Archive for the ‘Children Books’ Category

The Best Thing About You is You!
Anupam Kher | Hey House| Rs 399

“I have found, that unhappiness is a great leveler,” says Kher in this pocketbook of schmaltzy advice on happiness, unfulfilled relationships and regret. Remember Rudyard Kipling? Arthur Miller? Francois de la Rochefoucauld? Never mind if you don’t. Kher brings them – and many others – on board, through a sprinkling of quotes here and there, while flitting between dispensing self-absorbed truisms and reflecting sporadically on his life as theatre and film actor. This is Brand Anupam – a modern day celeb guru of hope and love – beaming at you beatifically and saying, “In time of change, we all seek the same old wisdom but from new-age gurus. That is why we need life-coaching books in stores.”


Wild Child
Paro Anand| Puffin Books| Rs 150

In this collection of 10 tender stories, the author gets under the skin of teenagers to talk about contemporary life and events in modern day India. Things we often skim over, hoping the horror, hurt and humiliation would fade, disappear. A 10-year-old boy gets his nose rubbed in the dust by his classmates for being Muslim in post 26/11 Mumbai. He returns home to ask his parents, “Why didn’t you tell me about religion before, were you ashamed?” A girl breaks down in a class when a teacher decides to discuss the issue of domestic violence. How can she tell that her father beats her mother? In Paro Anand our children are not mute spectators. They have a voice.


Gaurav Rastogi & Basab Pradhan| Penguin| Rs 499

Offshore business model, argue the authors, is not going anywhere it is the future of work. But, unlike automotive industry that judges its profits and solidity by numbers of car units sold, or telephone companies that count monies by number of minutes clocked, offshore companies work in ‘abstract’ terms. Terms that cannot be counted except maybe for two things, increase in employee headcount and two, increase in billings. If our business outsourcing companies are to grow, new revenue models need to be invented. It cannot suck the benign tax regime in India forever. In fact, the tax holiday is expiring, say the authors. Looks like its time for our BPO and IT industry to roll up its sleeves.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 22 January 2012)

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Mother, Maiden, Mistress
Bhawna Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli | Harper Collins | Rs 299

Charting the role of women actors in Hindi cinema from 1950 to 2010 is no mean task. To define it, and bring out the nuances, is even tougher. The problem with the writers of this loftily titled book is that while they are able to reconstruct the timeline, they struggle with the multiple-questions that rise from within. The fault lies in the structure of the book and its flimsy narrative.  The chapters are divided by decades. And the roles essayed by women actors are viewed through the mythological looking glass. First person narrative is included in form of six insipid interviews. Rest is a role-call.


The Diary of Amos Lee
Adeline Foo | Hatchette India | Rs 195

‘Growing up’ is serious business. And no one understands it better than writers who write books for children. It’s not easy to get under the skin of a teenager. But Adeline Foo does it with aplomb, helped in good measure by animated illustrations provided by Stephanie Wong. This is the third illustrated diary in the series that describes the ups and downs in a life of a primary school boy student, Amos Lee. In this book, Foo deals with the ambitions, the envy and the impact of modern technology, in particular, twitter and facebook has on the mind of a young hipster.


Chittagong Summer of 1930
Manoshi Bhattacharya | Harper Collins | Rs 450

Nearly 12 years after the publication of Manini Chatterjee’s celebrated Do or Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34 comes a book that charts a similar territory. The two books are, however, very different from each other in one respect. If Chaterjee’s book broke new ground by reconstructing the revolutionary motive and ethos that drove the movement and thereby forced a reassessment of history, Bhattacharya’s book romanticizes it. From the word go, Bhattacharya is driven by ‘bringing to life’ the people that rebelled against the British and were labeled as ‘traitors’. Curiously, Bhattacharya’s book makes no mention of Chatterjee’s seminal work. Not even in the bibliography.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 20 May 2012)

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