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Showing posts from August, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage / Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Committed picks up where the international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love left off. Elizabeth Gilbert is still travelling but not solo — on a quest but not for the same reasons. The last time she went into exile to Italy, India and Indonesia, it was self-imposed and involved food and spiritual enlightenment. The latest one to Southeast Asia, however, has been brought on by circumstances beyond her control and is about facing her deepest fear head on.

The title of this memoir may be Committed but Elizabeth has not gotten over her dread of matrimony. She has been committed to the institution of marriage before and has no interest in going back. Thus far she has successfully evaded capture and is determined to do anything — anything at all to avoid “going through that apocalypse”. Details of that particular ‘apocalypse’ can be found in the pages of her previous book — Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything across Italy, India and Indonesia, recently turned into a major motion pi…

BOOK REVIEW: EAT PRAY LOVE: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert /Reviewed for Liberty Books Blog by: Afrah Jamal

Link to Liberty books Blog: EAT PRAY LOVE: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia



A magazine assignment took a 30 something woman from NY to Bali where a ninth generation medicine man prophesied her return. She keeps her appointment because he said she would but also makes fresh plans; putting her old life on hold, signing up for an extreme religious experience in India and enrolling in language courses in Italy – because she realized she should.

‘Exhausted by the cumulative consequences of a lifetime of hasty choices and chaotic passions’, Elizabeth Gilbert will leave the ruins of her former life (nasty break-up & all) and head out into the wilderness for some very unusual R&R. Her spirits demand an instant pick me up and a dramatic makeover.

This voyage of self discovery requires that she take a year off, trading in the comforts of home for the comforts of Europe and the d…

BOOK REVIEW: THE POWER BY RHONDA BYRNE Reviewed for Liberty Books Blog

Review posted here : The Power

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal


Like Po the Kung Fu master wannabe discovered in ‘Kung Fu Panda’ – there is no secret ingredient, so shall the readers. The power that has created such frenzy lies in one word.

Rhonda Byrne believes everyone has power over their circumstances, and yet their lives careen out of control. Throughout history, anyone with a good life has, knowingly or unknowingly, used the ‘Power’. The rest are oblivious to its life changing potential and mope around sadly.

The premise here is simply – if you want something – it is yours for the taking; health, wealth, happiness, career, successful relationships – all yours.

Finding this power does not require any major suspension of disbelief. Ancient records attest to its existence. It manifests itself in the form of inexplicable moments like a charmed life, that incredible comeback, a miraculous recovery, an unexpected stroke of good fortune. Those who have seen it in action may know it by different…

BOOK REVIEW: Bridging Partition: People’s Initiatives for Peace Between India and Pakistan

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Book Edited by Smitu Kothari and Zia Mian with Kamla Bhasin, A H Nayyar and Mohammad Tahseen

Published in Daily Times / Aug 21, 2010

They have been locked in a near permanent state of confrontation for six decades, stopping only to make feeble overtures of peace to pacify onlookers. These 63-year-olds have great reserves of animosity left over from 1947. They renew their peace pledges often but test each other’s patience daily. And they get flustered easily, which makes them the two most predictable nations in the neighbourhood. When they are not exchanging words, they are exchanging fire. If nothing else, cyber armies from both sides have been seen invading ‘enemy’ websites. With their history of violence and a tendency to overreact, many wonder if Pakistan and India can ever break the pattern and maybe, just maybe, consider the merits of peace instead of dreaming about the spoils of war.

Both nations have a rich culture, an admirable stock…

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Sunset — The Rise & Fall of the Lahore Durbar Author: Amarinder Singh

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times under the heading: Lahore Durbar in free fall

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

After the Mughals exited, but before the British arrived, the Lahore Durbar was presided over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bahadur, affectionately known as the ‘Lion of Lahore’, who makes a brief appearance in Amarinder Singh’s narrative, but leaves a lasting impression on his history.

Ranjit Singh, who has been described in the book as a great man and an outstanding military commander, was a mass of contradictions. For instance, he was against the death penalty but not averse to robbing widows, believed treaties were meant to be broken but treated the vanquished with kindness, and thought nothing of inviting guests only to divest them of their most prized possession — like the Kohinoor diamond. He may have spent the better part of the day leading military campaigns, yet he did not always harbour territorial designs and is said to have waged a war on hi…

BOOK REVIEW: Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs

Published in Daily Times / Aug 07, 2010

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal
Author: Muhammad Yunus with Karl Weber

In the early 1970s when an academician from a third world country came across the victims of a moneylender, he did what good Samaritans usually do in such circumstances: he took charge, paid off their small loan, securing a temporary release. Then the academician did something many probably would not have done. He decided to put the affected community members (residing in rural Bangladesh) in charge and sought a permanent end to their financial woes. Since the only government-sanctioned weapon needed to combat this menace (banks) flatly refused to help (and the good Samaritan was neither a millionaire nor a magician), he decided to forge one on his own.

That a paltry sum of $ 27 could make such a difference in 42 lives caught in the moneylenders’ net led to the development of an intriguing concept, one that advocated that extending a financial lifeline to those deemed to be non-creditw…

BOOK REVIEW: 'The New Anthem - The Subcontinent in its Own Words'

Reviewed for Liberty Books

The oft ravaged Subcontinent has been through a silent revolution. Deep below the churning waters, past the shifting sands, under the staggering weight of century’s old bias and primeval beliefs, resides a wellspring of concentrated energy.

The freshly inducted members from the South Asian literary hall of fame tapped this reservoir and have been pushing boundaries with their fiery prose for years. They have been hailed for their refreshing new voice and scintillating style. ‘The New Anthem – The Subcontinent In Its Own Words’ is a literary cocktail compiled by Bangladeshi author – Ahmede Hussain to showcase a galaxy of new-born stars.

22 writers, with a shared past have left a profound impression on South Asian literature. Their sentimental trek across time stops often to relay the exotic beauty of the land, stripping away layers of history to reveal its true character. These disparate sounds, striving to he heard above the usual din bring the Subcontinent to …