OFF the shelf
Man of words and actions
V.N. Datta
Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Dire Warning
by John Lukacs.
Basic Books, New York. Pages147. $ 25.95.

A renowned scholar of European political history, John Lukacs states that the subject of his work "is one particular sentence said by one particular man on the 13th of May 1940, a man who perhaps uniquely and providentially understood Hitler". 

Bedtime ruminations
Aradhika Sharma
Goodnight and God Bless
by Anita Nair. Penguin Viking. Rs. 399. Pages 284.

WELL, the cover is rather attractive. Soothing, depicting a pretty green cushion as a backdrop for a cuppa chai and a brownie. Comforting, you know. It sets the tone for the book quite well, actually. The book itself is a collection of essays, which tackle a whole lot of subjects. In fact, the subjects are ruminations by Nair, supposedly at bedtime and thus the title, Goodnight and God Bless. And this is probably why the thoughts are so sweet and maybe a little boring at times.

Life and travails of a courtesan
Harbans Singh
The Courtesanís Keeper: A Satire from Ancient Kashmir
Trans. by A.N.D Haksar. Rupa. Pages 85. Rs 150.

A translation of the 11th-century prolific Kashmiri writer Kshemendraís Sanskrit work Samay Matrika, The Courtesanís Keeper by A.N.D. Haksar is a remarkable book. Sanskrit is considered Deva-basha and therefore appropriate for philosophical and religious works.

Humour in uniform
Shalini Rawat

Boots, Belts and Berets
by Tanushree Poddar. Indiaink, Roli Books. Pages 223. Rs 295.
Marrying someone is like opening a book midway; you really donít know what went on in the life of your spouse before you arrived. Curiosity, however, must have got the better of Tanushree Poddar when she saw the camaraderie between her Armyman husband and his National Defence Academy (NDA) mates. She goaded and cajoled him to recollect and narrate his experiences of his training, often taking notes surreptiously. This book is a tribute to everyone who has either taught or braved the tough training there.

Breaking free
Priyanka Singh
Freedomís Ransom
by Prafulla Roy.
Translated from Bengali by John W. Hood.
Roli. Pages 313. Rs 295.

This period novel is a throwback to the era where bonded labour was a reality for many generations of underclass landless labourers for whom thraldom was a way of life; a servility that ran in their lineage.

Books received: Hindi

The business of medicine
Randeep Wadehra
Medical tourism in India: management and promotion
by Dr R. Kumar. Deep & Deep, N. Delhi.
Pages: ix+335. Rs 980.

Medical tourism is one of the countless concepts spawned by globalisation. It integrates international and domestic travel with the supply and consumption of medical services, thus making top-of-the-line healthcare available to anyone who needs it (and can afford it) transcending international boundaries.

Jhumpa Lahiri: writer in quest of roots
Rachel Hore

There are not, I suspect, many authors who prefer never to read reviews and profiles of themselves. "It's just too much, like looking into a mirror all the time," says Jhumpa Lahiri. This is a pity, as she's missing considerable acclaim. Lahiri is now almost a decade into a stupendously successful career spent writing about the American-Bengali immigrant experience.

Beyond The World Of Apu ó The films of Satyajit Ray
by John W. Hood. Orient Longman
Pages 476. Rs 550.
In this new work, John W. Hood makes a thoroughly informed, socio-historical critique of all 29 feature films of Satyajit Ray. Structured along themes which the author has identified in Rayís movies, this reassessment analyses each film independently, on the basis of its individual merits and lapses, carefully avoiding the popular hagiography that is common to much of Ray criticism.

New look for Bardís tomb
The deteriorating gravesite of William Shakespeare is set for a makeover despite bearing a curse against those who move it. The tombstone is being restored as part of extensive repairs at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire.