Martyn Goff has been a powerful force in the British literary world for nearly 40 years—from humble beginnings behind the counter of a bookshop in St Leonards-on- Sea to masterminding the Booker Prize. He is now in his mid-80s, and has finally handed over administration of the Booker. In this book, Goff lays bare the stories that have punctuated his career, including the ego clashes behind closed doors and the tantrums that he has either discreetly brushed under the carpet or, more likely, leaked to the press. With a cast of characters that reads like a who’s who of British literature, Booker Man is funny and illuminating.
Booker Man: By Martyn Goff, Simon & Schuster, Rs807.
King of magic
Handcuff king, escape artist, superstar—even 80 years after his death, Harry Houdini’s magic continues to captivate generations. Renowned magic expert William Kalush and best-selling writer Larry Sloman have teamed up to reveal the man behind the myth, from the passions that drove Houdini to perform dangerous feats to his secret life as a spy. After years of struggling on the dime museum circuit, Houdini got a break that put him in the spotlight— performing for royalty. At a time when spy agencies frequently co- opted amateurs, he went to London and developed a relationship with a man who would later run the MI-5. The Secret Life of Houdini traces the magician’s journey from poverty to fame, and initiates readers into the arcane world of professional magic.
The Secret Life of Houdini—The Making of the World’s Greatest Mystifier: By William Kalush and Larry Sloman, Pocket Books, Rs433.
What are the secret messages encrypted in the world’s most baffling codes? As code makers improved, code breakers became more sophisticated. This book is about the great codes that got away, whose untold secrets have eluded the world’s best code breakers. In Can You Crack the Enigma Code? Richard Belfield looks at some of the most difficult codes in history that have withstood years of investigation and shows the reader how they, too, can learn to solve or create almost any code. Belfield also devises a brand new code, which is a challenge to the reader.
Can You Crack the Enigma Code? By Richard Belfield,Orion, Rs407.
This book is a thrilling ride for curious minds. What would happen if you fell into a black hole? What’s the best way of finding someone who’s lost? Why is it so difficult to get ketchup to come out of a full bottle? These are just some of the baffling, intriguing and downright odd questions sent to award- winning scientist Robert Matthews over the years by readers of the Sunday Telegraph. And as he shows in Q & A, the answers are no less fascinating.
Q & A: Cosmic Conundrums and Everyday Mysteries of Science: By Robert Matthews,Routledge, Rs250.
Cave to cables
This is the first English translation of a book written in 1935 in German and translated into 18 languages. In 40 brief chapters, Gombrich traces the history of man from the Stone Age to the atom bomb. Cave people and their inventions, ancient life along the Nile, the Dark Ages, the New World—it’s all here. A lot of it is told through sketches of historical figures. Gombrich was asked to write the book for young readers, but it is also a great adult read. Translated into English by Caroline Mustill, this has 41 woodcut illustrations and nine maps.
A Little History of the World: By E.H.Gombrich,John Wiley & Sons, Rs295.
Courtesy: Landmark bookstore