Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Savvy Reader Book Club Selection for February 2014

The Savvy Reader Book Club is an online nonfiction book club created for the serious reader. At the beginning of each month I select one or two books; then host discussion posts covering the books throughout the month.

As a reader, one of my favorite things to do is read books that help me understand the world. Last year, when I saw Tanya at Mom's Small Victories was participating in the Around the World in 80 Days Reading Challenge I was intrigued.  The premise of this challenge is to read 80 books that take place in other countries to get a better understanding of that country and culture.  I've decided it's time I join this challenge, though my book selections are going to be nonfiction.  I've created a Pinterest board to track my progress. 

In the spirit of my new challenge, I asked Tanya to make the book club selection this month.  Since Tanya's parents are originally from India,  we decided she would choose a book that takes place in India. Her selection is:

Thrity Umrigar's memoir about her Bombay childhood First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of an Indian Childhood.




Thrify Umrigar is considered to be one of the finest Indian authors. Her novel The World We Foundis among Tanya's favorite Indian fiction books.  First Darling of the Morning which reviewers state is told with startling honesty and paints an unforgettable picture of middle-class life in contemporary Bombay should make for an interesting read.

Another of my online acquaintances who currently lives in India - Modern Gypsy of Peddler of Dreams - finds India to be such a diverse country she doubts there is a book or two that would really give us a glimpse of Indian culture. As for women, she thinks the country really isn't as bad as it's made out to be online, though it admittedly can be difficult for those in the lower margins of society. She recommends Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Foundby Suketu Mehta a brilliant book on Mumbai and Sonia Falero's Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars. It's about the dance bar culture in the city and the women who work there. I am jotting both of these books down for future reads.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what were your thoughts? Do you have any other nonfiction books you can recommend that take place in India?

In other book club news, I want to let you know I have one more post planned for Debora Spar's book Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfectionbefore I close it out. Also, I am sorry to report I did not finish George Packer's book The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.  I read about three-quarters of this book and can't seem to go on. I am finding it to be disjointed and have no interest in writing further about it. If you've read it and would like to review it via a guest post, please contact me.

In order for you to plan accordingly, future book club selections I am considering are as follows:

March - for women's history month Madeleine Albright's Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

April - for financial literacy month Helaine Olen's Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry

May - open

June - books covering women's friendship - more on this to come

Do you have a nonfiction book or theme you would like to recommend for a future book club selection? I am looking for books/themes that will lead to great conversation.

29 comments:

Susannah said...

This book sounds good!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Sounds like a great book!

Catherine Gacad said...

this is such a fabulous idea! i took a look at your pinterest board, but haven't read any of those books. it's my turn to select our book club book and i've decided on the orphan master's son which takes place in north korea and won the most recent pulitzer for fiction.

JaimeLovesStuff said...

Oh wow! This book sounds fantastic! I will definitely be adding it to my TBR pile! Right up my alley, as an avid book lover!

JaimeLovesStuff said...

Visiting via Saturday Sharefest :)

Renae said...

This sounds like a great book! Found you via SITSSharefest (I'm #2). I'm going to check out your Pinterest board, too!

K. Elizabeth @ YUMMommy said...

Sounds like a great read. Will have to put it on my reading list.

Mom's Small Victories said...

Thanks for allowing me to select a book to read for your book club this week. I agree with Modern Gypsy that it's hard to find a single book that epitomizes India well. It is such a diverse country with so many different languages and varying economic conditions. I look forward to reading this with you and your book club.

Heidi Fuqua said...

These books sound fantastic. And I love the idea of traveling around the world with books. Hope you have a great day!

Melia said...

I would recommend Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It's not career-oriented, but it's an incredible story about perseverance, resilience and finding yourself.

Lina said...

Hadn't heard of this one yet. Thanks for the recommendation! http://www.scratchthatblog.com/

Shana Norris said...

I've heard of this author before and have always been intrigued. Like you, I enjoy reading books set in other countries/cultures - both fiction and non-fiction - as a way to learn about the world around me.

Hockey Wife, Hockey Life said...

I look forward to following along- I am always in need of new book ideas! #SITSblogging

Hockey Wife, Hockey Life said...

I look forward to following along- I am always in need of new book ideas! #SITSblogging

Shakespeare's Mom said...

This book sounds excellent. Thanks for the suggestion!

Sarah Coggins said...

Making note of the books you've mentioned. I haven't read any of them, but will definitely take a look next time I'm at the library.

Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri said...

I recommend Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It was my nonfiction book of the year for 2013.

Michelle@SimplifyLiveLove said...

What a great idea! I love the idea of reading books that take place in other countries. Your first choice looks really good. I'm adding it to my list. :-)

Create With Joy said...

Hi Savvy,

It was a pleasure chatting with you today (@CreateWithJoy1). Love your book club idea and everyone's recommendations. Here is my contribution to your list:

A Heart For Freedom by Chai Ling
http://www.create-with-joy.com/2011/09/a-heart-for-feedom-by-chai-ling.html

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to getting to know you! :-)

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Catherine,
Can't wait to hear how you liked the book. If I had time I would read one fiction and one nonfiction for each country...maybe someday.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Jaime,
Thank you for the comment. It is a pleasure to meet you. I love meeting fellow avid book lovers.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Thanks Renae.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

K. Elizabeth,
If you read it be sure to stop back in and let us know what you think.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Mom's Small Victories,
It was my pleasure. I am enjoying the book. I don't know if I learnt any thing new about India, but it certainly helped put thinks into perspective. Plus, I just love Thrifty. Something about her reminds me of myself.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Heidi,
I like it too. Plus, I'm getting some great suggestions from other bloggers.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Melia,
I read that book last summer. It would make a great book club read. I like Strayed's book Tiny Beautiful Things quite a bit too.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Lina,
I hadn't heard of it until Tanya recommended it either. It was such a great choice.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Rudri,
Tiny Beautiful Things is the book that pulled me out of a serious funk last year. I would love it you would share more of your favorite books.

Savvy WorkingGal said...

Create w/Joy,
I can't tell you how perfect the book A Heart For Freedom by Chai Ling is for my project. Thank you so much.