Seeds that donít sprout
Rajnish Wattas
Magic Seeds
by V. S. Naipaul. Picador. Pages 294. Rs 495.
Naipaulís magic with elegant prose never fails, but his Ď"seeds" of social revolutions can falter. This time, he wields the wand to confront the questions of individual identities and convulsions of half-made societies in realising the ideal.

Selective tales of power play
Shastri Ramachandaran
Through the Corridors of Power
by P C Alexander. Harper Collins, Delhi. Pages 480. Rs 500.

T is a truism that bureaucrats are time-servers, and the successful ones more so. What sets P C Alexander apart from the run-of-the-mill bureaucrat is that he manages to come out on top even when times change and change again.

Op Bluestar: Questions remain
Himmat Singh Gill
HEN former Principal Secretary to Indira Gandhi PC Alexander remarks in his book Through the Corridors of Power, "Indira Gandhi did not consider Operation Bluestar a mistake. The mistake was in the manner of implementing the decision and not the decision itself", it becomes necessary, I believe, to put in perspective the implementation and aftermath of a highly botched up and unnecessary operation launched during his time.

Colours of identity
The World Unseen

by Shamim Sarif.
Review Books, Headline Book Publishing, London. Pages 344. £ 7.99
WHEN Hari Kunzru was awarded the Betty Trask prize of £ 8000 for his first novel The Impressionist, in 2002, on the same podium was another young author, Shamim Sarif. She got the 4000-sterling prize for her novel, The World Unseen.

John Gould, a rare bird indeed
Baljit Singh
The Bird Man
by Isabella Tree.
Ebury Press, Rupa & Co. Pages 324, £ 4.55.
JUST as a believer does not feel fulfilled until he beholds whatever be his Mecca, similar is the pull with lovers of nature to simply hold the first edition or any book by John Gould. His books comprised full-page illustrations of a bird or a mammal so incredibly life-like and with such vibrant colours that you anticipate it would fly off the page any moment.

The lunatic fringe
Jaswant Singh
Gods on Trial and Other Stories
by Gulzar Singh Sandhu.
Translated from Punjabi by Khushwant Singh, Manmohan Singh and D. R. Goyal. Fiction House, Delhi. Pages 176. Rs 95.
Sahitya Akademi Award winner Gulzar Singh Sandhu has witnessed the horrors of Partition, the turmoil of India-Pakistan war and the communal riots consequent to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. It is a coincidence that I, too, have gone through all these horrid experiences. The bouquet of 25 stories is presented in a lucid, yet succinct manner.

Stories with a difference
Aditya Sharma
Rage, Revelry and Romance
by Uday Prakash. Translated by Robert A. Hueckstedt. Srishti. Pages 216. Rs 145.

PENNED by noted Hindi writer Uday Prakash and translated into English by Robert. A. Hueckstedt, who teaches Hindi and Sanskrit at University of Virginia, USA, the book is a collection of short stories. The common thread that runs through these narratives is the element of realism with which they have been recounted.

short takes
Fun with science
Randeep Wadehra
Science Time-Pass
by Dilip M. Salwi. Rupa & Co. Pages 196. Rs 195

AS a student one perceives the classroom as the repository of boredom. When the subject happens to be science, and teaching unimaginative, then misery can actually be overwhelming. To make lectures interesting it is important to pepper these with fascinating and relevant anecdotes, supplementary information, including trivia.

  • Potent planets
    The Essence of Astrology
    by P. Khurrana. Rupa & Co. Pages 170. Rs 195.

  • Extraordinary feats
    ZeNLP: the power to succeed
    by Murli Menon. Response Books. Pages 149. Rs 185