Sunday, February 18, 2007

Joy's Non- Fiction Five Challenge

Well, finally, here's my selection of non-fiction titles for Joy's Non-Fiction Five Challenge which runs from May-September. I have 10 titles here but I need to get them down to five. Not sure how I am going to do that, it was hard enough whittling them down to 10! :)

Clicking on the picture will take you to the Amazon review of the book.

(thanks, beenzzz)

(thanks, Radha)

(thanks Laura)


Sanjay said...

First to post? I guess so. :)
Lotus, I have to say it is a most eclectic list. Great picks all! I can see why narrowing it down is such a hard call to make.

I have read a train to Pakistan a long time ago (loved it) and did read an article by Ishmael Beah in the times Sunday magazine.

Good luck with the picks. Oh and please don't take a poll of your readers to decide which 5 to pick. :)

Sanjay said...

Oh I forgot to mention, the Beah article was very touching. The things child soldiers have been thru are truly heartrending.

Wendy said...

Lotus...GREAT list! There are many on here I've also got on my wish list (like Fadiman's book which has been recommended to me several times). I limited my list for this challenge to books I already had on my shelf (trying to make a dent in all my unread books!)...but once I've read those, I intend to pick up some new ones. Looking forward to your reviews (as always!)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Sanjay!

You know what? To my great disappointment, I've discovered "Train to Pakistan" is not non-fiction. Going to have to take it off my list. I thought it would make a great read around Independence Day - will have to look for something else. Maybe something about Gandhi?

lol, and would you like to give me your top 5? :)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Wendy!

I am so pleased we're going to be challenge buddies! Yes, Fadiman's book has come highly recommended by several people, so I am looking forward to reading it - will stop and look at your list - excited!!!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

beenzzz said...

Hi Lotus! These all look like excellent books. I really hope you enjoy reading "Making Ethnic Choices." :)
I am currently in pursuit of "Curry: A Tale of Cooks & Conquerers," "Train to Pakistan,"and "Memoirs of a Boy Soldier." I have a ton of books to read now! I'll be set for a year. :))

Sanjay said...

Tells you how long ago I read "Train to Pakistan" that I could not recall much about the book, lol and I also dated myself with that statement. :)

Well since you asked.. my picks in no order..
Shah of Shah's, Curry, A long way gone, Human cargo and Black like me.

The Traveller said...

Black Like Me is an amazing read - I remember reading it for the first time when I was about 12 or 13 and being shocked by the treatment the author experienced when dressed as a black man. A real eye-opener of a social experiment and still very relevant today.

Praveen G K said...


You ave got quite a collection of non-fiction books jotted down. But to be honest, i haven't had the opportunity to read any of them except Train to Pakistan, and I simply loved the literature. Sorry, but really do not have any idea abt the others!!!!

Sai said...

I was just about write till I noticed your earlier comment....Yes Train to Pakistan is fiction. I loved the book.

My next one would be Shah of Shahs, curry and making ethnic choices. Of course as always prefer the South Asian flavor ;-)

jacob said...

hey Lotus,
of your list, i've only read Curry, and it's great.

Sugarlips said...

Quite a collection of fiction books and lovely pic :)
My next one would be Shah and shahs...Train to Pakistan and Curry :)

Stay Beautiful..!!

iliana said...

All the books sound so interesting but the one I'm really curious about is A Long Way Gone. I want to read it but honestly I'm a bit "afraid" of it. I'm sure it's a harrowing account. Anyway good luck on narrowing down your list! :)

Radha said...

Good luck Lotus, thats a staggering list !

Radha said...

If I may recommend an addition, have you read Amartya Sen's 'The Argumentative Indian'?

Literary Feline said...

Several of those titles sound interesting, Lotus. I think I may have to check them all out, especially Human Cargo and A Long Way Gone.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on each of the books you end up selecting!

Bybee said...

What a great list! Several intrigue me, but Curry is the one I'd pick up first.

Lotus Reads said...

Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and telling me what your favorites are...

I'm keeping "Shah of Shahs", "Curry", "Ethnic Choices" and "A Long Way Gone"...but the list could change depending on what you say! :)

Radha, I've replaced "Train to Pakistan" with "Argumentative Indian"...thanks for the suggestion!

Sanjay said...

I just peeked at the Amartya Sen book, sounds like another great pick.

Asha said...

Great selection you lucky girl! Have fun reading them.I have the first book and I am looking at "Curry"!!;D

Yianna said...

Hi Lotus! Great list. I want to go out and get these books here -- but the English-language books are limited in Greece :(
I do, however, highly recommend reading "The Spirit Catches You..." by Anne Fadiman. It is outstanding, as is Fadiman's slim little collection about being a lifelong reader (whose title is escaping me right now).
Anyway, I meant to say that I love the new look of your blog, too.
xxoo Joanna (using my Greek name in blogger)

Susan in Italy said...

Wow, Lotus, you'll be really well informed at the end of this, that's for sure! I'm intrigued by the Ethnic Choices book, for work more than for pleasure (although it would be a really interesting read) If that one makes your cut, I'll be excited to hear about it.

Les said...

Wow. Great list. The only one I've read is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Excellent and quite readable. I'll be interested in your thoughts on A Long Way Gone. It looks quite interesting.

Happy Reader said...

Great picks!! I want to read it all :) Curry and Ethnic choices sounds interesting, though. I wanted to read "The Argumentative Indian" a while ago, but couldn't get to it! If you do read it, I would be curious to know your thoughts on it. I would love to join this Non-Fiction challenge, but I already have challenging times ahead with my baby due in May! So, I'll have to pass this :( Good luck to you!!

starry nights said...

Great picks Lotus. Sorry to say I have not read any of them. I would love to read "Train to Pakistan" so thats what I am going to do, then try to read some of the others. I love reading too.

Allison said...

That's an interesting looking lot of books. I don't think I'm up for the whole challenge, but I did pick up a nonfiction book the other day. Just to test the waters of a new genre! I chose 'The End of Faith' by Sam Harris. Thanks for the nudge to venture beyond fiction!

Joy said... many comments already! :)

Well, I formally welcome you to the Non-Fiction Five Challenge. It appears that you already have a challenge of whittling your 10 down to 5! They look like great choices. I have THE SPIRIT CATCHES YOU AND YOU FALL DOWN on my list. I think that one is a "for sure". A LONG WAY GONE looks really interesting from your list. I'll have to look into that one. Glad you joined us, Lotus.

Happy Reading!

jenclair said...

Great list and several really appeal to me. Can't wait for your reviews!

Laura said...

Hi Lotus!!! Sorry to have been so absent lately! Work has been burying me under...... I am going to do this challenge too, so it will be fun around here as I pick my books! Will post on this soon! Hope you are well and happy!


Nyssaneala said...

Great choices. I don't envy your decision. :)

I might *push* Human is also on my non-fic 5 list, although I might end up reading it earlier. I currently have it checked out from the library and it looks really good. I will probably be my own copy before I read the whole book.

Amaryta Sen is wonderful, I actually used his theories in Development as Freedom for the basis of my master's thesis. I have yet to read The Argumentative Indian.

I might suggest not to make the mistake I sometimes make, and have at least 1 or 2 more upbeat books as part of your 5. Human Cargo, The Spirit Catches You (although wonderful!), and A Long Way Gone read in succession could be a wee depressing. Curry and Making Ethnic Choices both look very interesting.

A Reader from India said...

Hi Lotus,

All the book on your list sound interesting. Am yet to read any of these books, planning to check them out. (You had Train to Pakistan on your list yesterday, which is the only book by Khushwant Singh that I ever liked).

Look forward to reading your reviews. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and linking to it. Visiting your blog is like being part of an online book club!


booklogged said...

Oh dear me! I'm trying to whittle my nonfiction list down and you just suggested some more that I want to add. Isn't that the way it goes? It will be interesting to see which 5 you will read and, like always, I look forward to your interesting reviews. Have a good day, Lotus.

Dark Orpheus said...

Ah, I was wondering if I should even join the Non-Fiction Five Challenge. But I know what you mean - really hard to cut it down to JUST FIVE. So many books. So little time,

I see you have Kapuscinski on your list. I was hoping to read him before the end of this year, but I have no idea which book to start. Do tell if it's any good.

And "Curry" - great to see you're finally going to pick it up. I don't think I can get around to reading it this year. Too many books lined up. *sigh*

Have fun. This Non-Fiction Challenge will prove to have some interesting books being finally read.

Hmm. Should I, or shouldn't i?

gautami tripathy said...

One great list. I am going to pick a few next time buy books. Now I got loads and no time to read. Very busy for some weeks now.

carra said...

I love reading your blog, and I love searching the amazong for the books you write about I am pretty confident it is worth purchasing all ten of them!

bookish lore said...

Hi Lotus! Wonderful list! Kapuscinski seems to be everywhere I look, so I'm adding him to my (ever-growing) list.
I'm looking forward to reading your reviews.

ML said...

Wow, what a great choice of books! How do you narrow that down? Sigh, now I have to add more books to my TBR pile.

Good luck with your reading, Lotus!! :)

Brown Paper said...

Great picks, Lotus!

Thought you might be interested in another title by Amartya Sen-- his 2006 "Identity and Violence". I'm guessing you don't want more non-fiction choices, but this one is a must-read; do check it out if you find time!

Angela in Europe said...

I can't wait to hear all about the second one.

Beloved Dreamer said...

Lotus my dear, it such a pleasure to be home again and reading your blog. I hope you got my email the day I came home.
Wonderful selections. I have already put one of the books on my Amazon wish list and will add it to Mooch to. I've missed talking to you.


Bibliochef said...

I loved Curry -- it is both globally swell and very informative historically and attentive to postcolonial impact of things, and is also just a good read. It probably tops my hit parade for the #1 book on food I have read in the past year, and I have read a lot on food. . . . . will look for some of the other things!

Bibliochef (Cooking with Ideas).

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

The covers alone are intriguing me!!! I can't wait for your reviews!!

Maggie said...

Great Books! I'd start with Curry then move to Human Cargo. But, that's me. :D

Yuva said...

recently picked up long way gone. this is certainly rare insight to the world we cannot imagine to scale of its truth. I strongly recommend this.

The Argumentative India, I haven't posted review on this yet. but I read this book couple of year back. this gives great insight about indian history, culture,.. if you interested in this then you might be interested in watching (India, lost treasure of ancient world)

btw: you have composed a nice blog for books. will mark it to visit often. would appreciate if interested in adding link to my book review in your blog and stop by when time permits. thanks

Lotus Reads said...


I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who stopped by to cheer me on for the challenge. Thanks for picking your favorites, it really helped me decide which books should be in the final five.

I so wish I could thank everyone personally, but it's been such a busy week so I'm doing a general thank you but I'll stop by your blogs for a longer visit.

Welcome to everyone commenting here for the first time: bookish lore, brown paper, Yuva..I have checked out your blogs and bookmarked them so I can visit you on a regular basis. Thanks very much for your comments.

@Dark Orpheus - I think you should join the challenge, c'mon, it'll be great being challenge buddies! :)

@Allison - so glad we managed to twist your arm. I hope you enjoy this genre, I will be looking to see how you liked "The End of Faith"

@Chitts - what happy news, I'm so thrilled there's going to be a new addition at Happy Reader! :)

These might just be my final five:
(thanks to everyone I was able to whittle them down)

In no particular order:

1.Shah of Shahs


3.Making Ethnic Choices

4.A Long Way Gone

5.Human Cargo

Thanks everyone!!!

Lotus Reads said...

Forgot to mention, as alternatives, I have picked "The Spirit Catches You...Down" (I really,really want to read this book) and "An Argumentative Indian".

@Yianna - love your Greek name, it's beautiful! :)

@Bibliochef - thanks for your beautiful endorsement of "Curry", I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it.

@Sanjay - thanks for recommending "Shah of Shahs"...I hadn't realized this book was making waves.

Sanjay said...

@Sanjay - thanks for recommending "Shah of Shahs"...

@Lotus.. you are too kind, I just pulled that book out of a pile with my eyes closed.. sheer luck.. I tell ya sheer luck.
I would not know a good book even if it hit me in the face square. :)

hellomelissa said...

if you decide on "the spirit catches you..." let me know & i'll read it too. it's been on my shelf for quite some time.

jenclair said...

Boy, I hate to add this to such a long list of comments, but Shadow Cities arrived, and I wanted to thank you. I'll pass it on when I finish. Thanks so much for sharing!

Bookfool said...

Wow, what a great bunch of books! You always read the most interesting titles. I'm in the same boat you are; I have so many that I haven't even set aside a pile, yet, much less managed to whittle down to five. Soon, I hope!

I'm finally able to post on your blog because I got DSL, today!!!! Yay! I'm so happy to finally be able to visit you, again, Lotus! I've missed your blog.

Milan-zzz said...

Hey lotus!
Of course great list and of course my wish list is bigger after visiting your blog LOL

I’ve read "Shah of Shahs" and I loved it! But then I loved everything I’ve read by Kapuscinski. He is probably my favourite non fiction writer!
I haven’t decided about my books for this challenge yet (which means I will participate) but Kapuscinski will be included, actually his ”Imperium”.

Anali said...

Looks like a great bunch of books. I'm looking forward to the reviews! I was in Starbucks the other day and noticed the book "a long way gone" and was curious about it.

Lotus Reads said...

@Melissa - I will definitely be reading it at some point so I'll be glad to do a buddy read! Yeay, will let you know!

@Jenclair - You are so welcome. Hope it's a helpful and informative read!

@bookfool - Welcome back to my blog! It is soooo good to have you! Congrats on the DSL you will find your life so much easier now! :) I have started on my first Chunkster and hope to finish it before the end of the month!

@Milan- I will look for your list. I feel certain there will be some very interesting titles on there that I will want to read at some point! Great that we're going to be challenge buddies! :) And thank you for the Kapuscinski endorsement!

@Anali - I will try to get to "A Long Way Down" asap, seems like a lot of people are interested in that particular book and story. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

how about

The guy goes to India as a missionary. ends up
converting himself and introducing Apple cultivation to Himachal.


MotoRama said...

I really don't know any of the books except i own "Argumentative Indian". I read the first chapter and realized i need to take 10min break between each paragraph to digest the long,overloaded,hi-fundu-vocabs used by Amartya Sen that i decided he had written it for his nobel colleagues and not for the regular non-research student! Happy, Enjoyable reading with your picks!

equiano said...

Dear Lotus

You absolutely MUST (please!) read HUMAN CARGO. Moorehead is wonderful with this book, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.

I personally am a great fan of both Fadiman and Sen, although if either of these selections of theirs you've picked here seem too daunting, then also look at EX LIBRIS by Fadiman and DEVELOPMENT AS FREEDOM by Sen (two favourites of mine).


Lotus Reads said...

@Rajnish - so appreciate the recommendation! I will definitely look it up.

@Motorama - it's true, "The Argumentative Indian" does have an academic, intellectual bent which doesn't exactly make for smooth reading, but I think he packs a punch. I will have to save the read for when I have time to digest and make sense of his arguments. Let's discuss it together and then we'll be two argumentative Indians! ;)

@Equiano - There was a chorus of enthusiasm for the "Human Cargo" book and your wonderful endorsement seals it for me. I will definitely include it in the challenge (or, who knows, I might even read it before). I wasn't aware of Amartya Sen's other books, so I thank for pointing them out to me. Lovely to see you here!

Amelia said...

Ooohh...these all look really good. I'm a sucker for beautiful book covers. I can't wait to read your reviews on them so that I can add the good ones to my wishlist.