More than 850 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘India’

An Indian novelist celebrates cricket

Selection Day: A Novel, by Aravind Adiga @@@ (3 out of 5) Aravind Adiga entered the literary world with a splash in 2008 when he won the Booker Prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger. Although I frequently find Booker Prize-winning books to be unreadable, I picked up The White Tiger, anyway. My interest… Read More ›

Indian history portrayed through biography

Incarnations: A History of India in Fifty Lives, by Sunil Khilnani @@@@ (4 out of 5) Picture a stretch of territory of nearly 1.9 million square miles, housing 1.7 billion people. These people speak 26 major languages and more than 1,500 lesser languages and dialects. How can such a place be a single nation? In… Read More ›

Islamic terrorism, from the inside and out

The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel, by Karan Mahajan @@@ (3 out of 5) It’s 1996. Two brothers, ten and thirteen, walk into a busy Delhi market with their twelve-year-old friend. The brothers are Hindu, the friend, Muslim. As they arrive, a terrorist bomb explodes, instantly killing the two brothers but only slightly wounding… Read More ›

Do property rights explain why capitalism works in the West but not in the rest?

A review of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, by Hernando de Soto @@@@ (4 out of 5) One of the world’s enduring mysteries is why there is such a wide gap in prosperity between the developed nations and those so often referred to as “developing.” Two… Read More ›

The deadliest hurricane in history?

A review of Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson @@@@ (4 out of 5) Isaac’s Storm is a detailed account of a massive hurricane that struck the coast of Texas in September 1900. The storm wreaked havoc across a wide swath of the country but devastated… Read More ›

Wondering why nearly all my book reviews are favorable?

If you’ve read more than a few of my book reviews, you’ve probably noticed that I rate every book on a five-@ system, and that I usually award books a rating of @@@@@, @@@@, or at least @@@. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve described a book as less than @@@ more than a couple… Read More ›

15 great recent novels I’ve read in 2015

I have no idea how many new novels were published in the English language in 2015, but I’m sure it was a lot. Hundreds of thousands, for sure. More than a million, maybe. So, when I consider what fiction to read and then review, I’m forced to be picky to an extraordinary degree. And I… Read More ›

An outstanding Indian novelist looks at the Opium War

A review of Flood of Fire (Ibis Trilogy #3), by Amitav Ghosh @@@@ (4 out of 5) Opium is at center-stage in Flood of Fire, which traces the consequential history of the British, their Indian allies, and the mandarins ruling China just before and during the First Opium War. Though it occurred nearly two centuries ago,… Read More ›

Which countries read the most?

I’m indebted to Bryan Fuller for passing along a link to his fascinating — and surprising — article, “Interesting facts about reading habits around the world,” which appears on the website Interesting Facts. As one of several well-chosen illustrations accompanying the article, Bryan created a colorful infographic that shows the picture worldwide. You can access the map… Read More ›

How to deal with death and dying

A review of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Like a lot of Americans, I do my utmost to avoid talking, or even thinking, about death and dying. Maybe I’m just too close to the inevitable at 73 years of age. Atul Gawande, the… Read More ›