Book rack

Holmes of The Raj Vithal Rajan
Random House, 2010, pp 277, Rs 295

Set in 1888, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson sail to India on a secret mission in the service of the Empire. The stories in this are delightful vignettes of life and politics in colonial India. Rajan breathes life into historical characters, as Holmes and Watson meets Lord Ripon, Madame Blavatsky, Francis Younghusband, Kipling and Kim himself, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Ramanujan, Tagore, Jinnah and many others.

Pirate Latitudes
Michael Crichton
HarperCollins, 2009, pp 312, Rs 250
Jamaica in 1665, a lone outpost of British power and Spanish waters in the sun-baked Caribbean. Its capital, Port Royal, a cutthroat town of taverns and bawdy houses — the last place imaginable from which to launch an attack on a nearby Spanish stronghold. Yet that is exactly what renowned privateer Captain Charles Hunter plans to do, with the connivance of Charles II’s ruling governer, Sir James Almont.

Love Stands Alone: Selections From Tamil Sangam Poetry
Translated by M L Thangappa,
Edited by A R Venkatachalapathy

Penguin, 2010, pp 202, Rs 399
Composed at the turn of the Common Era, these ancient poems translated from classical Tamil fall under two broad themes: akam, the interior, and puram, the exterior. The akam poems are concerned with love in its varied situation and the puram poems encompass all other aspects of worldly life: war, battlefields and the wisdom of bards.

The Final Question
Saratchandra Chattopadhyay
Penguin, 2010, pp 346, Rs 350
The heroine, Kamal, is exceptional for her time. She lives and travels by herself, has relationships with various men, looks suffering in the face, and asserts the autonomy of the individual. In the process, she tears apart the frame of the expatriate Bengali society of Agra, where she lives. Through her, the author questions Indian tradition and the norms of nationhood and womanhood.

Telangana: The State of Affairs
Edited by M Bharath Bhushan & N Venugopal
AdEd Value Ventures, 2009, pp 210, Rs 250

An attempt at bringing together diverse perspectives on the history and implications of the Telangana movement. The anthology comprises essays and research-backed write-ups on subjects like the Jai Telangana movement, the role of elections in stoking this movement for separation, the advent of cine stars as political entities and more.

Sacred Animals of India
Nanditha Krishna
Penguin, 2010, pp 274, Rs 299

Drawing on the ancient religious traditions of India — Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism — this book explores the customs and practices that endangered the veneration of animals in India. It also examines the traditions that gave animals in India protection, and is a reminder of the role of animal species in the earth’s biodiversity.

A Disobedient Girl
Ru Freeman
Penguin, 2010, pp 374, Rs 550

Since her orphanage days, Latha has been a companion and servant to Thara, a more fortunate girl her age. Years and miles away, Biso, a desperate young mother, flees from her murderous husband, taking her children with her to the remote hills. As Biso and Latha journey towards their separate fates, struggling to hold on to their independence, each will betray the people they love, changing the course of their lives forever.

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