Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
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Behind the Beautiful Forevers Book Summary : In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget. Winner of the National Book Award | The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award | The Los Angeles Times Book Prize | The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award | The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • USA Today • New York • The Miami Herald • San Francisco Chronicle • Newsday NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • The Boston Globe • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Foreign Policy • The Seattle Times • The Nation • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Denver Post • Minneapolis Star Tribune • Salon • The Plain Dealer • The Week • Kansas City Star • Slate • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “A book of extraordinary intelligence [and] humanity . . . beyond groundbreaking.”—Junot Díaz, The New York Times Book Review “Reported like Watergate, written like Great Expectations, and handily the best international nonfiction in years.”—New York “This book is both a tour de force of social justice reportage and a literary masterpiece.”—Judges’ Citation for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award “[A] landmark book.”—The Wall Street Journal “A triumph of a book.”—Amartya Sen “There are books that change the way you feel and see; this is one of them.”—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc “[A] stunning piece of narrative nonfiction . . . [Katherine] Boo’s prose is electric.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “Inspiring, and irresistible . . . Boo’s extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as important, she makes us care.”—People
Strength in What Remains Book Summary : NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle •Chicago Tribune • The Christian Science Monitor • Publishers Weekly In Strength in What Remains, Tracy Kidder gives us the story of one man’s inspiring American journey and of the ordinary people who helped him, providing brilliant testament to the power of second chances. Deo arrives in the United States from Burundi in search of a new life. Having survived a civil war and genocide, he lands at JFK airport with two hundred dollars, no English, and no contacts. He ekes out a precarious existence delivering groceries, living in Central Park, and learning English by reading dictionaries in bookstores. Then Deo begins to meet the strangers who will change his life, pointing him eventually in the direction of Columbia University, medical school, and a life devoted to healing. Kidder breaks new ground in telling this unforgettable story as he travels with Deo back over a turbulent life and shows us what it means to be fully human. BONUS: This edition contains a Strength in What Remains discussion guide. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Named one of the Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the year by Time • Named one of the year’s “10 Terrific Reads” by O: The Oprah Magazine “Extraordinarily stirring . . . a miracle of human courage.”—The Washington Post “Absorbing . . . a story about survival, about perseverance and sometimes uncanny luck in the face of hell on earth. . . . It is just as notably about profound human kindness.”—The New York Times “Important and beautiful . . . This book is one you won’t forget.”—Portland Oregonian
A Free Man Book Summary : Every morning in Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in Delhi, a gang of men gather looking for work in the building trade. For five years, Aman Sethi shared their lives, and in particular that of Mohammed Ashraf. Ashraf is a mazdoor, an itinerant house-painter, but he's not a typical labourer - he's studied biology in college, and after college learnt how to repair TV sets, cut suits, and slice chicken. He lived all over India, but now he finds himself in Delhi: the second most populous city in the country. The morning will bring hangovers, whisky breakfasts and possibly answers to the lingering questions that haunt Ashraf. How did he get here? Why is he the way he is? And is there a way back home? One of the very best young journalists in India, Aman Sethi brings Ashraf vividly alive and illuminates the lives of countless others like him. Wry, humorous and insightful, A Free Man is an unforgettable portrait of an invisible man in his invisible city, and an extraordinary human story.
Maximum City Book Summary : A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs, following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse, opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood, and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks. As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.
A Distant Heart Book Summary : Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company. . . . Until one person dares venture into her world. Tasked at fourteen years old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant shows up to wash Kimi’s windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi’s eyes to the outside world—and she becomes his inspiration to better himself by enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and keeps them apart. As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may yet lose. And when his investigation into a black market organ ring run by a sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home, only Rahul's deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe—and reveal the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances. Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart. Praise for Sonali Dev and A Change of Heart “In Dev’s seductive and complex story of love lost and then found, one layer of mystery leads to the next. . . . Will hold a permanent place in readers’ hearts.” –Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW “Dev deftly navigates the complex themes of bereavement, motherhood, and how the culture of India exists in America. . . . This is stunning all around.” –Booklist, STARRED REVIEW “Mystery, adventure, and romance are spiced with Bollywood glamour in this heart-stopping novel.... Riveting.” --Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
The Most Powerful Idea in the World Book Summary : "The Most Powerful Idea in the World argues that the very notion of intellectual property drove not only the invention of the steam engine but also the entire Industrial Revolution." -- Back cover.
Poverty Capital Book Summary : Winner of the 2011 Paul Davidoff award! This is a book about poverty but it does not study the poor and the powerless; instead it studies those who manage poverty. It sheds light on how powerful institutions control "capital," or circuits of profit and investment, as well as "truth," or authoritative knowledge about poverty. Such dominant practices are challenged by alternative paradigms of development, and the book details these as well. Using the case of microfinance, the book participates in a set of fierce debates about development – from the role of markets to the secrets of successful pro-poor institutions. Based on many years of research in Washington D.C., Bangladesh, and the Middle East, Poverty Capital also grows out of the author's undergraduate teaching to thousands of students on the subject of global poverty and inequality.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers Book Summary : It's not just that rich people don't know what they've got. They don't even know what they throw away. India is beginning to prosper. But beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport is an obstacle, a makeshift slum. It's home to foul mouthed Zehrunisa and her garbage sorting son Abdul, entrepreneurs both. Sunil, twelve, picks plastic. Manju, schoolteacher, hopes to be the settlement's first woman to gain a degree. Asha, go-to woman, exploits every scam to become a first-class person. And Fatima, One Leg, is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood. Katherine Boo spent three years under the flight-path, recording the lives of Annawadi's diverse inhabitants. Now from Boo's book, which won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2012, David Hare has fashioned an epic play for the stage which details the ingenious and sometimes violent ways in which the poor and disadvantaged negotiate with corruption to seek a handhold on capitalism's lowest rungs. David Hare's stage adaptation of Behind the Beautiful Forevers premiered at the National Theatre, London, in November 2014.
Running The Rift Book Summary : Naomi Benaron’s debut novel follows Rwandan Jean Patrick Nkuba, a Tutsi, from his earliest dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal contender in track, to the moment when he finds himself facing a mob of killers, with no choice but to vault over a wall and run for his life. In the years preceding the genocide, Jean Patrick’s world becomes ever more violent and restrictive, spinning toward the inevitable moment when the killing begins and he must leave behind the woman and country he loves. Benaron interweaves Rwanda’s politics, the beauty of its landscape, and the yearning and dedication of Jean Patrick himself into a tremendously moving story of the country and the character’s unraveling and tentative new beginning.
Random Family Book Summary : Random Family tells the American outlaw saga lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. With an immediacy made possible only after ten years of reporting, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses the reader in the mind-boggling intricacies of the little-known ghetto world. She charts the tumultuous cycle of the generations, as girls become mothers, mothers become grandmothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation. Two romances thread through Random Family: the sexually charismatic nineteen-year-old Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and fourteen-year-old Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar, an aspiring thug. Fleeing from family problems, the young couples try to outrun their destinies. Chauffeurs whisk them to getaways in the Poconos and to nightclubs. They cruise the streets in Lamborghinis and customized James Bond cars. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between life and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George's business activities; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty. Together, then apart, the teenagers make family where they find it. Girls look for excitement and find trouble; boys, searching for adventure, join crews and prison gangs. Coco moves upstate to dodge the hazards of the Bronx; Jessica seeks solace in romance. Both find that love is the only place to go. A gifted prose stylist and a profoundly compassionate observer, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc has slipped behind the cold statistics and sensationalism surrounding inner-city life and come back with a riveting, haunting, and true urban soap opera that reveals the clenched grip of the streets. Random Family is a compulsive read and an important journalistic achievement, sure to take its place beside the classics of the genre.
How Change Happens Book Summary : Human society is full of would-be "change agents," a restless mix of campaigners, lobbyists, and officials, both individuals and organizations, set on transforming the world. They want to improve public services, reform laws and regulations, guarantee human rights, get a fairer deal for those on the sharp end, achieve greater recognition for any number of issues, or simply be treated with respect. Striking then, why so many universities lack programs for social activists, to which students can turn for advice and inspiration. Instead, scholarly discussions of change are fragmented with few conversations crossing disciplinary boundaries, rarely making it onto the radar of those actively seeking change. This book bridges the gap between academia and practice, bringing together the best research from a range of academic disciplines and the evolving practical understanding of activists to explore the topic of social and political change. Drawing on many first-hand examples from the global experience of Oxfam, one of the world's largest social justice NGOs, as well as the author's insights from studying and working on international development, it tests ideas on how change happens and offers the latest thinking on what works to achieve progressive change.
Heliopolis Book Summary : As a child Ludo is plucked out of the shantytown where he was born and transported to a world of languid, cosseted luxury. Now twenty-seven, he works high above the above the sprawling metropolis of São Paulo for a vacuous 'communications company'. But this is not his world, and this is not a simple rags-to-riches story: Ludo's destiny moves him around like a chess piece, showing him both extremities of opulent excess and abject poverty, taking him to the brink of madness and brutality. By the author of The Amnesia Clinic and winner of the Somerset Maugham Award.
Understanding Social Entrepreneurship Book Summary : Understanding Social Entrepreneurship is the leading textbook that provides students with a comprehensive overview of the field. It brings the mindset, principles, strategies, tools, and techniques of entrepreneurship into the social sector to present innovative solutions to today’s vexing social issues. Kickul and Lyons cover all the key topics relevant to social entrepreneurship, including a detailed examination of each of the steps in the entrepreneurial process. This third edition includes several new features: A process-oriented format, taking students through discovery, design, development, and delivery Two new chapters: one on lean startup and design thinking for social entrepreneurship, and another on unconventional approaches from developing countries Updated and new case studies, with improved global coverage ‘Practically Speaking’ sections that explore evidence-based research from the field Bringing together a rigorous theoretical foundation and a strong practical focus, this is the go-to resource for students of social entrepreneurship at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. A companion website includes an instructor’s manual, PowerPoint slides, test bank, and other tools to provide additional support for students and instructors.
The World We Found Book Summary : Thrity Umrigar, acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven, returns with a breathtaking new novel—a skillfully wrought, emotionally resonant story of four women and the indelible friendship they share. Fans of Jennifer Haigh’s Faith, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, and Katrina Kittle’s The Kindness of Strangers will be captivated by Umrigar’s The World We Found—a moving story of bottled secrets, unfulfilled dreams, and the acceptance that can still lead to redemption, from a writer whom the New York Times calls “perceptive and often piercing.”
The Heart Is a Shifting Sea Book Summary : Winner of the Silver Nautilus Award for Journalism & Investigative Reporting "Elizabeth Flock takes us on an intimate cruise on the shifting sea of the heart, in the best book set in Bombay that I've read in years. Flock's total access to her characters, and her highly sympathetic and nonjudgmental gaze, prove that love and literature know no borders. Easily the most intimate account of India that I've read, and of value to anybody that believes in love and marriage."—Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City "This remarkable debut is so deeply reported, elegantly written, and profoundly transporting that it reads like a novel you can’t put down. It’s both a nuanced and intimate evocation of Indian culture, and a provocative and exciting meditation on marriage itself."—Katie Roiphe, author of The Violet Hour In the vein of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, an intimate, deeply reported and revelatory examination of love, marriage, and the state of modern India—as witnessed through the lives of three very different couples in today’s Mumbai. In twenty-first-century India, tradition is colliding with Western culture, a clash that touches the lives of everyday Indians from the wealthiest to the poorest. While ethnicity, class, and religion are influencing the nation’s development, so too are pop culture and technology—an uneasy fusion whose impact is most evident in the institution of marriage. The Heart Is a Shifting Sea introduces three couples whose relationships illuminate these sweeping cultural shifts in dramatic ways: Veer and Maya, a forward-thinking professional couple whose union is tested by Maya’s desire for independence; Shahzad and Sabeena, whose desperation for a child becomes entwined with the changing face of Islam; and Ashok and Parvati, whose arranged marriage, made possible by an online matchmaker, blossoms into true love. Though these three middle-class couples are at different stages in their lives and come from diverse religious backgrounds, their stories build on one another to present a layered, nuanced, and fascinating mosaic of the universal challenges, possibilities, and promise of matrimony in its present state. Elizabeth Flock has observed the evolving state of India from inside Mumbai, its largest metropolis. She spent close to a decade getting to know these couples—listening to their stories and living in their homes, where she was privy to countless moments of marital joy, inevitable frustration, dramatic upheaval, and whispered confessions and secrets. The result is a phenomenal feat of reportage that is both an enthralling portrait of a nation in the midst of transition and an unforgettable look at the universal mysteries of love and marriage that connect us all.
White as Milk and Rice Book Summary : The Maria girls from Bastar practise sex as an institution before marriage, but with rules-one may not sleep with a partner more than three times; the Hallaki women from the Konkan coast sing throughout the day-in forests, fields, the market and at protests; the Kanjars have plundered, looted and killed generation after generation, and will show you how to roast a lizard when hungry. The original inhabitants of India, these Adivasis still live in forests and hills, with religious beliefs, traditions and rituals so far removed from the rest of the country that they represent an anthropological wealth of our heritage. This book weaves together prose, oral narratives and Adivasi history to tell the stories of six remarkable tribes of India-reckoning with radical changes over the last century-as they were pulled apart and thrown together in ways none of them fathomed.
House of Stone Book Summary : “Wonderful . . . One of the finest memoirs I’ve read.” — Philip Caputo, Washington Post In the summer of 2006, racing through Lebanon to report on the Israeli invasion, Anthony Shadid found himself in his family’s ancestral hometown of Marjayoun. There, he discovered his great-grandfather’s once magnificent estate in near ruins, devastated by war. One year later, Shadid returned to Marjayoun, not to chronicle the violence, but to rebuild in its wake. So begins the story of a battle-scarred home and a journalist’s wounded spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this bittersweet and resonant memoir, Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside the history of his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America around the turn of the twentieth century. In the process, he memorializes a lost world and provides profound insights into a shifting Middle East. This paperback edition includes an afterword by the journalist Nada Bakri, Anthony Shadid’s wife, reflecting on his legacy. “A poignant dedication to family, to home, and to history . . . Breathtaking.” — San Francisco Chronicle “Entertaining, informative, and deeply moving . . . House of Stone will stand a long time, for those fortunate enough to read it.” — Telegraph (London)
To Promote the General Welfare Book Summary : Americans love to hate their government, and a long tradition of anti-government suspicion reaches back to debates among the founders of the nation. But the election of Barack Obama has created a backlash rivaled only by the anti-government hysteria that preceded the Civil War. Lost in all the Tea Party rage and rhetoric is this simple fact: the federal government plays a central role in making our society function, and it always has. Edited by Steven Conn and written by some of America's leading scholars, the essays in To Promote the General Welfare explore the many ways government programs have improved the quality of life in America. The essays cover everything from education, communication, and transportation to arts and culture, housing, finance, and public health. They explore how and why government programs originated, how they have worked and changed--and been challenged--since their inception, and why many of them are important to preserve. The book shows how the WPA provided vital, in some cases career-saving, assistance to artists and writers like Jackson Pollock, Dorothea Lange, Richard Wright, John Cheever, and scores of others; how millions of students from diverse backgrounds have benefited and continue to benefit from the G.I. Bill, Fulbright scholarships, and federally insured student loans; and how the federal government created an Interstate highway system unparalleled in the world, linking the entire nation. These are just a few examples of highly successful programs the book celebrates--and that anti-government critics typically ignore. For anyone wishing to explore the flip side of today's vehement attacks on American government, To Promote the General Welfare is the best place to start.