Stones to School
Greg Mortenson
Penguin, 2009, pp 420, £12.99
In this dramatic story, the author recounts his ongoing efforts to establish schools for girls in Afghanistan; his extraordinary work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005; and the unique ways he has built relationships with Islam clerics, militia commanders and tribal leaders, even as he was dodging shoot-outs with feuding Afghan warlords and surviving an eight-day armed abduction by the Talibans.


A Necklace of Skulls
Eunice De Souza
Penguin, 2009, pp 119, Rs 199
Compelling and succinct, this collection of poems dwells on the themes of love, relationships and family. Through her poetry, the author explores the dependency of lovers and the fraught relationships between parents and their children.

A Game of Chess: Classic Assamese Stories
Edited by Dhirendra Nath Bezboruah
Penguin, 2009, pp 285, Rs 275
From the sensitive portrayal of a father’s relationship with his daughter of marriageable age in Dhirendra Nath’s ‘Bats’ to the woman-centric ‘A Nymph of the Desert’ by Arupa Patangia Kalita; from Apurba Sarma’s story of the legendary king Vikramaditya and Monica, a modern, trophy wife, this collection brings together stories which, with their simplicity and variety of themes, bring out the most poignant aspects of life in its myriad forms.

The Foreigner
Arun Joshi
Orient, 2009, pp 192, Rs 225
The story of a young man who is detached, almost alienated — a man who sees himself as a stranger wherever he lives or goes. His detachment transcends barriers of geography, nationality and culture. It propels him from one crisis to another, sucking in the wake of several other people, including June, an attractive American with whom he has a shortlived affair.

India Yatra
Places We Have Never Been, People We Will Never Meet
Edited by Neelesh Misra & Zara Murao
HarperCollins, 2009, pp 156, Rs 299
This book presents a picture of the country with remarkable clarity, without getting lost in the maze of its complexity. As India negotitiates this critical period of rising awareness an d an intensifying struggle for access to the benefits of growth, this collection assumes a significance that goes beyond the immediate reality.

Anklets at Sunset
Ministhy Dileep
Dronequill, 2009, pp 140, Rs 225
Sitting on the park bench the three men were old enough to attract no more than the occasional snide comparison to the monkeys that spoke no evil, heard no evil and saw no evil. But they had seen, and continued to see around them, little else.

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