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.