Somehow in the course of 2009 I failed to write up two of our books because I skipped the book group meetings (due to a failed attempt at a real estate transaction and the other due to an unfortunate work reschedule.) I can’t comment on the discussions but the books are summarized here as follows:
The White Tiger, by Aravind Agida The White tiger tells the story of a driver in India who murders his employer. He feels justified in his actions and in letters to the Premier of China, tells his story. His act was in response to the Indian elite and the social and financial inequities, and through the letters he describes is upbringing and the transforming landscape within a land that he loves, but a land where the kind of work you can do is largely determined by the caste you were born into.
The Geography of Bliss; a grumps search for the happiest place on earth. This non-fiction book follows a sociologist (National Public Radio reporter) as he travels from location to location attempting to discover why certain countries and people are considered “happiest”. He travels to Bangalore India, strip clubs in Bangkok and drinks himself into next Tuesday in Reykjavik. He is on a vacation of discovery and the irritations of travel surface in his journey (are all local guides 100% responsible for only showing you the nice side of a location? Why don’t they ever show you the seedy side?) In addition to seeking out the happiest people on earth he also gives us the gloomiest and grumpiest folks. If you live in Moldovia can you truly be happy anyway? This book offers no real answers but does pose some funny questions such as are the Swedes really happy or just overly polite?