Eragon), Dan Brown (Digital Fortress, Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point, The Lost Symbol), J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), Doughlas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series), Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist, The Witch of Portobello), M.D. Spencer (Shivers books .. during school time), Robbin Sharma (The Monk with a Ferrari…i seldom rea non-fiction), Mario Puzo (The Godfather) .. and many more .. books like biography of Kalpana Chawla – a life by Anil Padmanabhan, , Letters by Jwaharlal Nehru to his daughter Indira, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (not remembering the author right now) … after passing 12th, I had decided to apply for admission + interview in St Stephens for English Honours (I like this subject) … got selected in first round only (hehehe .. just telling 🙂 … sharing my happiness) … hope my same hobby gets me selected in IAS (had filled hobby as reading books in St Stephens form, and they had asked questions related to that, apart from other questions) … 🙂 🙂 … my reading list is endless, quickly copied down some of them here after looking up in my personal diary (in it, i write books that I have read) .. 😉

  • Dr. Suneeta Meena

    and I am addicted to the Oxford dictionary of English, Oxford Thesaurus (they are in my mobile…with me, everytime and everywhere … I even look up words whic I already know the meaning of .. just so that if someone like my brother, sister, friend, or myself..hehe .. asks me, I should be able to give correct answer .. proper meaning and proper origin in Oxford style plus my style) … I always read word meanings like I am a guru and one day would have to tell someone what they properly mean (if they ever ask!! .. hehe) … “Alwaysread like you might need to teach someone tomorrow, like a true, honest teacher…this way, you would never learn half-heartedly” … I also like looking up French words (I like French too)

  • inverted parabola

    Ah.. bOOks .. the one thing that probably all of us are surrounded by, hounded by and buried under. But, even in the times of utter despondence, when even a single newspaper seems too much and neglected magazines stare out of their unturned pages like a hurt soldier, pleading for help..

    and yet… I still find some time for fiction. To be away in a world, unconcerned with my present circumstances. To gleam into a window, through a code as though, constructing the world as I read through, laughing here, cringing there and adding a bit of my own history somewhere…

    If I could, I would take the job of reading the books and soaking under the myriad web of plots, feelings, fantasies. There is no such job from what I have found and furthermore there are no jobs such as the post of the gourmet eater, the world traveller, the babe evaluater, the superhero mask wearing crime fighter… alas, the tragedy of the poor life !

    I dream of the day, when my countrymen through their hard toils will suffer to send me to foreign countries to do just about the real life version of all those jobs combined. From the farmer toiling under the sun, to the worker giving 12 hours to the fruitless mechanical toil, their sweat and pain would, by the instrument of government be used to recreate the neo imperialism of the educated mind… Hhahahahahhah.. ahem..

    sorry got a little carried away. Still dude, books are cool.

  • AKN

    Frederick forsyth fiction is very informative. For example ,”THE AFGAN”, would give you the rise of islamic terrorism in south asia, in its entirety

  • Adnan

    Currently reading Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer…This book gives a clear picture of the Kashmir Dispute and the problems people have to face there.

  • Rishab

    which is the best coaching institute for IAS in delhi…plz help

    • Anit ifs

      don’t go there…. Take the coaching material and printed notes.
      The classes are crowded, one to one interaction limited

      I went to vajiram. The teachers were good, cleared doubts. But the system isn’t. Time waste.

      • R`


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