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Three’s company

We look for a ‘before-after’ picture in the lives of great men: Mohandas before the Gandhi; Siddhartha before the Buddha. Before Swami Vivekananda, there was Narendranath Dutta, the student of Hume, Kant, Stuart Mill and Darwin.

books Updated: Mar 26, 2011 00:11 IST

The very human humanist
We look for a ‘before-after’ picture in the lives of great men: Mohandas before the Gandhi; Siddhartha before the Buddha. Before Swami Vivekananda, there was Narendranath Dutta, the student of Hume, Kant, Stuart Mill and Darwin. In this fascinating portrait, Sankar shows us where the modernism in the monk came from and stayed. Vivekananda’s humanism, the author tells us through anecdotes and examples, came from him holding on to his basic and rollicking humanity.

Animal farmers
In post-Katrina New Orleans, a trawler washes up with a curious cargo on-board: exotic animals, including featherless, thinking parrots that can recite the value of pi and a python with legs. This is no ordinary smuggling racket, vet Lorna Polk finds out when she is roped in to solve the ‘why’ behind these bizarre animals, all of whom display examples of genetic throwbacks. The science is basic. What James Rollins (himself a vet) has to offer is a quick flip for your idle hours.

We say don’t bother
If you judge a book by it’s opening line, then this one will put you off: ‘“Hello, aunty ... it’s Shalini here,” said Shalini’ (who else?). Subhasis Das tries to sell a rusted key ring as a prized antique but fails. Samarth, or Sam, is young enough to let his parents decide his life and old enough to regret their interference. So in ‘retaliation’, he parties, boozes, makes whoopy with many, etc till the eternal questions of what’s right for him and how to chase his dreams confront him. (Yawn!)