Using Calibre

I have been getting a lot of questions about how to convert Tamil books using Calibre after my post on reading Ponniyin Selvan on Kindle. So I decided to dedicate a post to explain how to do it.

Requirements:

  • Calibre
  • HTML copy of the book
  • Patience

Once you have Calibre downloaded and installed, fire the application up. You will be presented the Calibre screen. Remember Calibre is a software for e-book management. So the screen presented is the library.

Click on the Add Books button on the toolbar. You will be presented with a ‘Select Books’ dialog window

Select the HTML file that you wish to convert and select ‘Open’ button. Your book should be now added to the library and Calibre recognizes this as a ZIP file as shown below.

After the book is added, right click on the book in the library and choose, Convert Books -> Convert Books Individually Option.

This presents the Convert Dialog. Choose the Format that you wish to convert to. For Kindle, choose MOBI. For iPad choose EPUB. All other parameters are optional. Click on OK in the dialog to begin conversion

Once the conversion job is complete, the Library window will show the new format available.

Now using Calibre, if the device is attached, you can use the Send to Device option and transfer it to iPad or Kindle. Happy Reading!

Ponniyin Selvan on Kindle

My current employers, Sagitec Solutions LLC, presented a Kindle Touch as the  Christmas and New Year 2012 gift. I have been long wanting to buy one as I gifted my Kindle Keyboard to my dad when I went back home for my marriage.

I have been downloading books from Google Books, mostly classics that are free and have been reading them till now. My wife wanted to read tamil books on her iPad and I have been downloading HTML files from projectmadurai website and converting them to ePUB format that is compatible with iPad. Here I have to mention the good work of people at projectmadurai. They have a good collection of tamil literary works which is made available to everyone in unicode tamil and TSCII tamil formats.

After I received the Kindle Touch, I wanted to read the tamil books on the Kindle. So I was looking all over to get the Font Hack installed on the Kindle Touch to have it display Tamil Fonts. But the new kindle supports Unicode. So I didn’t need to jailbreak or install any hacks on the Kindle. What I needed is to convert the files to MOBI format that is parsed by Kindle.

The first book that I converted was ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, the great tamil classic by Kalki. To convert the book, all you need is the software ‘calibre’ which is a free software and the UNICODE html version of the book found in projectmadurai website. I am not publishing the books that I converted because, even though the books are released under GPL license, I have no written consent from the authors that allows me to publish the books.

I was originally not interested in reading the book as everytime I took the book, I got put off by the lengthy introduction to the hero, Vanthiyathevan. But this time, I thought I should not give up. After moving through the first chapter, I feel that this book is not the kind that I thought. It is fast paced and contains a lot of historical facts over which the story is spun. I am impressed.

The White Tiger

I just completed reading ‘The White Tiger’, a novel by Aravind Adiga. It is really fast. Interesting point about the book is the way Adiga had portrayed India, Delhi and Bangalore. There are controversies surrounding the way he had treated Nepalis, Tamilians in his novel. Forgiving those, I found it to be entertaining.

The story is about a person moving from rags to riches, in a crooked way. It is written as a narrative by a person living in the backyard slums of Delhi, moving to Delhi to become a car driver and then a entrepreneur in Bangalore. He discusses the pitiful state of the drivers, the poor in the towns and cities of India.

‘Anything is possible, provided you find a way’, is the gist of the book.

Books to Read

I had read a lot of books since childhood. In this post, I would recommend some of the nice titles that I had found interesting.

Disclaimer: I had read most of the books when I was in the class 6th to 10th. So it may not be interesting to all audiences.

Following are the list of book, in no order of importance

  • Sherlock Holmes, Complete 4 novels and 52 short stories
    My most adored character in all the books I have ever read. His intelligence, sense, analytical skill all impress me.
  • The Black Tulip – Alexander Dumas
    One of the good and short books I have read long back. I don’t remember much about the book. But it was an interesting read.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernal
    A nice book to read. A superb storyline.
  • Enid Blyton’s – Mystery Series
    Stories for children. The Five Found Outers. This is one of my favourite series of children novels.
  • Five Point Someone
    A nice and wonderful book to read and have a nice time. It might take you to your college days.
  • One night @ a call center
    Again from the author of Five point someone. This book made me think.
  • Why Men can’t listen and women can’t read maps
    A good book.
  • Code Name God – Mani Bhaumik
    A definite book that will change your outlook on life.
  • The Da Vinci Code
    Superb, racy, fast and interesting. You can’t put the book down once you have started reading.
  • Angels and Demons – Dan Brown
    Another interesting title. Wonderful, fast paced. Takes one through a complete journey of Rome. Must read.
  • Deception Point – Dan Brown
    Not so good as the previous two but okay.
  • Tao of Physics – Frijtof Copra
    Still reading.
  • Phantom
    A complete series of Phantom adventures from Rani comics
  • Happy reading!

Sherlock Holmes

Among all the detective stories read worldwide, there is one character that remains on top. Sherlock Holmes. A tall, lean man, with a smoking pipe and used to cocaine and playing solo on violin from Baker Street in London that is how Sherlock Holmes is described by Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle’s tells the adventures of Holmes in the voice of his roommate Dr. Watson.

Sherlock Holmes

I started reading from the novel ‘The Study in the Scarlet’, where Watson, Holmes are all introduced to the readers. I liked ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ the most among all other stories. The style in which Doyle narrates the stories make the reader believe that there was a man Holmes who lived and solved the mysteries.

The approach is analytical and logical. Holmes was such a character that when Doyle decides to put an end to the character, he was forced by his readers to bring the character back to life. The address No.7, Baker Street in London where Holmes was told to reside has become a landmark.

Holmes still lives in the minds of his readers.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I got to read this book as it was prescribed as an English supplementary reader in my secondary school. This is one book I will never forget. The plot is simple. Scarlet Pimpernel resembles Robin Hood.

The title character is the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy Blackeney’s alter ego. (I see a lot of movies… so this term.). The story is told as a narrative in the voice of Lady Blackeney with the French revolution as the time.

Scarlet Pimpernel FlowerSir Percy Blackeney is described to be a comical character with little intelligence and bravery. On the other hand, Scarlet Pimpernel is daring rescuer of the masses. The story has Chauvlein as the enemy of Scarlet Pimpernel. He drops a drawing of the red flower scarlet pimpernel whenever he rescues someone.

It is an interesting adventurous read.

Cogito, Ergo Sum!

Cogito, ergo sum – translated to English means ‘I  think, therefore I am’. This phrase is popularly connected to Descartes who used it in one of his works.

I came across this phrase when I was reading through a book ‘Code Name God’ by Mani Bhaumik. It was an inspiring read. It changed the very way I look at life.

The book centers around finding a parallel between Science and Religion. Authored by Mani, who is a scientist and a spiritual person, it clearly reflects his thought. He also describes about his road to success in the book. He was born in a very poor family in Bengal hearing to inspiring and spiritual lectures of Gandhi. He became one of the millionaires in United States with the help of his scientific pursuit by inventing laser used in medical sciences such as LASIK.

According to him, all that is in the World is ‘Energy’. All activity, process, things are all different manifestation of the same energy which we call by a different name. This is what his quantum research shows.

In the Hindu philosophy, we the people, cattle and all things are seen as different manifestations of ‘God’ himself.

Some words that inspired me are those lines in which he says about how he became a millionaire.

“I had an advantage over all others in the real estate investments. I was daring to take risks because I had nothing to           lose for initially I had nothing”

And one more, the title of this post, ‘I think, therefore I am’.