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Books I had been reading

February 12, 2013

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea is a biographical novel about Greg Mortenson who built several schools in the remote villages across Pakistan and Afghanistan to promote education, just as the Taliban rose to power. Inspite of the recent controversies surrounding the book questioning its authenticity, I liked the way the book was written. I believe David Oliver Relin does a fine job at that. The book spans across several years, starting from Mortenson’s failed climb to K2, proceeding to the inception of CIA and to the schools coming up across Pakistan and Afghanisation. The biographer does a fine job in interspersing Mortenson’s personal and professional lifes, giving us a glimpse of the true hero that he is. The incidents happening at the time of the 9/11 bombings in NewYork is heart touching making us realise that the true war against terrorism should be fought by education.

My favourite lines from the book: “Here we drink three cups of tea to do business: the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third you join the family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything – even die” – as told by Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, where the very first school was built.


Catfish and Mandala

There are certain books in life which change your outlook towards certain issues;which leaves you with enough food for thought long after you have finished reading it. Catfish and Mandala is one such book for me. Never would I look at immigrant issues or the problems faced by minority ethinicies within a country lightly ever. The book tells the story of young Vietnamese migrant in America who returns to Vietnam and travels across the country in a bicycle in search of his roots. He wants to re-connect with his country, family and the childhood that he left behind. It is a touching story that anybody who have lived in a different country for sometime would relate to. I couldn’t put down this book once I started reading it. I wanted to turn the pages and see whether Andrew finally found all the answers that he was looking for. It will remain one of the finest books I have read in a long long time.


On Writing

On Writing by Stephen King is a book which truly defines the art of writing. The first half of the book gives us a glimpse of the life of Stephen King and how certain experiences contributed to his writing, while the second half talks about the process of writing. A book that should be read by everyone who takes their writing seriously. An absolute gem on the craft of writing.

The parting words of this book is the best writing advice that I have received from anybody:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Some of this book – perhaps too much – has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it – and perhaps the best of it – is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water to life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.

Drink and be filled up.”


Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a satirical book by David Sedaris who have given us a collection of his life incidents in the funniest manner possible. One half of the book describes his adventures in Paris as an non-French speaking (and trying to learn) American which makes a delightful read. From a French teacher who says that “Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section” to fellow students who explain that the Easter is a “party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus ….”; his experiences with French are downright hilarious. That being said, though the book was really hilarious in parts, I found some other parts not so interesting. It was quite a mixed bag for me.


A Moveable Feast

A Moveable Feast by Hemingway chronicles his life and experiences as an expat in Paris. I love Paris; I love Hemingway’s writing; so it goes without saying that I loved ‘A Moveable Feast’. If you are a classic lover, you will definitely like this book because of the references to several classic authors like James Joyce, Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and the like. The best things about the book for me were the chapters narrating ‘The Shakespeare and Co.’ bookstore and Paris. Oh how I would like to go back to Paris, sit in those cafes and browse through the bookstores. Sigh !

a moveable feast

What have you been reading lately?


From → books

  1. I just finished the Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi. I found it to be Dan Brownish, in Indian setting 😛

    I picked up a David Baldacci long ago, but have not got around to read it 😦

    • I have read about Krishna Key (not the book though). Dan-brownish? Oh ok. Have read Dan brown books, which I find repeating the plot 😐

      Haven’t read David Baldacci either. Which book is it?

  2. Ooooooooooh lovely! Thanks for such amazing recommendations.
    I just finished reading the hjoy luck club and highly reco it. I will post about it as well.

    I also read a book with excerpts from diaries of different women pre and post world war period – absolutely enlightening!

    I have my nose buried in Lolita now 🙂

    • Joy luck club sounds like an interesting book. I will wait for your post.

      What is the name of the book with excerpts from diaries? The concepts sounds really fab. I will definitely want to read it.

      Lolita, ah, hope you are liking it 🙂

  3. Ah, all of those books sound scrumptious! 🙂

    Would love to pick up A Moveable Feast sometime, except that I am not really sure about reading a classic. I am somehow never able to move past the first 2 or 3 chapters in a classic. 😦 The subject of this one sounds absolutely wonderful, though, and tempts me to no end.

    I just finished reading A House In Fez, and am now reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

    • A Moveable Feast is not a typical classic. I am sure you would like the writing style.

      A House in Fez sounds really interesting. I have to make you my go-to person for travel books. Btw, I ordered ‘A Year in Provence’ on your recommendation. I already know I am going to love it 🙂

  4. Pratibha permalink

    Thanks for sharing, all the books you have rated well, made to my reading list 🙂
    Have begun reading Vikram Seth’s – A suitable boy and Snow Country(from Yasunari Kawabata).

    • Wow, ‘A suitable boy’?! I always look at the book and make a mental note to read it whenever I am sure I will be staying in one house for a long time. It must be hard to take it around 🙂 Do let me know your thoughts on the book.

      Had never heard of ‘Snow Country’. Let me go and check that out.

  5. I just chanced upon your blog, and a look at this list tells me we just might have similar tastes in books.. On Writing was the defining book for me this year.. and I blogged about it too, quoting the exact same paragraph. Something that has stayed with me for months after.. I never imagined King could come up with a book like this, and so it was a real revelation for me..
    You can see my post here, if you like..:

    • Welcome here haathi.

      ‘On Writing’ was a defining book for me too. It was an inspiring book and quite a delightful read from start to finish. Let me go over and check out your post on the same 🙂

  6. I had ordered Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast a while back, and it now lies before me. Maybe it will be my next read. 🙂 It looks good – not at all like a typical classic. I have a feeling I will like it. Thank you for the reco. 🙂

    • Good to know that you picked up. Sadly, I came to know from your blog that you didn’t like it much while reading. Did you happen to finish it? Changed your view on it?

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