From My Book-Shelf

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Serious Men

by Manu Joseph

My Rating- Half rating star

GoodReads Link

This is Manu Joseph’s first book & the second one I have read. The Illicit Happiness of Other People blew my mind! It is one of the finest books I have read and Serious Men was also recommended by several people & it does not disappoint.

While I did not find it as good as the previous book, it is witty, interesting, and will keep you hooked.

The Serious Men in this book are the scholars & scientists of the Institute of Theory and Research who are divided into two factions: One who want to explore alien life by listening to their signals & those (mainly Arvind Acharya, who is the head of the institute) who believes alien life forms are falling on earth in the form of particles.

Ayyan Mani is a dalit who is living in a Mumbai slum & working as a peon at this instituteHe weaves his own plot to find significance & matter in this life where he is surrounded by people who are considered important in their own right. The story revolves around him along with the events & the people.

The book is a delightful read and Manu Joseph is another good Indian author who should be read by more people.

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Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad

by Brett Martin

My Rating- 

 GoodReads Link

Let us make this very clear. This book is for those who watch American television shows. The ones who have watched either The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men or Breaking Bad. These are the shows which changed American television & introduced the concept of the lead actors who have their flaws.

This book takes us in the writers’ rooms of these shows & how the universe of these shows was created. Each lead writer has his own style and the book explores that well.

While tracing these shows, this book also traces the change in American television with HBO changing the business with The Sopranos and then following up with The Wire. Other networks followed suit and today the landscape has evolved with OTT platforms.

A fine book for those interested in television.

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Moth Smoke

by Mohsin Hamid

My Rating- Half rating star

GoodReads Link

The second Mohsin Hamid book I have read and at 256 pages, this is not a long read either.

It traces the story of Daru Shezad, a man living in Lahore who is fired from his job and descends into drugs. He cannot pay his bills, falls in love with his best friend’s wife and ends up on trial for a murder he may or may not have committed.

His story is set against the backdrop of a Pakistan which was racing against India to acquire its own nuclear bomb at the expense of its economy. This was Mohsin Hamid’s first novel and it is well-paced.

There is not a moment when one wants to put down the book as we see Daru spiral in a rabbit hole.

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From My Bookshelf

67100

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

by Amitav Ghosh

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/67100.The_Calcutta_Chromosome

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- wordsofashex.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/from-my-bookshelf-2

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.

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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.

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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 Scroll.in 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