From My BookShelf

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A Little Too Close to God: The Thrills and Panic of a Life in Israel

by David Horovitz

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Goodreads Link

This book is written by the Israeli journalist David Horowitz after he moves with his family from England to Israel in 1983. It gives us a look into the day-to-day life in Israel as it moved from Rabin’s years to the more orthodox Netanyahu. (He has become even worse since then.)

The book is a nice look into the question all liberal Israelis face about the question of Palestine and how to live with them on a daily basis and their conflict with the more orthodox Israelis.

The book is okay and I picked it up only to introduce myself to Israel. However, the question of the friction between the orthodox and the liberals will always remain and the conflict has become even more profound across the world as migration, wars and terrorism create a disruptive impact across the globe.

A decent read.

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A Thousand Suns

by Dominique Lapierre

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Goodreads Link

Dominique Lapierre, a journalist who has interviewed several big personalities from Mother Teresa to Lord Mountbatten. In this non-fiction book, Lapierre tells us stories of some of the extraordinary people he met during his time as a journalist and as a writer.

The list varies from one of the most popular bull-fighter in Spain to a Nazi general who refused to invade Paris to Mother Teresa. The book is an interesting read and the list of characters is also interesting with one we will not hear about in general.

I plan to include more books from this author in the coming months.

Pick it up, it is a light read. 🙂

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Dongri To Dubai : Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia

by S. Hussain Zaidi

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Goodreads Link

I picked up this book reluctantly because I generally avoid the popular books in India, because their writing is bad. It is not an Amitav Ghosh or an Rohinton Mistry. But I picked this up because crime and mafia in India interest me.

The story is about the history of the Mumbai Mafia, especially Dawood Ibrahim. I do not have much to say about the book except that it is a swift read and easy to follow. Hussain Zaidi, an investigative reporter himself is a credible source to know about the Mumbai Mafia and hence a better source than any other.

Pick it up if crime and mafia interest you.

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From My BookShelf

From My Bookshelf

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Into the Wild

 

by Jon Krakauer

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In 1992, a man named Christopher McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska. He abandoned his car, his belongings and donated the $25,000 he had to charity. He left everything behind to make a new life for himself in the wild.

The book is written by Jon Krakauer who traces his steps, talks to people he met on the way and goes through his diaries and books to find out why he did what he did. The thing about this book is, it seems like we will get an answer.

After all, there is an inherent belief that there has to be something big to have happened in somebody’s life to take such drastic measures. But maybe, there isn’t. Sometimes it is just about finding your place and purpose in this world.

Thats what this book is really about. We speak to people Christopher knew or met, we see the things he has written in his diary and what he has highlighted in the books he carried with him.

But in the end, we don’t really understand him. Maybe because we couldn’t, or are not supposed to.

 

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The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide

by Gary J. Bass

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In 1971, Bangladesh was born and it was the first time that India was involved in a war which was not its own. It is not a secret that India was closer to the Soviet Union and Pakistan was close to the US at that time.

This book is about how Pakistan’s genocide in Bangladesh was overlooked even though the American embassy in Bangladesh (East Pakistan- then) kept reporting of the killing to their bosses in Washington. American global politics has shaped the destiny of a lot of nations and this book is about how they shaped of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The book details the involvement (or rather, a lack of) of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in this war and their support to Pakistan which escalated the tragedy. It is also a moment of victory and daredevilry by an Indian PM when Indira Gandhi traveled the globe to garner support for the migrants who were flowing through the porous Indo-Bangla border (they still do) and eventually decided to send in Indian troops.

All those interested in Cold War, history and global politics should read this as this was a small, overlooked outcome of the Cold War but it still has an impact on South Asian politics.

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

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According to research by Susan Cain, at least 1/3rd of the people we meet are introverts. This book is written for them. Actually, it is written for us since I am an introvert too. And as an introvert, I know that introverts will latch on to anything or anyone who speaks about them. Because we generally don’t.

I also watched a video of the talk Susan Cain gave about introversion on TED. The book makes some interesting points like how the social structure is centered around extroverts mostly, but it also seems to sort of sympathize with introverts.

That is where my problem with this book is. Even though our social structure seems to favor the extroverts and it needs to change a bit, I think introverts have carved out a place for themselves.

It is an okay book. You can watch her TED talk instead.

Susan Cain- The Power of Introverts TED talk

From My Bookshelf

From My Bookshelf

2429135

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy #1)

by Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland (Translator)

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Goodreads Link

I have watched the movie starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara with the same name and wanted to read the book for a while simply to read a book in the genre of Nordic Noir. Crime and suspense genres really do not excite me and I feel like I am in a rush to finish the book and reach the end.

This book had the same effect on me and I do not intend to read more books in the Millenium series.

Now, this book is about Michael Bloomkvist, who is a once-respected journalist but a bad call lands him in trouble and in debt. The patriarch of a wealthy business family wants him to investigate a murder in the family which happened years back.

We follow Michael as he tries to unravel the mystery of the murder with the unlikely help of a private investigator Lisbeth Salander. Obviously I am not going to give away what happens but the book is okay really. I liked the movie.

Maybe it is because this genre does not really excite me. Either way, it is a decent crime and suspense novel.

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin, Lewis Leary (Introduction)

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Goodreads Link

I had saved a link few months back had and this book was there in its “Top 100 books to read”. There were other books on the list too I have not read yet but the autobiography of a man who was one of America’s Founding Fathers, a scientist and an inventor, a writer and an editor and counted as a great philosopher seemed a good enough reason for me to pick it up.

This thin book is only 160 pages but it will take some time to read. It appears dull and boring and does not dwell deep into the man Benjamin Franklin was. The fact that it is written in the English of the olden days does not add to its case either.

I expected more out of it and I am quite surprised that it has become a literary classic. Maybe I missed out on something. Either way, I did not take away much from the book.

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Chasing the Monsoon

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Goodreads Link

This travelogue is the story of India’s monsoons. Alexander Frater is a journalist and a travel writer.

In this book he follows India’s monsoon when it hits the coast of Kerala and goes up north to Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and finally to Cherrapunji. Of course, this book was written when monsoons could be predicted in the June- September period and before we screwed up the weather patterns with our constant polluting.

The book is a joyous exploration and celebration of the monsoon in India and how the rich and poor deal with it. While wealthy Arabs come to spend a week in Mumbai to experience the monsoon, the taxi drivers lament the damage on their vehicles and the roads.

This is a delightful book in bits and pieces. I have been trying to get hold of more travelogues since many of my friends have told me that my travel blogs are a little long and boring.

This book is an interesting read as we explore stories and places via the monsoon. Historical and meteorological data snippets also show a different aspect to the story.

From My Bookshelf