Paperback Pickings

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  • Published 20.03.15

Drinking tea with reggae junkies

SPECIAL LASSI: A BACKBREAKING MISADVENTURE IN THE HIMALAYAS (Jaico, Rs 299) by Amrita Chatterjee is about "a psychedelic odyssey like no other" undertaken by the protagonists - "two bleary-eyed kids" - who give up the "daily grind" to travel across the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the summer of 2011. They soon realize that road trips are not always smooth sailing - which is just as well, because the readers are taken on a delightful journey through Nepal, Rishikesh, Sikkim and Ladakh. The descriptions of the natural beauty of these places are enough to make your heart ache, especially if you've been trapped in the jaws of city life for too long. From reggae junkies and Buddhist chants to bowls of hot thukpa and "five-second" tea ladies, the author - who calls herself "a unicorn" for reasons unknown - makes one want to pack one's bag and leave for a trip to the hills right away.

INHERITANCE (Sceptre, Rs 399) by Sharon Moalem apparently "challenges everything we thought we knew about genetics", by showing us how our "genes can change, for better or worse", according to the food we consume, the people we choose to surround ourselves with and the environment we opt to live in. The reason behind the dissemination of this information becomes apparent very quickly; as the blurb informs us, readers must learn "how the choices [they] make affect the very DNA [they] pass onto [their] children." (Perhaps the author would do well to understand that people may want to be well-informed about the choices they make entirely for themselves and their own health.) In spite of her narrow approach, Moalem's subject matter is intriguing enough to pique the interest of lay readers. However, the text-heavy, statistic-laden format that her book is presented in will certainly put her readership off.

SMART COURSE IN MAGIC: SECRETS, STAGING, TRICKS, TIPS (Collins, Rs 299) by Nakul Shenoy offers a crash course to help you "teach yourself magic". This books will strike a chord with anyone who grew up at a time when magic shows were an immensely exciting prospect, either at birthday parties or in a full-fledged show, and who recognize that the demand for magicians and their acts has declined drastically in present times. The book makes an admirable attempt to prove that magic can be a fulfilling pursuit both for budding magicians and for those who seek to be entertained.