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The mysterious Mr Jacob by John Zubrzycki

The author does a good job of stretching out very little information about Mr Jacob (well, he is a mystery) into a full book. Would probably have been an interesting feature article, but there is just too much padding with background info to make it a worthwhile book. Probably of most interest are all the crazy spiritualists running around at the time, and the descriptions of Simla. 61/100


Following fish by Samanth Subramanian

A series of entertaining travelogues of India’s very long coastline. Most are about fish in local culture, but the most interesting are about toddy and shipbuilding and the unusual Catholic community of Tuticorin. Highly rated by many reviewers, and unusual topics, but really no different to many travel articles in newspapers or blogs. 65/100

Two years, eight months… by Salman Rushdie

Don’t really know what to think of this rambling fairy tale with Rushdie’s longest title ever. It’s certainly playful, funny and philosophical, and more pop culture than you’d expect, and has a lot to say, or does it? I’m not giving anything else away. Anyway, I liked it. 86/100

The year of the runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

It’s hard to read this book about illegal Indian immigrants in Britain as a fiction book. It reads more like an episode of Four Corners or a Channel 4 docco. Ultimately though it is a thoroughly depressing and sad book, but expertly written. Interesting look into how immigrants get by (well just) in England and also especially Sikh culture and beliefs as well. I certainly never knew that Sikhs had a caste system. 81/100

Flood of fire by Amitav Ghosh

The final book of his trilogy about the Opium Wars. This is a big improvement on book 2 and the action moves around from India to Hong Kong via Singapore. Lots of action and mystery, and even some steamy romance, but unfortunately the characters are all very hard to warm to. The trilogy is woth a read though for its insights into colonialism, Asian history and early capitalism. 77/100

Under the dragon by Rory MacLean

Written when Burma was just opening up to the world again, this is both an insight into the lives of ordinary Burmese, and a journey to find the makers of an ancient woven basket. Along the way the author encounters a psychotic warlord and a wise monk, but it is the optimistic spirit o the people, despite adversity that stands out, as i discovered on my recent trip there. 76/100

Unclaimed terrain by Ajay Navaria

A collection of raw and confronting stories about what life is like for low caste people in India. You know how bad things can be but these stories show its even worse than you can imagine. Interesting style, not always readable but certainly has an impact. 73/100