Kashmir, cancer, Buddha and writers - captured in print (IANS Books This Week)By IANS
Thursday, January 27, 2011
NEW DELHI - The book cache this week is a mix of tomes that is thought-provoking as well as fun.
1. Book: \”Nehru\’s Kashmir\”; Compiled by Sati Sahni (photographer);
Published by Wisdom Tree; Priced at Rs.1,495
Eminent cameraman Sati Sahni (Sat Paul Sahni) in his new book
\”Nehru\’s Kashmir\” has captured the many moods of India\’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and his love affair with Kashmir and its people. The book captures Nehru in Kashmir in the years during his tenure as the prime minister - in moving, powerful and amusing moments - many of them never seen before.
The book is a captivating montage of one of the most charismatic world leaders and a glimpse into some behind-the-scenes events set against the dramatic and picturesque backdrop of Kashmir.
2. Book: \”The Nave and The Sentimental Novelist\”; Written By Orhan Pamuk; Published by Penguin-India; Priced at Rs.450.
Novelist Orhan Pamuk takes the readers into the writers\’ worlds and
draws on their intimate connections. He draws on Friedrich Schiller\’s famous distinction between \”nave poets\”, who writes spontaneously, serenely and unselfconsciously, and \”sentimental poets\” who are reflective, emotional and alive to the artifice of the written word.
Harking back to the beloved novels of his youth and ranging through the work of such writers as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Stendhal, Flaubert, Proust, Mann and Naipaul, he explores the oscillation between the nave and the reflective and the search for an equilibrium that lie at the centre of the novelist\’s craft.
3. Book: \”Pyramid of Virgin Dreams\”; Written By Vipul Mittra; Published by Rupa & Co; Priced at Rs.450
The book is a funny satire around the life of Kartikeya Kukreja, the
protagonist of the book and a bureaucrat who sees life around him in a quirky, sardonic manner. It is the story of a middle class boy, his growing years and his perceptions of bureaucracy and society. The story oscillates between Kartikeya\’s dreams and reality. It describes his fantasies, unfulfilled virgin dreams and the happenings within and
outside the pyramid of bureaucracy.
Several characters, including Kartikeya\’s immediate family, his college sweetheart and his very own conscience by the name of \”Selfmusing\”, find a place in the narrative. From a child to an adult and a bureaucrat, it is a story told differently with candour and ample tongue-in-cheek humour by a veteran Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
4. Book: \”The Emperor of All Maladies\”; Written by Siddhartha Mukherjee; Published by HarperCollins-India; Priced at Rs.499
The writer, doctor, researcher and award-winning science writer examines cancer with a cellular biologist\’s precision, a historian\’s perspective and a biographer\’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with - and perished from - for more than five thousand years.
The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience and perseverance, but also of hubris, arrogance and misconception, all leveraged against a disease that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out \’war against cancer\’. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths, told through the eyes of predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary.
From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the 19th century recipient of primitive radiation and chemotherapy and Mukherjee\’s own leukemia patient, Carla - \”The Emperor of All Maladies\” is about the people who have soldiered through toxic, bruising, and draining regimes to survive and to increase the store of human knowledge.
5. Book: \”The Buddha & Dr Furher\”; Written by Charles Allen; Published by HarperCollins-India; Priced at Rs.299
Set against the background of the British Raj, this is the true story
of the scandal that surrounded the discovery of an inscribed casket - said to contain the ashes of Buddha.
The news of the discovery generated interest, but very soon a scandal broke out when a local British magistrate involved in the excavation accused a German archaeologist, Anton Furher, of faking the results and selling bogus relics.