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Nazi Noir and more: Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series

By Vikas Datta : Is it a feasible idea to set a series of noirish detective novels in a totalitarian state like Nazi Germany which itself practised violence intensively against its own citizens, or even in the midst of the viciously bloody conflict that was World War II? It may appear paradoxical but even in midst of such blood-letting, there are crimes that such a regime should have solved as they have not been "sanctioned". And since a totalitarian state may not be a monolithic entity but an aggregation of competing interests, an independent investigator is needed. Step in Bernie Gunther, a worthy counterpart to Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe but with higher stakes - his American counterparts don't risk being sent to a concentration camp permanently.


Rowling pens new biography of 'Harry Potter' character

Los Angeles, Aug 19 : Celebrated author J.K. Rowling has written a biography of the lesser-known "Harry Potter" character, Celestina Warbeck, on a fan site.


An anthology on today's India (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy : Title: Kaw Caw Silly point: A Wonky look at Contemporary India; Author: M.K. Kaw; Publisher: Konark Publishers: Pages: 270; Price: Rs.250.


The Indian connection in Jerusalem through the centuries

By Shilpa Raina, New Delhi, Aug 13 : For close to a century, many generations of an Indian family have been looking after the Indian Hospice, a symbol of India's heritage, in the old city of Jerusalem. This existence intrigued Indian diplomat-writer Navtej Sarna, who has chronicled its story in a fascinating new book.


The poetic physician: Momin and his art (Column: Bookends)

By Vikas Datta : It is an unfortunate occurrence that if there are many outstanding literary figures in any era, only one or two will figure in the general public consciousness. Elizabethan England had no shortage of dramatists but can you think of anyone except Shakespeare? Russian literature flourished in the 19th century but the only names that register now are Tolstoy and, maybe, Dostoyevsky.


Pultizer winner, some shortlisted novels (Books This Weekend)

Reckless voices and poetic verses won a book the Pulitzer prize this year and other fictional tales made the longlisted and shortlisted list of several book awards: The IANS bookshelf this weekend has the magic of imaginative richness. Take your pick.


President receives Munger book's first copy

New Delhi, Aug 7 : President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday received the first copy of a book "Munger Through The Ages" at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan, an official statement said.


Indian author wins American Literary Forum Society award

New York, Aug 6 : Noted novelist and documentary maker Nikhil Chandwani has become the first Indian author to win "Conspiracy Novel of the Year" award from the American Literary Forum Society.


'Cartoonist Pran was little eccentric but a thorough gent'

New Delhi, Aug 6 : Pran Kumar Sharma, creator of iconic comic book character Chacha Chaudhary, was a bit eccentric, but a thorough gentleman and a nice man, said Diamond Comics publisher Gulshan Rai, remembering the cartoonist who died Tuesday night.


Katha begins second chapter of writing competition

New Delhi, Aug 4 : To encourage the ability to think, ask questions and discuss among children at an early age, publishing firm Katha has started the second chapter of their creative writing competition "I Love Reading", the organisers said Monday.


Women sweep Gujarati literary awards for 2013

Mumbai, Aug 3 : Women literary figures bagged the lion's share of Maharashtra State Gujarati Sahitya Academy Awards (MSGSAA) for Gujarati literature published during 2013, an official said here Sunday.


Between the sheets: Sex and sensuality in Indian literature

By Shilpa Raina, New Delhi, Aug 3 : No more is the genre of erotica alien to Indian literature and no more are publishers afraid of the word "sex". But what is new is the way writers are exploring women's sexuality, without shying away from writing about closed bedroom romps and intimate love-making scenes - all this within the confines of contemporary social context that mirrors the sexual revolution India is going through.


Our educational system broken somewhere: Writer Chetan Bhagat

By Nivedita, New Delhi, Aug 2 : Celebrated writer Chetan Bhagat feels that the college cutoffs should not bog one down because hard work can also take people places, adding that the country's education system is "broken somewhere".


Death, spies and thrillers (Books This Weekend)

An exciting week for books with a variety of thrills, chills and spy stories. Take your pick.


Can't stop falling in love with a ghost (Book Review)

By Shilpa Raina : Title - Gulab; Author - Annie Zaidi; Publisher -Harper Collins; Pages - 186; Price - Rs.350


Radical Bengali writer Nabarun Bhattacharya dead

Kolkata, July 31 : Famed Bengali writer Nabarun Bhattacharya, a Sahitya Akademi awardee known for his radical left and anti-establishment views and championing of the marginalised urban milieu, died at a hospital here Thursday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, his associates said. He was 66.


Kashmiri literature documented in website

New Delhi, July 31 : In an endeavour to make languages like Pahari, Gujree, Dogri, Kohistani and Sheikhagal from Jammu and Kashmir accessible to a wider audience and introduce them to their rich folklore, a group has developed a website that will be launched Aug 5.


Book on coping with parent's dementia

Shimla, July 30 : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Wednesday released a book titled 'A World Within', which is based on the travails of coping with a parent's dementia.


Wherever I may roam: Travelling in the subcontinent (Column: Bookends)

By Vikas Datta : What drives people to leave the comforts of their home and familiar surroundings to explore other lands near and far? Can we ascribe it to the human fascination to visit new places, see how other people live, or obtain fresh experiences? Or are they simply echoing life, which itself is a journey in time and space?


A mother's nightmarish quest for her missing son (Book Review)

By Shilpa Raina : Title - The Half Mother; Author - Shahnaz Bashir; Publisher - Hachette; Pages - 182; Price - Rs.295.


Book release, Kathak recital liven up Darbar Hall

New Delhi, July 25 : The high marbled dome of the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan reverberated with music and some scintillating Kathak dance - watched by President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other invited guests at a special book release event.


Piquant, historical and graphical (Books This Weekend)

July 25: What if a mythologist looks into mythology and introduces queerness through the story of gods? What if a graphic designer uses the power of visuals and no text to narrate a tale? What if a Kashmiri author writes about the plight of "half-mothers"? Answers to all these "what ifs" are offered by the books IANS is reviewing this week. Take a look.


Discovering a vibrant India in Pakistan - via a book

New Delhi, July 24 : Colourful photographs of people celebrating Holi; women wearing vermillion, saris and bindis as they wait for the moon rise so they can break their Karva Chauth fast; firecrackers creating a kaleidoscopic canvas in the sky during Diwali - all this seems normal till one spies a Pakistani flag fluttering in the background.


British-Indian author longlisted for Man Booker Prize

London, July 23 : A novel written by a British Indian author has made it to the first long list of the coveted Man Booker Prize for fiction for this year.


Modi releases Braille biography of Sardar Patel

New Delhi, July 23 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday released a biography of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Braille.


'Little Big Man' author Thomas Berger dead

New York, July 23 : Author Thomas Berger, best known for his book "Little Big Man", is dead. He was 89.


Oral literature of Indian languages dying: Culture minister

New Delhi, July 22 : Many Indian languages are losing their oral literature and globalisation isn't the reason for the loss of this intrinsic fabric of culture, parliament was informed Tuesday.


Pakistani author documents Hindu temples in her country

New Delhi, July 21 : Pakistani author Reema Abbasi will launch here July 23 her new book "Historic Temples in Pakistan - A Call to Conscience" documenting Hindu shrines, and pilgrimage sites in Pakistan through 400 photographs.


Osho on yoga and meditation (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy : Title - New Dimensions of Yoga; Author - Osho; Publisher - Penguin Ananda; Pages - 200; Price - Rs.299.


Chetan Bhagat's next novel about rural boy, urban girl love story

Mumbai, July 20 : Celebrated author Chetan Bagat says his next book is quite challenging, as it is a love story of a rural boy and an urban girl. His new novella will hit the stands in October.


A call for revolution, and romance: The poetry of Faiz (Column: Bookends)

By Vikas Datta : Is there any common ground between revolution and romance, as expressed in poetry and music? Lenin didn't think so, admitting he loved hearing a Beethoven sonata, but couldn't listen to music much since it made him want to pat people's heads, though his "devilishly difficult job" called for him to beat their heads instead. But it is not difficult to identify parallels - for one, both activities call for a great deal of passion. The Indian subcontinent can boast of several people who effortlessly straddled both spheres. One of them was Faiz Ahmed 'Faiz," who even won the Lenin Peace Prize.


Islamic finance, Bollywood and S.D. Burman (Books This Weekend)

The roots of Islamic finance lie in the foundations of Islam and Sharia law, fragmented memories of musician and composer S.D.Burman's life and interesting titbits from the lives of Bollywood directors: the IANS bookshelf this week is buzzing with stories from different genres. Take a look.


New book highlights growing India-China economic ties

New Delhi, July 16 : A book on the growing economic ties between India and China and its implications for the world was launched here Wednesday, aptly timed with the announcement of the BRICS bank at the 6th BRICS Summit currently underway in Brazil.


Confronting life's unknown insecurities and taming demons (Book Review)

By Shilpa Raina: Title- Passion Flower, Seven Stories of Derangement; Author- Cyrus Mistry; Publisher- Aleph; Pages- 199; Price- Rs. 495


The poetic side of a talented actress (Book Review)

By Vikas Datta: Book- "Meena Kumari The Poet, A Life Beyond Cinema"; Author/Translator- Noorul Hasan; Publisher- Roli Books ; Pages- 159; Price- Rs 395.


An Unlikely Presence: Humour in the Battlefield (Column: Bookends)

By Vikas Datta : War and humour - no two words can seem as divergent. But some incorrigibles, adept in uniting the most incongruous elements, have fashioned out quite a close relationship, manifested in some unforgettable depictions of armed conflict and combatants, bringing out the heroism, but also the futility, barbarity, and above all, the absurdity. Joseph Heller's celebrated black comedy "Catch 22" (also a successful film), TV series "M*A*S*H", film "Kelly's Heroes", and Mort Walker's "Beetle Bailey" comic strip are some of the most famous examples.


Many doses of fiction(Books This Weekend)

Contemporary tales of fiction dipped in different genres is what IANS bookshelf is stacked with this weekend. Take uour pick.


National Book Trust to host book fair in Srinagar

New Delhi, July 9 : The National Book Trust (NBT) Wednesday announced it will organise a book fair in Srinagar from August 23.


A twilight, amoral world: Some Cold War spy fiction

By Vikas Datta : Think espionage and the first image flashing in your mind will be of a suave, smartly-clad "secret agent" pulling off the most complex mission single-handed. A raised eyebrow and a wisecrack is his only reaction in a tight position he finds himself in before busting out spectacularly with aid of a range of awesome gadgets. But is the cinematic depiction of James Bond the way spies and secret agents operate? Not much.


Meena Kumari, men and Mussoorie (Books This Weekend)

Yesteryears Bollywood actress Meena Kumari's lyrical and emotional poems, a quirky look at sex from a woman's point of view, cooler climes of Mussoorie and Landour and some roller-coaster adventures; the IANS bookshelf this week is an eclectic mix of genres. Take a look.


Coffee table book on President to be released Wednesday

New Delhi, July 1 : President Pranab Mukherjee will receive the first copy of a coffee table book, "First Citizen: Pranab Mukherjee in Rashtrapati Bhavan" Wednesday, an official release said Tuesday.


A Civil War Trilogy: Resurrecting heroes, rescuing reputations

By Vikas Datta : So many people accomplish heroic deeds but only a handful persist in public consciousness for any appreciable level of time before getting forgotten. Happily, some get rescued from obscurity by inspired authors. Among these lucky ones is Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The tale of his steadfast and dauntless courage one July day in the bloody quagmire that was the American Civil War was revived - over a century after the events - for the modern world in a trilogy of riveting historical fiction - that also serves as a son's tribute to his father.


An Aussie who embraced India for good (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy, Title: Lost and Found in India; Author: Braja Sorensen; Publisher: Hay House India; Pages: 229; Price: Rs.299


Love laced stories and emotional sagas (Books This Weekend)

A woman hopelessly falls in love with a suave hotelier; her good-looking best friend enters and she realises how fickle the heart can be. Another woman finds unexpected friendship and experiences love in strange situations and a couple go through a turbulent phase of their life. All these stories reflect contemporary tales of love. Take a look at the IANS bookshelf.


Hinduism pundits or Hindu baiters? (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy, Title: Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America: Editors: Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio de Nicolas and Aditi Banerjee; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 545; Price: Not listed.


Entries invited for Shakti Bhatt First Book prize

New Delhi, June 25 : The Shakti Bhatt Foundation has invited entries for the 2014 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, the organisers said Wednesday.


President receives copy of encyclopedia of Hindusim

New Delhi, June 23 : President Pranab Mukherjee received a copy of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism today at a function here at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Auditorium.


Understanding the Ramayana through Sita's eyes (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy : Title: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana; Author: Devdutt Pattanaik; Publisher: Penguin Books; Pages: 318; Rs.499


The magnificence of imagination: Enid Blyton and her works (Column: Bookends)

By Vikas Datta : Grew up in India between the 1960s and 1980s? Chances are that you, if you were fond of reading, had your first brush with English books through a magnificently inventive author whose oeuvre stretched from a range of mysteries solved by an


Vulnerability of Andaman's tribals brought alive through fiction

New Delhi, June 21 : Attempting to reach out to a wider audience and highlight the vulnerabilities of tribal communities of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands who are in constant conflict with the world at large, an author and researcher has penned afictional tale to offer lyrical insights into the pristine archipelago that has been a tourists' delight.


Story A 'Hero' every Indian can be proud of (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy : Title: The Inspiring Journey of a Hero: Learning from the Life of O.P. Munjal; Author: Priya Kumar; Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin; Pages: 170; Price: Rs.399


Football, cricket and other stories (Books This Weekend)

As soccer fever soars globally, the IANS bookshelf brings to its readers football's essential guide, inside stories of junior premier league and a few easy reads. Take a look.


A book on Kerala's legend by a veteran journalist

Thiruvananthapuram, June 15 : When two legends from two of the four pillars of democracy join hands, the end result cannot but turn out to be better than just an interesting book and a pleasurable read.


Kanshiram: Who re-invented Ambedkar to mesmerise Dalits (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy, BOOK: Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits; Author: Badri Narayan; Publisher: Penguin/Viking; Pages: 265; Price: Rs.499.


Serving poems, translations and political imagination (Books This Weekend)

Dilemmas of the self, evocation of modern India, some unpublished letters - the IANS bookshelf this week offers the best of many worlds. Take a look.


Indian author collaborates with American thriller writer

New Delhi, June 11 : Indian author Ashwin Sanghi has collaborated with American thriller writer James Patterson for the "Private" series, and together the two have unravelled Mumbai's dark underbelly, Bollywood glitz and empowered business class.


Book on 'Sahara' released by former SEBI chairman

Mumbai, Jun 10 : Former SEBI chairman M. Damodaran on Tuesday released a controversial book 'Sahara - The Untold Story', penned by veteran banking sector reporter and Deputy Managing editor of 'Mint' Tamal Bandyopadhyay, here.


REVIEW: How Narendra Modi became a gamechanger

By Deepak Parvatiyar, Narendra Modi: The GameChanger; Author: Sudesh Verma ; Publisher: Vitasta Publishing; Price: Rs.399/- soft bound; Published: Feb 2014


A world quite like ours: A tribute to ancient Rome (Column: Bookends)

By Vikas Datta : Picture a metropolis where citizens live in multi-storey buildings, throng streets teeming with people from all over the world, eagerly follow and gossip over the foibles of the rich and famous, are keenly involved in governance which however is a preserve of a professional breed of squabbling politicians focussing on public works, food subsidies, corruption et al.... Sounds familiar? Well these attributes don't only fit our world but are also a description of ancient Rome.


Talking environment, saving animals (Books This Weekend)

Loss of flora and fauna poses a massive threat to human existence. To save and protect our environment, IANS has picked up some educational environment books for you to befriend. Take a look.


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