Below the surface

Paperback pickings

  • Published 25.05.18

CYBER SEXY: RETHINKING PORNOGRAPHY (Penguin, Rs 399) by Richa Kaul Padte is illuminating. The book does exactly what it claims in the subtitle, helping the reader delve and discover the layered nature of a realm that most - even regular consumers - only have a fuzzy knowledge about. It questions the tropes that the domain of adult films are viewed through and tries to break taboos surrounding adult entertainers. Padte, courageously, does not back away even from sharing personal anecdotes.

She approaches her subject from three perspectives: historical, sociological and political. Her research is thorough and never once does she step away from the position of an objective assessor. In language that is refreshingly free of jargons, Padte discusses the dangers of the secrecy that pornography is shrouded in. Her dry humour often leaves the reader chuckling.

TUBERCULOSIS: INDIA'S TICKING TIME BOMB - THE TB SURVIVORS' MANIFESTO (Speaking Tiger, Rs 250) edited by Chapal Mehra discusses India's battle against tuberculosis from the perspective of survivors. It suggests that TB, a transmittable but no longer incurable disease, could be eliminated if the stigma associated with it is addressed. The contributors, who were patients, highlight their grievances. Attending to these can go a long way towards curing them. Mehra rightly argues that TB is not merely a health issue: corruption and the absence of funding and infrastructure must be tackled to eradicate the disease. The book, however, offers suggestions that are already in the public domain and the stories could have been more detailed. Suggestions accompanying the narratives are tedious as they reiterate the same points. The lucid text and thorough research somewhat compensate for these weaknesses.