When I Fell From The Sky By Juliane Koepcke

9781857885835

24th December 1971 was the day when everything in Juliane Koepcke’s life took an unexpected turn. In this memoir she describes in avid detail how that happened and how she managed to cope with it and get back to leading a normal life.

The LANSA airplane that Juliane Koepcke and her mother boarded in Peru to visit her father for Christmas was caught in a thunderstorm and forced down in the vast and dense Amazon jungle several hundreds of miles away from civilization. She was the only survivor in that crash after falling two miles from the sky into the jungle strapped to her airplane seat. She walked through the jungle for 11 days braving every kind of harshness not meant for any human to survive all alone. Her skills that she had learned from her parents from the time she was a child living with them in the jungle on their various research trips, helped her survive those 11 days. She was rescued after she found a loggers’ hut.

Juliane Koepcke, along with narrating her survival experience, also explained all about Panguana, the ecological research station that her parents founded in the rainforest. She also talked about her own efforts to help Panguana continue to conserve the rainforest and be declared a nature reserve. She also described how terrifying it was to board another flight again and many more in the future not to mention the media spotlight on her everytime she had to board and get off an airplane. This story of survival contains hard facts, survival instincts, a tragedy, the willpower to find a way to live life as normally as possible after the tragedy and much more. A must read, kudos to Juliane Koepcke!

Maximum City By Suketu Mehta

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A non-fiction detailed account of the life in Bombay, now Mumbai.

The author gives us an insider’s view of this magnificent city as he was born and lived his childhood here. His family left Mumbai for the US when he was young and he comes back with his experience of returning to the city as an adult, as well as a parent and resident. He accounts for his frustration with everyday day life in a developing nation, describes the slums, delves into the politics of modern Mumbai, the criminal Mumbai underworld, his meetings with murderous gangsters and prominent politicians, and a lot more giving the reader an entire picture of a city which does not have boundaries.

According to me a few aspects were exaggerated and a few were dealt with a tad lightly. Anyone who has ever been associated with Bombay at some point in their lives must read this book as they can easily picture in their minds what the author is talking about. Others too will find it interesting.

Eat, Pray, Love By Elizabeth Gilbert

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I was very excited to get my hands on this book and begin reading as soon as possible. But I was disappointed when I finally did. A creature of habit, I can not leave a book unfinished so I had to read it until the very end. It reeks of Orientalism, and as the word depicts, fabricates a view of the Eastern world formed by the Western world that can be studied, depicted, and reproduced implying that Western society is developed, rational and superior.

It is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert describing her trip to Italy eating and enjoying life, to India in order to seek her spirituality, and to Bali, Indonesia looking for love and eventually succeeding. She takes the trip after separating from her husband and initiating divorce leaving an unsuccessful marriage behind.

Ironically, I liked the movie better (maybe as it has Julia Roberts :P). Sometimes, the story almost seems too good to be true.