Shah Jahan:
The Rise and Fall of The Mughal Emperor
Fergus Nicoll

Penguin, 2009, pp 332, Rs 899
Khurram Shah Jahan ruled the Mughal Empire from 1628 to 1659. His reign marked the cultural zenith of the Mughal dynasty: a period of multiculturalism, poetry, fine art and stupendous architecture. This is the story of an enlightened despot, a king who dispensed largesse to favoured courtiers but ignored plague in the countryside. The author has reconstructed this intriguing tale from contemporary biographies, edicts and correspondences.

From Raj to Swaraj
The Non-Fiction Film in India
B D Garga
Penguin, 2009, pp, Rs 695
This book traces the century-old history of newsreels and documentaries in the country. Beginning with an account of the early works of people who pioneered the newsreel, the author goes on to describe what were among the first non-fiction films. Post-independence, he throws light on the role of Films Division and on the work of those who have created a sound base for future filmmakers.

The Phantom Rickshaw & Other Eerie Tales
Rudyard Kipling
Penguin, 2009, pp 170, Rs 199
This collection brings together seven of Kipling’s most loved short stories. One of the greatest short story writers in the English language, Kipling draws us into the British India of the late 1800s, a time when love and hate, fact and fiction, faith and fear mingled to create tales of unsurpassed eeriness and haunting brilliance.

Tiya: A Parrot’s Journey Home
HarperCollins, 2009, pp 174, Rs 150
The perky parrot Tiya’s secure world is shattered when he hears an unknown voice urging him to leave his home, the old banyan tree. Written by a monk, this is an imaginative rendering of Vedantic and Yogic philosophy. Yet there are no sermons, only the story of a simple parrot and his formless mentor.

Bollywood Becomes Her
Meredith McGuire
Tranquebar, 2009, pp 314, Rs 295
Her newly acquired Ivy League degree has taken American Meg Smith straight back to where she started: her old bedroom in her parents’ Bay Area house, watching ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. As Meg veers between self-assurance and self-flaggelation, she realises that the search for an identity is as difficult in a sari as in cut-offs.

Pilgrimage to Paradise: Sufi Tales from Rumi
Kamla K Kapur
Penguin, 2009, pp 158, Rs 200
The difficulty of escaping the many deceptions of the world, the inevitability of death and the all-forgiving power of love are just some of the themes that fascinate the great mystic Rumi, whose works are among the greatest treasures of Persian literature. This collection brings together 30 stories from the ‘Mathnawi’, recreated by Kamla.