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Books

Murder he wrote: It’s a book focused not on the murderer, victim or plot but the act of murder itself. In The Book of Destruction [Penguin, Rs 299] by Anand, Murder — with a capital M — is committed just for the sake of it. Divided into three fictional episodes, the award-winning author of Govardhan’s Travels takes the reader on a journey through three stages — the practice of killing, the sacrifice of the victim and the sacrifice of the sacrificer — before bringing the story of destruction to its finale.Translated from Malayalam by Chetana Sachidanandan, the book witnesses assassination, terrorist bombing, orgy and sacrifice, and promises to be as thought-provoking as the economist’s first novel, which dwelt on the common man.

Order, order: If John Grisham is all you’ve read by way of legal thrillers, you could pick up a Michael Connelly next. Better known for his LAPD homicide detective, Hieronymous ‘Harry’ Bosch, Connelly introduced defence attorney Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer in 2005.

Haller happens to be Bosch’s half-brother, the son who tries to live up to their father’s hot-shot LA attorney image.The Fifth Witness [Hachette India, Rs 350] is set in recession-hit America, with Haller trying to make ends meet by no longer keeping criminals out of jail but fighting to keep a roof over his clients’ heads.

School teacher Lisa is battling the bank’s repossession of her home single-handedly after her husband leaves her. When she is suddenly accused of murdering the bank’s CEO, it’s a bolt from the blue. Enter Mickey Haller, defence attorney, back to what he does best! For Harry Bosch fans, there’s a brand new Bosch on the shelves — The Drop. Bosch, facing retirement in three years, is more than eager to get as many cases as possible, and maybe this time he has just ‘two’ many on his plate!

First look: Calcutta girl Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s next novel, Oleander Girl, will be out in March 2013 and an extract is already available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chitradivakaruni). Currently based in the US, Chitra is the author of novels like The Palace of Illusions, The Mistress of Spices and One Amazing Thing.

Gangster rap: A Grammy award-winning hip hop artist and actor — little would one expect such a personality to feature on Bookworm’s reading list. But hey, if the brother knows how to write, we must throw some light. Yes, we can “rap” it up too!

American hip hop artist Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. aka T.I. aka Tip, it turns out, has a couple of novels to his name. Power & Beauty [William Morrow & Company, Rs 862], co-authored by American novelist David Ritz, is a love story set in the dangerous streets of Georgia, complete with sex, violence, hustling and redemption.

Paul “Power” Clay and Tanya “Beauty” Long share an unbreakable bond. But with Power’s mother’s sudden death, he loses the only family he had while Beauty is left without a family yet again. Life is uncertain till Slim Simmons, a local businessman, comes calling. While Power sees in Slim a chance of becoming someone he wants to be, travelling from Chicago to Miami to New York, Beauty trusts no one. In the first book, the two walk down different paths in life, but in book 2, Trouble & Triumph: A novel of Power and Beauty [Rs 1,379], they come together by a weird twist of fate. Beauty has a successful fashion career but she knows deep down that Slim could never mean any good for Power. Meanwhile, Power realises that Slim is a ruthless killer. Could Slim have a link to Power’s mother’s death? Will Beauty sacrifice herself to save Power, her love? Read and find out.

Literary love story: It’s the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie union of the publishing world. If the two Holly hotties created the megabrand, Brangelina, publishing biggies Penguin and Random House have come together to form Penguin Random House.

Pearson, the owners of Penguin, and Bertelsmann, the German owner of Random House, have decided to merge their publishing units to have a bigger stake in today’s rapidly changing book business. That’s because publishers have been losing page to big retailers like Amazon and IT giants like Apple and Google, who are controlling bigger chunks of the market with each passing year, thanks to e-books and mass marketing of physical books at lower prices. So, while authors and literary agencies will have one less place to pitch to, a publishing house with the combined clout of Penguin and Random House is likely to have greater might against the retail and IT biggies.

Family matters: The year is 1865. The Derbyshire market town is coming alive to horses’ hooves at the Chesterfield Races and the young Walker couple are all set to go to America to start afresh. But they have a three-year-old boy. Near the racecourse they meet barber Joseph Nash and his wife Mary. The Nashes decided to adopt the Walkers’ son, Richard. Thus begins Lemon Sherbet and Dolly Blue: The Story of an Accidental Family [Atlantic, Rs 835] by Lynn Knight, an editor and lecturer on literature by women writers from earlier periods.

Lynn traces three adopted branches in her family tree — a great grandfather, a grand aunt and her mother. Painting vivid pictures of an open and loving clan, the London-based author relates the story of her lineage, which is bound to intrigue not just a sociologist, anthropologist or psychologist, but the lay reader as well.

Though a non-fiction read, this is a surprising page-turner, not just because of its pictures and anecdotes but the storyline itself. The book harks back to a time when Britain would look at a family with an adopted child with doubt, plaguing generations at times. Sadly, this is often the case in India even today.

The details of their lives through the years since the late 19th century add that extra spark to the book. Look out for the Edwardian shopping lists, which act as the inspiration for the title — Dolly blue, Brasso, barm cakes and sweets like lemon sherbet, everlasting strips and licorice bootlaces — and the pictures in the book, mainly of Cora, the author’s mother.

Kicked: Chetan Bhagat will turn scriptwriter for Salman Khan’s next, Kick. To be directed by Sajid Nadiadwala, the basic story will be adapted from a Telugu blockbuster, Chetan said on Twitter. The film revolves around a guy who lives just for his own kicks. While the bestselling author’s millions of fans are overjoyed, Bookworm can’t help chuckle at this rather cheeky tweet from Srinagar’s Wamik M. Khan (@_wamik): “Chetan Bhagat will be penning a Screenplay for Salman Khan, Senseless meets Mindless.”

The naked writer: Dear author, how would you feel about letting your readers into your story even as you are framing it? Give away the plot, your writing style, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes et al and even face comments?

This is the Naked Writer Project, being undertaken by Silvia Hartmann, a UK-based author and energy psychology lecturer. And no, it has nothing to do with her shedding clothes! With an aim to create a record — the world’s first author to write a book while readers can pore over each and every word being typed out — Silvia began writing her novel The Dragon Lords on September 12 at 9am. Going by the nom de plume Nick Starfields for her fiction novels, Silvia says on her website, “This is an amazing opportunity for me as an author to push the boundaries of the author/reader relationship. It will be amazing to write knowing that people will be viewing each word, paragraph and chapter, each backspace as I go along! Some authors plan their manuscripts in advance, but my stories tend to have a life of their own and I look forward to seeing what unfolds with everybody else!”

Currently in Part 4 of The Dragon Lords, one can access the storyboard at http://silviahartmann.com/live/. Tap into the Google Docs link and watch the words flow. You can track Silvia’s writing schedule on her Facebook or Twitter profiles. The links to both are provided at the end of the novel-in-construction.