I am re-reading The Doctor and the Saint by Arundati Roy, perhaps best known for her novel The God of Small Things, who is also a journalist who has penned some critical essays such as “Capitalism: a Ghost Story.” This non-fiction work is an excellent breakdown of caste relations in South Asia for anyone in the west. It is particularly of interest to me as I spend a few months in India, which is in the midst of caste tensions, including a recently-enacted rule allowing for the deportation of muslims. It takes the lens of the casteism debate between India’s best-known freedom fighter, Mohandad “Mahatma” Gandhi, and architect of its constitution who was low-caste himself, Dr. BR Ambedkar.
Next after that is one of the greatest histories ever written – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. I am an ancient history buff and have been thinking of reading this critical piece of historical analysis for years. It is both a daunting and exciting work that I look forward to.
I am currently reading The Lost Carousel of Paris by Juliet Blackwell. It is a charming and uplifting fiction set in Southern France and follows the stories of two women who were born more than a century apart – one is an ambitious and talented apprentice of a master carousel maker, the other is a troubled and reclusive photographer who has been commissioned by an American publisher to take pictures of French carousels for a coffee table book.
For the holidays, I’m going to read Trial, the debut novel of Christopher M. Briggs. I will be interviewing Chris in the new year about his career as a writer and the publishing of his first novel, so I’m reading Trial to get a better sense of the novel and of Chris as a person. Chris is a member of a writer’s group in Toronto that has welcomed me in, so reading this book presents me with a great opportunity to support a local artist and celebrate the accomplishment of someone I know. I hope reading Trial will help to spark some creativity and inspiration in me over the holidays!
This Christmas break I am reading the book Swimming with Horses, written by the writer-journalist Oakland Ross. It is a story that links Ontario with South Africa and focuses on immigrants and discrimination within a murd
I would recommend A Matter of Confidence by Richard Zussman and Rob Shaw. It’s a well-researched and engagingly-written look at the 2017 B.C. provincial election and the years leading up to it. The authors spoke with many of the key players in both the B.C. NDP and B.C. Liberals, resulting in a fascinating inside look at an exciting and highly volatile period of our provincial history.
The topic of immigration fascinates me, so I’m looking forward to reading what I think will be an epic: A Good Provider is One Who Leaves by New York Times’ reporter Jason DeParle. The book and the 32 years of what the writer calls “immersion journalism” appeal to me on many levels. It tells the story of three generations of a Filipino family beginning in a shanty on the outskirts of Manila to their journey as migrants to many countries and how that changes their lives and fortunes.
Also on my list is a birthday gift, Edward Snowden’s Permanent Record. Snowden’s whistleblowing six years ago has shaped the discourse around data mining and privacy in a way that few others have. But for his exposé, I doubt many of us would really worry about willingly giving away so much of our information to Facebook and banking institutions. Given what’s happening in India over a new citizenship law, I’ve just added a third book by one of that country’s top foreign-policy mavens, Shashi Tharoor: Why I am a Hindu.
– George Abraham