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Book picks

Book picks
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First Published: Tue, Sep 09 2008. 01 09 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Sep 09 2008. 01 09 AM IST
British author and journalist Fred Pearce was in India in the first week of September to promote his new book, Confessions of an Eco Sinner.
The germ of the book was ambitious: Pearce surveyed “the stuff”—coffee, cellphone, socks, the food in his refrigerator—at his London home and set out to track their journeys from raw material to consumer product and measure the damage that each of these stages have caused to the environment. The result is engrossing reportage and some surprises along the way. Pearce travels to Alaska, Africa, Bangladesh and other countries for the book.
(Click here to watch slideshow of selected books)
Confessions of an Eco Sinner:
By Fred Pearce,
Eden Project Books,
400 pages, Rs695.
Franz Kafka, one of the most famous 20th century writers of the German language, is known to us as the man who transformed a man to a cockroach (in his most celebrated work, Metamorphosis). James Hawes, a novelist himself, contends that Kafka is known by a handful of such images that have perpetrated through a vast body of writing on him. Hawes paints a human, fallible portrait—son of an affluent family, a man who enjoys some fame during his lifetime, who frequented brothels and was hooked to Opals, a pornography magazine. The Financial Times descries Hawes’ effort as “brisk and intriguing”.
Excavating Kafka:
By James Hawes,
382 pages,Rs699.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman helped us understand the globalized world in his 2005 best-seller The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. In his new, Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why we need a Green Revolution and how we can renew our global future, Friedman addresses the climate change crisis that faces the world today and suggests ways to overcome it and indeed, prevent more of it. The strategy should be “Geo-Greenism”, he says, in the “Energy-Climate” era. As in all his writings, Friedman shifts the onus of correcting the wrongs on the US and says that the US should lead in a urgent, desperate attempt to to save our future.
Hot, Flat and Crowded:
By Thomas Friedman,Penguin,448 pages,Rs595.
BBC’s Daniel Lak has covered the region for two decades and draws on his reportage, observation and insight about the Indian states and their diverse people to conclude that India is poised to become “Asia’s America”. Lak is optimistic because of the success of India’s multiparty democracy and coalition government, both of which, he says, are hallmarks of an evolved democracy. He combines statistics, history, interviews, anecdotes and commentary in this book that travels from the ghats of Varanasi, to the campus of IIT Kharagpur to a polling booth in rural Bihar.
India Express:
By Daniel Lak,Penguin,336 pages, Rs499.
Anna Taggert, the protagonist of Schooled by New York-based writer Anisha Lakhani is a Manhattan chick lit title somewhat in the tradition of the Nanny Diaries. A new Columbia graduate decides to let go of a financially lucrative career to take up teaching in a Manhattan school. She is soon disappointed by pushy mothers and decides to make some money. She makes a profession out of doing homework for rich children. Heartbreak and shopping sprees ensue when Anna gives in to the high fashion and socializing. The book has been variously described by American critics: “darkly comic”, “hilarious”, “breezy”, etc.
Schooled :
By Anisha Lakhani,
Hyperion,368 pages, Rs595.
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First Published: Tue, Sep 09 2008. 01 09 AM IST