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Recent Readings ...



Sugata Srinivasaraju, Pickles from Home - The Worlds of a Bilingual


Sugata's is a very cultured and informed tone and tenor. Without posturing of any sort he gracefully, and with great honesty, traverses enormous terrain, covering region, language, identity, art, music, literature, perspectives on development, social transformation, journalism and history, in this set of over 60 short essays. There is uncommon and original material to be found among these pages and it is a thoroughly enriching read, especially (but not necessarily) if you have any sort of connect to Karnataka.  The book might have done with better editing


Y.B. Satyanarayana, My Father Baliah


Read this book.  It should become 'essential reading' in high school.  A personal account, in plain speak, of Dalit life in India. Lots of things one may think one 'understands', really hit home in these pages.



Jeff Schmidt, Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul Battering system that Shapes their Lives


Read about the book here


Dipankar Gupta, Mistaken Modernity - India between Worlds


A perspective on why we are the way we are.  There is self excoriation and self flagellation throughout this book and not all of it will therefore go down well with everyone. That having been said, it is a most compelling account of contemporary Indian society and its 'behavioral' ills and is sure to ring true for many.  A must-read for anyone attempting to understand why we remain so 'different', in some senses, from the modern society of nations.  If there is a caveat to be associated with this analysis, it is that 'modernity' and its values are positioned as an ideal.


Ken Lamberton, Wilderness and Razor Wire


Beautiful views (illustrations) and observations of desert life from within the Santa Rita prison unit in Tucson, Arizona.  Interspersed with ruminations on crime, contrition, retribution and rehabilitation this is beautiful writing on sometimes harsh matters.


Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights


We can say little that will adequately describe the pleasure of this read.  From Casablanca to Marrakech, Fez and Tangiers this is beguiling, illuminating, enjoyable and uplifting. Non stop tales about tales and within tales. All about the sacredness of stories.


Matthew Crawford, Shop Class as Soul Craft


Reflections on the nature of work, satisfaction, fulfillment.  A political philosopher and think tank worker (hence someone who works with 'abstractions') returns to tinkering with, repairing and refitting motorcycles and reflects on the greater integrity, profundity and satisfaction of working with real material and with one's hands.  An important read for anyone who has stressed about the nature of modern work.  Crawford might be seen to reveal a slightly anarchist, right wing streak at times but this book will find resonance with many.


Prabhaker Acharya, The Suragi Tree


Epic in span, this biographic novel is set in what were then South Kanara and Bombay and conveys somehow the flavor, the nature and the separateness and interconnectedness of those places.  It could have done with better editing and parts of the published work would have been better left out entirely - but it is heartachingly beautiful, honest and moving in large parts and tells of a rarely told of part of the country.