Book Review: Rebel Queen

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As a long time reader of Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series, I’ve always wished that someone would write similar accounts of Indian history, and that’s how I chose to pick this book up. Overall, it’s a very good account of the Durga Dal and the mutiny at Jhansi. I especially liked the fact that it was narrated from the perspective of someone in the Durga Dal, and therefore also highlighted the great trade-off between Sita’s loyalty to the queen, and loyalty to her family. My biggest complaint with this book, though is that Rani Lakshmibai comes off seeming like someone who kept going with the flow, and not really the strong character we encounter in our history books.

I would love to read more non-fiction from the era to get a better sense of the Durga Dal, as well as the Rani’s motivations. And that push to getting the reader to want to know more about the era and it’s people is where Michelle Moran succeeds with this work.

Book Review: Becoming Nicole

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A beautiful book that clearly highlights the struggles of feeling like you don’t belong. I’d previously read Janet Mock’s account, but this story spoke to me more. Maybe it was the contrast between the twins, one who was comfortable in his skin and one who wasn’t. Maybe it was the way the author included data that just added to her storytelling. Maybe it was the story of the father-son relationship that never was, that transformed into the father-daughter relationship that was never expected. Maybe it was just Nicole herself, a fighter who always knew what she was supposed to be – the girl whose journey didn’t just transform her family, it transforms the reader as well.

Book Review: Billionaire’s Apprentice

“Buy Goldman Sachs. Buy Goldman Sachs.” A well researched look into the world of insider trading, interspersed with the rise of the South Asian American community. This is a tale of ambition and greed, where men who are multi-millionaires aspire to be billionaires.

While the author has spent a lot of time and effort into her research, I could not help but feel that she is quite sympathetic toward the cause of Rajat Gupta, who comes across as someone who did not quite know what he was getting into. I guess in a real life story with no real hero, there was a need for a perfect anti-hero and that’s what he is, in this version. It appears that there isn’t enough solid evidence to incriminate him completely, so it would be worth going deeper into the details of the case for those who are so inclined. Overall, I quite enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the world of white collar crime

Book Review: Modern Romance

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I was expecting to like this book a lot more, but I was left with a strong sense of deja vu while I read it. I must however highlight the effort put into doing some solid research around the subject (the book acknowledges the work of many top researchers including danah boyd, Sherry Turkle). I especially loved Aziz’s take on Jonathan Haidt’s graphs from ‘The Happiness Project’. His distinctive style of humor also added to the way the topic was presented. Overall, maybe the PR (and binge watching ‘Master of None’) did too good a job, since I was left feeling like I’d already read half the book.

Book Review: Dance of Govinda

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Ashok Banker is one of the best when it comes to mythology, and he does not disappoint. While these stories are oft-repeated and well known, Banker always adds in little known details. For me, the revelation in this one was Puttana’s connection with Kamsa (one of those things that ACK and your grandfather wouldn’t tell you as a child). I liked how the book focused on Kamsa’s struggles. It was an interesting take to show how he became what he was, and shows a different side to his personality as well.

The updated foreword was also interesting, as I had no idea that the Krishna series was originally a part of the MBA series (I’m still waiting with bated breath for Book 3!).

I’m glad that this series is complete so I won’t have to wait to get my hands on the next book as I go along. Maybe that’s the best way to read his work, wait till the series is complete. From Ramayana to MBA, the wait for the next book has always been agonizing.