Books of June 2009

May 2009

1. The Britannica Guide to The Islamic World (Non-Fiction)

Alright I never finished this book ( though I had picked it up in May itself, remember?). My bad. This book was not just a book after all. It was a fucking encyclopedia – as expected. It was non-juicy – again, as expected. I did read three of the five parts though. No, I don’t remember much of what I read. I seriously think that I need to re-read the book to remember even a quarter of the history stuff that it has.

2. Graphic Design – a concise history by Richard Hollis (Non-fiction)

All I can say is that you don’t need to read it till you really really care about the history of Graphic Art. This book was full of names – Russian, Americans, Germans, Brits, French and Swiss. Like that book on Islam , I don’t remember much of what I read but I do appreciate this whole deal about the evolution of Graphic Designing better now. I do know what Dada means or for that matter Avante Garde. I also know that Lissitzky played an important role. The bottomline is that now, if I am thrown amidst a bunch of fanatic graphic designers and they start speaking shit about the early days of photomontage, I won’t freak out and kill them. I might actually ask them what their opinion on ‘The Constructor’ is. πŸ˜›

3. The  Collected Short Storis of Roald Dahl (Fiction)

Two collections – a) Kiss Kiss & b) Swith Bitch were kickass. The other’s weren’t. In any case, not even a single story was so bad that you could skip it. So I read the entire book – 760 pages. My recommendation to those who haven’t read Roald Dahl would be to read at least the four stories in Switch Bitch. They are hilariously ironic and exemplify black humor. Thereafter, if you like the guy, you can pick up Kiss Kiss. But don’t venture beyond that.

4. Indian Identity by Sudhir Kakar (Non-Fiction)

This one was once again a collection where you got to read 3 books in one. All of them were psychoanalysis of Indians. The first book (Intimate Relations) analyzed the psychology of sexual behaviour of Indians. The second one (Analyst and the Mystic) tried to explain what goes inside the minds of the Indians who choose to become mystics. The last in the series (The Colours of Violence) was a psychoanalyst’s effort to deconstruct the minds of those who participate in riots.

I recommend this book to everyone. A novice could have written boring shitty crap but Kakar has kept all the three parts interesting. His funda to sustain a reader’s interest is simple – talk about stories – real and mythological and talk about personal experiences of junta in their own words. So you get to read a lot of interesting stuff – interviews of lower class women about their sexual experiences and their married life styles, extracts of Gandhi’s letters and his autobiography, mythological stories about Ganesha and Shiva and Vishnu, opinions of pahalwans on riots in Hyderabad etc. Of course all these stories and interviews and opinions are followed by his explanation of varied behaviours – but the balance is such that you really do absorb most of what he has to say. Thumbs up.

5. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (fiction)

Picked it up this Sunday itself and have read only 1/5th so far. This is my first Amitav Ghosh. This one is the first in the series of a trilogy (the other two books haven’t come out yet). I don’t want to comment any further on this book till I have finished it. All I can say is, I am hopeful of it being a rather good story. By the way, Neelabh, if you are reading this post – some characters speak Bhojpuri in this book, so you might as well pick it up and read. πŸ˜›

Happy reading everbody!

6 replies on “Books of June 2009”

ohho looking good hero!! You need platinum studs to carry of this look..thats missing!! cudnt resist commenting the moment I saw the header, will read the post now and comment. Btw did you just read the last line of my post?

have read the sea of poppies but liked hungry tide a bit more than this one, get another book on islam..something like Islam made easy with pictures.

Switch Bitch \m/. godlike book. I must have read those stories like a million times in the library and laughed my ass off. Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide is the best. Couldnt stand The Glass Palace. Hungry Tide is not only endearing, it gave me a chance to read about one of the least written about places in India – The Sunderbans.
The other books.. I wont even dare to pick them up πŸ˜› I’m reading Animal Farm and Terry Pratchet these days. Animal Farm is total kickass satire. Do read it if u haven’t already! πŸ˜€

The problem with Encyclopedias is that they are too neutral and thus often tend to lack juice. I must now pick up a biassed book on Islam. πŸ˜›

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