The course of life that I've charted upto now is filled with books. Books which inspired me, motivated me, made me wonder and also some books which made me feel sad and depressed.
 
All the books in my life! 

I've read books which range from crappy Chetan Bhagat shit to Dostoevsky. From Nietzsche to Ayn Rand. From Art of War and The Prince to religious works like The Bible, The Quran and The Bhagvath Gita. And I must say that all of them have inspired me in some way or the other. Some positively, some not as much.

I remember reading the religious books I mentioned soon after I finished my 10th exams. They changed my perspective about God, love, morality and the purpose of life. But today I'm not religiously inclined nor am I too spiritual - heck, I could easily be classified as a staunch atheist for all intents and purposes. But these books made me take up such a stance about God and religion - all these books had conflicting points amongst themselves, so I chose to remain religionless for a large part of time from them on.

During my Bachelor's I started reading other philosophical and radical books - books by Nietzsche and Ayn Rand. Nietzsche didn't have as much as an impact on me as Ayn Rand's Fountainhead - I must say it screwed up head in a lot of ways and I actually ended up being too Objectivistic for my own good. The book was followed by long periods of introspection, rejection of normalcy and manic depression. (Read my initial blog posts and you'll see the connection!)

Anyway, after the long and dark night of Objectivism came some amazing books like Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov - this was one amazing and profound book. It's among my favorite books of all time. And also Shantaram - which too is a personal favorite of mine.

In between Religion and Roark came Nietzche's Beyond Good and Evil and during that time I was inspired by Nihilism and Existentialism.

So from a outside perspective you can see how I went from being religious or spiritual (while reading The Quran, The Bible and The Gita) to learning about the meaninglessness of life (Nietzsche) to being self-sufficient and reclusive (Ayn Rand).

After all these books, came a period of lull - I stopped reading so that I could stop being inspired by every other book that came my way. I shifted to science, Wikipedia and gaining knowledge, I learnt new things about life, morality and death and I started searching for purpose and aims and goals - but didn't find any. Science was a good way to sidetrack from all the philosophy I crammed into my brain but it didn't provide the answers I was looking for.

Then came the fall - After I lost all hope and was feeling as hopeless as I ever could (a year ago) I went back to square one. I started reading the old books again, retracing my path to get a better perspective and to get a deeper understanding as to why I behaved the way I did.

I just finished rereading Shantaram a few months ago and the circle you could say is complete. I've learnt from all the mistakes and I can see where and how I went wrong with all the ideologies and viewpoints I had. Now I start afresh. You could as well say that I have started a new life altogether.

My next few posts will elucidate further on the various books I mentioned in a more detailed manner and will reflect not just on the contents of the books but also on my state of mind while I read them.

P.S. - In addition to the books I mentioned, I also read works of Khalil Gibran, Khaled Hosseini, Rushdie, Orwell, Tolkien, Kafka, Nabokov and Orhan Pamuk.