Book Recommendation: From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra - Whether it makes you feel rambunctious, resigned or resentful, the reality is that in the modern world the only perspective on history, political discourse as well as moral imperatives that commands legitimacy has been the western one. The reason for that is not profound or surprising. It is the old story of history being written […]
Book Recommendation: The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph - The Illicit Happiness of Other People is melancholy, humorous and philosophical, all at the same time.  When I first read the book a few weeks ago, I found the first few chapters a drag. I was, perhaps, wondering why I am being presented with bits and pieces of a decently smart, but an intellectually megalomaniacal […]
Book Recommendation: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - I recommend this book with some trepidations and a trigger warning. If you are prone to depression this book may hit close to home. It is not surprising that the novel is partly autobiographical. The picture Sylvia Plath paints of the world inside a depressed young girl’s head is so vivid that only someone who […]
Book Recommendation: One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan - Everyone knows about the controversial novel One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan thanks to the hooliganism of the self-appointed guardians of Indian culture. But controversy, although it introduced me to the book, is not why I am recommending it here. The reason for the recommendation is simple. It is a beautiful story and a well-written one. The English […]
Book Recommendation: City of Spies by Sorayya Khan -   Belated Post for May 2016 City of Spies by Sorayya Khan has a surprisingly benign and soothing spirit to it belying the turbulent times and events it is set in. The point of view is also curious. It isn’t that of an insider defending Pakistan. It isn’t one of an outsider berating it either. […]
Book Recommendation: The King’s Harvest by Chetan Raj Shreshtha - The book contains two novellas An Open-and-Shut Case and the eponymous The King’s Harvest. Don’t look at the hype and the sales numbers and this is easily one of the best English-language books to come out of India. The writing is adroit, literary merit of the text considerable and the juxtaposition of the dark and the criminal with the […]
Book Recommendation: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - Doctor Zhivago is the ultimate commentary on the romance of revolution. It takes you through the hopes and the expectations, through the act itself, and then through the aftermath. What is important about this novel is that it is not the voice of a skeptic from the outside who says “I-told-you-so”, but that of an […]
Book Recommendation: English August by Upamanyu Chatterjee - “Marvellously intelligent and entertaining” – one of the reviews printed on the back cover of English August says and I concur. Profanity, sexual jokes, and scatological humor abound, the protagonist is drunk and stoned almost every single moment, you feel like whacking him for being an indulgent, self-absorbed, spoiled youth who doesn’t take anything or anybody […]
Book Recommendation: The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester -   “A tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary” goes the subtitle of the book I have selected for this month. It indeed is all of that. One might argue that the making of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the primary tale here, but it wouldn’t have made as […]
Book Recommendation: Waiting by Ha Jin - Winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction, Waiting by Ha Jin is an interesting book among the multitudes which are set in China of the times of Mao Zedong. The narrative itself is not dominated by politics, but there could not have been a story like that if it weren’t for the political circumstances […]

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