The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paperback Pickings

For love of the mountains

Into the high places (Penguin, Rs 250), edited by Ravina Aggarwal, is a homage to man’s love for the mountains. India’s mountains come alive in the essays and creative works of this collection, which eschews the conventional and opens up different perspectives upon the cultural and aesthetic experience of the Indian highlands while lingering on their pure physical beauty. Accompanying the pieces by writers such as Namita Gokhale, Ruskin Bond, I. Allan Sealy and Aga Shahid Ali is also Jamling Tenzing Norgay’s account of the attempt to retrace his father’s journey.

Loving ayeshA and other stories (HarperCollins, Rs 250) by Victor Rangel-Ribeiro is a collection of short stories by the author of the novel Tivolem. Moving from the west coast of India to the bustle of New York, these short human documents are sometimes funny and sometimes poignant, sketching moments in the lives of ordinary people within the multiplying perplexities of the past fifty years. A good aeroplane read.

My Autobiography (Rupa, Rs 150) by F. Max Müller is another of the publisher’s reprints of autobiographies of famous people. While it is certainly useful to have access to such neatly-produced texts at reasonable prices, it is very disappointing to find them innocent of all introductory or even the most basic explanatory material. It is possible for the interested but non-specialist reader to feel completely disoriented without a table of dates at the very least, especially since Müller’s autobiography, for example, concludes with the chapter “Early friends at Oxford”.

the last laugh: stories where women take centre-stage (Jaico, Rs 150) by Gajra Kottary can be used to illustrate the fact that a bandwagon gone off the road is likely to plunge down the nearest cliff. This set of short stories, unfortunately, cannot even be read on the plane.

Learn Cricket With Frank Tyson (Rupa, Rs 295) by Frank Tyson is “designed to assist coaches in the mufassil regions of India”. The idea is apparent from the almost clinical way in which the former Australian fast bowler goes about outlining the basics of an aspiring cricketer’s training programme. From batting grips to psychology tests, there is not a single area of a modern cricketer’s grooming that is left untouched by Tyson. The precise diagrams, in particular, are invaluable.

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