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The Vegetarian by Han King

The cover of the book mentioned that this is an erotica and so I picked it up. The beginning was very intriguing with a woman, Yeong-hye who stops eating meat one day. In Korea, this is considered weird. Her husband, who didn't love her anyway, walked out of the marriage. Her brother-in-law becomes obsessed with her and they have sex. The sister catches them in the act and the woman tries to commit suicide. She is put in an institution. 
I am still trying to figure out what the book was all about. It wasn't erotica for sure. Was it about mental illness? But it doesn't talk about that either. 
The end felt like the writer was bored or lost his thought mid way. 

An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor

It took me a few weeks, a break of 2 months, and another few weeks to finish reading the book. Shashi Tharoor had given a speech about how the British rule is responsible for many of India's problems and they should pay a token penalty as a symbol. The speech went viral and he decided to write a book on it. 
We have a tendency to blame the Mughals while ignoring how the British exploited India. This book talks about how India and it's resources were exploited and it took the country longer to get back on it's feet after Independence. The source of every problem is India is traced back to the British rule. This may sound far fetched but Shashi Tharoor has built a convincing case. Just look at the archaic laws. Marital rape is still legal. Section 377 is an abomination. 
I am glad I picked up this book and finished reading it. Would highly recommend it to all Indians. It is high time the British government acknowledged what they did to India. 

Delhi Mostly Harmless by Elizabeth Chatterjee

I was very excited to read a book. It is about Delhi. Written by a woman. Who is a foreigner. And she thinks Delhi is mostly "harmless".
Well, the book is not just about Delhi but about India. Elizabeth talks about her experience of the country but only in bits and parts. The rest is gyaan. With statistics. 
This book isn't for Indians. But for other foreigners who haven't been in India. 
Oh, and, she doesn't actually think Delhi or India is harmless. Quite the contrary. 

Forsaken, an AIDS Memoir by Alexandre Bergamini

This book has been translated by Renuka George to English. 
The book is a collection of memoirs of the author. He is a homosexual who becomes seropositive. The book covers his brother's suicide and it's effect on him, his relationship with his parents, discrimination due to his sexuality, search for love, life as a seropositive homosexual, medical negligence.
It is personal but unemotional and yet you can feel the pathos and darkness within. I loved the book. Wish I could write like this. Please do pick this up. 


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Amazon Exclusives - Hindi

Amazon has tied up with content creators in India to create many series for Prime video.
I watched Laakhon mein ek and Inside Edge. Both don't compare to the international series but are far superior to what we see on Indian television today.

Laakhon Mein Ek

LMK has been created by Biswa Kalyan Rath who is one of the best stand up comedians in the country. You must watch his live shows. The kind of energy he has on stage is amazing. He is genuinely funny and his content is very, very different from other comedians.
LMK is a 6 episodes series (less than 30 mins long, thankfully) about a 15 year old, Akash, whose parents send him to an IIT entrance coaching institute in Vizag. He got 55% marks in 12th and wants to join Commerce but this is India and everyone must atleast try to be a doctor or an engineer even if it kills them.  The series isn't anything new but it's a story that can't be repeated enough number of times. Worth a watch. I hope season 2 covers new ground.

Quick recap of the 44 books read in 2017

Capital by Rana Dasgupta

A wonderful book about Delhi and very unlike the usual ones. It doesn't tell you how awesome the city but tries to figure out why it is so messed up. Many things in the book are applicable to this country as a whole but there are some things very inherent in Delhi. It is a dark book and hard to read at the end of a long work day.
Whether you like the city or hate it, read this book. And the people who are neutral towards the city don't exist so everyone falls in either of these categories.

When I hit you: Or, a portrait of the writer as a young wife by Meena Kandasamy 

I couldn't find the kindle version and read it on the juggernaut app. The book is about the author's short lived marriage filled with domestic violence and rape.
The author is a woman like you and me. She married a guy she chose and was the victim of his abuse for months. She managed to walk out only once she was on the verge of getting killed.
This book should be read by everyone…