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Posts Tagged ‘New York’


Grey Hornbills At Dusk
Bulbul Sharma | Aleph | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.14.21 PM“The Large Grey Babblers… are the only birds I know that can eat and argue at the same time,” notes Bulbul Sharma, a painter, birdwatcher and writer, best known for her books for young readers. Divided into – winter, spring, summer & monsoon – this book re-tracks the author’s rambles through parks and bird sanctuaries in and around Delhi. It also includes her charming sketches of our winged friends. Delhi is known for hosting as many as 450 species of birds, some of them from as far as Siberia. Get to know them, before they disappear.

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The Lost Language of Cranes
David Leavitt | Bloomsbury | Rs 350

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.15.30 PMEight years ago, David Leavitt, wrote ‘The Indian Clerk’ a fictional biography of S. Ramanujan’s tryst with G.H. Hardy, the leading mathematician of the western world just before the outbreak of WWI. ‘The Lost Language of Cranes’, first published in 1986 now re-issued, tells the story of human relations and sexual confusion of a New York family – when a son’s confession of being a homosexual forces the father to confront his own demons. It’s a complex and a brave novel, one that is bound to find resonance among Indian readers.

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Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You
Serena J. Dyer & Dr Wayne W. Dyer | Hay House | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.15.12 PMThis self-help book is a mish-mash of pop-psychology that prods the reader to listen to one’s own intuition – or song – in order to be happy and successful in life. Written by daughter-father duo it advises us to follow our dharma (interpreted here as passion or calling in life), to keep an open mind, to embrace silence, learn to solve problems, not be resentful and have courage to be what you want to be. It teaches by examples sourced from the writers’ own lives. Pick it up, if that’s what you need.

(The above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 25 January 2015)

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Being Ethical
S. Manikutty| IIM Ahmedabad Business Books & Random House| Rs 290

Does business need to be ethically neutral, not unethical, but non-ethical? Asks Manikutty in this smartly brought out reader for the Indian corporate mover and shaker. If the only social responsibility of business is to make profits, is it enough that it is done legally? That is, respecting the laws of the country you work in. What of ethics? To ask the question in another way: Is being ethical good for business? It increases credibility, generates trust, improves relationship with stakeholders, and believe it or not, can reduce cost of litigations, says the author. But is it practical? Tata’s story in India, missing in this book, could have been instructive.

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Suits
Nina Godiwalla| Hatchett India| Rs 395

There were doctors in the family and academics. But no one thought of joining the Wall Street, says Nina, as she chronicles her journey from a public school in Houston, Texas to New York’s most powerful street controlled by Ivy League brains. She arrives with her father’s warning, “A solid American job, with good benefits. Plus, prestige. Be loyal to them!” Says Nina, “I was a quick learner…I copied other people’s behaviour to fit right in.” But she couldn’t shake off her Southern accent, deny her exotic looks or fake her origin. In Texas, she admits, her family was a minority. At Stanley Morgan she was part of a gang that made unflattering comments about minorities. Candid.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, 25 December 2011)

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Freddie Mercury
Lesley-Ann Jones| Hachette India| 374 pp, Rs 595

Born in Zanzibar, modern day Tanzania, to Bomi and Jer Bulsara on a Parsi New Year’s Day in 1946, Forrokh never considered himself to be an Indian. It could be because music fans of the 1970s were not ready for a rock star with African and Indian roots, says his biographer Lesley-Ann Jones. Queen’s Indian fans may feel let down. But it is obvious from Jones’ tactfully written biography that for Freddie, music and performance came first and that’s the way it stayed till his death from AIDS in 1991. As the front man of the hugely successful rock band, Queen, Freddie Mercury’s electrical performance at Wembley’s Live Aid concert 30 years ago is still remembered as one the greatest rock acts ever. Jones captures those heady days and paints a vulnerable picture of a deeply troubled artist. The book includes extensive bibliography, discography and some candid pictures. Pick it up.

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Euphoria: The Story of Palash Sen
Ashish Kate| Harper| 249 pp, Rs 499

For some reason, artist biographies are given a short shrift in India. The publishers ignore the time and cost that research may entail and the writers fawn over their subjects rather than take trouble to mine for information and discover who they really are.  Euphoria – The Story of Palash Sen falls somewhere between the two stools. “It’s my tribute to some of the greatest rock books ever written – Dylan on Dylan for example, or Bono on Bono,” says Ashish Kate. Drawn from series of interviews the author had with the pop singer, the book is short on insights and effusive in praise. The book comes with the band’s latest album, Item, stuck clumsily on inside cover.

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The Reverse Journey| Vivek Kumar Singh| Frog Books| 122 pp, Rs 95

If you are a Hindi speaker, hail from Bihar and end up at IIT you are a ‘desi’ and if you come from a metro you’re a dude. But it all evens out when you land in USA, where every Indian is a desi trying to achieve the American dream. “I never did want to settle down in USA though I had been part of its workforce for five long years,” says Singh who worked his way up from government school in Netarhat in Jharkhand to Patna, IIT Kanpur and finally, New York. In telling his story, Singh slips into laboured monologue skipping plot, context and characters. Which gets a tad tedious.  Had he followed his own advice on how “authors should engage in dialogue” we might have been spared the ennui.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, 6 November 2011)

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