Posts Tagged ‘terror’

Tales From The Secret Annexe
Anne Frank | Hatchette India | Rs 350

“I can’t imagine having to live like…all the woman who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people,” wrote Anne Frank on the margins of her diary. The teenager’s angst now finds a new outlet in a collection of short stories, fables, reminisces and an unfinished novel, “Cady’s Life” – that were not included in the original dairy that was first published in 1947. In these writings, Anne emerges as a perceptive, often edgy, witty and compassionate writer.


Flame: The Story of My Mother Shahnaz Husain
Nelofar Currimbhoy | Hatchette India | Rs 295

In this hagiography to her mother, a daughter recounts the journey of Shahnaz Husain, the name synonymous today with the beauty saloon that she started in 1970s and the cosmetic company that she launched in early-1990s. When she started, “There was not a single product at the time in the Indian market that was geared towards serious skin care,” complains Nelofar. Shahnaz would have to convince a generation of women to give up their fascination for foreign cosmetics and give Ayurvedic products a try. And for a while she succeeded, till a scandal that revealed that that her products were not purely Ayurvedic – took the sheen off.


The Terrorist
Juggi Bhasin | Penguin Metro Reads| Rs 250

“India may or may not be a land of a million mutinies but for a decade it has been pounded by a rash of insurgencies and terrorist acts, many rising from within and still more directed from outside its shores,” writes Bhasin.  This is his first thriller. In it, he explores the complex process of human emotions and individual or organisational training that goes into making of a terrorist and a commando. Both are trained to kill and both exude high motivation. The only thing that separates them is a ‘junoon’.  But what if that was not true? Bhasin gives us a bite.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 13 May 2012)

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History of Indian Football
Nirmal Nath| Readers Service| 444 pp, Rs 995

Every major sport in India deserves its Boria Majumdar. But there are no takers. Not among writers, sportsmen or fans capable of reconstructing the story. Nor among book editors. Sad, considering the amount of newsprint that is devoted to sports pages in our newspapers and magazines. Nath appoints himself to put together the story of the most short-changed game on the continent – football. He interviews the players, administrators, coaches and collects articles and souvenir books. He dips into regional histories of clubs and teams. He lays out the draft. And that’s it. A good editor could have produced a goal-winning header out of this. Instead we are left with a deflated ball. If we had a sports editor in the book publishing industry, the story could have played out differently.


Corporate Divas
Sonia Golani| Portfolio Penguin| 229 pp, Rs 250

Corporate Divas is a work that appears to exist for reasons other than describing to us the life and times of India’s top-notch female corporate leaders. For one, Golani’s effort lacks writer’s toil, rigour and inquisitiveness. Two, her ethical and moral universe is as appealing as Coca Cola. Three, the focus seems to be to network not discover the women she interviews. The end result is a biscuit and tea boardroom resumes. Not very different from the one’s you’ll find in gushing women’s magazines. Included in the book, in Hallmark card tradition, are memorable quotes at the end of each chapter. A sample: “Hard work has no substitute. Nothing is handed over in a platter to you.”


James Steel| Avon – HarperCollins| 457 pp, Rs 299

According to publishers, Warlord is ‘an utterly gripping’ thriller that will remind readers of Fredrick Forsyth and Jack Higgins books. The book comes with content disclaimers bar-marked on the back cover that spells: terror, thrills, drama, law and order and conspiracy. There is rape too, but that’s not mentioned. The genesis of the book lies in the ongoing ethnic war in Democratic Republic of Congo and emergence of China as the largest land grabber in this part of the African continent. “In many ways the biggest clash of civilizations at the moment is not between West and Islam” but between West’s capitalism and China’s communist managed capitalism, says the writer. It’s a racy read. Well-researched.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 20 November 2011)

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