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Mira Nair's Bookcase

Mira Nair (born 15 October 1957) is an Indian American filmmaker based in New York. Her production company, Mirabai Films, specializes in films for international audiences on Indian society, whether in the economic, social or cultural spheres. Among her best known films are Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, the Golden Lion-winning Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay!, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Photo by: Mirabaifilms

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Yoga Dipika

The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga--the ancient healing discipline for body and mind--by its greatest living teacher. Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises. Features a foreword by Yehudi Menuhin. Illustrations throughout.

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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Winner of the Booker of Bookers Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.

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The India of Raghubir Singh

First published in 1998 to mark the occasion of an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, this book is arranged into eleven thematic sections. The images capture the sights and smells of street life, monuments, and pilgrims, creating a picture of daily life in India.

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Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies established this young writer as one the most brilliant of her generation. Her stories are one of the very few debut works -- and only a handful of collections -- to have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Among the many other awards and honors it received were the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the highest critical praise for its grace, acuity, and compassion in detailing lives transported from India to America. In The Namesake, Lahiri enriches the themes that made her collection an international bestseller: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations. Here again Lahiri displays her deft touch for the perfect detail -- the fleeting moment, the turn of phrase -- that opens whole worlds of emotion.

The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name. Lahiri brings great empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With penetrating insight, she reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents, but also the means by which we slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves. The New York Times has praised Lahiri as "a writer of uncommon elegance and poise." The Namesake is a fine-tuned, intimate, and deeply felt novel of identity.

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A Life in Cinema

This book traces the life and works of the remarkable director and actor, Guru Dutt, who succeeded in introducing to Indian cinema an individual and lyrical vision. This book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful black and photographs illustrating his life and film career.

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Vikram Seth's novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find -- through love or through exacting maternal appraisal -- a suitable boy for Lata to marry. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.

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Uganda Asians Come to Britain

In a gripping personal account of the Asians' last days in Uganda following their expulsion by Idi Amin in 1972, this book interweaves an examination of the country's colonial history with the subsequent evolution of postindependence politics. Expelled from Uganda and arriving in a cold and overcast London, Mahmood Mamdani shares his experiences in a camp run by the UK government's resettlement board and explores the theme of political identity-the politicization of racial identity and its reproduction after independence. A telling and gripping story that will be familiar to refugees and those seeking asylum in Britain, this vivid autobiography is as pertinent today as when it was first published in 1973.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

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What can a photographer in India capture on film other than disasters or the exotic? After many years spent documenting the poverty in her homeland, Dayanita Singh was preoccupied by this question. Her answer here is a return to the world from which she came, to India's extended, well-to-do families and their fine homes. Both on commission and on her own, she photographed friends and friends of friends, creating a portrait of another society, complete with its traditional and post-colonial symbols of prosperity. The self-confident elite of India is nearly unrivalled in the West. Privacy provides great insight into a closed world characterized by tight family solidarity. Singh shows the people as they would like to see themselves, in the middle of splendidly decorated rooms and surrounded by possessions that represent their self-image. At a certain point in her work, Singh realized that even without their residents, the rooms were occupied by the invisible generations that had lived there before. The book closes with photographs of interiors, empty but still filled with spirits.

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In Shah of Shahs Kapuscinski brings a mythographer's perspective and a novelist's virtuosity to bear on the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, one of the most infamous of the United States' client-dictators, who resolved to transform his country into "a second America in a generation," only to be toppled virtually overnight. From his vantage point at the break-up of the old regime, Kapuscinski gives us a compelling history of conspiracy, repression, fanatacism, and revolution.Translated from the Polish by William R. Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand.

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America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror

In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, the distinguished political scientist and anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani brings his expertise and insight to bear on a question many Americans have been asking since 9/11: how did this happen? Good Muslim, Bad Muslim is a provocative and important book that will profoundly change our understanding both of Islamist politics and the way America is perceived in the world today.

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Selected Poems of Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet was born in 1902 in Salonika, Ottoman Empire (now Thessaloníki, Greece). The first modern Turkish poet, he is recognized around the world as one of the great international poets of the twentieth century. The early poems of Nazim Hikmet (1902-63) are vigorous, good-humored and committed to a revolutionary politic. In 1922, he visited the Soviet Union for the first time; upon his return from one of his trips to Moscow in 1928, he was arrested and he spent seventeen of the succeeding 22 years in prison. Thus the work of his maturity expresses the melancholy and hopefulness of a man confined to solitary with only his pencil for amusement.

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Faiz Ahmen Faiz is looked on as the most important Urdu poet in both India and Pakistan. This collection of his poems is representative of the best in contemporary Urdu writing. The Urdu text is presented with English translations.

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First published in France in 1958, then in the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's The Americans changed the course of twentieth-century photography. In 83 photographs, Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a people plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians and rendered numb by a rapidly expanding culture of consumption. Yet he also found novel areas of beauty in simple, overlooked corners of American life. And it was not just Frank's subject matter--cars, jukeboxes and even the road itself―that redefined the icons of America; it was also his seemingly intuitive, immediate, off-kilter style, as well as his method of brilliantly linking his photographs together thematically, conceptually, formally and linguistically, that made The Americans so innovative. More of an ode or a poem than a literal document, the book is as powerful and provocative today as it was 56 years ago.

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Now a major motion picture Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize New York Times bestseller

“Extreme times call for extreme reactions, extreme writing. Hamid has done something extraordinary with this novel.” —Washington Post

“One of those achingly assured novels that makes you happy to be a reader.” —Junot Diaz

At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter . . . Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.  But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his relationship with Erica shifting. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

“Brief, charming, and quietly furious . . . a resounding success.” —Village Voice

A Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year A New York Times Notable Book

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Photoportraits

A selection of Cartier-Bresson's most memorable portraits, published to accompany the 1998 National Portrait Gallery exhibition. The photographer himself supervised the design of the book and the juxtaposition of the images. Sir Ernst Gombrich provides an introduction to the collection.

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"Striking images of a land renowned for its contradictions and variety as viewed by one of the great artists of our century."—Houston Post

Henri Cartier-Bresson's record of his fascination with India over half a lifetime contains the very best of his photographs of that country. Beginning in 1947 at the time of Independence and produced during six extended visits over a twenty-year period, these beautiful, dramatic images are shaped by an eye and a mind legendary for their intelligent empathy and for going to the heart of the matter.

Cartier-Bresson's extraordinary gifts of observation and his famous "mantle of invisibility," as well as his good connections with Jawaharlal Nehru and others, allowed him to capture the quintessence of India. His pictures of Hindus in refugee camps after the Partition or beggars in Calcutta speak with the same passion and authority as those of the Maharaja of Baroda's sumptuous birthday celebrations or of the Mountbattens on the steps of Government House. Ample space is given to his famous reportages, such as the astonishing sequence on the death and cremation of Gandhi. But above all, it is the apparently ordinary faces and scenes from market, temple, or countryside that have the power to put us in direct touch with the spirit of a country and its people. 105 duotone illustrations.

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The Zoroastrians of India

The result of a 20 year labour of love, photographer and screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala's Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India offers a rare insiders view of how the Parsis, a religious and ethnic minority of India and the South Asian diaspora who follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, endures today. Unesco recently celebrated 3000 years of Zoroastrian culture. Today, the Parsis are a proud but often misunderstood religious minority, small in number but significant in influence - the community has produced many well-known leaders and artists, including the world-renowned conductor, Zubin Mehta; the late rock singer Freddy Mercury, of Queen; and the international award-winning author, Rohinton Mistry. As a people, the Parsis are a highly literate and educated people, comprising one of India's most wealthy and urbanized communities, yet they are also the smallest - and they also follow what many would consider Stone Age rituals: perhaps most notably, leaving their dead out in specially designed open air towers for vultures to devour. The words and images in Taraporevala's unique book chronicle, for the first time, the faces, voices, and unique culture of the Parsis - a community of intense contradictions.

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Max in India

The hero of Max Makes a Million goes off on a wild search for the meaning of life that takes him to India, where he visits the Temple of Doubletalk, meets a chatty guru named Vivek Shabaza-zaza-za, and has other adventures.

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The Complete Works

Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, born 1919, fused local construction traditions with modern forms and sensibility to create harmonious and pleasurable buildings that have become legendary in the region and influential around the world. This volume is a documentation and appreciation of the man and his work.

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Selected Writings

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Like all of Steve Biko's writings, those words testify to the passion, courage, and keen insight that made him one of the most powerful figures in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. They also reflect his conviction that black people in South Africa could not be liberated until they united to break their chains of servitude, a key tenet of the Black Consciousness movement that he helped found.

I Write What I Like contains a selection of Biko's writings from 1969, when he became the president of the South African Students' Organization, to 1972, when he was prohibited from publishing. The collection also includes a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; an introduction by Malusi and Thoko Mpumlwana, who were both involved with Biko in the Black Consciousness movement; a memoir of Biko by Father Aelred Stubbs, his longtime pastor and friend; and a new foreword by Professor Lewis Gordon.

Biko's writings will inspire and educate anyone concerned with issues of racism, postcolonialism, and black nationalism.

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A Photographer in India

This is a magnificent portrait of post-Raj India before the modern world swept across the subcontinent. Featuring 100 superbly reproduced, full-page photographs, this is Derry Moore's splendid photographic evocation of an independent India that had all but vanished by the late 1970s—above all, an India still untouched by mass tourism. Initially, Moore set out to photograph the princely palaces, but he became increasingly intrigued by the lesser-known buildings, and those that inhabited them. In them, he found eccentricity, originality, and an extraordinary hybrid of Indian and British taste.

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Published on the occasion of David Zwirner’s presentation of selections from The Democratic Forest, this new book on William Eggleston’s major work highlights 60 key photographs from the series. Eggleston’s photography is "democratic" in its resistance to hierarchy: from Louisiana to Memphis, Tennessee, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Miami and Boston, these photographs treat people and objects equally, with the same significance and complexity of vision. Originally introduced by renowned writer Eudora Welty, known for her depictions of the south, this volume includes a reprint of her 1989 essay, along with new scholarship by Alexander Nemerov, a professor at Stanford University. With its selection of beautifully reproduced photographs―printed from new separations―this catalogue provides historical context for this monumental series, and works to shape our understanding of Eggleston’s singular contribution to contemporary art. William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today. Since the 1970s, his work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide, beginning with his 1976 show at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2008, a major career-spanning survey organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Haus der Kunst in Munich then traveled to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Eggleston received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1975 and has been the recipient of numerous notable awards, including the University of Memphis Distinguished Achievement Award (1996); Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1998); International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004); the Getty Images Lifetime Achievement Award (2004); and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), among others. The Aperture Foundation will honor Eggleston in October 2016.

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The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian sentiment" (The Observer [London]).

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton. With a panorama of characters whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, Sea of Poppies is "a storm-tossed adventure worthy of Sir Walter Scott" (Vogue).

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