Weekday Lounge Exclusive | Book picks

Weekday Lounge Exclusive | Book picks
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First Published: Sun, Jun 29 2008. 11 53 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Jun 29 2008. 11 53 PM IST
Breezy read
Week after week, since we launched in February 2007, Lounge columnist Gouri Dange has helped you cope with the travails of parenthood. She has the expertise and natural knack for understanding human failings and insecurities. In her debut novel 3, Zakia Mansion, Dange uses that knack to write the story of Shaheen, who goes through life from one heartbreak to another and ultimately finds strength and contentment by coming to terms with the burden of her memories. Dange’s language is unpretentious and conversational. Don’t look for literary gymnastics; this 163-page novel is meant to be a breeze.
Life lessons
Subroto Bagchi, CEO and ‘Gardener’ of MindTree, the IT consultancy firm that he formed in 1999, shares his life’s lessons in his second book, Go Kiss the World. His first, The High Performance Entrepreneur (2006) was a best-seller. This is more autobiographical than the first—Bagchi uses anecdotes from his personal and professional life and peppers the narrative with nuggets of wisdom that sound like clichéd guruspeak: “Our lives are like rivers—the source seldom reveals the confluence.”
Desi guide
The works of Vinay Lal, a professor of History at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), are specialized in history of the Indian diaspora across the world. His new book, The Other Indians, encompasses his research work on the emergence of the Indian community in the US, with a focus on post-1965 communities. Some of the areas he tackles are: early students and rebels; the emergence of new South Asian communities and the politics and future of Indians in the US. Written in a language and style that suit both general readers and classroom reading, Lal also includes some photographs and a useful resource guide on the subject.
About town
The colourful characters who populate No. 44 Scotland Street acquire more charm and mystery in this fourth book in a series set in this address, by Alexander McCall Smith, the Rhodesia-born, British best-selling author. Smith’s wit and canny sense of characterization is amply evident in The World According to Bertie, reminiscent of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998) and Tears of the Giraffe (2000). The title character, Bertie, is an Italian-speaking prodigy, who is smothered by his pushy mother. Residents of Edinburgh are likely to recognize many of the places mentioned in the book because Smith was inspired by Edinburgh’s New Town to write this series. This is classic Smith, and if you’re a fan, don’t miss it.
Emerging powers
Pallavi Aiyar, the Mandarin-speaking China correspondent of The Hindu, writes about China through an Indian perspective in her book, Smokes and Mirrors. It is reportage, travelogue and memoir—the hybrid genre typical of most foreign correspondent writing. Aiyar’s focus is on the contradictions that China faces today with modernity, communism and capitalism fighting to claim their role in the country’s present and future. It’s also a book about India vis-à-vis China, and she revisits the obvious and already much-discussed failings and achievements of both countries.
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First Published: Sun, Jun 29 2008. 11 53 PM IST