Category : Book Reviews

Book Review: Cutting For Stone

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

Near the beginning there’s this quote:

“Life is like that. You live it forward, but understand it backward. It is only when you stop and look to the rear that you see the corpse caught under your wheel.”

I enjoyed “Cutting For Stone” just a little extra – for two unique reasons. One, because I’m a surgeon. Two, because the author is from my medical school.

A very good writer remembers those easy-to-forget feelings, fears and uncomfortable points of view s/he held during carefree youth, and dredges them up to adorn fictional characters with.

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Book Review: Why Scams are Here to Stay

Why Scams Are Here To Stay

This is a book that will make you sad.

Look, I’m a die-hard optimist. I can see the good in (almost) everything. And even then, I struggle to find a positive perspective on pervasive corruption of the order and magnitude revealed in N.Ram‘s book, “Why Scams Are Here To Stay: Understanding Political Corruption in India.

Coming from the investigative journalist who spearheaded the (then) biggest expose of political corruption in India, unleashing a media blitz over the mid-80s Bofors Howitzer payoff scandal, this account carries the weight, authority and credibiity of a true expert.

One who has studied corruption in all its dirty facets, seen its reflection in multiple mirrors, been horrified by its many distorted images… and has come to terms with its versatility, ubiquity, and even (reluctantly admirable) creativity.

And so I feel disappointed and discouraged as I plow through one chapter after another, listening to tales of systematized and endemic corruption that cuts across party and regional lines.

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Book Review: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden

My sense of humor, to put it charitably, is perverse.

For instance, I’ve watched the Ashton Kutcher film “Dude, Where’s My Car” four times – and laugh like a madman at ever so many situations I think are hilarious… where my spouse of more “normal” humor will, at best, smile – or, more often, wince!

So when I read a book where, midway through the story, I find myself at this condemned building in Sweden where lived…

  • an American potter (who’s convinced the CIA are out to find and destroy him)
  • two Swedish brothers (one of whom doesn’t officially exist!)
  • an angry young woman (who protests her father’s refusal of a bank loan to fund General Noriega’s revolution)
  • an escaped South African refugee (who is being sought by two angry Mossad agents), and
  • three Chinese girls with poor judgement

…alongside a 3 mega-ton nuclear bombwell, my funny bone just tingles madly!

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Book Review: The Fox

The Fox by Frederick Forsyth

The Master is still at the top of his Game!

‘The Fox’ is Frederick Forsyth‘s latest novel and a worthy descendant in the rich lineage of thriller/spy classics the author is known for.

A fast-moving tale of a teen hacking prodigy, and how his skills might be deployed with devastating impact in today’s computer-controlled world, it has all the elements of a FF novel – counter-espionage, political intrigue, international plots, ruthless assassins, and high-stakes drama.

And his art at weaving a gripping story hasn’t dimmed over the years.

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Study, Research, Publish

Heart, Guts & Steel - The Making of an Indian Surgeon

(This is an unpublished chapter from the manuscript of my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

One summer, I took a few days off to surprise my parents on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

To keep me engaged on the 24 hour journey, I picked up a popular bestseller from the library. For good measure, I also carried along a medical journal. I hopped into an upper berth shortly after the train left Dadar station, opened the book, and fell asleep within minutes!

I slept through the night – and all next day… waking up briefly only to gobble down the sandwiches our cafeteria manager had thoughtfully packed for me!

As our train crawled into Basin Bridge station, a few minutes from the terminus at Madras Central, I finally got down from my berth.

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