Saturday, September 15, 2007

Some recent acquisitions...

Here is a list of some books I acquired recently! I definitely plan on reading them all but because of a lack of time may not post reviews for each and every one of them.

1.Sword and Blossom by Peter Pagnamenta and Momoko Williams
(Penguin, USA)

A real-life Madame Butterfly. The tragic love story of an aristocratic British officer and a young Japanese woman, played out against the turmoil of the early twentieth century.

Recommended by the delightful Jenclair who always points me to the most wonderful books, thanks!

2.The Solitude of Emperors is a stunningly perceptive novel about modern India, about what drives fundamentalist beliefs, and what makes someone driven, bold, or mad enough to make a stand.

I saw this book on the Random House site and knew right away I had to read it!

3."Season of Migration to the North" by Tayeb Salihموسم الهجرة إلى الشمال

Not too long ago the Guardian (UK) ran a piece titled "How Did We Miss These?" where 50 celebrated writers were asked to nominate brilliant but underrated novels that deserve a second chance to shine. There were some absolutely awesome suggestions of which I picked "Season of Migration to the North" (1966) by Tayeb Salih.

Poodlerat has this on her TBR list and I look forward to her review especially as she is doing a course on African Literature this year.

A Sudanese student returns to his village after many years in London and discovers a predecessor, Mustafa Sa'eed, who is hiding a disturbing English past. A short, powerful book, it explores the violence of misperception in culture, tradition and sexuality with tremendous poetic force

4.The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

A young Indian bride flees her marriage after overhearing her husband and mother-in-law plot her murder.

I bought this book after seeing it mentioned on the desilit newsletter.

5.In "Where War Lives" a Pulitzer Prize — winning journalist (Paul Watson) takes us on a personal and historic journey from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq.

I get many of my non-fiction recommendations from Sanjay of Karmically Speaking, this is another great one, thanks, Sanjay!

6."King of Bollywood is the all-singing, all-dancing back stage pass to Bollywood. Anupama Chopra chronicles the political and cultural story of India with finesse and insight, through fly-on-wall access to one of its biggest, most charming and charismatic stars." -- Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend it Like Beckham

Comes recommended by Deepika Shetty of the wonderful and enlightening blog, Read@Peace. Deepika's blog is one of my favorite blogs for book news and views (especially South-East Asia). She also works closely with book/writer festivals taking place in the region and is usually one of the first to showcase writers from that area. I look forward to her every post. Look out for Deepika's posts on the Ubud Writer's Festival towards the end of the month.

7.Indian Summer depicts the epic sweep of events that ripped apart the greatest empire the world has ever seen, and saw one million people killed and ten million dispossessed. It reveals the secrets of the most powerful players on the world stage: the Cold War conspiracies, the private deals, and the intense and clandestine love affair between the wife of the last viceroy and the first prime minister of free India.

Saw so many brilliant reviews for this book I knew I just had to get it . Also saw this on Jenclair's wish list.

8.The Zookeeper's Wife is about one of the most successful hideouts of World War II. It's a tale of people, animals, transcendence, and subversive acts of compassion.

Another one suggested by Sanjay of Karmically Speaking, thanks !

8.Badlands by Tony Wheeler

"Badlands" is Tony Wheeler's personal account of his experiences in some of the most repressed and dangerous regimes in the world. He selected these 'Bad Lands' based on a simple criteria - how each country treats its own citizens, if it is involved in terrorism and if it is a threat to other countries. He examines nine countries - Afghanistan, Albania, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Saudi Arabia - in an incisive political and social commentary that asks 'what makes a country truly evil?

Recently Radio Australia featured an abridged reading of this book on a program called "First Person". From what I can see, this is a must-read for anyone interested in current affairs and world geography/history.


Tara said...

I am so inspired by your reading choices. I'm surprised I haven't come accross The Zookepper's Wife - this one sounds great and is going on my long list. I am also interested Indian Summer, The Dowry Bride, and Sword and Blossum (I read a teriffic review of this on another blog). I certainly look forward to any reviews you'll share.

Breeni said...

The only one I've heard of is The King of Bollywood, but they all sound fascinating. I'll be keeping an eye out for your reviews!

tanabata said...

I'm looking forward to reading the 1st one too (I got the UK edition so the title is 'Falling Blossom'). I hadn't heard of any of the others before but they all sound good. I'm especially interested in 'The Zookeeper's Wife' and 'Badlands'. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them.

Lotus Reads said...

@Tara ~ Diane Ackerman is a wonderful writer! I have most of her books and truly look forward to reading her new one!

@Breeni ~ I am halfway through "King of Bollywood" and enjoying it immensely! I think anyone interested in the history of cinema, not just Bollywood, would enjoy the book. And, ofcourse, it is the Khan's biography so all his fans will enjoy reading about his childhood, his family etc. after all,not since Elvis has anyone been adored so much and by so many! Are you planning to read the book too?

Lotus Reads said...

@Nat ~ I wonder why some books have different titles in the UK and the USA? I am looking forward to reading "Bad Lands". I have already got a preview of the book from the book readings on Radio Australia and it has whet my appetite for more!

Sanjay said...

Lotus, a very intriguing and stimulating collection of books.

Thank you for the acknowledgement. I do pick up a lot of my books based on your recommendations and reviews. And you are always spot on.

You read the most amazing books, our recommendations aside. And these books make me wish that I had more time to read than I do now :-/

I loved all of them but I find myself fascinated by "Bad Lands" and "The Dowry Bride" but truth be told they should all be on my TBR list.

I look forward to your reviews. Have a wonderful Sunday ahead.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Sanjay!

It's great to exchange recommendations, isn't it? Thank you for yours. The three books I am most looking forward to are "Season of Migration to the North", "The Zoo Keeper's Wife" and "Bad Lands". Not sure which order I will read them in though.

What are you reading at the moment and how was Ganesh Chaturthi?

Have an amazing Sunday!

Cereal Girl said...

Hi Lotus. Are you going to Word on the Street? I know I didn't make it to Festival of Authors last year and I'm regretting not meeting you when I had a chance.

I can't keep up with all the books on your blog - I just don't read that fast - but I love to read your suggestions and comments. When time is limited, it's nice to have recommendations to help spend it wisely so thanks again.

Asha said...

Dowry girl it is for me. I DO NOT like any Bollywood khans!!:D

Sanjay said...

Lotus, it is truly exciting to exchange recommendations! I look forward to your thoughts about the books.

Alas I am still trying to finish
"The Bastard Of Istanbul". :-/. I wish I had your talent to read and absorb books at the speed that you do.

We had guests the past 3 days so it was hard to find time to read, but this week will be better.

Ganesh Chaturthi is going fine thanks. The modaks were very good. Today is the "Visarjan" :)

Thank you for the best wishes for the Sunday and your response.

Happy Reader said...

Thanks for all the wonderful recommendations! I am so looking fwd to reading all of them. Esp Sword & Blossom , Dowry Bride & Shah Rukh Book.

Lotus Reads said...

@Cereal Girl ~ It's that wonderful time of the year again, isn't it? :) I don't know if I am going to "Word on the Street" this year, CG, I don't even know if I will be able to attend the events at the "International Festival of Authors", things are very hectic for me at the moment. I hope you will be going, I would love to read about them on your blog! Would love to see you at a book event...hopefully we will soon? BTW, MG Vassanji will be reading and discussing his latest book "An Assassin's Song" at Robert Gill Theatre - 214 College Street, 3rd Floor on 25th Sep (7:30pm). I would LOVE to go, but transport is a problem for this one.

Radha said...

Wow, you've been on a shopping spree :)

I have to admit i was surprised by the SRK book on your reading list. Didn't think you were a bollywood fan :)

I am most intrigued by 'Where War Lives'. Look fwd to seeing your review on that one!

Beenzzz said...

Indian Summer and Dowry Bride are both going on my Amazon wishlist! Perhaps, I will break down and order them tonight!
I wrote a research paper concerning dowry and sati five or so years ago. I was obsessed with the two topics (most often one, since they are in many ways connected.) I am also salivating over Indian Summer. I enjoyed learning of this post colonial "scandal" while working on my degree. ;) I was intrigued with how Mrs. Mountbatten's and Nehru could have a raging affair without Mountbatten noticing (or overlooking it)! I would like to know more about it!

Lotus Reads said...

@Asha ~ lol@ not liking the Hollywood Khans, they are a rather forceful presence, aren't they? You have to admit Aamir Khan is a nice Khan, though! ;)

@Sanjay ~ Yes, I know this has been a busy time for you, but enjoyable as well. Did you guys make modak? It was my favorite sweet when we lived in Bombay!

@Chitts ~ I'm nearly done with the Shahrukh book, I surprised myself by liking it so much! :)

Lotus Reads said...

@Radha ~ Growing up in Bombay I think you learn to love just absorb it by osmosis almost, no? :) I used to try to watch a Hindi movie a week, but now I would be lucky to watch one a month. Last evening I watched "Chak de India", oooooh, what a feel good movie, I would watch it again!

@Beenzzz ~ Oh yes, do put those books on your wishlist I would LOVE to discuss them with you! I am having such a hard time deciding which book to pick after "King of Bollywood", perhaps I'll go with "Dowry Bride", but "The Solitude of Emperors" looks so tempting too! Decisions, decisions, sigh.

heather (errantdreams) said...

You always find the most fascinating books. I'd love to hear what you think of any and all of these. Off to check out some of the blogs you mentioned now!

Hollydolly said...

What a lovely selection of books. I am at present reading “Solitude of an Emperor”. I am not too far along, but enjoying it. I really liked “The House of Blue Mangoes.

Sword and Blossom would be my kind of book, as I love the opera “Madame Butterfly”

Of course being absolutely nutty over SK, I dashed out and bought his book, but as of yet I have not read it.

I have Indian Summer on order at the library this is going to be one really fascinating book.

I have not heard about “Where War Lives” but I do like reading that type of book.

Looks like we have some interesting reading coming up for the fall.


Lotus Reads said...

@Heather ~ Thank you! I am equally fascinated by the books you read!

@Sylvia ~ Hi!! We really do love the same books, don't we? :) You have helped me make up my mind...I'm going with "The Solitude of Emperors" just as soon as I finish with the SRK book. If you want to read more about "The Sword and Blossom" I would suggest visiting Jenclair's blog, if I remember correctly she reviewed it not too long ago. That is where I picked up my recommendation.

Sylvia, I can't wait to hear what you have to say about David Davidar's book. I'm so glad you're reading it!

*hugs and love*

ML said...

Wow, Lotus! That list of books is very impressive. Not only that, but they all look extremely fascinating! Enjoy your reading :)

Priya said...

Reminds me of my stack of books that I have yet to tackle...but very interesting choices.

Sanjay said...

Did you guys make modak? It was my favorite sweet when we lived in Bombay!

Lotus, yes we did!! They came out the best ever so far. We only make it annually and this year between *A* and her aunt, they really turned out well. The shell is rice flour with a filling of fresh grated coconut, jaggery with cardamom and a hint of saffron. They were steamed.

If you and your family make it to our side of the world we can surely make modak if you all visit.

Read@Peace said...

Thanks for the awfully nice words, you truly make my day!

Incidentally Davidar's 'Solitude' didn't work for me despite its taut narrative. Perhaps I was expecting more of the 'Blue Mangoes' magic. Look forward to reading what you make of it.

Deep into Hari Kunzru's latest -'My Revolutions'- its brilliant.

Matt said...

I've had the first book for a while but have yet to get on it.

The Solitude of Emperors sounds very appealing and gosh I think I need to have another run at the bookstore. :)

Lotus Reads said...

@ml and priya ~ Thank you! What are you ladies reading at the moment?

@Sanjay ~ I never could resist Modak, I might just have to take you up on your offer when we visit (notice I said "when" and not "if") :)

@Deepika ~ You are so welcome,I truly do scan your blog often for book recommendations. I haven't read "House of the Blue Mangoes", so I have nothing to compare "Solitude" with. I will be starting it either tomorrow or the day after, I am excited! And thank you for the Kunzru recommendation, only today a close friend sent me a piece on him from the Guardian. His book really does sound fascinating!

@Matt ~ We book lovers are incorrigible aren't we? Didn't you just buy a whole lot of books in Seattle? ;)

Booklogged said...

What a treasure chest of lovely books you've acquired, Lotus. So many interesting titles. I'm especially excited to see that Diane Ackerman has written a novel. I love her writing in Alchemy of the Mind.

Matt said...

Matt (A Variety of Words) sure did buy a lot of books in Seattle.

This is Matt from San Francisco! :)
But I've bought a pile as well. Thanks for all your recommendations. I've gotta go read my pile!

Lotus Reads said...

@Booklogged ~ Yes, I am a fan of Ackerman's. I was hooked with her book "A Natural History of the Senses". I also have "Alchemy of the Mind" but haven't read it yet.

@Matt ~ Hello! Thank you for visiting, I'm curious about the titles you've picked....will visit your blog soon.

Nyssaneala said...

What an interesting collection of books! I really enjoyed Seasons of Migration to the North, I look forward to hearing what you think.

Did you ever finish reading Human Cargo? I am finishing it up tonight, and hope to post my review as soon as the fog/writer's block clears from my brain!

Lotus Reads said...

@nyssaneala ~ Thank you, yes, I do feel lucky to have these amazing books in my collection. Many were gifts so I feel lucky to have such good friends too!

I haven't read "Human Cargo" from cover to cover...what I did was to take the chapters that I felt were important to me and read those. I can't wait for your excited!

p.s. I LOVE your profile pic, so cute!

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

What a great list! I think I need to write down a few of these books for my wish list!

Alice Teh said...

I'm so inspired just going through your recently accquired list. WOW! I've seen The Dowry Bride but haven't bought it. Maybe I will very soon. :)

There are a few things that got me really excited: seeing people reading while eating (because I do that all the time except when with friends), seeing the 'recently acquired' lists of others, buying books, reading blogs of other book lovers, meeting other book lovers and the list goes on and on... LOL.

Thanks for sharing your list!

Lotus Reads said...

@Heather ~ Thanks! I always get such wonderful book recommendations from other bloggers that I figured it was time I shared some of mine.

@Alice ~ I'm delighted we share so many similar interests! Thank you very much for visiting my blog, I can see we will have lots to chat about!

A Reader from India said...

Lotus, that was an amazing list! I have been wanting to read 'Indian Summer' and 'The Solitude of Emperors' Look forward to read your reviews.