Saturday, December 30, 2006

10 Books in 2006

In Paris, I managed to spend a few hours at Shakespeare & Co. It was as higgedly piggedly and quirky as I imagined it would be, oozing with books on every crevice. You have to take a creaking, narrow wooden stairs to get upstairs for the library and where so many bibliophiles, homeless and waywards have sheltered over the years. The walls bear the signature and pictures of the many famous persons who have been there.

Now, for my annual book audit.

I didn't read many non-work related stuff this year but here are my best reads, more non-fiction though. None of these books are new 2006 editions by any chance but these are the ones that I picked up. Some really old books, some which was one last years hit list, some which I always wanted to read and finally managed to. Here are the memorable ones that I particularly enjoyed:


No Logo by Naomi Klein. I finally get hold of this and she doesn't disappoint. We are assaulted by logos- Nike, McDonalds, Tesco, Shell. The corporate hegemony sneaks into our lives and affects us in much more sinister ways than we think says Klein. Not without flaws but at many levels, compelling.

Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen. Poverty is not so much a matter of low income as deprivation of human capabilities says Sen. Deep exploration of liberal economics with real, stark examples. Although I don't always agree with him, it is a remarkable book because Sen takes developmental economics out of theoretical quagmire and places it within communities and asks searing questions.

The Silent Takeover by Noreena Hertz. If you want to read one book about how corporations are perversely changing the world, this is it. How many of us vote? Not many argues Hertz. But we are all consumers driven by multinationals that have taken over the world. Scary but true.

Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams was a former Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago and wrote this book depicting the profits made through the slave trade. What made slavery end in Britain was not so much awareness of human rights but a matter of cutting losses. You know the fancy Lloyds building in the City? That's built on slave sweat.

Bali, Jawa in my Dreams by Christine Jorges. A travel book with humour and pathos.

Toast by Nigel Slater. I remember buying this in Heathrow out of desperation as the book in hand (I can't remember what now) was driving me insane. Bittersweet memories of growing up angst and the food that accompanied over the years. Absolutely delish. I heart Nigel Slater.


Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Weird, quirky philosophy spanning analysis of Adolf Eichmann, talking cats to raining mackerals. Vintage Murakami.

What the Body Remembers. I absolutely had to read it, after the glowing recommendation of Ms 30in2005. Partition seen from a woman's perspective, from a Sikh viewpoint and a human face. Shauna Singh is a delicate writer and I will look forward to her other books.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith. The best book I read this year. There are some comic loose ends that are a tad too perfect but overall, its such a nuanced book deserving many superlatives. With Gramscian undertones, philosophical tug-of-war and mostly, dysfunctional families.

The Sea by John Banville. Written in a languid, immaculate style. Heart rending.

Book related resolution: Read more fiction and make an attempt at reading more books from the banned books list.

Now, have to contemplate and do some emotional audit.
Happy New Year everybody. See you in 2007!!!


Kak Teh said...

can i list 10 blogs instead?

starlight said...

Jane, if you ever stumble across Kite Strings of The Southern Cross by Laurie Gough, you MUST pick it up. It's a lovely travelogue and one of the best books I've read this year.

And have you read Zadie Smith's White Teeth? I'm struggling to finish it, which has made me hesitant to pick up On Beauty. What say you?

Happy New Year!

Jane Sunshine said...

Kak Teh: Please do. Would love to know.

Starlight: Okay, will look out for it. Yes, I've read White Teeth and have been a fan since. It may take a while to get into and rambles on a bit longer than it should but I love it to bits. I've gushed about it here:

I recommed 'On Beauty' because it so nuanced. Underlying the chronicle of displaced families are deep, philosophical questions.

30in2005 said...

Happy New Year. Glad you liked 'What the Body remembers'. Her next book 'The Tigers Claw' is good but not a patch on the other. Here's to another year of good books....

Anonymous said...

it's amazing how you keep yourself updated with all these books. just wondering - what did your parents do to get you so interested in reading? i really need to learn from them

Anonymous said...

Hey Jane!!! Yes, got your msg on my blog :) Just want to wish you a happy birthday, may all your wishes come true!

Jane Sunshine said...

30in2005: I looking forward to Tiger Claw (I love the premise) but must find time for it. At the moment, moored in Crime and Punishment.

Anon: Ha ha, they tied me on a chair and force fed books to me!!! Just joking. It was just a very natural activity for me because I totally enjoyed it. Books were my friends. Maybe I will blog about my parents role one day, when I am less lazy. I have however written about growing up with books here:

Lightbulb: Thanks darling. 31 sounds awfully grown up, huh.