"The Handmaid's Tale" is a dystopian novel along the lines of "1984" and "A Brave New World" with the distinction that it's narrated through the voice of a woman (one largely absent in the other two books). Offred (a name assigned) is a handmaid to a wife and her primary task is to procreate with the Commander - master of the house. The world is at war not between nation states but between religious sects and handmaidens are forced into this practise to arrest the low birth rates. She describes the society and how it's layered while comparing it with the one in the not so long past. In that past, she was married and had a daughter. She longs for her family and accepts this position because her other option was to be banished to the Colonies - polluted wastelands.
Her Commander is sterile and is unable to get her pregnant and she is racing against time as she could be labelled barren and shipped off to the Colonies. The wife then decides to setup a forbidden sexual liaison with Nick, a valet to the Commander so that she can have a baby and bask in the jealousy of the other wives. This relationship is discovered and the police come for Offred and the ending is open to our imagination.
The book riles up it's readers by describing a highly conservative society where all personal liberties are forbidden and how women bear most of it's brunt.
Life of Pi
When life gives you no choices, would you still stick to your beliefs and values? Or let practicality dictate your decisions? "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel explores these questions through the life of Piscine Patel aka Pi. The Patel family is based out of Pondicherry and run the city …read more
The Agony and The Ecstacy
"The agony and the ecstacy" is a biographical novel written by Irving Stone on the master sculptor, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Irving Stone relies mostly on Michelangelo's correspondence and the Buonarroti chroniclers for earlier history.
Despite being a master marble sculptor, Michelangelo was forced to take commissions on material he hadn't worked …read more
Florence: The biography of a city
Another book by Christopher Hibbert and this is mostly a repetition of "The rise and fall of Medici" with a fast narration before and after the Medicis. The difference being a little more emphasis on the monuments of Florence. Possibly a good guide book if you are planning to visit …read more
The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall
Christopher Hibbert is a historian for the tl;dr (too long; didn't read) generation. He condenses a huge span of history making it a great starting point to the reader who otherwise would be lost over where to begin.
The Medici family was one of the most powerful families in …read more
The Gene: An intimate history
Very few authors have the capability of successfully explaining science to the layperson. Siddhartha Mukherjee is one of them. His previous book, "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer", brought out cancer onto our coffee tables and this brings genetics. Like in his book on cancer, the author …read more
The Long March
Disclaimer: I know the author of this book personally and read an early draft.
When I first read the draft of "The Long March" in 2016, I remember informing Namita that the ending was too filmy. Boy, some words come back to haunt you! I am glad that she held …read more
1200 pages and 47 days! That's the longest it has taken me to complete a book yet. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is a fictional story set in the United States of America where the government has been captured by crony capitalists who lobby to pass laws that restrict innovation …read more
Kahlil Gibran Selected Couplets
I love Kahlil Gibran's poetry and have been collecting his couplets as I read his books. Here are a few that I loved:
- A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
- He who does not seek advice is a fool. His folly blinds …
Getting Things Done
Just looking at the title, I decided to take a dive into getting things done even before I started reading the book. So I started reading the book simultaneously with other books. And boy was I wrong! Not only does the book clearly discourage multi-tasking; it took me 3 months …read more