Review: A final course in Grammar and Composition

A final course in Grammar and Composition
A final course in Grammar and Composition by P. C. Wren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is very difficult to be judgmental about this book. Generations of Indians learnt their grammar from this book (take what you will from that statement:) ) There were two versions of this particular book and I remember I used to have the green cover one. Plus I think there was a middle course in Red. For a lot of us who studied in the late 80s and 90s this was the go-to book for grammar. Since one could get full marks in grammar and since getting marks was the most important part of our study process we really lapped up this book from end to end.

I had a quick look at the book and find it still relevant especially the parts defining the structure of the language. I guess the fundamentals of grammar will never change.

View all my reviews


Review: Modern Digital Electronics

Modern Digital Electronics
Modern Digital Electronics by R. P. Jain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As textbooks go it gets the work done.

Logic circuits basics as well as some advanced material around Logic Design is represented in a succinct manner. I found it a very dry book for what I think is a very interesting subject. However it does put in all the required information one would need to understand this subject (and more importantly, pass the exam :))

Not sure if it is dated now, but I am sure that better reference books and material are accessible now which was not the case when I went through this course around 15 years ago.

My only advice to the students who would be reading this book today, in case this book feels too dry do check other books or study material online. Logic circuits is an interesting as well as a fundamental subject of computer engineering and it is best not to judge the subject based on just one book.

View all my reviews

Review: Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Françaises I

Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Françaises I
Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Françaises I by G.Mauger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my textbook for my French course in High School. A very well written book it is deceptively thin for the amount of material in it. It starts off at a gentle curve but within no time its difficulty increases exponentially. However due to a conversational style of teaching the language, at times as dialogues between people in a certain context and at times as essays about various places or events, it is a engaging read.

However this book alone will not be useful for a non French speaking student. This book will have to be complemented with a good French-English dictionary, as well as a competent instructor (without an instructor the book can feel daunting after 1/3 of the way through). The instructor is particularly important if the student wants to learn how to speak the language too.

View all my reviews

Review: Elementary Engineering Drawing [Plane and Solid Geometry]

Elementary Engineering Drawing [Plane and Solid Geometry]
Elementary Engineering Drawing [Plane and Solid Geometry] by N. D. Bhatt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the prescribed text book for our Engineering course (Mumbai University) A no frills, straight to the core book, on a cursory glance it looks like a very dry text book. However this is a one of the better test books I have personally read. It takes a bit of effort at first, especially when learning projection of points and lines. However if the student keeps on it, it very soon becomes your bible. Without this book I would never have loved Engineering Drawing the way I do.

My favourite section is drawing as well as in the book has to do with Isometric Projections. I heartily recommend the exercise in this chapter, espectially exercise number 28 on page 403 of this particular edition. Great fun.

This review was relevant for when I did Engineering (late 90’s) and as a general reference book. I am not sure if it is still prescribed for the current curriculum

View all my reviews

Review: Life

Life by Keith Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this book. That was actually a bit surprising to me as I have never been a Rolling Stones fan, more cause I have never really heard a lot of their music. Except for a slightly dragged start it was quite a fast read.

While his drug adventures did not make the most riveting read, he did leave me a bit confused. I assume at the end of it all he does look down on drugs but his overall attitude towards it was not black and white clear, in my opinion – which was not what I expected in these politically correct days.

However I really enjoyed the chunk of the book. Whenever he speaks about his music and his tools of the trade the book takes on a whole new feel. It is pretty evident, even with the help of a ghostwriter, that his music is very important to him. His reggae influences, his rock and roll and blues background, almost all these points are touched upon.

The other area which was interesting was the material on the people in his life and his interactions with them. Obviously his interaction with Mick Jagger figures prominently, but I was happy that he did not harp on it more than needed. A pleasant addition was putting in quotation from others who added other perspectives to episodes in his life.

All in all a nice autobiography. It has made me really interested in the man and his music and I see myself listening to a lot of Rolling Stones in the future.

A small point which might have influenced me positively towards this book is the fact that I am learning how to play the guitar presently. So reading a master of the art talk about some of its dark secrets was both educative and inspirational.

View all my reviews