The book case is crowded with contrasts this weekend with serious treatises vying for attention with works of fiction.
1. The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow: Written by Sanjay Patel; Published by Penguin Books-USA, Priced at Rs.299.
Animator Sanjay Patel brings to life Hinduism's most important gods and goddesses in funny, full-colour illustrations, each accompanied by a short, lively profile. The stories of Hindu mythology cover everything from love and jealousy to petty grievances and epic battles, with characters ranging from monsters and demons to noble warriors and divine divas. Find out why Ganesha has an elephant's head (his father cut it off!) and why Kali, the Goddess of Time, is known as 'The Black One'.
Patel is an animator and storyboard artist for Pixar Animation Studios, where he has worked on films like Monsters, Inc., A Bugs Life, Toy Story 2, and The Incredibles. He has also worked on The Simpsons for Fox and with legendary cartoonist John K., creator of Ren and Stimpy.
2. Last Day of My Life: Written by Jim Morret; Published by Jaico Publishing House; Priced at Rs.195.
Should you finally forgive the one who hurt you and would you find courage to apologise to the person you wronged. How would you remember your life's greatest love? Jim Morret did not understand the answers to these questions till the day he decided to end his life.
The veteran television broadcaster and interviewer turns the camera on himself, taking the viewer on an intimate journey. He grapples with self-doubt and depression as he debates on whether to live or die.
3. Flaws in the Jewel: Written by Roderick Matthews; Published by HarperCollins-India; Priced at Rs.350.
The British Raj was never able to overcome, or even properly acknowledge, its deficiencies. As a result, the British rule developed into an uncomfortable amalgam of imperial economics, military autocracy and unfulfilled liberal aspirations. The British Raj was a great myth factory and its minions knew this.
Roderick Matthews re-examines British rule in India by concentrating on three central themes: its ability to defray the costs of its own maintenance; its impersonal and institutional qualities that gave it continuity and tenacity; and its commitment to a dual higher purpose - the uplift of the condition of the natives and playing out of the superior moral character of the Englishman.
4. Beyond the Office Window: Discovery of Indian ethos: Written by A.K. Pande; Published by Konark Publishers; Priced at Rs.400.
The book describes the writer's memorable experiences beyond office. For him, it is a voyage of discovery of a land, its culture, creeds, traditions, languages, dialects, literature, art, music and historical monuments, in short, the heritage of India in its entirety which is as varied as its amazing and beautiful terrain.
The diversity, that is India, is indeed a mesmeric experience. Threading through the variety and apparent contrasts of land is its oneness that can be best defined as Indian ethos. And through the many centuries, many great souls have both nurtured it and helped it evolve further. The writer has been a member of the Indian bureaucracy for 36 years.
5. The Word-Keeper: Written by Prerna Wadhawan; Published by Har Anand; Priced at Rs.395.
When Sunny, Anna and Kittu defy the laws of an ancient house, a curse begins to overtake their lives. One night, when Sunny stumbles upon a room that changes itself, he does not realise that his life will turn upside down and that he had unknowingly brought back to life an ancient curse.
To satiate his curiosity about the mystery of the peculiar room, he loses his friends to a parallel world of books. It is he, alone and friendless, who has to conquer his fears to fight the curse. Wadhawan, born to a family of freedom fighters in Allahabad, is a popular television producer in Mumbai.