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Book Nook - 01-01-2018

Monday, January 01, 2018

There are Lit Fests taking place all over the country, but the community of readers is dwindling. Still, passionate book lovers would like to know what others like themselves are reading. This Book Nook suggests some books, but would also like to connect with serious readers, or even casual airport book browsers. Do write in about books you have loved or hated and why. The best entries will be shared on this page. Please send your recommendations to adc.booknook@gmail.com

Death By Gossip
J.D. Robb is the name Nora Roberts uses to write her crime books. Lt . Eve Dallas is the heroine of the futuristic ‘Death’ series, a cop married to a handsome Irish millionaire. Roarke is a criminal turned business baron, who not just keeps his wife in designer clothes, but also helps with her investigations using resources only he can pull out of his hat.

In Secrets In Death (the 45th in the series, set in 2061), Dallas has just dropped into a fancy Manhattan bar (owned by her husband), that she finds too fancy, to meet a woman she does not like -- forensic anthropologist Dr. Garnet DeWinter. In no time a murder has been committed, and she finds herself in the unenviable role of investigator and witness; the victim, who bleeds to death in front of the shocked eyes of the bar’s wealthy patrons, is the much hated gossip columnist Larinda Mars. Many people have reason to kill Larinda, who ruthlessly wrecked the lives and careers of those who did not bow to her blackmailing for money and dirt on others.

As Dallas and her partner Delia Peabody starts to dig into Larinda’s life, they realise just how greedy and evil she was, but that does not mean that her murderer can get away.

The relationship between Eve and Roarke is as romantic and the trail of the murderer is exciting. A breezy read for Robb/Roberts fans.

Secrets In Death
By J.D. Robb
Publisher: St. Martin's
Pages: 384

Soul-Searching Women
About fifteen years ago, Cathi Hanauer has edited a best-selling book of essays titled The Bitch In The House, in which 26 women told “the truth about Se Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage.”  What that book talked out was post-feminism women, who had careers and husbands they chose, but found themselves exhausted with the effort to live up to their own high expectations and trying to do it all.

Some of them write again about the experiences gained in the intervening years, and some new writers enter the list of 26 women with their own perspectives on what it like to be a woman in the 21st century with all the choices they have been able to make.

There is, of course, the problem of ageing in a youth-obsessed world, and though the tone of the writing is upbeat and often witty, there is still an underlying whine about men, sex and the insecurities of growing older (there has to be one essay on nips, tucks and hormone therapy to look young). When you’d expect that that many of them have reached the age when they ought not to give a damn about anyone or anything, they are still caught up in the conventions of coupledom (including a “non-radical” lesbian couple) or the lack of it.

This is by no means a representation of the experiences of all women, but going by this book, if youthful anger is simply replaced by middle-aged angst in some and resignation in others, when are women ever truly happy or fulfilled?

The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, And (Getting) Happier
Edited by Cathi Hanauer
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 338

ALSO RECEIVED
Verus Ferreira is a senior music journalist, whose second book The Great Rock Music Quiz Book is collector’s item--a history of rock music, in an interesting quiz format. It is a fun read for those who know their rock music and a great introduction to the rock hall of fame for youngsters who want to learn all about rock legends. Fans could pick their playlists of great songs from this book. Says the summary, “The 16 chapters in the book examine the life and times of prominent rock music artists in a totally new style that details their biography in a quiz format, a fun and entertaining way, rather than reading a lengthy biography of the artist. A few chapters also have rare and exclusive photos of a few rock artists who have performed in India. There are 5 extra chapters, the first on Gospel Music, followed by 'In Memory of' that deals with rock musicians who are no longer with us, but whose music has left a deep impact on the minds and lives of those who love them. 'Quotes from the Rockers' says it all, and is followed by 'Code of Conduct' that offers a dos and don'ts for attending a rock concert, detailing the way one should dress, and how one should act. Lastly 'Rock goes Mickey' shows the funny side of rock music artists. The main purpose of the book is purely to inform and increase a music lover's thirst to know his music better and his favorite rock music artists. The book contains something for every rock music fan, following the lives and work of rock's best known idols past and present, who have shaped the world of rock music. The Great Rock Music Quiz Book is the perfect companion at family get togethers, picnics, and parties and also makes an ideal gift for any occasion. Verus Ferreira's second book offers a unique insight into the world the author has seen and heard, into the good, the bad and the ugly of rock.”

The Great Rock Music Quiz Book
By Verus Ferreira
Published by: Story Mirror
Pages: 208

Swati Kaushal’s A Few Good Friends is a readable and very relatable story of urban lives, Says the synopsis, “Those were the best days of our lives... For Aadi, Srini, Ambi, TD, Miru and Kajo, the twentieth anniversary reunion of their batch from IIM Calcutta provides the perfect opportunity to set aside their everyday anxieties and relive the heady days of their youth. But things begin to go awry when ex-lovers reunite, old grudges resurface and long-held secrets come tumbling out. As they navigate an eventful weekend in Goa packed with expected nostalgia and unexpected drama, what becomes increasingly clear is that while friends are fallible, friendships are forever... Sparkling with wit, warmth and the easy craft that has marked Swati Kaushal's bestselling novels, A Few Good Friends is a refreshing, nuanced take on friendship, love and this crazy thing called life.”

A Few Good Friends
By Swati Kaushal
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 310

Henry Fraser’s slim book, with a foreword by J.K. Rowling, is a moving and inspiring story of a young man’s struggle to overcome disability, written in a simple and heart-warming style. According to the synopsis, “Henry Fraser was a 17-year old sports enthusiast and senior prefect when he broke his spinal cord and was left paralysed from the shoulders down. Life as he knew it was over and yet, through extraordinary determination and a positive attitude, he has forged a successful career as an inspirational speaker and an artist. He chose survival over defeat, and transformed unimaginable difficulty into an opportunity to grow and inspire others.

“This book will combine his wisdom and insight into accepting life's challenges with positivity and hope, and will resonate with anyone facing an obstacle, no matter how big or small. It includes Henry's thoughts on how to look at the right things and avoid the wrong things, looking for progress in whatever you do, and acknowledging and accepting the darkness when it comes. Right at the heart of Henry's inspiring philosophy is his belief that every day is a good day.”

The Little Big Things
By Henry Fraser
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 165

Excerpt of Secrets In Death
IT WOULDN’T KILL HER.

Probably wouldn’t kill her.

Eyebrows knit together beneath a snowflake cap, Lieutenant Eve Dallas strode through the flood of people on the crowded sidewalk with thoughts nearly as bitter as the February wind.

She’d rather be back in her vehicle and driving home through the jam of other vehicles. Down to it, she’d rather engage in mortal combat in some downtown alleyway with a Zeused-up chemi- head than head for some fussy fern bar.

But a deal was a deal, and she’d run out of excuses— reasons, she self- corrected. She’d had solid reasons to put this deal off.
Like murder.

A murder cop dealt with murder and all it entailed. Not fancy drinks and small talk. Resigned, she stuffed her hands— she’d forgotten her damn gloves again—in the pockets of her long leather coat that snapped and billowed around her long legs. Her gaze scanned as she hiked the two blocks, brown and canny cop’s eyes on alert. Maybe she’d spot a street thief, Christ knew plenty of tourists clipped by with their wallets all but hanging out saying: Take me.

Not her fault if she had to make an arrest and put this little meet off, again.

But apparently the snatchers and pickers had taken the evening off.

She reminded herself drinks with Dr. Garnet DeWinter, fashion plate, forensic anthropologist, and mild irritant couldn’t annoy or bore her to actual death.
And if death by boredom equaled a potential risk, surely they had come up with a cure by 2061.

Thirty minutes, she vowed. Forty max, and she’d be done. Deal complete.

She stopped in front of the bar, a tall, rangy woman in flat, sturdy ankle boots, a long black coat, and the incongruous ski cap with a snowflake shimmering over her choppy brown hair and knitted eyebrows.

Du Vin. Stupid name for a bar, she thought, her wide mouth twisting in derision. Snooty French name for a bar.

She wondered if Roarke owned it because her husband owned damn near everything else. She’d rather be having a drink with him. At home.
But she wasn’t.

She reached for the door, remembered the snowflake. She yanked it off, stuffed it in her pocket to maintain a little dignity.

She stepped out of the noise and rush of downtown New York, into the fern- and flower- decked noise of the trendy, overpriced drinking hole.

The bar itself, a dull and elegant silver, swept itself into an S curve along the facing wall. Mirrored shelves filled with shiny bottles backed it. On the top shelf exotic red flowers spilled out of black- and-white checked pots.

Stools with black- and- white checked seats lined the front. An ass fi lled every seat while other patrons crowded in, keeping the trio of bartenders busy.
The generous space, artistically lit by silver pendants twisted into fl oral shapes, provided room for high tops, low tops, booths, and the waitstaff, dressed in sharply severe black, moving among them.

Just under the drone of sound generated by voices, clinking glassware and the click of shoes on the polished floor, the music system lilted with some throaty- voiced woman singing in French.

It all struck Eve as entirely too . . . everything.

Her instinctive scan of the room paused on a blonde— striking features, a lush tumble of hair, a curvy body packed into a bright pink skinsuit with high- heeled boots as green as her eyes.

It only took a beat for her to recognize the gossip reporter—or, as Larinda Mars termed herself, the social information reporter. The last thing Eve wanted, other than some weird French drink, was to find herself an on- air item on Channel Seventy- Five.


 

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