Biographies, Autobiographies & Memoirs

I am Vidya

I am Vidya

“What sin have tirunangais committed? If, to be male and feel female is a sin, it is nature’s creation. What can we do about it?” (I am Vidya 88) Vidya was a woman trapped in a man’s body. Though born as a boy named Saravanan, right from her childhood she always loved to dress up in her sisters’ pavadais (skirt) and saris and dance to film songs. In school and in college, she struggled to hide her female qualities but reached a point where she felt it was meaningless to lead a double life and was daring enough to undergo the painful and risky...

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The Auto biography of a Sex Worker

The Auto biography of a Sex Worker

  Title: The Autobiography of a Sex Worker Author: Nalini Jameela First published in Malyalam by DC Books First published in English by Westland Ltd in 2007, translated by J.Devika. I was just scrolling through the book shelf and this book caught my attention, I did not get it immediately. Just made note of the book/author, and did my research and felt I need to get it, the synopsis itself was like, this is my next read and just read it and loved it. It says “Sex workers are free in four aspects: we don’t have to cook for a husband; we don’t...

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“Rose” – A Life in the Shadows

“Rose” – A Life in the Shadows

When Eileen Nearne died aged eighty-nine, her neighbours in Torquay knew only that she was a very private and reserved person, who loved animals. Such was her desire to distance herself from close relationships locally that council workers needed to search her flat to try to identify her next of kin. What they found was a collection of medals and documents relating to Eileen’s wartime undercover work in occupied France. “Rose” – A Life in the Shadows tells the extraordinary story of that war service and what led an ordinary English woman to...

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Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

  Three Cups of Tea is an extraordinary book and makes gripping reading. The sub-title is One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time. Obviously the book is not about any of the major obsessions of the 21st century, though the germ of the narrative is in civilized Westerners’ wish to ‘conquer’ the impossibly difficult summits of the Himalayan mountain range. The person central to the book, Greg Mortenson, fails to “summit” K2 and loses his way descending. Having lost contact with his Pakistani porter who had his pack containing...

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Stones into Schools – Promoting Peace with BOOKS, not BOMBS

Stones into Schools – Promoting Peace with BOOKS, not BOMBS

  Stones into Schools is a continuation of Greg Mortenson’s narrative of his life’s mission in Central Asia. The subtitle is Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Strangely enough these two books (the first being Three Cups of Tea) remind me of a most unlikely predecessor, Boswell’s Life of Johnson.Neither genre nor subject-matter have anything in common with the 18thcentury classic. Boswell’s book is centred in London and is focussed on one person, Samuel Johnson, and the literary world. Stones into Schoolstakes...

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Mr. Churchill’s Profession by Peter Clarke

Mr. Churchill’s Profession by Peter Clarke

Despite his political eminence and heralded statesmanship, Winston Churchill, the most celebrated renaissance man of the modern era, valued his career as a writer above his myriad other accomplishments. In 1945 he told one editor “After all, I am a member of your profession. I’ve never had any money except what my pen has brought me.” And it is his intriguing financial maneuvering and success, especially as a young, untried author that raised my eyebrows and rapidly turned pages for me in Peter Clarke’s new book. Churchill’s...

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