Traveling in my mind: (Thanks to books) — My own little “Reading Rainbow!”

books and more books:
I started reading about Pakistan quite some time ago.
Like the Gori Wife, I wanted to know as much as I could.
Of course, my memory could not retain it all, but I have learned lots.
Here are some of my books.
You can find them all at Amazon.
Note: I am usually a biography kind of person, but I have started reading novels – if they are about Pakistan.
“In the line of Fire,” This is Pervez Musharraf’s autobiography. This was one of the first books that I read: yet, I found it to be a bit too self serving and maira hamsafir confirmed it.
“In the name of Honor,” by Mukhtar Mai.
Anyone wanting to read about one woman’s struggle to get her rapists to trial in the Sindh part of Pakistan should read this account. But, after reading a few types of
“women’s sufferage” books and then finding out that they were manipulated by some Western organization —
(Thanks Imran for pointing those stark mistakes out when I was reading “Burned Alive: a story of a victim of the law of men,”) I am a bit more skeptical that since Mukhtar did not know Urdu or English, she might not have as much say as to what was written down in the final copy. Yet, all that said, this is a telling story and I know at least that it was a true story; even if someone may have taken liberty with a few parts. But, if so, I don’t believe that the story has been adulterated much.
“The story of my experiments with Truth,” by Gandhi. I know that Gandhi is not from Pakistan. But, that 1947 conflict is so important. Note that not all Pakistanis have a glowing view of Gandhi. They thought him to be a bit manipulative in his approach. But, still a good read and a good first introduction to Hinduism.
“Train to Pakistan,” by Kushwand Singh. this is another story (all be it a novel) about the partition. There are a few gory scenes in the book. But, I think that I have a weak stomach, sometimes.
“Ice Candy Man,” by Bapsi Sidwa. Again about the partition. But, Sidwa is a good writer and I enjoyed this book by her. The book was rereleased under the title “Cracking India.” Bapsi Sidwa tended to do this with her writing, I don’t know why, unless it was a ploy to sell more books.
“Midnight’s children,” by Salman Rushdie. Can I get enough of reading about 1947??? I realize that Rushdie takes liberty with History, but the book was an interesting read.
“3 cups of tea,” by Greg Mortenson. Ok, had a few problems with the book (it is wonderful when Imran and I actually read a book together and comment on it). [one of the things that I enjoy most about our relationship]. but the book was pretty good. It is about an american (who had grown up in Africa), building schools in NWFP. The book was a bit too glowing, yet, I enjoyed Greg’s time with Pakistanis and at least he admitted to learning a few lessons from Haji Ali and others.
“The case of Exploding Mangos,” by Muhammad Hanif. This is quite political, but — not set in 1947, so you have to at least be glad that I have moved on. If you like politics, military and innerpersonal struggles, you will want to read this one. It is set in the time of General Zia’s rule.
“Moth Smoke,” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” by Mohsin Hamid. I actually liked the latter better, but I wish that he had consulted me before he wrote it: I could have helped him out with the dialog and possible questions for the characters to make it a bit more elaborate and full. I must say, here, that there is rarely an ending to a book that I do like. Either they are just too sappy or lack imagination or are just plain disagreeable. Imran does not even ask me anymore if I liked the way a book ended. (smile)
“the Dancing Girls of Lahore,” by T. Louise Brown. I usually limit my reading by western authors when they are talking about India/Pakistan/etc because they tend to have a self serving, imperialist, superior kind of attitude, aren’t they quaint, or myopic view. But, this was rather good and is one woman’s personal account.
“lifting the Veil,” by Ismat Chughtai. This is a great book from a pioneering woman who was born in 1911, I think. She was outgoing and an activist for her time. Great short stories. Although, “The Quilt,” got much praise, I actually enjoyed “the Homecoming,” “Gainda,” “Kafir,” and some others more than that story. Maybe it was acclaimed because it dealt with very sensitive subject matter. No, I’m not giving it away.
I found “Thande Gosh,” by her (sometimes friend and sometimes foe) Saadat Hassan Manto. Chilling story. And, obviously it has been translated into English.
“I dared to Call him father,” is a short book autobiography by Bilquis Sheikh. While it is a book about her conversion from Islam to Christianity, it is also a book about Pakistan and her family.
I have read Khaled Hosseni’s “A thousand splended suns,” and “The Kite runner,” which are kind of about Pakistan/Afghanistan. And, for Afghanistan “The Sewing Circles of Harat,” by Christina Lamb and “The Book seller of Kabul,” by some scandinavian author that I can’t spell(Oh, AsneCierestad – I had to look it up).
I did read Monica Ali’s “Brick Lane,” which was about a Bangladeshi woman immigrating to England and found the characters and plot a bit too unbelievable.

I have just finished “A suitable Boy,” by Vikram Seth, and am in the middle of “The Swallows of Kabul,” by Yasmina Khadra. Now, my bookport broke.
A bookport is a portable device that helps me read ebooks (with a computer voice) on the road. It is small and can fit into a pocket.
I dropped it.
So, technically, I have not read in weeks because to do so would mean that I would have to stay at the computer and I use the computer in chunks of time so can’t submerge myself into the story.
But, I’ll just stay at the computer, because I enjoy the books so much.

When I am finished with them, I migrate to Iran.
“Censoring: an Iranian love story,” by Shahrier Mandanipour:
“Lipstick Jihad,” by Azadeh Moaveni

I have read other books by women and men from Africa and other parts of Asia which I won’t continue to tell you about because you are probably already bored.
Luckily, I did finish “Arranged marriage,” by Chitra Banergee Divakaruni and enjoyed it. It is a collection of short stories about Indian women who have relationships (mostly after coming to the United States).

I have left Imran in the dust. He can no longer keep up with me.
But, he hates hearing about the book — just in case he wants to read it later. I will spoil it for him.
So, he does not read them, yet I can’t discuss them with him.
There are so many books that he intends to read, but never gets around to and that I want to discuss while they are fresh in my mind.
I started bookmarking passages, etc. But, now that the book port is broken — all of my passages are gone, also.
I have also read:
“Born in the Big Rains,” by Faduko Korn;
“Girls of Riyadh,” by Rahaa Alseni;
“Lost Boys of the Sudan,” by (I can’t remember off the top of my head)
“Life in Shanghai,”
“A long Way gone,” by Ishmael Beah;
“Enrique’s Journey,” by Sonya ???;
“Passage from Cairo,” by Laila Ahmed;
“Inside the Kingdom,” by Carmen Bin Laden (don’t read)
and many others that range from biographies and novels about different cultures, as well as those with disabilities.
“My Path Leads to Tibet,” by SabriyeT.;
“one of the Lucky Ones,” by Lucy Ching;
had both disability (blindness) and culture.
Anyone want to discuss them? I am open to reading them again, as a refresher or reading other books about Desi culture.
I’m open to having a “Gori/Desi bookclub.”

Oh, I have started
“Reconciliation and Islam,” by Benazir Bhutto
a book by Rashid Ahmed,” Oil, Fundamentalism….. ….” (ok, can’t remember the exact Title:
as well as
“Beirut to Jerusalem,” by Thomas Freidman.
But, since I have not studied for a while, these were a bit too dry.
I could read them, but only if I have someone to discuss them with.


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