The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
I loved this book. Takes one from Proust’s Paris to contemporary Japan, via Vienna and the Holocaust. A history of Jews and anti-Semitism by following a tiny netsuke hare down the rabbit hole. Told by a ceramist with an eye for craft, kitsch, and beauty.
Universal health care — we can….and we will.
Michael Pollan - The Omnivore's Dilemma
Our next book is Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Pollan traces four different food sources: industrial agriculture, large-scale organic, small-scale organic, and hunter-gatherer. I started it last night and couldn’t put it down. The book made me feel quite virtuous for limiting my kids’ soda consumption when they were little. It’s amazing, and disturbing, how closely tied our food production is to petroleum.
One of the difficulties with books like this is that the changes necessary to address the problems outlined require seemingly massive restructuring of the American food system. My husband Paul’s home-grown tomatoes are a start, I guess.
The Way We Live Now
This is appropriate reading what with the current events on Wall Street. We’ll discuss it in mid-January. Should be interesting, and not without controversy.
In honor of my daughter and Mina’s daughter working and studying in India, the book club has decided to read Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex Von Tunzelmann.
It helps that I’ve already read it*, so I can whole-heartedly recommend this vivid history of end of the British Raj and the founding the modern states of Pakistan and India. It’s a panoramic portrait of the tricky politics of religion, caste, anti-colonialism, and British attitudes toward imperialism.
Juiciest — and what sold my picky fellow readers — is the sex. Namely, the romantic triangle featuring the last Viceroy of India, Dickie Mountbattan, who presided over the partition and the British exit, his glamorous wife, Edwina, and her passionate love affair with the handsome, lonely, and brilliant Nehru, India’s first prime minister.
Gandhi and Jinnah, the fiery Muslim who insisted on a separate state, the conflicts and violence among Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, and the British incompetence and indifference that led to horrific violence as the British left are described with cinematic flair.
It’s a great read, and should produce lively discussion.
*I prepared the index
Posted in Biographies, Book club, Books, Journeys, Politics
Tagged Alex Von Tunzelmann, British Raj, Gandhi, Indian Summer, Jinnah, Mountbatten, Nehru, Pakistan, Partition of India