Category: Non-fiction 5 out of 5s

Katherine Boo’s—Behind the beautiful forevers *****

Katherine Boo’s—Behind the beautiful forevers *****

A cast of characters in Annawadi slums near Mumbai’s airport are hopeful when India’s economy starts to bloom. Some are metal thieves, others collect recyclable garbage, but when their day is done, they live in close proximity to everyone so that there are few secrets.

This is a must read story with the focus on a Muslim family striving for a better life. The book reads like fiction, but was actually the author’s observations and research during her three years living in Mumbai.

Sally Hovey Wriggin’s — The Silk Road journey with Xuanzang *****

Sally Hovey Wriggin’s — The Silk Road journey with Xuanzang *****

Back in my school days, we were only ever taught about European explorers as if no other nation travelled the world. So this book was a refreshing change. Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk from Chang’an who left China in the seventh century and travelled over 20,000 kilometres to what is now known as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, then south-east through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. He saw flaws in the translations of Buddhist texts in China and was determined to reach the heart of Buddhism in Northern India to discover the truth behind these discrepancies. His journey along with his stops where he studied with renowned Buddhist monks kept him away from China for sixteen years. Because he documented his travels in detail, this is a fascinating read.

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven fallen feathers *****

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven fallen feathers *****

Canadian Journalist, Tanya Talaga chronicles the lives and deaths of seven First Nation teens in Thunder Bay who lost their lives after moving from remote Ontario communities to attend secondary school in the city.

In this non-fiction account, we learn about life in Thunder Bay for First Nation teens, about the Aboriginal parents and their communities who come together to search for the children when they first disappear, and their contact with police and how the Thunder Bay police handle each case.

This is a well written, must read for all Canadians so we grasp the systemic racist culture within the police force as well as the government and communities at large.

Sahana Singh’s — The educational heritage of ancient India *****

Sahana Singh’s — The educational heritage of ancient India *****

This book explores the many universities that flourished all over India from the 6th century onwards, and how students travelled from many parts of Asia to study in these prestigious institutions. At its height, universities specialized in subjects from mathematics, medicine and logic to the arts and military training. Much of this knowledge was translated into Arabic and then from Arabic into European languages where the knowledge was claimed as their own.

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