the wonderful world of veena.

12 August 2012

book update: what I've read since I left the usa.

I know, I know, my book updates are long overdue. Or perhaps you're annoyed that I'm bringing them back. Regardless, I am here to let you know what I have been reading since I left the U-S-of-A and to let you know what is next on my list.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide [Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn]. One [hyphenated] word: awe-inspiring. I had been wanting to read this for a while and finally got the opportunity to dig into it right before I left for India. There were so many stories of women who have survived against all odds [positive deviants, some might even call them] and have dedicated their lives to making sure other women do not go through the same experiences they did. There were also examples of people from all around the world who have dedicated their lives to providing opportunities for women as well as examples of how small actions can have a lasting impact. If you've not yet read this book, find a copy and get to it. [on a side note, it also had a long list of awesome organizations - particularly in India - whose names I wrote down for potential Capstone / career opportunities]

Perfect Gentleman [Imran Ahmad]. Ahmad spoke at school in late April and was so downright hilarious that I just had to buy his book. The book itself - his memoir about moving from Karachi, Pakistan, to London with his family and subsequently growing up Muslim in London in the 1970s - was pretty entertaining. There were some anecdotes that had me laughing out loud, but there were other that dragged. Overall I enjoyed the book, and it kept me entertained while I was in Coimbatore. It's a light, fast read that covers a bit of what Ahmad's experience was growing up "different" from his peers.

Rafa [Rafael Nadal with John Carlin]. My tennis-playing cousin in Coimbatore loaned me his copy of Rafael Nadal's autobiography since he knows that I am a big fan. When the opening chapter was his recounting of the 2008 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, I was hooked. Overall I enjoyed reading it, but then again, he is my favourite tennis player. If you're not a fan, it may not interest you. My favourite part was definitely the retelling of that 2008 final; I could picture every shot just as he described it, and when I finished it, I had to watch a highlights video from the match on YouTube. And what a match it was.

An Uncommon Education [Elizabeth Percer]. This was one that I happened to spot near the checkout at B&N one day, and when I was thinking of books to download before my trip, it popped into my head. It was a pretty interesting read, the story of a young girl from Brookline, Massachusetts, who is struggling to find out who she is while growing up in a bit of an untraditional family. I read it quickly, but I was also in Surat and didn't have much else to do. It was a pretty interesting read, not amazing, but also not bad.

The Taliban Cricket Club [Timeri N. Murari]. I saw this one in a bookstore in San Francisco and was intrigued as soon as I saw the words "cricket club". I really enjoyed this one, the story of a young modern woman in Kabul, Afghanistan, an underground journalist and former cricket player who unknowingly draws the attention of a corrupt minister. Her story of trying to avoid him while preparing her younger brother and cousins for Kabul's first-ever cricket tournament and caring for her sick mother had me laughing at times and outraged and wanting to cry at others. Definitely a book that held my interest, although the end was a bit too unbelievable. I tend to shake my head when books are wrapped up a bit too neatly after being full of strife and heartache.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest [Stieg Larsson]. Yep, I finally finished the Millennium series. Only took me two years. I had my ups-and-downs with the final book of the series. At times it seemed to be dragging, and then at others it seemed to quickly gloss over parts I thought deserved more time and attention [the trial, for example. the whole book builds up to it, and then it's over in a matter of like 40 pages. weird]. And this was another one that was wrapped up a bit too neatly for my liking. After all the strife and hardships, the end, while not rosy, was slightly too unbelievable for me. On the whole I enjoyed reading the series and am glad I did. Now I am looking forward to seeing the Swedish movie versions. I've heard they're really good, but I wanted to wait until I finished the whole series before I watched them. Now to figure out how to get my hands on them...

I know this makes it look like I've read a lot of books in the two-and-a-half months I've been gone, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I had begun the first two before I left the States. I also partially read I'm a Stranger Here Myself [Bill Bryson] before I left Bangalore, but I didn't have enough space to carry three books so left it behind. Luckily it's a collection rather than a novel, so it won't be a problem to pick it up and continue reading it once I return [that's also dependent on Shonali not losing it while I'm gone].

I am now about halfway through with The Bastard of Istanbul [Elif Shafak] and have just started reading The Great Hunt [Wheel of Time Series #2 by Robert Jordan] on my iPad. I also downloaded The Dragon Reborn [Wheel of Tyme Series #3 by Robert Jordan - they're super long, so I figured they would keep me occupied while I'm in the middle of nowhere], House Rules [Jodi Picoult], and The Shame of the Nation [Jonathan Kozol]. As the two Wheel of Time books are roughly 1,000 pages each, I think those should hold me over until I'm back in Bangalore. What do you think?

Beyond these I don't have any that I am dying to read, so if you have any suggestions, please pass them along.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I am inspired by your voracity. Now if only I could channel that into project work....