China in transition
Reviewed by Parshotam Mehra
China’s Path to Power: Party, Military and the Politics of State Transition
By Jagannath P. Panda. Pentagon Press. Pages xx+234. Rs 695.
THE importance of China as a global superpower needs no emphasis. Nearer home, it is an important neighbour with whom we have to fashion a relationship that is at once friendly as well as mutually beneficial. In other words, any study that promises to delineate the varied strands that have brought this about deserves close scrutiny. And as our scholarship on China is meager at best, this work is doubly welcome.

Working towards happiness
Reviewed by Roopinder Singh
Ready for Takeoff: A Leadership Story
By Sachit Jain.
Rupa. Pages 253. Rs 195.
PEOPLE who do not earn their living through writing often pen down something because they feel that what they truly believe in needs to be shared with the world. For Sachit Jain, this is a simple mantra: “To be a successful boss, be nice, listen to your workers, keep channels of communication open, and take advantage of your wife’s intelligence and experience.”

No man’s island
Reviewed by Shalini Rawat
By Gopal Gandhi.
Penguin Books. Pages 203. Rs 250.
ANYONE who begins to write a story has a choice—to depict the violence inside his mind or that which exists outside of it. Gopal Gandhi, with exquisite art, caricatures the agents and the systems which perpetrate the violence outside, and with great finesse, sketches the upheavals taking place within the characters as well.

An offering of love
Reviewed by Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu
Love Stories of Shimla Hills
By Minakshi Chaudhry
Rupa. Pages 151. Rs 195.
AFTER many a Himachal-centric book showcasing her heightened fascination for the outdoors, adventure and trekking—Destination Himachal, Exploring Pangi Himalaya, Guide to Trekking, to name a few—Minakshi Chaudhry shifted gears with Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills and Whispering Deodars (an anthology of writings about Shimla). In Love Stories of Shimla Hills, she returns with an offering of love. This, her most recent book, is a collection of 16 stories based on the love affairs of the rich and famous as well as lesser mortals. Based on the premise that it is the idyllic environs of the Queen of Hills, unmindful of consequences, which encouraged romance to flourish or wither away.

Ringside view, incisive observations
Reviewed by Ram Varma
First Draft: Witness to the Making of Modern India
By B.G. Verghese.
Tranquebar. Pages 573. Rs 695.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, George Verghese studied at the elite Doon School which had opened just a year before his sojourn began; among his fellow students was Prince Karan Singh from Kashmir. He later joined St. Stephen’s College in Delhi and went on to do his tripos from Trinity College in Cambridge following the footsteps of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Among his contemporaries there were I. G. Patel and Abdus Salam, the Nobel laureate, Jagat Mehta and Romesh Bhandari, later to become Foreign Secretaries, and S.D. Sharma who rose to become the President of India.

Obama on the shelves
President Barack Obama’s recent visit pushed his books up on the Indian bookseller lists
US President Barack Obama has found pride of place on Indian bookshelves. Obama's Wars, which arrived in the country recently, is climbing the popularity charts fast and furious and also fuelling interest in previous works by and on the man. Priced at Rs 972, the book by journalist Bob Woodward explores Obama's interfaces with the White House staff, his equations with them and the deep divisions that exist. It has been published by US-based Simon & Schuster.

Hay fever
Hay lit fest in Kerala brings Indian writing to the world
Viewing global cultures through domestic detail of private lives often told by authors, learning to use maths to bend a football like Beckham, listening to climate change authority Nicholas Stern — an international literature festival that made its debut in Kerala this month offered all this and more. The Hay Festival, which began 23 years ago in Wye, UK, has over the years expanded into countries like Spain, Colombia and Kenya, now marked its entry into India in Thiruvananthapuram with a three-day event that started on November 12.

Indira as inspiration
Sudeep Chakravarti's book, The Avenue of Kings, draws upon the assassination of Indira Gandhi, whose birth anniversary is this week
The assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi 26 years ago is one of the subjects of writer Sudeep Chakravarti's new book, The Avenue of Kings, a set of three novellas.

Back of the book
Party queens to pyramids
The Death Instinct
By Jed Rubenfeld
Hachette. Rs 295. pages 464
Beautiful from this Angle
By Maha Khan Phillips 
Penguin. Rs 250. pages 231
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
By Roopa Somasundram
Diamond Books. pages 285
The Cult of Osiris
By Andy McDermott
Hachette. pages 533. Rs 295