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11 Books To Read In 2012

Published: Jan 4, 2012 06:41:46 AM IST
Updated: Jan 4, 2012 05:59:41 PM IST
11 Books To Read  In 2012
Image: Illustration: Minal Shetty; Images: shutterstock

The Man Within My Head
Pico Iyer; Penguin
New book by Pico Iyer. ’Nuff said? No? This one by the master travel writer is about his fascination with Graham Greene which fuels his journey across time and place. It’s also about Iyer’s relationship with his own father. Extracts from the publisher’s hand-out: “a catalogue of Iyer’s extensive travels … a musing on Greene’s themes of foreignness, displacedness...the text moves seamlessly between Iyer’s days as a schoolboy in England and adventures in Bolivia, Ethiopia, and Cuba...”

Antifragility:How to Live in A World We Don’t Understand

Nassim Nicholas Taleb; Penguin
After Fooled by Randomness and the bestselling Black Swan, the businessman-risk manager-trader, professor has a new book out that explores the idea that some systems can actually benefit from shocks, and how to expose ourselves to these beneficial effects without, one assumes, succumbing.

Deep Focus: Reflections on Cinema

Satyajit Ray; HarperCollins
This one will make the film buffs glad. It brings together, in one volume, Ray’s “most cerebral writings on film.” For Ray was not just an auteur of film; he wrote, with equal skill, about the craft. This volume also includes photographs by and of him.

The Extras
Kiran Nagarkar; HarperCollins
Nagarkar’s Ravan and Eddie was a brilliant novel, but it left many with a feeling of incompleteness. It was, after all, meant to be the beginning of a longer story; a film, if memory serves. Now, Nagarkar finally has the sequel ready, with the now-grown-up protagonists continuing to compete, and search for love and fame. About time, Mr. N!

Farther Away
Jonathan Franzen; HarperCollins
Franzen’s Freedom won him acclaim and was considered ambitious and a masterpiece. He now comes back with a new collection of non-fiction that gathers essays and speeches. The publicity blurb promises that the essays “trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day...”

Music, Mind and Soul:Interviews with Maestros of Hindustani Classical Music
Geeta Sahai & Shrinkhla Sahai; Pan Macmillan
This one looks both promising and much-needed. It offers a collection of conversations with some of the greats, including, Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan, Gangubai Hangal, Prabha Atre, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and N. Rajam on music — their own as well as the broader universe — and intriguingly, hints at “the emotional sagas that form a part of the behind-the-scenes look at these renowned musicians.”

Smart Trust
Stephen Covey; Simon & Schuster
We confess to not being Covey fans, but we know he has enough devotees here to take this one to the top of the charts. The book follows his The Speed of Trust and offers to show how we can “develop optimal trust relationships and how this approach has been successful for so many across the globe.” We’ll take their word for it.

Venus Flytrap: The Zubaan Anthology of Women’s Erotica
Ed.: Rosalyn D’Mello; Zubaan
Erotica is dangerous territory in this country full of moral guardians presided over by a government that seems to think we’re all little children. The more so when it’s only men that are permitted to own up to hormones, with women merely being objects of desire. So who better than a feminist publishing house to bring out a collection of women’s erotica? It promises to “trace a lineage of women’s erotica, juxtaposing contemporary voices alongside those from pre-modern times. From the devotional to the kinky, the pieces in this genre-bending collection explore and celebrate, through the prism of language, the world of sensation, lust, and desire.”

Travelling Diva: Recipes From Around the World

Ritu Dalmia; Hachette
Dalmia is one of the new breed of celeb chef-authors, and her unique style pervades the book, with chatty little anecdotes and background notes taking it beyond the recipe book genre. The emphasis is on authenticity, and the ability to make any of the dishes at home. Having just got our advance copy, we can’t vouch for that yet, but we can tell you it’s beautifully produced and well-shot.

Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s  Jazz Age
Naresh Fernandes; Roli
One has seen this book evolve, from an essay to a play and a photo exhibition, read extracts from the book, heard some of the music it covers on the author’s blog, and it looks like being quite a ride. The book looks back at the world of jazz in Bombay, from the 30s to the 50s, a lively, buzzing mix fertilised by black Americans, Europeans, Anglo-Indians and a large number of Goan musicians, many of whom also did sterling service to the city’s film music industry. It’s the best kind of history book: A labour of love.


Rujuta Diwekar; Westland
Diwekar has already made a name for herself as a fitness guru to film stars (Kareena Kapoor’s size zeroness) and two books, Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha and Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight which sold like, er, hotcakes, despite the clunky titles. In the new as-yet-unnamed (don’t expect epiphanies) follow-up, she focusses on various types of exercise. After which, no doubt, she will do her own special exercise: Run, laughing, all the way to the bank.

(This story appears in the 06 January, 2012 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • John

    A nice compilation will watch out for these.

    on Jan 4, 2012