Book Rack

Book Rack

Johnny Gone Down

Karan Bajaj
HarperCollins, 2010, pp 311, Rs 99
Nikhil Arya has fallen. Once, he was an Ivy League scholar with a promising future at NASA. Now, at 40, he is broke, homeless, and just minutes away from blowing his brains out in a diabolical modern-day joust. It wasn’t meant to be this way.

Secret Spaces
Aruna Chakravarti
Zubaan, 2010, pp 225, Rs 250
A collection of short stories that recreates the hidden secret spaces of women’s lives, narratives of sexual assault, illicit liaisons and child abuse. The protagonists are strong women — generally without men — who conspire to conceal family secrets and shield the vulnerable. In some of the stories, the very houses that the characters live in become the site as well as the metaphor for the hidden spaces of the mind.

Beatrice and Virgil
Yann Martel
Penguin, 2010, pp, Rs 450
When Henry, a writer wants to write a book about the Holocaust, finds a letter from an elderly taxidermist on his doormat, it poses a puzzle that he can’t resist. As he is pulled into the world of this strange man, he gets increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey — named Beatrice and Virgil.

The Life and Times of Baba Ramdev
Ashok Raj
Hay House, 2010, pp 236, Rs 399
Baba Ramdev’s emergence as the new ideologue of a national and global spiritual resurgence is considered by many as a curious phenomenon. This work is a study on the making of the Ramdev spectacle with all its inescapable assertiveness, mass enthusiasm and controversies.

Striker, Stopper
Moti Nandy
Translated by Arunava Sinha
Hachette, 2010, pp 200, Rs 250
Both novellas capture the heady highs and the crushing lows, the heroism and the ignominy, of sport. Yet it is always the game, the action on the field, that is the real hero of these classic football stories.

Perfect Eight
Reema Moudgil
Tranquebar, 2010, pp 252, Rs 200
Learning from her mother to “smell grief before it struck,” the protagonist of this book carries with her a part of her mother’s partitioned spirit and her father’s indestructible love for life. A story that travels from Lahore to Kanpur to an Assamese cantonment to Patiala to Ambrosa to Bangalore, through floods and communal riots, proving that what began with Partition continues to play itself out decades after India’s soul and its people were divided.

Milestones:
A Memoir
Indrani Jagjivan Ram
Penguin, 2010, pp 297, Rs 550
The heartwarming story of Indrani Devi’s life unfolds with her happy childhood, her education, the political rumblings in the 1920s, and her family’s interest in the freedom movement. This is also her account of her great visionary, one who worked tirelessly for the marginalised.

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