Sunday, May 24, 2009

Latest books reviewed ...

Message sent to on 23rd May, 2009.

Hi all,

As a new positive dawn breaks in with a new team under Dr. Manmohan Singh, we at twistntales are hopeful and quietly confident of a recovery both in the economy and in people’s spirits. Divisive trends have been kept at bay and the simple wisdom of the masses has overpowered and spoken truly!

twistntales was at the London Book fair in April this year and the experience was mind-boggling. More details and pictures of the book fair can be seen at Lots of exciting new ideas and books!!

In the meantime Kshitija and Reshma, alongwith summer trainees, Sharan and Mihir have been hard at work and have put together some wonderful reviews of new books. Lots of new books at the Store, so do drop in!

“The Razor’s Edge: Entering into the Unknown” by Osho @ Rs.375 (Pgs.614)
The Razor’s Edge?...The first step towards reality, is never looking back, however dangerous it may seem – because as questions and answers and you and I start disappearing, you will find yourself entering into a more and more unknown space. This is what Osho refers to as ‘The Razor’s Edge’.This is a book of questions and answers which tell a true story of great trust, great love and humour between Osho and those who have gathered around him again after a long separation. Fresh from their adventures and experiences as seekers alone in the marketplace, this book is full of genuine, pertinent questions and enlightened responses from Osho that will inspire each one of us to live our full potential and risk walking on the razor’s edge of life.

“The Winner Stands Alone” by Paulo Coelho @ Rs.325/- (Pgs.373)
Igor Malev, a Russian millionaire, handsome, and effortlessly personable is a man of rare intensity and cold intelligence but he has one thing on his mind – his ex-wife Ewa who leaves him for Hamid, a successful fashion designer. Igor has not recovered from this sting. So, he travels to the glamorous Cannes International Film Festival where they’ll be appearing, intent on winning her back. Amid the luxury and excess of the new Superclass – the ultimate winners in the hedonistic game of modern life – he begins a 24 hour campaign of extraordinary violence.
Even with his intensity and his cold intelligence, this is to be no ordinary reconciliation…because he made a promise to destroy whole worlds to get to his beloved.
What happens when obsession turns to murder?

“Six Attitudes For Winners” by Norman Vincent Peale @ Rs.150/- (Pgs.136)
From the author of international bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking comes a new book- Six Attitudes for Winners. Dr. Peale believes that attitudes are the keys to success. This book is a practical guide to boost these attitudes. Dr. Peale covers six attitudes, namely positive, courageous, enthusiastic, peaceful, confident and expectant. This book gives the secrets of these winning attitudes.

“Nautch Girls of the Raj” by Pran Nevile @ Rs.250/- (Pgs.136)
The nautch girl, celebrated for her beauty as well as virtuosity, belonged to a class of courtesans in eighteenth and nineteenth century India. The nautch girl was no ordinary woman of pleasure. A synthesis of different cultures, she had refined manners, a ready wit and poetry in her blood and catered to the elite who had the time, inclination and resources to enjoy her accomplishments.
Over the centuries, however, this image of the nautch girl has been distorted over the years. This book traces the emergence of the nautch girl from the Mughal era, when she reached the peak of her talent and charisma, to the British Raj when her popularity and status among the English sahibs and the Indian aristocracy reached a new high. Beautifully illustrated with reproductions and drawings, this book offers a glimpse into the seductive world of nautch in its days of glory. Pran Nevile, a specialist in the study of social and cultural history of India has brought the nautch girl to life.

“Tata Nano: The People’s Car” by Pradeep Thakur @ Rs.99/- (Pgs.198)
The anticipation amongst the people has been rising ever since Ratan Tata announced his intention to produce a people’s car. An affordable car, a transition from two wheels to four, has long been a dream of the middle class.
This book brings together every fact about the Nano, from production problems, to technical specifications, cosmetic attractions, and performance ratings. It also goes on to list probable rival cars that have been announced or are on the anvil, how they are expected to compare with the Nano, world reactions and more.
Compact and precise, this book wills the reader every last fact on the Nano.

“The Bin Ladens: Oil, Money, Terrorism & Secret Saudi World” by Steve Coll @ Rs.350/- (Pgs.671)
One of the most closed, unaccountable countries on Earth, little known about…This world that created Osama...This world where the Bin Ladens were shrouded in secrecy – until now. Steve Coll, a prize-winning journalist interviewed those closest to the family who rose from Yemeni peasants to jet setting millionaires in two generations. In this gripping account, he reveals a Saudi Arabia torn between religious purity and the temptations of the West, telling a story of oil, money, power, patronage and dangerous cultural extremes.
Using the prism of one family to examine the mind-boggling, culture-rocking effects that sudden oil wealth had on Saudi Arabia, this book explains a great deal about the tentacles that run from Riyadh to touch a wider world, tentacles of corruption, ambition, hedonism and dislocation.
Riveting…Enthralling…a classic saga, grippingly told! It’s the most psychologically detailed portrait of the brutal 9/11 mastermind yet.

“Snuff” by Chuck Palahniuk @ Rs.270/- (Pgs.197)
Here is a writer continually pushing at the boundaries of literature…thus this is what you can expect from him – writing at breakneck pace, with a relentlessly compelling style drawing you inexorably towards the ultimate car crash of a climax.
The INDEPENDENT says ‘Snuff is a Chernobyl of taboos…like Tom Wolfe on acid, poppers and speed…The Bonfire of the Inanities. Once you have come down and mopped up the vomit, you will be glad you snorted this particular snuff”
Unfolding from the perspectives of Mr 72, Mr 137 and Mr 600, who await their turn on camera in a very crowded green room…This book speaks about Cassie Wright, a porn princess, intending to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication. On camera! With six hundred men!

“Brushes With History: An Autobiography” by Krishna Kumar Birla with a foreword by Sonia Gandhi @ Rs.550/- (Pgs.665)
Brushes with History brings alive an important era in the life of the Nation, its changing social mores, evolving principles of corporate governance and enduring family values. Shobhana Bhartia, K.K. Birla’s daughter, acquaints readers with her father’s spiritual strength and moral values, which were an integral part of his life.
“KK’s” memoir is imbued with a towering humility and sense of discipline which strikes one as all the more impressive in the context of the House of Birla being an inextricably interwoven part of the success of the Indian struggle for Independence and the formative evolution of our young nation state…there is not a single boastful or smug moment in this book rich with impression, sketches and personalities.
In a life spanning nine decades, K.K. Birla the son of the legendary Ghanshyam Das Birla, witnessed events that shaped India in the twentieth century and had close associations with iconic figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Madan Mohan Malviya, Jayaprakash Narayan, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Being the head of one of India’s leading business houses, he embraced principles in which the creation of wealth, philanthropy and political leadership were all regarded as part of nation-building. Here is a life that definitely brushed and even shook history.

“Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work for You – At Work and In Life” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. @ Rs.325/- (Pgs.102)
‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes’ - Proust
On one rainy evening in New York, Michael Brown hurried to meet Ann Carr who was to help him deal with his difficult time. She didn’t quite turn out to be what he expected her to be. She was upbeat and full of energy instead. She then told him a story that changed his life.
Peaks and Valleys is a story of a young man who lives unhappily in a valley until he meets an old man who lives on a peak, and it changes his work and life forever. Initially, the young man does not realize he is talking with one of the most peaceful and successful people in the world. However, through a series of conversations and experiences that occur up on peaks and down in valleys, the young man comes to make some startling discoveries. Eventually, he comes to understand how he can use the old man’s remarkable principles and practical tools in good and bad times and becomes more calm and successful himself.- ‘The errors you make in today’s good times create tomorrow’s bad times’ similarly ‘The wise things you do in today’s bad times create tomorrow’s good times’

“Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul” by Jack Canfield @ Rs.250/- (Pgs.210) (so also for the Coffee Lover and Tea Lover)
This book is a must read for all the chocolate lovers in the world. This book has true short stories of romance and friendship that are flavoured with all the chocolate flavours available. As one reaches the end of the book, one realizes that in every way chocolate plays an important role in every chocolate lover’s life.
A sweet warning to every chocolate lover; before opening the book, keep your favourite chocolate treat with you, because life is too short to live without chocolate!

“Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett @ Rs.550/- (Pgs.330)
Spirit Level goes to the heart of the apparent contradiction between the material success and social failings of many modern societies, but it does not simply provide a key to diagnosing our ills. It tells us how to shift the balance from self-interested ‘consumerisms’ to a friendlier and more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems, which beset us and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone. It is, in its conclusion, an optimistic book, which should revitalize politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organize human communities.
It is common knowledge that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Large inequalities of income are likewise often regarded as divisive and corrosive.
This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years’ research, goes an important stage beyond either of these ideas: it demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them – the well-off as well as the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare the conditions of different societies.

“Sacred Places: Sites of Spiritual Pilgrimage from Stonehenge to Santiago de Compostela” by Philip Carr-Gomm @ Rs.899/- (Pgs.255) (Coffee Table)
From the earliest times, journeys to sacred places or shrines undertaken as acts of religious veneration or penance have been a feature of religious observance. Whether for reasons of divine providence, immemorial tradition or sheer visual power, certain locations have long been imbued with a sense of spiritual significance.
Involving, instructive and steeped in spiritual insight, Sacred Places offers a dramatic and distinctive perspective on more than six millennia of world history. Many of the world’s holiest sanctuaries and landscapes are here examined in a series of concise, informative and lavishly illustrated essays.
Philip Carr-Gomm tells the stories of 50 sacred sites across all five continents, including sites venerated by all of the major religions.

“Wired For War: The Robotics Revolution & Conflicts in The 21st Century” by P.W.Singer @ Rs.1345 (Pgs.499)
What happens when science fiction starts to become reality on the battlefield?
A military expert reveals how technology is changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. In this book, P.W. Singer explores the greatest revolution in military affairs since the atom bomb – the dawn of robotic warfare.
We are on the cusp of a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot and the Terminator. More than twelve thousand robotic systems are now deployed in Iraq. Pilots sitting in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. Scientists are debating just how smart – and how lethal – to make their robotic creations. And many of the most renowned science fiction authors are quietly consulting for the Pentagon on the next generation.
Moving humans off the battlefield makes wars easier to start but more complex to fight. Replacing men with machines may save some lives, but will lower the moral and psychological barriers to killing.
Paradoxically, these new technologies will also bring war to our doorstep. As other nations and even terrorists start to build or buy their own robotic weapons, this revolution could even undermine America’s military pre-eminence.

“Love Stories from the Raj” by Pran Nevile @ Rs.299/- (Pgs.220)
Rich in historical and human interest, Raj literature comprising journals, diaries and memoirs provides a rare insight into British social life in India. Embedded in its numerous volumes are lively accounts of the private lives of sahibs and memsahibs interspersed with entertaining episodes and incidents. Modern writers in the recent spate of books on the Raj have tried to reconstruct this period of history from various aspects. They have, however, paid little attention to the love life of the white community to which this collection of twenty three stories is exclusively devoted.
Love Stories from the Raj is a treasury of tales engagingly narrated by witnesses of a vibrant and extraordinary era.
Quick glances, surreptitiously passed love letters, bold escapades, young maidens brought in by the shipload – the years of the Raj, with their ambitious young swashbuckling sahibs, begums and bibis, were anything but dull. There was romance in the air and passions overrode racial constraints, casting aside propriety and rules, creating memorable stories that almost defy imagination.

“A Better India A Better World” by N R Narayana Murthy @ Rs.499/- (Pgs.290)
With one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world and an array of recent achievements in technology, industry and entrepreneurship, India strides confidently towards the future. But, in the world’s largest democracy, not everyone is equally fortunate. More than 300 million Indians are still prey to hunger, illiteracy and disease, and 51 per cent of India’s children are still undernourished.
What will it take for India to bridge this great divide? When will the fruits of development reach the poorest of the poor, and wipe the tears from the eyes of every man, woman and child, as Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt? And how should this, our greatest challenge ever, be negotiated?
In this honest, bold and remarkably well-argued book, N.R.Narayana Murthy, who pioneered, designed and executed the Global Delivery Model that has become the cornerstone of India’s success in information technology services outsourcing, shows us that a society working for the greatest welfare of the greatest number – samasta jananam sukhino bhavantu – must focus on two simple things: values and good leadership. Drawing on the remarkable Infosys story and the lessons learnt from the two decades of post-reform India, Narayana Murthy lays down the ground rules that must be followed if future generations are to inherit a truly progressive nation.

“Toll the Hounds” by Steven Erikson @ Rs.350/- (Pgs.1295)
It is said that Hood waits at the end of every plot, every scheme, each grandiose ambition. But this time the Lord of Death is there at the beginning.. Darujhistan swelters and seethes with portents, rumours and whispers. Strangers have arrived, a murder, and assassins are targeting the owners of K’rul Bar. But such events will be dwarfed by what is about to happen- for in the distance can be heard the baying hounds. And in distant Black Coral, the ruling Tiste Andii appear oblivious to the threat posed by the cult of the Redeemer- an honourable, once mortal man who seems powerless against the twisted vision of his followers. So Hood stands at the beginning of a conspiracy that will shake the cosmos, but at the end there waits another: Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness, has come to right an ancient and terrible wrong..
In this book, Erikson has created a world that is both absorbing on human level and full of magic sublimity. Erikson has fluidly combined a sense of mythic power and depth of world with fully realized characters and thrilling action.

“The Road of Jerusalem” by Jan Guillou @ Rs.250/- (Pgs.383)
Arn de Gothia, the man who would become the Great Crusader, began his life in a monastery, fulfilling a promise made by his mother. While he did absorb some scholarly lessons, he learnt far more from a former Knight Templar. Arn became a swordsman, an excellent horseman and was a natural fighter.
Once released from the safe surroundings to the world, Arn’s innocence and strength propelled him into remarkable difficulties. His country was at war, rival families including his own striving for the crown and no one had expected him ever to emerge from the monastery to claim his heritage. The penalties imposed for transgressing rules were fierce. In his case, banishment to join the Knight’s Templar, The crusader was born.
Jan Guillou was born in Sweden in January 1944. He made his name as a journalist and rose to fame when he exposed a secret intelligence organization, was convicted of espionage and spent 10 months in prison, 5 of which were spent in solitary confinement. He is now a best selling novelist and writes regularly for Sweden’s leading tabloid, commenting on current affairs.

“The Armchair Economist; Economics and Everyday Life” by Steven E. Landsburg @ Rs.465/- (Pgs.241)
Ever wondered why popcorn cost so much at the movies? OR
When does it make sense not to recycle? OR
Why are laws against polygamy detrimental to women? …All such questions are answered here. This book is a compendium of essays about how economists think. It is about the things that we find mysterious, why we find them mysterious, and how we try to understand them.
Steven E. Landsburg examines everything from taxes, unemployment and illiteracy to the mating game, the death penalty and environmentalism to solve the puzzling questions that occur in daily living. Both controversial and humorous, The Armchair Economist demystifies the economics of everyday behaviour, and shows how the laws of economics can reveal themselves in surprising ways.
Put your convictions to the test with THIS BOOK!

“India and the Global Financial Crisis” by Y.V. Reddy @ Rs. 595/- (Pgs.397)
Using his enormous technical expertise in the areas of monetary policy and applying it judiciously to a growth environment as in India, Y.V.Reddy has brilliantly managed to balance growth imperatives with stability. The author, currently Professor Emeritus of the University of Hyderabad, was Governor of RBI between September 2003 and September 2008, a period of rapid growth of the Indian Economy as well as extraordinary challenges for the conduct of monetary policy. He has earned universal acclaim for managing, as Governor, India’s calibrated financial integration with the global economy.
This collection of essays provides insights into the making of public policies across as spectrum of areas during those years and gives a close view of the dynamics that are played out behind the scenes.
Ever since the financial crises erupted in the USA in 2007 and spread to the rest of the world, there has been an interest in India’s management of a financial sector that has facilitated growth and has yet maintained stability.
What contributed to this situation? What was the RBI’s perspective and what were its policies? This volume attempts to answer these questions and also providing a comprehensive account of the events that led to the global financial crisis, the policy responses, the directions for future reforms and an Indian approach to meeting the challenges of contagion from the turmoil.

“Mom in Chief; How Wisdom from the Workplace Can Save Your Family from Chaos” by Jamie Woolf @ Rs.350/- (Pgs.262)
Mom-in-Chief is filled with real-life stories, in-the-trenches strategies, and interactive assessment tools that clearly show how proven workplace techniques can increase your family’s bottom line for happiness. Drawing from her two decades of experience, Jamie Woolf offers her “best practices” that will help you improve your communication, create a healthy family culture, discover your parent leadership style, manage crises, and thrive during your child’s adolescence.
She reminds us that leading a family doesn’t mean churning out living masterpieces or indulging children with the perfect everything. It means inspiring without pushing your own agenda, nurturing without micromanaging, encouraging without aiming to win a best-of-show competition, and expecting the best without ignoring the joy of childhood.

“Who Said So? The Questions Revolutionary Businesses Ask That Make Them Successful” by Michael E. Parker @ Rs.350/- (Pgs.192)
Michael E.Parker is President and C.E.O of Stellar Enterprise. Previously, he worked for Toyota, implementing Lean principles throughout the company’s North American operations. He frequently delivers seminars of Lean management to companies outside of the manufacturing arena and is the founder of the Value – Centred Management Institute.
This book systematically helps you in creating a supporting infrastructure and leading your employees through the complex and chaotic process of implementing this vital change. Anyone who manages a team, organizations, etc. will receive valuable and practical information woven in an easy-to-read tale. Who Said So is a well written, engaging parable about the application of Lean concepts to a service organization.

“The Secret Language of Business” by Kevin Hogan @ Rs.350/- (Pgs.227)
“Great leaders don’t just talk; they communicate. Through words, body language and energy. I consider ‘The Secret Language of Business’ a must-read for anyone looking to enhance their leadership and communication skills.” – Jon Gordon, international bestselling author of The Energy Bus.
The secret language of business is nonverbal communication, but nonverbal communication is not simply body language. This book gives the detailed information about body language. Everyone conveys information through body language, knowingly or unknowingly. Kevin Hogan, not only explains if you are ‘Receiver’, but also explains the points if you are ‘Sender’ of a message. If you want to understand the real communication of business, study this book from page to page.

“Recess” by Palash Krishna Mehrotra @ Rs.450/- (Pgs.355)
This book brings together over 50 moving and human accounts of school covering a period of 200 years, as seen through the eyes of some of the finest minds India has produced – from hal Behari Dey and Dayananda Saraswati to Premchand and Harivansh Rai Bachchan, from Andre Beteille and Nisad Chaudhuri to Vikram Seth and Amit Chaudhari, from Ismat Chugtai and Sheila Dhar to Dilip Simeon and Shuddhabrata Sengupta.
This collection casts a very clear and unsentimental eye over a familiar childhood background, reminding us of our own schooldays. This book is indeed the definitive record of the Indian experience of school for years to come.

“Eat My Globe” by Simon Majumdar @ Rs.295/- (Pgs.278)
Simon’s world revolves around food all the time. He has a culinary obsession and is thus on a mission to eat the best food in the world, all of it, even the oddly shaped bits.
In this book, Simon has shared his search of the ultimate taste experience where he tries steaming pots of crayfish in Iceland, intestines in Argentina, delectable candied aubergine in China and the infamous Philly cheese steak in the US.
During this experience, Simon has met street vendors and farmers to deli kings and fancy chefs also fellow obsessives who devote their lives to food and welcome him into their kitchens.

“The Illustrated History of the Freedom Struggle” by Pavan K.Varma @ Rs.1499/- (Pgs.143) Coffee Table
A stunning visual record of India’s struggle for independence!
This elegant volume attempts to chronicle, for the first time ever, the visual moments of the movement that changed the history of India. The culmination of over a hundred years of striving that had claimed thousands of lives, the Indian freedom movement was a struggle marked by remarkable leadership, personal integrity and terrible sacrifice. It was the first non-violent mass movement that over threw an empire.
With a though provoking introduction by Pavan K. Varma, who enumerates the enduring legacies of the freedom movement, this book is replete with photographs, maps, newspaper clippings and letters sourced from various archives, museums and libraries from India and abroad.
The richly illustrated pages take you from the decades prior to the Revolt of 1857 to the Independence of India on 15 August 1947 and to the formation of the Republic of India.
This book is a must have for anyone who believes that when it comes to chronicling the epochal events of a nation’s history, a picture is worth a thousand words.

“The Case of the Missing Servant” by Tarquin Hall @ Rs.430/- (Pgs.312)
MEET Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator. Portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swathe through modern India’s swindlers, cheats and murderers. His main work though comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But everything goes for a turn when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant and it takes all of Puri’s resources to investigate.
How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion?
Who is taking potshots at him and his prize chilli plants?
And WHY is his widowed ‘Mummy-ji’ attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows Mummies are not detectives?
Tubelight, Flush and Facecream are part of his team of undercover operatives, and with Puri who ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago…long before ‘that Johnny-come-lately’ Sherlock Holmes donned his deerstalker!
In his search for Mary, taking him to the desert oasis of Jaipur and the remote mines of Jharkhand, from his Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, Puri’s adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity.

“Your Heart Belongs To Me” by Dean Koontz @ Rs.250/- (Pgs.337)
At 34, Ryan Perry never expected to find himself on a waiting list for a heart transplant, with time running out. So when miraculously he receives a new heart and the transplant is a success, thinking his troubles are over, a year later he never felt so good about his life, but then he starts to receive heart shaped gifts from an unknown person. Suddenly, $100,000 disappears from his bank account, and he finds them donated to the cardiology department of the local hospital.
And then comes a terrifying threat: ‘Everything he has – his money, his reputation, his friends etc will get ripped away from him’. He is promised a nightmare death. In grave danger, alone with his beating heart and its secrets, can Ryan unlock the mystery of the enemy who threatens his very existence?
Prepare for the unexpected in this compelling and fast-paced thriller from the master of suspense.

New books

1. “Ernesto Che Guevara; Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War” by Aleida Guevara @ Rs.295/- (Pgs.314)
2. “Radical Trust” by Joe Healey @ Rs.350/- (Pgs.224)
3. “The Girl Who Played with Fire” by Stieg Larsson @ Rs.299/- (Pgs.649)
4. “First Family” by David Baldacci @ Rs.470/- (Pgs.452)
5. “Arctic Drift” by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler @ Rs.390/- (Pgs.515)
6. “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson @ Rs.595/- (Pgs.442)
7. “Atlas of Unknowns” by Tania James @ Rs.660/- (Pgs.319)
8. “The Speaking Tree; Celebrating the Festivals of India” by Times of India @ Rs.200/- (Pgs.187)
9. “The Paris Enigma” by Pablo De Santis @ Rs.295/- (Pgs.324)
10. “Marley; A Dog Like No Other” by John Grogan @ Rs.150/- (Pgs.208)
11. “Train Your Brain More” by Dr.Kawashima @ Rs. 199/- (Pgs.187)
12. “Cultural Histories of Central Asia” Ed. by Rashmi Doraiswamy @ Rs. 595/-

Lots more books making their way into the Store everyday. Do drop in and check it out !

From the team at twistntales,

No comments: