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Monday, 16 January 2012

What I'm reading in January

Books blog January 2012
I started reading this set in November. And I’m still reading. I wonder how much I have accrued in library fees for overdue items?

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. His literary output includes more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels. Ali was born in Lahore and was educated in Pakistan and later at Oxford. His outspokenness against Pakistan’s military dictatorships made him an unwilling exile in Britain. 
Shadows of the pomegranate tree is Ali's first book in his five-volume series of historical novels, The Islam Quintet
Protocols of the elders of Sodom and other essays. Provocative essays on the giants of world literature. This a collection of writings that explore the links between literature, history and politics. Ali casts a critical eye, always looking for the political and historical context of a work, resulting in enjoyable sharing of the pleasures of world literature.


AnonymousA Presidential Novel. Published 12 months ago, this is a fictional future projection of the final months of Obama’s first term. Read about the 2012 US presidential race here first.




Noam Chomsky. Power and Terror. Essays and analyses of US foreign policy in the Middle East 2001-2011.
The ten years of US foreign policy since 9/11 have been characterised by war, torture and rendition. In Power and Terror, Noam Chomsky places these developments in the context of America's long history of aggression and imperialism. Arguing that the US is responsible for much of the terror that it claims to be fighting, Chomsky elegantly explains US actions abroad and their deadly consequences. Including talks, question and answer sessions and unpublished essays, this collection offers the perfect introduction to Chomsky for those unfamiliar with his work... ...a timely reminder of why it is so important to insist that the United States lives up to the moral standards it demands of others.

Selected Essays. Gore Vidal dabbled in politics, writes novels, non-fiction and memoirs, but it is his essays I enjoy reading the most. He is ever insightful, witty, informative sometimes outrageous, but never boring.

John Banville. Kepler. About the life and drive of one of the world’s greatest mathematicians and astronomers.

Philip Pullman. The Good Man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ. Various writers have looked at religion very critically such as Nikos Kazantzakis “The Last Temptation of Christ”, Bertrand Russel  “Why I am Not a Christian”, Norman Mailer “the gospel according to the son”, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, etc. And this genre is not new, vide “Da Vinci Code”. Pullman narrates: “This is the story of Jesus and his brother Christ, of how they were born, of how they lived and of how one of them died.” The narrative mixes imaginative story-telling and biblical history and challenges the events of the gospels. Pullman puts forward his own version of the life of Jesus, and prompts the reader to ask questions. 
For less controversy you might like to try Northern Lights on Good against Evil.

Born in Australia Michael Robotham first worked as a journalist for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. He later quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with celebrities and personalities to write autobiographies.
The Wreckage follows a formulaic international conspiracy angle with secret agents and their powerful political masters. Maybe I should read it first.

Nadeem Aslam. The Wasted Vigil is recommended for readers interested in the Middle East, the current conflict in Afghanistan, and heartbreak.

The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power
Exhibiting his deep understanding of Pakistan’s history with extensive research and unsparing political acumen,  Tariq Ali considers the prospects of those contending for power today. With politicians apparently as corrupt as the regime they seek to replace, the chances of sustained stability in Pakistan look slim.

Cervantes. Don Quixote. About the sidekick to a certain Sancho Panza.


Edith Grossman translated Cervantes' Don Quixote, and writes on Why translation matters.

Juan Goytisolo. State of siege.
  ...postmodern storytelling... and an indictment of Western indifference.

Mohsin Hamid. The reluctant fundamentalist. The story of a Pakistani immigrant in America, told as a monologue to a suspicious nervous American at a cafe table in Lahore. The romantic angle in the book nods openly to Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

Quantum Man is on one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman.  Lawrence M Krauss’s book salutes the man who was willing to break all the rules to tame a theory that broke all the rules.