LIANE HANSEN, host:
Our summer reading series continues this week with Rekha Malhotra, a New York City-based deejay. Deejay Rekha arranged the music for "Bridge and Tunnel," last season's Obie Award-winning off-Broadway show with actress Sarah Jones. Rekha works with Pop and Politics and Breakthrough(ph), two organizations that try to promote human rights. She spreads the word on the lecture circuit, giving talks about the art of deejaying, South Asian culture and bhangra, the percussive dance music of North India and Pakistan that Rekha mixes with hip-hop beats.
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HANSEN: Deejay Rekha was born in London to parents of Indian Punjabi decent. She emigrated to the United States as a child and grew up in Queens and on Long Island. She enjoys reading New York stories with an emphasis on the politics of the downtrodden. Biju Mathew's new book falls into that category. "Taxi!: Cabs and Capitalism in New York City" traces the relationship between drivers and cab companies.
DEEJAY REKHA (Deejay, Human Rights Activist): It's well written. The danger of these kinds of books is they become a little dry or not exciting, and it becomes more like a battle cry or a protest speech or something. But so far, the book's keeping me.
HANSEN: Rekha is also drawn to stories about New Delhi, her parents' hometown. She recently finished "Babyji" by Abha Dawesar. The novel is set in Delhi in the late 1980s and follows Anamika, a high school girl whose interest in chaos theory inspires her to begin three romantic affairs with women.
DEEJAY REKHA: On the one hand, it's this very, like, cocky, smart, sexually curious and aggressive woman but also one that is uncertain and unsure about her future and how to navigate the rest of her life.
HANSEN: Rekha heard people compare the book to Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita," so she picked up the classic novel and promptly put it down.
DEEJAY REKHA: I couldn't stand it. The language is too thick. It's too flowery and too dated. So I had to put that one away.
HANSEN: New York City deejay and activist Deejay Rekha. This summer, Rekha will be on the wheels of steel at her monthly basement bhangra party in Manhattan and at Central Park's SummerStage Festival in August. Deejay Rekha's reading list and a whole library full of book recommendations from NPR critics, listeners and contributors are available at our Web site, npr.org.
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