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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books Read in 2014

“Why is America so rich and we are so poor?” I posed the question to my father in the summers of 1998. My father answered me as best he could: “India is a young democratic country of 50 years with huge population while America is almost 200 years old." I nodded in agreement, satisfied with the explanation. One answer unearthed a dangerous way to more questions.  I was a nationalist, theist and a more enthusiastic supporter of RSS version of India at that phase of life. I had complete trust in their claim of ancient knowledge and glory of Hindu India. So, why we failed to defend our country from foreign culture and invaders ? Why Hindus were treated like slave for thousand of years in their own country ? How to solve Islamic and Christian problem?

That started an active engagement with history books. Yet, I haven't touched NCERT books. I studied history books to have an idea of India. My grip on history was weak because, half-truths and myths are intermingled as historical fact. I wanted to know an accepted version of history - validated by both losers and winners. It was the reading habit that gave me the chance to think more deeply. Nothing was considered as averse and accepted with open heart in heated debates with friends. It's often hard to separate myth from reality. Reading diverse set of books helped me to find rational view in the haze of morality and deliberate ignorance. I was able to see that every perceived external interference doesn't involve a sinister plot. I was able to challenge infallibility of books and beliefs. There was not always misinterpretation by the reader. The travesty of the modern world history is to find a 'factual' narrative in the versions of religious 'right' and Red 'Left'. I concluded with a solid reality of our lives - Social Reality in past or present does not come, like topaz crystals, already made. It is well hidden in camouflage of culture, taboo and class in the maze of daily life. I had started not to view at history as a place of debate and multiple opinions, rather than reductive nature of evidences. Our history is a hybrid of facts and fiction, it is a tale nonetheless, which represents a sore reality, and I have tried my utmost to learn it in a sympathetic and sensitive manner.

If one doesn't contradict oneself on a regular basis, then one is not thinking. We all start popular readings for a start, then make own way. Everyone’s reading list is unique, but each is remarkable in its own way.I don't read today in order to master the craft of writing; I read because I like to read but surely it helps in putting words together. Imitation, it turns out, is a great engine for personal growth to some extent. I always travel through books, but never get lost in them. A lot of books are in the pending list for reading. Life is short for reading all I wish. There’s a more likelihood of me doing what is necessary but mot sufficient.

Books Read in 2014:

Our Moon has Blood Clots - The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits :- Rahul Pandita - English - 9/10 - Compelling Memoir of person giving us a brief account of ethnic cleansing.

In the Land of Invisible Women :- Qanta A. Ahmed - English - 7.5/10 - It gives a vivid description of religion, racism, culture and society of Saudi regime from the perspective of a Western trained Muslim doctor woman.

Hello Bastar: The Untold Story Of India's Maoist Movement :- Rahul Pandita - English - 7/10 -  A poignant book that explains story of Maoist movement  through the eyes of reporter.

Acts of Faith :- Erich Segal - English - 7/10 - A boring romantic story caught in the web of Jewish Christian relationship.

I am Malala :- Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb - English - 6/10 - A brave account of girl but written for people having not having clue on Afghan situation

And the Mountains Echoed :- Khaled Hosseini - English - 7/10 -

A Game of Thrones :- George R. R. Martin - English - 8.5/10 - A must read thriller in realm of epic fantasy novels.

A Clash of Kings :- George R. R. Martin - English - 8.5/10 - A must read thriller in realm of epic fantasy novels.

A Storm of Swords :- George R. R. Martin - English - 8.5/10 - A must read thriller in realm of epic fantasy novels.

A Feast for Crows :- George R. R. Martin - English - 8/10 - A must read thriller in realm of epic fantasy novels.

A Dance with Dragons :- George R. R. Martin - English - 8/10 - A must read thriller in realm of epic fantasy novels.

The Devotion of Suspect X :- Keigo Higashino - English - 7/10 - A detective novel that starts beautifully but was disappointed with sudden and swift end.

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