I like to alternate heavy reads with easier books and after Dawkin's "Selfish Gene", I picked up R.K Narayan's "The Painter of Signs".
Raman is a painter of signs at Malgudi who lives with his aunt and is well read. One day, he receives a visit from Daisy, a spirited woman working for the family planning scheme of the government. She contracts Raman to paint signs for the scheme.
Daisy only cares for improving the lives of women and controlling the rampant population growth. During his contract, he travels with Daisy to several villages and is impressed with her professionalism and her independent way of life. He falls for her and wishes to marry her. His aunt, who has been looking after him since childhood is aghast at his decision and to avoid neighbourhood gossip leaves for a pilgrimage. Whether Raman manages to convince his aunt and get married to Daisy forms the rest of the story.
Unlike other R.K Narayan books, the humour is very subtle. As Raman's aunt prepares for her pilgrimage, Raman reminisces how she made innumrable sacrifices to bring him up and this recollection is touching and probably the high point of this novel.
The Selfish Gene
This book begins with a justification for the title because people misunderstood it and maligned 'evolution'. Richard Dawkins, the author, bases majority of the book on how the 'gene' is the focal point of all evolution (and not a group of species).
This book is probably the best guide on ...read more
The Black Swan
A "Black Swan" event is one that brings about a major upset to existing facts. Until the late 18th century, people always assumed "white" swans but were shell shocked to discover "black" swans in Australia. Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined this term to explain such high impact events.
Through past events ...read more
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The Small Bachelor
So far, I have not enjoyed any non Jeeves story. But "The Small Bachelor" broke that jinx for me. The book opens with George Finch, a small time artist getting swept off his feet by Miss Waddington. But Mrs Waddington has got other plans for her daughter. George finds a ...read more
There are a lot of books stereotyping Indians in the US but "Think again" is slightly different. For one, it isn't as much an exaggeration and it offers a native twang. The Hyderabadi lingo is what makes this novel lively but kills part of the fun because it is ...read more
The Heart of India
Mark Tully is a fantastic story teller and "The Heart of India" is a collection of humourous short stories from eastern Uttar Pradesh. I couldn't resist drawing parallels between RK Narayan and Jeffrey Archer in the stories. The stories exhibit a deep understanding of the rural Indian society and ...read more
Man and Boy
When was the last time 'a' book moistened your eyes and brought a smile that stretched from ear to ear? "Man and Boy" by Tony Parsons is definitely one such book.
A man grows up to become a father and take charge of his son. In the process, he draws ...read more
If God was a Banker
Two fresh graduates join a foreign bank planning to disrupt banking in India. One is ambitious, willing to play the bad ball and trample everyone in his path while the other's hallmark is integrity and won't stand corruption.
No prizes for guessing the rest of the story. This ...read more