When things fall apart
K. K. Katyal

The Idea of Pakistan
by Stephen Philip Cohen.
Oxford University Press. Pages 382. Rs 495.
Though next door, Pakistan has been a puzzle to average Indians, and even experts and policy-makers, at times, have not been able to explain the logic of what’s happening there.

Might of the Dragon
Ravni Thakur
China’s Power Projection
by Air Cdre Ramesh Phadke. Manas Publishers. Pages 252. Rs 595.
China and India have come a long way in terms of normalising relations since the 1962 war. Full diplomatic ties were reestablished in 1976, and since then, we have seen several high-level visits. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China in 1988 was a landmark visit.

Novelty returns to Indian novel
Rana Nayar

Over to you Kadambari
by Alka Saroagi.
translated by Vandana R. Singh.
Katha, New Delhi. Pages 213. Rs 250
The year was 1998. Alka Saroagi wrote her first novel, Kali Katha: via Bypass, in Hindi. Arundhati Roy, too, had published her first novel, The God of Small Things, a year earlier, but in English. Understandably, Arundhati went on to win the Booker, while Alka had to stay content with the Sahitya Akademi Award.

The beast within
M. L. Raina

Aftermath: An Oral History of Violence
by Meenakshie Verma
Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 178. Rs 250.
Meenakshie Verma’s book immediately reminds you of Shonali Bose’s haunting recent film, Amu, which describes an American-Indian girl’s journey home to trace her roots in the debris of the1984 anti-Sikh riots. Like the film, Aftermath foregrounds the relationship of memory and history, of violence and its impact on victims, survivors and other witnesses.

Schoolgirl's bestseller a Hollywood film
Paul Kelbie
A 13-year-old schoolgirl wrote a novel when she was 10. She is nowmulling over a Hollywood movie deal after her book looks set to sell more than one million copies.

Many languages, one celebration
Himmat Singh Gill on men of letters coming together to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sahitya Akademi
Novelists, poets, critics, university professors, a few hangers-on who understood little but made a lot of noise, mediapersons who went about interviewing only the known names in contemporary literature, and quite a few overdressed ladies participated in the Festival of Letters organised to mark the Sahitya Akademi’s 50th anniversary at the India International Centre, Delhi.

May their tribe increase
R. L. Singal
Land, Community and Governance
Ed. Pankaj Ballabh.
National Foundation for India, New Delhi.
Pages 134. Price not stated.

This volume is the result of a research project of Seva Mandir, a voluntary organisation working in southern Rajasthan (Udaipur district) since 1960s, motivating villagers to demand that the state be more responsive to their needs. It has succeeded in establishing models of development that could be replicated on a large scale by the state.

Middle path
Shalini Rawat
Light Strokes
by Darshan Singh Maini
Publishers : Writers Workshop
Rs 300 (hardback); Rs 150 (paperback) Pages: 247
Darshan Singh Maini insists on calling his middles ‘short-distance runners’. I liken them to women’s skirts – they are long enough to cover all the vital points and short enough to arouse attention.

Basic instinct
Arvind Mehan
The Biz
50 Little Things that make a Big Difference to Team Motivation and Leadership
by David Freemantle
Nicholas Brealey Publishing, Research Press, London.
Pages 117. Rs 120.
A leadership guru, David Freemantle provides great inspiration in making a big difference to your team motivation and leadership skills. He explains how, as a team leader, your own actions are observed, even what time you start work in the morning, Thus the decision of what to do first— whether to pick up the phone, check the e-mail, read the newspaper, grab a coffee, greet the boss, chat with the secretary or walk around saying "Hi!" to every team member and asking about their weekend—will have an impact on the team.

Short takes
Ways to beat stress
Randeep Wadehra
Stress: From Burnout to Balance
by Vinay Joshi Response Books. Pages: 210. Rs 185.
Today people, especially those from middle classes, are caught up in a nerve-racking rat race that takes a heavy toll of both body and mind, adversely affecting personal and professional relationships. In a highly competitive milieu, stress is inevitable.

  • Change Your Life in 30 Days
    by Rhonda Britten
    Hodder & Stoughton, London. Pages: xi + 290. $10. 99

  • Absolute Impact
    by Mathew May
    Jaico, Mumbai. Pages: xiv + 273. Rs 175.