University of Southern California
department name USC Viterbi School of Engineering

What Matters to Me Most:

My Family, My Students, My Teachers, My Friends,  Books, and Travelling form the foundational pilars that mold all aspects of my personal and professional life.


 While I would love to read as many books as I can get hold of, time is the critical bottleneck. So I chose to read books that use fiction as a medium to tell stories about unfamiliar cultures, deeply disturbing (but age-old) social opression, familiar cultures but provide a new insight that popular media never seem to be interested. Even in this narrow list of topics the range of available books is immense. Over years I acquired a taste for prose that flows like a river on a bed of pebbles; smooth on the top but complex just below the surface. 

Here are some of the Tour-De-Force books that fall in that category (in no particular order):

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Midnight's Children (I am lucky to have a copy of this book signed by Salman Rushdie)
  • Blindness
  • Oryx and Crake
  • God of Small Things
  • Onitsha
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Disgrace
  • Pablo Neruda, Memoirs (Strangely I have never read any of his poetry to-date but his Memoirs is a superb book)
  • My Experiments With Truth (not really a fiction but some of Gandhi's ideals blur that distinction)
  • Brave New World
  • ...More as I remember/reevaluate

There are several other books that I truly enjoyed reading but do not necessarily consider as having significant impact in my own understanding. Someday I should put up the long list.


Here are some pictures from our recent trip to Cambodia.

Boston Trip Aug 2009

Akshar 2010