Lalita talked about a Pulitzer Prize-winning political fiction that was published sometime in the 1930s. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury is a great read to date as it tells the tale of an American president, a topic of increased relevance today. Lalita first picked up this book during the Emergency in India; she reread it many years later after finding it at a books-by-weight sale in Bangalore. The first time she read it, she got a clear picture of how the federal government worked in the US and when she reread it, she was amazed by how little political systems had changed and how much political decisions are often the product of petty jealousies, opportunism, smear campaigns and sometimes even principles, all of which Drury has managed to capture. “Although the political landscape is unlikely to change, there was a greater moral fiber in those times that makes this book read more like a fiction than fact,” Lalita said.
Awanish talked about Manu Josephs’s book Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous. Unlike Manu Joseph’s other two books, this one is more plot-oriented, a thriller that examines the political and social system in India. A discussion ensued about Manu Joseph’s acerbic and satirical writing. Some readers find his work too scathing while others think that missing the humor goes against everything the author has been trying to achieve.
Another book that was discussed was Lord of the Flies by Nobel Prize-winning author, William Golding. The story revolves around a group of British boys who are stranded on an island after a plane crash. In the beginning, the boys relish their freedom from adults but gradually they begin to take on roles and end up being murderous and savage. What would have happened if there were girls in this group? There was a conversation about a film that would change the way the story ended, had the crash survivors been girls.
Rahman talked about a sci-fi book called The Time Machine by H. G. Wells which tells the story of a time traveler and his machine, now the stuff of legend. Authors of sci-fi like Wells, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne and Ray Bradbury display prophetic technique, some readers said before we went on to talk about more books, which will be featured in Part 8.