Culture

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    Absolutely on Music

     1,045
    Description:

    A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    In Absoutely on Music, Haruki Murakami sits down with his friend Seiji Ozawa, the revered former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for a series of conversations on their shared passion: music. Over the course of two years, Murakami and Ozawa discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from Bartók to Mahler, and from pop-up orchestras to opera. They listen to and dissect recordings of some of their favorite performances, and Murakami questions Ozawa about his career conducting orchestras around the world. Culminating in Murakami’s ten-day visit to the banks of Lake Geneva to observe Ozawa’s retreat for young musicians, the book is interspersed with ruminations on record collecting, jazz clubs, orchestra halls, film scores, and much more. A deep reflection on the essential nature of both music and writing, Absolutely on Music is an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of two maestros. A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    Reference: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/242969/absolutely-on-music-by-haruki-murakami-with-seiji-ozawa/9780804173728/

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    Being Pakistani

     895
    Description:

    How different is Pakistan’s culture from that of India? Exploring various aspects of the arts, literature and heritage of Pakistan, Raza Rumi argues that culture in Pakistan is not particularly unique to the nation, but rather a part of the cultural identities shared by South Asians. From the songs of Kabir and the ballads of Bulleh Shah to the cult of the feminine in the Sindh region, Rumi takes a kaleidoscopic view of the deep-set cultural mores that tie India and Pakistan together. Going further, he examines aspects of the visual arts, poetry, music and literature of Pakistan that impact global cultural narratives. Finally, he introduces readers to contemporary Pakistani writers and artists and the milieu in which they express their creativity, giving us a fascinating glimpse into cultural productions in Pakistan today. Being Pakistani is a riveting account of artistic traditions and their significance in present-day Pakistan, presenting an alternative view of the country, beyond the usual headlines that focus on political instability and terrorism.

    Reference: https://harpercollins.co.in/book/being-pakistani/

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    Discontent and Its Civilizations

     695
    Description:

    Discontent and its Civilizations collects the best of Mohsin Hamid’s writing on subjects as diverse and wide-ranging as Pakistan; fatherhood; the death of Osama Bin Laden and the writing of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

    Unified by the author’s humane, clear-headed and witty voice, the book makes a compelling case for recognizing our common humanity while relishing our diversity – both as readers and citizens; for resisting the artificial mono-identities of religion or nationality or race; and for always judging a country or nation by how it treats its minorities, as ‘Each individual human being is, after all, a minority of one’.

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    Moth Smoke

     745
    Description:

    The debut novel from the internationally bestselling author of Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

     

    Moth Smoke, Mohsin Hamid’s deftly conceived first novel, immediately marked him as an uncommonly gifted and ambitious young literary talent to watch when it was published in 2000. It tells the story of Daru Shezad, who, fired from his banking job in Lahore, begins a decline that plummets the length of Hamid’s sharply drawn, subversive tale.

    Fast-paced and unexpected, Moth Smoke was ahead of its time in portraying a contemporary Pakistan far more vivid and complex than the exoticized images of South Asia then familiar to the West. It established Mohsin Hamid as an internationally important writer of substance and imagination and the premier Pakistani author of our time, a promise he has amply fulfilled with each successive book. This debut novel, meanwhile, remains as compelling and deeply relevant to the moment as when it appeared more than a decade ago.

    Reference: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/312744/moth-smoke-by-mohsin-hamid/9781594486609/

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    Mothering a Muslim

     795
    Description:

    What does it mean to be a middle-class Muslim kid in India today? Talking to over a hundred children and their parents across twelve cities, Nazia Erum uncovers stories of religious segregation in classrooms and rampant bullying of Muslim children in many of the country’s top schools.

    Reference: https://www.juggernaut.in/books/2aaddc753bd248d38cd46d2fcae3cee4

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    My Seditious Heart

     3,595
    Description:

    Twenty years, a thousand pages, and now a single beautiful edition of Arundhati Roy’s complete non-fiction.

    ‘Arundhati Roy is one of the most confident and original thinkers of our time’ Naomi Klein

    ‘The world has never had to face such global confusion. Only in facing it can we make sense of what we have to do. And this is precisely what Arundhati Roy does. She makes sense of what we have to do. Thereby offering an example. An example of what? Of being fully alive in our world, such as it is, and of getting close to and listening to those for whom this world has become intolerable’ John Berger

    ‘Arundhati Roy calls for ‘factual precision’ alongside of the ‘real precision of poetry.’ Remarkably, she combines those achievements to a degree that few can hope to approach’ Noam Chomsky

    Unflinching emotional as well as political intelligence… Lucid and probing insights on a range of matters, from crony capitalism and environmental depredation to the perils of nationalism and, in her most recent work, the insidiousness of the Hindu caste system. In an age of intellectual logrolling and mass-manufactured infotainment, she continues to offer bracing ways of seeing, thinking and feeling’ TIME magazine

    My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights and freedoms in an increasingly hostile environment. Taken together, these essays trace her twenty year journey from the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things to the extraordinary The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: a journey marked by compassion, clarity and courage. Radical and readable, they speak always in defence of the collective, of the individual and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military and governmental elites.

    In constant conversation with the themes and settings of her novels, the essays form a near-unbroken memoir of Arundhati Roy’s journey as both a writer and a citizen, of both India and the world, from ‘The End of Imagination’, which begins this book, to ‘My Seditious Heart’, with which it ends.

    Reference: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/311/311176/my-seditious-heart/9780241366516.html

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    Orientalism

     895
    Description:

    For generations now, Edward W. Said’s Orientalism has defined our understanding of colonialism and empire, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition contains a preface written by Said shortly before his death in 2003.

    In this highly-acclaimed work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation – a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the ‘otherness’ of eastern culture, customs and beliefs. He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West’s romantic and exotic picture of the Orient. Drawing on his own experiences as an Arab Palestinian living in the West, Said examines how these ideas can be a reflection of European imperialism and racism.

    Edward W. Said (1935-2003) was a Palestinian-American cultural critic and author, born in Jerusalem and educated in Egypt and the United States. His other books include The Question of PalestineCulture and Imperialism and Out of Place: A Memoir.

    Reference: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/574/57454/orientalism/9780141187426.html

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    Points Of Entry Encounters At The Origin Sites Of Pakistan

     4
    Description:

    Pakistan is more than the sum of its news-making parts. In these marvellous essays on history, politics and society, cultural critic Nadeem Farooq Paracha upturns various reductive readings of the country by revealing its multi-layered reality. With wit and insight, he investigates past events and their implications for modern-day society.

    Thus, one piece explores how and why Mohenjo-daro has been neglected as a historical site, and another examines how Muhammad-bin-Qasim, who briefly invaded Sindh in 713 CE, has come to be lionised as the original founder of Pakistan. There is a story about a Pakistani Jimi Hendrix who plays the guitar like a dream and also one about a medieval emperor who lives on in the swear words of a Punjabi peasant. There are essays on Pakistani pop music, on Afro-Pakistanis and on how Jhuley Lal came to be more than just a folk for Sindhi immigrants in India

    Reference: https://www.libertybooks.com/Points-of-Entry-Encounters-at-the-Origin-Sites-of-Pakistan-48395

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    Taboo The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area

     695
    Description:

    Pakistani society has created and reinforced many myths to explain why the phenomenon of prostitution has nothing to do with ‘nice people’. These myths put all the blame on immoral women who are understood to be responsible for tricking honest men into sinful acts. Our society has also strongly discouraged anyone from questioning these myths or even trying to look at the issue in a realistic manner. This resistance stems from the unspoken fear that any honest assessment of the situation would uncover the double standards that the South Asian patriarchal system has created for distinguishing ‘good’ from ‘bad’ women, thus threatening our society’s fake sense of morality. This book is a journey of discovery into the famous red light district of the Shahi Mohalla (the Royal Bazar), or Heera Mandi (the market of diamonds). The phenomenon of prostitution coupled with music and dance performances has ancient roots in South Asia. The areas where the practice is centered have given birth for centuries to many well-known performing artists. The areas are hubs for creative productions as well as nurture the talents of poets, singers, actors, and the gurus, musicians and composers of classical music. These places are quite different from the typical ‘red light districts’ in the west. The social stigma attached to prostitution has led our governments over the years to initiate several brutal attempts to ‘eradicate’ the phenomenon in the Shahi Mohalla and elsewhere. However, every effort to curb this phenomenon has only resulted in a destruction of the traditional controls over the practice and the links between prostitution and art. Ironically, these efforts also served to drive the practice out of its traditional centers and into the ‘nicer’ parts of the city. As a result, prostitution now flourishes underground in all parts of Lahore, bereft of ancient rules of conduct and involving thousands of women from all walks of life, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The double irony is that while public campaigns for eradication continue the practice of prostitution remains quietly protected by the government; just as it has for centuries. Understanding this paradox is the crux of the book. In order to provide an understanding of the traditional practices of prostitution the book attempts to capture a more realistic picture of the phenomenon through the lives of the people who live in the Shahi Mohalla, the musicians, the prostitutes and their pimps, managers and customers. The book describes the lives of people who are struggling to make a living by following ancient traditions, yet not knowing clearly where they fit in the larger picture of present day Pakistan. The book also highlights the contributions that the inhabitants of the Shahi Mohalla have made to our society and to the world of art at large. By breaking these myths that surround the practice of traditional prostitution, the book helps eradicate a blind spot in our understanding of the power relations associated with gender roles throughout our society.

    Reference: https://www.amazon.com/Taboo-Hidden-Culture-additional-Epilogue/dp/019906279X

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    The 100 A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History

     795
    Description:

    In 1978, when Michael Hart’s controversial book The 100 was first published, critics objected that Hart had the nerve not only to select who he thought were the most influential people in history, but also to rank them according to their importance. Needless to say, the critics were wrong, and to date more than 60,000 copies of the book have been sold. Hart believed that in the intervening years the influence of some of his original selections had grown or lessened and that new names loomed large on the world stage. Thus, the publications of this revised and updated edition of The 100.

    As before, Hart’s yardstick is influence: not the greatest people, but the most influential, the people who swayed the destinies of millions of human beings, determined the rise and fall of civilizations, changed the course of history. With incisive biographies, Hart describes their careers and contributions. Explaining his ratings, he presents a new perspective on history, gathering together the vital facts about the world’s greatest religious and political leaders, inventors, writers, philosophers, explorers, artists, and innovators—from Asoka to Zoroaster. Most of the biographies are accompanied by photographs or sketches. Hart’s selections may be surprising to some. Neither Jesus nor Marx, but Muhammad, is designated as the most influential person in human history. The writer’s arguments may challenge and perhaps convince readers, but whether or not they agree with him, his manner of ranking is both informative and entertaining. The 100, revised and updated, is truly a monumental work. It promises to be just as controversial, just as thought-provoking, and just as successful as its predecessor—a perfect addition to any history or philosophy reference section.

    Reference: https://www.amazon.com/100-Ranking-Influential-Persons-History/dp/0806513500

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    The Muqaddimah An Introduction to History

     900
    Description:

    he Muqaddimah, often translated as “Introduction” or “Prolegomenon,” is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamicist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in the United States and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal’s masterful translation first appeared in 1969.

    This Princeton Classics edition of the abridged version includes Rosenthal’s original introduction as well as a contemporary introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence. This volume makes available a seminal work of Islam and medieval and ancient history to twenty-first century audiences.

    Reference: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10477.html

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