Sublime thoughts
Ashok Vohra
The Philosophy of Vivekananda
ed. Rekha Jhanji. Aryan Books International, New Delhi.
Pages XX+206. Rs 495.
Vivekananda in his teachings synthesised ‘immense idealism’ of the Advaita Vedanta with ‘immense practicality’ of our workaday life. The outcome of such a synthesis is a philosophy, which far from being abstruse and abstract compendium of theories understandable only to the experts becomes a ‘living-poetic’ that can be grasped even by a child. He believed that "out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms."

Books received

Great lives, great deeds
Vepa Rao
Nearer Heaven Than Earth
by Girish N Mehta. Rupa.
Pages 815. Rs 995.
The essence of this remarkable volume is the sublime, aesthetic feeling it evokes. It is not because it has any great craftsmanship or any usually recognised literary merits of a biography; in fact, the author’s artlessness and his avoidance of literary pretension turn out to be its strengths. What more should you need when the subject of the book is the union of two great lives rooted in the fusion of science and spiritualism!

Gentleman’s game no longer
Mohit Goswami
Not Quite Cricket
by Pradeep Magazine.
Penguin. Pages 158. Rs 200.
Cricket is a ‘religion’ in India and its stars are treated like gods. They are idols who can do no wrong, or more aptly, are not allowed to. They have to win every game, day in and day out, and bring glory to the nation. The country tends to forget that its icons are human, made of the same flesh and blood, who cannot always perform the same way, unlike machines.

Violence of our times
Rumina Sethi
From Mathura to Manorama: Resisting Violence Against Women in India
by Kalpana Kannabiran and Ritu Menon. Women Unlimited and International Centre for Ethnic Studies, New Delhi. Pages 201. Rs 300.
In today’s world, with its rhetoric of liberalism and human rights, equality and gender mobilisation, it has to be emphasised that sexual violence against women continues unabated: rape, "honour" killings, dowry murders through the bursting of countless kerosene stoves across the country, violence in areas of armed conflict, foeticide, victimisation by the state, the warped edicts and viciousness of village panchayats, the prejudice of law, all are in need of urgent redressal.

Global world – for better or worse
Sridhar K Chari
Bound Together
How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalisation by Nayan Chanda Penguin Viking. Pages 391. Rs 525.
Journalist-academic Nayan Chanda has produced a sweeping, highly readable epic narrative of a globalised human civilisation that has always been bound together, much before it articulated for itself a concept of "globalisation."

Faulks takes up where Fleming left off
Arifa Akbar
He is a writer known for his emotional insights into human character and it is not uncommon for him to spend up to five years painstakingly researching his books. So when Sebastian Faulks was asked to write a one-off James Bond story in celebration of the centenary of the birth of the spy writer Ian Fleming, he felt he had to reveal his limited knowledge of the genre.

Games Hitler played
David Llewellyn
On the face of it, the XIth Olympiad in Berlin in 1936 was a triumph for the Nazi government and its leader, Adolf Hitler.

More focus on learning Hindi in US
Arun Kumar
A new US study seeks more support from all levels of the US education system to develop an integrated approach to learning certain "critical need" languages, including Hindi and Chinese.

Book hints at KGB’s role in Kennedy killing
A former American spy’s book has reportedly thrown new light on the November 22, 1963 assassination of former U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Tennent H Bagley, a former CIA case officer, has suggested in his book Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games, that Russia’s KGB may have actually had a role in recruiting Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, 44 years ago.

A better pill to swallow
Jeremy Laurance
Better by Atul Gawande Metropolitan Books. Pages 288. `£12.99
This is a book about failure: how it happens, how we learn from it, how we can do better. Although its focus is medicine, its message is for everybody. Against expectations, that turns out to be hugely, enthrallingly optimistic. Atul Gawande is a surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s hospital, Boston. He is also – and this could only happen in America - a staff writer on The New Yorker. He sees medicine from the inside, but with an outsider’s perspective. His book is riveting: packed with insights, its luminous prose lifting effortlessly off the page.

Back of the book
by Martina Cole, Headline.
Pages 505.£ 6.
Patrick Brodie is on the way up. He is a chancer but, unlike his drunkard father, he wants to make sure that anything he accrues stays close by. He also knows exactly how far he is prepared to go to get what he wants. And he wants it all. Now, before long, Patrick has taken out the old guard and become a legend in his own lifetime. Violently.