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30 review for The Non-Fiction Collection 1 : Twenty Years of Penguin India

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manu

    Celebrating Penguin's twenty years in India, this book has a collection of 46 non-fiction works, (chapters from published works) and since there's no specific theme that links every one of them, I'll just list my favourites. Devdutt Pattanaik's Myth = Mithya is probably the best way to begin the book with its premise of creation (as per Hindu mythology) and its take on the complementary forces at play in the universe. Gita Piramal's "the old fox" gives us the ringside view of the Ambani - Goenka Celebrating Penguin's twenty years in India, this book has a collection of 46 non-fiction works, (chapters from published works) and since there's no specific theme that links every one of them, I'll just list my favourites. Devdutt Pattanaik's Myth = Mithya is probably the best way to begin the book with its premise of creation (as per Hindu mythology) and its take on the complementary forces at play in the universe. Gita Piramal's "the old fox" gives us the ringside view of the Ambani - Goenka war that played out in the eighties. Humra Quraishi's "from Kashmir" offers us a glimpse of today's Kashmir, and the life of the people there, a far cry from the times when Kashmir was described as heaven on earth. Vikram Seth's "From Heaven Lake", in addition to its vivid description of travel in China, shows in its last page a snapshot of the human condition that remains unchanged across the globe. Amrita Shah's "Launching Into Space" is one of those reads that take across time, and space, with its chronicling of the early days of India's space research programme. Khushwant Singh's "Village in the Desert" is a very personal recollection of the author's own childhood in a village that now stands in Pakistan, and shows how people across the line really can go beyond the lines drawn on a map. Sanjay Suri's "Near Mrs." (that title is a good example of the humour involved) is a brilliantly funny respite from the serious content in the rest of the book, involving a bride-search in London. Roopa Swaminathan's "Extras" is a poignant piece of writing on the life of extras who come to Mumbai/Chennai with the hopes of becoming the next star, but who find that their life has passed them by even as they clung on to hope. Giles Tillotson's Jaipur Nama has an account of the East India Company's activities in the context of Rajasthan. Even as Mark Tully's "No Full Stops in India" gives an excellent perspective on 'development' in India, Pavan K Varma's "Being Indian" has a fantastic take on how India's own way of getting things done still survives. Abraham Verghese' "My Own Country", while set in the US, touches upon, among other things, the idea of a home. Pinki Virani's "Home as hell" informs us about sickening cases of child abuse in India. John Wright's "Indian Summers" gives us a behind-the-scenes look as well as a non-Indian's perspective on the game that unites India, even as S. Hussain Zaidi's "Black Friday" shows how communal forces and the merchants of terrorism try to break this unity. There are also very interesting pieces like the Veerappan based "Face to Face" by Sunaad Raghuram, former PM Narasimha's Rao's version of what happened at Ayodhya in 1992. The book also had quite a few excerpts from works that are already my favouries - Mishi Saran's "Chasing the Monk's Shadow", Shashi Tharoor's "India: from Midnight to the Millennium" and Arundhati Roy's "The Algebra of Infinite Justice". The book is a few years old, and some of the works, even more so, but they are in some ways, timeless pieces too. I read them because they not only give me clues on interesting books to read, but also offer me a glimpse of worlds that I probably might not travel to in the course of my normal reading journey.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Surabhi Tewari

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachana Vaidya

  4. 5 out of 5

    Siddharth

  5. 5 out of 5

    S.Ach

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sandeep Chopra

  7. 4 out of 5

    Teja

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ponyo

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margot Bigg

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pranesh

  11. 5 out of 5

    Niranjan Komandla

  12. 5 out of 5

    Imran

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abey Mathew Joseph

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joyeeta

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pavan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gunjan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Imran

  18. 5 out of 5

    M.S. Subramanian

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mona

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sree

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark Gaulton

  22. 5 out of 5

    Smiti

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Lomas

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chelsae

  25. 5 out of 5

    Percy Bell

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Bell

  27. 4 out of 5

    Seven Negen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  29. 4 out of 5

    DZMM

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vamshidhar

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