Vampire tale taps into Da Vinci Code buzz
Claudia Parsons
The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova. Little, Brown and Co. Pages 642. $ 25.95
EVER since Dan Brown’s book sold more than 10 million copies, the Holy Grail of publishing has been the next "Da Vinci Code". A new book about Dracula is the latest contender, but will readers bite? The Historian was 10 years in the writing, weighs in at 642 pages and takes the reader on a spooky tour of crypts, libraries and castles from Istanbul to southern France.


Alexandria on the Yamuna bank
A. J. Philip
Interesting times in India: A short decade at St. Stephen’s College
by Daniel O’Connor. Penguin.
Pages 234. Rs 295
FEW colleges have made as deep and abiding an impact on Indian society as St Stephen’s College in Delhi. The long queue of admission seekers every year is a reflection of its continuing popularity. It has spewed alumni associations all over the world and has a very effective, informal, networking system. Its alumni are in high positions in the government, journalism, academics and the private sector.

The Aftershock
Jaswant Singh
Tsunami: 7 hours that Shook the World
by Satinder Bindra. Harper Collins. Pages 291. Rs 395.
Tsunami is a Japanese word, which translated into English means "harbour wave". It is caused by a vertical disturbance in a deep sea, which can be an earthquake, a volcanic eruption or a landslide. A gigantic undersea earthquake near the coast of Indonesia triggered the tsunami that wreaked havoc on many Asian coasts on December 26, 2004.

Peace model for Kashmir
Meena Dutta
Crafting Peace in Kashmir: Through a Realist Lens
by Verghese Koithara. Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 314. Rs 350.
UNTIL the beginning of this year, nobody could have predicted the fast changes in the relationship between India and Pakistan. Though there is no Berlin-like wall, there is a talk of making the borders irrelevant and the process seems irreversible. However, it is important to develop a forward-looking approach by the leaders of both countries.

Self-realisation for all
Krishan Malhotra
Verses of the Divine Spiritual Life
by Paramhansa Veetraga Swami Dayanand Giri. Earnest Study
THE 157 stanzas of the book, which have the rhyme scheme of aa, bb or ab, ab, the diction and versification remind a reader of the didactic nature of classical and neo-classical poetry in English literature. The stanzas do not reflect poetic excellence or command of the syllabic structure, but these surely have a spiritual and illuminating message.

Demystifying Mao
Deepika Gurdev
MAO: The Unknown Story.
by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday Jonathan Cape Pages 814. £ 25
THOSE who have read Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, will have an idea what to expect. First the sheer number of pages will have you wondering whether this book is worth the reading foray. Add to the 800 pages, a hardback and you as a reader sure will have a lot to grapple with.

Predictable plot
Gagandeep Singh Ghuman
Coronation Talkies
by Susan Kurosawa. Penguin. Pages 488. Rs 475
"THE work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples." What Virginia Woolf said about James Joyce’s first novel, this reviewer is tempted to say about Susan Kurosawa’s novel Coronation Talkies. As a form the long novel is inevitably flawed and only a fecund imagination and a fine control over language can save it from falling into irretrievable verbosity.

Classical idiom, topical comment
Ashok Malik
Zindagi Ke Sheeshe Mein (Poetry collection)
by R P Shokh. Harbhajan Shokh, Haryana. Pages: 239. Rs 250
THIS collection of poems by Rajeshwar Prasad Shokh, translated into Hindi from Urdu and published posthumously, gives the rich flavour of classical Urdu though his context is often contemporary. To wit, his comment on the present-day politicians: "Ye panch saal tak ab maangne na niklenge; bahut amir hain is daur ke fakir naye".

American Potter fans urged to buy recycled books
arry Potter fans in the US are being urged to buy the sixth book, Harry Potter and the half-blooded Prince from Canada, where it is being printed on recycled paper. According to The BBC, the book will be published worldwide on 16 July, with a recycled version issued by Canadian publisher Raincoast Books.

Short Takes
An affair with verse
Randeep Wadehra

  • The Contours of Punjabi Poetry
    by NS Tasneem Jaswant Printers, Ludhiana. Pages: 160. Rs. 200.

  • The Mysterious Goldpin
    by Maharaj Bahadar Singh Tiwana Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages: 111. Rs 150.

  • Bright Lights Big Buddha
    by Anil CS Rao Frog Books, Mumbai. Pages: 60. Rs 95.