Paperback Pickings

In pursuit of truth and joy

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 8.08.14

In pursuit of truth and joy

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State (Hamish Hamilton, Rs 599) by Glenn Greenwald is the story of the author’s quest to publish articles based on the documents provided by the whistleblower, Edward Snowden, while being hounded by the “authorities”. Greenwald has reproduced dozens of fascinating documents that Snowden showed him — these help illustrate the National Security Agency’s methodology and its abuse of power. The book is organized into three sections — it starts with the story of how Greenwald, also a renowned journalist, was contacted by Snowden, after which he flew to Hong Kong with the film maker, Laura Poitras, to secretly meet the whistleblower, whose bravery and clarity of purpose Greenwald rightly praises. The second section describes the main disclosures in the documents, and the third includes Greenwald’s own views on the established media and its failure to serve the interests of the people. The book balances exposition and advocacy and is interesting as well as informative.

Stalked (HarperCollins, Rs 250) by Girvani Dhyani is a fast-paced thriller set in urban India. A young lawyer named Tara Bakshi pursues a top-secret case known as “Project Emerald”. With a tough boss keeping an eye on her work, Bakshi uncovers new proof that will augment her case. But she soon finds that she is being stalked, and the only clue she has to the identity of the culprit is a Zippo lighter with a serpent carved on it. Events begin to spiral out of control, and Bakshi has to find her stalker before he strikes again. The book is tighly packed, and the twists keep readers guessing. The author is a lawyer herself; she has managed to paint a realistic picture.

Fall like a rose petal: A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money (Westland, Rs 350) by AVIS Viswanathan documents the journey of a courageous couple through financial misery. The author and his wife, Vaani, tackled the crisis in a positive way. They learnt how to bounce back after every low. The title of the book has been inspired by a Sufi fable that teaches one to accept life as it is. This is an epistolary novel; the letters are addressed to the couple’s children. The lessons in Viswanathan’s lucid text are valuable; for example, one should face problems, not succumb to them. It is the author’s candid tone and his evident lack of self-pity that make the book an interesting read.