From My Book-Shelf


Freedom at Midnight

by Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre

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This is the second Dominique Lapierre- Larry Collins book I have read. I love Indian history and this book traces the period between Mountbatten becoming the Viceroy till Gandhi’s assassination.

Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Mountbatten are the heroes of this book. Of them only Mountbatten was alive during research of this book so it is fair to say that the book can be biased and we can see that with how Mountbatten has been portrayed.

It shows as if he did his best to avoid a bloody partition but because of the irreconcilable differences between the Congress & the Muslim League, the nation had to be sliced quickly. However, it could also be very easily argued that the British left midway in a hurry which led to the bloodshed in 1947.

The book also says good things about Nehru and Gandhi but castigates Jinnah. That is why the book is still banned in Pakistan. But I will take those praises with a pinch of salt. The book goes behind the plot to kill Gandhi but does not delve into Sardar Patel’s effort to unite India clearly.

However, it is a good read and even though we know how this story ends it will keep the reader engaged. The one thing that stuck with me was how close we were to not being partitioned at all. Some “what if…” to wonder.


The Lowland

by Jhumpa Lahiri

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I haven’t read a lot of Jhumpa Lahiri but I will pick up more of her books after this one.

The Lowland traces the journey of three people- two brothers and a wife set against the the background of a West bengal on the throes of the Naxalite  movement and the United States.

The book is about loss. All characters try to deal with the death of the younger brother as they try to adjust their lives around this tragedy. The book traces their lives as they go about dealing with their motivations & emotions.

It is well-written and the characters have been well etched out. Worth picking it up.


Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

by Michael Moss

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Everybody must read this book. Everybody.

This book explores how the three most important components used in processed food today are manipulated to make them taste better and make us want them more.

The three components are: salt, sugar and fat. The author takes us to the biggest food companies in the US who started this trend and how we have a problem at hand with obesity today.

With India being touted as the next big market and the processed foods which are on our supermarket shelves led by these very companies, it is imperative that we read this book and become aware of what we eat.

Nothing will make you watch what you eat like this book does.

From My Book-Shelf

From My Bookshelf


The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery

by Amitav Ghosh

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Amitav Ghosh is one of my favorite authors and his books Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke are of the finest in the genre of historical fiction I have read.

The review is here-

However, I was a little let-down by this book. It follows a computer programmer, Antar, who finds an ID of a long-lost colleague. He goes down a rabbit hole to find out the disappearance of that colleague and we are taken on a journey across New York to Secunderabad to Calcutta.

The book is not engaging enough, the characters are not well-etched out and the timeline is plain confusing. I had high expectations from Amitav Ghosh after the Ibis Trilogy. This book is avoidable, but I am still looking forward to reading other books by this author.


Ravan & Eddie

by Kiran Nagarkar

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 I had never heard of this author and was a little doubtful about picking up this book. For lack of better options, I picked it up anyway. And I am glad I did.

This is a good book. It is about two boys growing up in a chawl in Mumbai and how their family, friends, religion, education and everything else has an impact in their growing up years.

There is no such plot but the childhood years of Ravan and Eddie are refreshing, entertaining, funny in bits and a good read. I will check out the second book in the series- The Extras too.


Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines

by Rajiv Malhotra, Arvindan Neelakandan

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A while ago the RSS head claimed that Mother Teresa had the motive of conversion behind her charity. An article on did not deny that.

We may enjoy the Hindu bashing but sometimes it is wise to take a step back and be informed. This book is about the other side and how certain organizations are spreading Christianity in India, which is okay, but they are causing serious divides among the people.

I am going to say this outright, this book is biased. It takes trivial points and magnifies it. But that does not mean it is wrong. It raises some serious questions and this issue has never been at the forefront in India.

Take the case of foreign funding for some NGOs or the religious conversions in our country. Before we go and accuse the RSS or the current government about the stifling of liberal views, it is important that we are informed on both sides.

Check out this video for what such evangelism is capable of-

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Uganda and Pepe Julian Onziema

But this book is too long and it gets boring. The points are repetitive. So instead of reading the book, you can just check out some videos of Rajiv Malhotra’s interviews to get the hang of it.

From My Bookshelf