The Book of Shiva, by Namita Gokhale is an extremely informative and rather strange book. It describes the way representations and views of Lord Shiva and the way he is worshiped today and was worshiped historically. It is illustrated with drawings similar to the one on the cover. They show all elements of the various manifestations clearly but are somehow not inspiring.
The text varies in style, sometimes talking enthusiastically and with feeling about a real live belief, and at other times becoming almost detached and reading like an anthropological report. Continue reading
The Book Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer by Ed Viswanathan is aimed primarily at people of Indian descnt who have been brought up in the west. It is written as a dialogue between an Indian-born father and his teenage son who has been brought up in the west. The son questions his father about Hinduism and Hindu traditions.
Despite not being part of the target audience, I found the book very useful, enjoyable and informative. I particularly appreciated the fact that the book did not avoid difficult areas. It gave honest answers about tantric practices, sati and the historical possibility of human sacrifices. Though sati and sacrifices have no part in modern Hinduism, and very little through history these subjects are often brought up by critics of Hinduism, and avoided altogether by many supporters. Continue reading
The novel Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchel is at one level a collection of stories. This review is from the perspective of Hinduism, so I talk about the theme of reincarnation and spiritual advancement more than conventional reviews; I also skip over the plot. If you want to read a more conventional review, then there are many on the web , .
The stories describe various characters, a naive 19th century traveler, a rather immoral composer, a female journalist in the 1970s, a present day publisher, a victimised clone in the future, and a member of a Hawaiian tribe in the distant future following the collapse of civilisation. These stories are written with such a diversity of styles that they could almost be from different authors.