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Book Nook - 22-01-2018

Monday, January 22, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

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

Fly On The Wall
Michael Wolff’s book, Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House is stranger than fiction; if Donald Trump, current President of the United States, had been created by a novelist, people would not have believed such a character could exist. But there he is, ensconced in the White House, keeping the world entertained and terrified with his shenanigans.

Wolff got unprecedented access into the White House, because, as he writes, nobody told him to go away. His book, a terrific blend of fact, gossip, interviews and unnamed sources, written in reckless tell-all tone, makes for a fascinating read, mainly because who would have believed Trump could have become President (nobody in his campaign team thought he would win and his wife Melania, according to Wolff, wept inconsolably when he did), and then hang on, flexing his muscles and shooting his mouth off at every occasion, as the media-–that he hates—slams him repeatedly.

Steve Bannon, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Rupert Murdoch, and a cast of hundreds jump out of the pages of newspapers and TV screens into the book, and Wolff rips many masks off as he goes along.  Making fun of the foot-in-mouth Trump is the media’s delight these days, and Wolff has distilled all that disdain into Fire And Fury.

Many ‘facts’ may have been embellished, but the book is a page-turner— savage, witty and disturbing. It’s a mark of America’s free press and democracy that Wolff could manage to write such a book about the most powerful man in the world.

Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House
By Michael Wolff
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 321

Gals And Dolls
Virgil Flowers, used to be the sidekick of Lucas Davenport, hero of John Sandford’s ‘Prey’ series. Then, about ten years ago, the writer gave him a series of his own. Flowers works with Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and hangs out with bunch of colourful cohorts when he is not working on a case.

In Deep Freeze, the killer is revealed in the first chapter, so it’s not the who or why but the how he did it that is at the centre of the novel. On the night of her 25th high school reunion Gina Hemming is fished out of Trippton’s frozen river. Hemming was a rich and powerful woman in the small town and many people had reason to kill her, as Virgil Flowers finds when he starts to investigate. In a previous novel, Flowers had exposed the corrupt school board as well as a dog-napping ring in the town, so he is a bit of a hero there.

The investigation is routine, but there is another mystery to solve. Who is making a range of pornographic Barbie and Ken dolls?  Private detective Margaret Griffin arrives from Los Angeles to hunt for the culprit. Everyone knows the leader of the ring is Virgil’s former classmate Jesse McGovern, but since she is providing employment in a town on the verge of economic ruin, nobody wants to turn her in. In fact, Flowers gets beaten up by a bunch of women and is forced to
go about his work with a broken nose and a blue nose guard, for which he gets teased a lot.

The best part of Sandford’s books is the humour-- the characters are funny, the dialogue crackling and Virgil Flowers a very likeable cop.

Deep Freeze
By John Sandford
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 391

Excerpt of Deep Freeze
David Birkmann sat in his living room with an empty beer can in his hand and stared sadly at his bachelor’s oversized television, which wasn’t turned on. A light winter wind was blowing a soft, lovely snow into the storm windows. He needed to get out to plow the drive in the morning. He wasn’t thinking about that, or the winter, or the storm.          

He’d gotten away with it, he thought. That didn’t make him much happier.

David – he thought of himself as David, rather than Big Dave, Daveareeno, Daveissimo, D-Man, Chips or Bug Boy– didn’t consider himself a killer. Not a real killer.

He was simply accident-prone. Always had been.

Accidents were one reason he’d been elected as Class of ’92 funniest boy, like the totally unfunny time when he hadn’t gotten the corn chips out of the vending machine in the school’s junk-food niche. He’d tried to shake the bag loose and the machine had tipped over on him, pinning him to the cold ceramic tiles of Trippton High School.

Everybody who’d seen it had laughed – the fat boy pinned like a spider under a can of peas – even before they were sure he wasn’t injured.

Even George Marx, the assistant principal in charge of discipline, had laughed. He had, nevertheless, given David fifteen days of detention, plus the additional unwanted nickname of Chips, a nickname that had hung on like a bad stink for twenty-five years.

His own father had laughed after he found out that Trippton High School wouldn’t make him pay for the damage to the vending machine.

Big Dave, Daveareeno, Daveissimo, D-Man... Bug Boy... squashed like a bug.  The latest accident had occurred that night, though David thought it was all perfectly explainable, if you understood the history and the overall situation. He knew that the cops wouldn’t buy it.

Model and actress Cara Delevigne has a life so many young people would envy—so much success at such a young age. Her first novel (co-written with Rowan Coleman) is about the world she knows—young, trendy women, dealing with the darkness of drugs, molestation, depression, sexuality issues. The style is simple and breezy, aimed at young readers and with all the elements that would make for a movie for the book’s target group. The summary goes, “When one of their friends mysteriously disappears, a group of teens are forced to confront the challenges and secrets of their lives in this edgy and suspenseful coming-of-age tale from international supermodel, actress, and social media darling Cara Delevingne.

“Among the students of Pimlico Academy, Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits—outsiders who have found a safe haven in music and their band, Mirror, Mirror. For these sixteen year olds, fitting in at school is nearly as difficult as navigating their complicated home lives. Red has an alcoholic mother and a father who’s never around. Leo’s brother is in prison. Rose uses sex and alcohol to numb the pain of a brutal attack. Naomi’s punk rock princess persona gives her the freedom to be her true self.

When Naomi mysteriously vanishes and then is found unconscious, her friends are shaken and confused. Could it have been an accident—or did someone deliberately try to hurt Naomi? If she was in trouble, why didn’t she turn to them? How well do they really know their bandmate—and each other? If Naomi wakes up from her coma, will she ever be the same?

“Cara Delevingne reveals another facet of her amazing talent with this powerful novel about identity, sexuality, gender, emotional pain, the complicated world of social media, and the dangerous weight of appearances that are not what they seem.”

Mirror Mirror
By Carla Delevigne with Rowan Coleman
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 355

Moti Nandy, sports journalist and Sahitya Akademi Award-winner has written stories centred around sports. Eight of the stories are collected in this book, which will appeal to sports –particularly football--lovers.  Says the synopsis, “Eight stories that champion the spirit of a sport like no other.“A young footballer struggles to make his mark even as he fights, the ruthless exploitation of local football clubs, his family’s strained financial circumstances and the humiliation of being the son of a man accused of deliberately throwing a winning goal in a long-ago match. “A veteran player with an eclectic record prepares to play the final game of his career. “A former star footballer battling grave illness relives the days of exhilarating wins and frustrating rivalries that sustain his spirit. “And, on a turf slightly removed from the football field, a sportsman’s obsession over justice being done to a wronged fellow player leads him into penury. Featuring the acclaimed novellas Striker and Stopper, and all of Moti Nandy’s football-related short stories, this collection captures the heady highs and crushing lows, the heroism – and the ignominy – of sport.”

Kick-Off: Stories From The Field
By Moti Nandy
Translated by Arunava Sinha
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 247

B.V.R Subbu would know more about cars than any expert, since he has worked at Tata Motors and Hyundai. His book, tells the story of the popular car on the country’s roads—the Santro. The summary states, “‘There’s no business like the car business!’  Within months of its launch in late 1998, with every well-known global automobile brand jockeying for a foothold in a small-car market almost monopolized by Maruti Udyog, Hyundai Motor India’s debut production, the Santro, emerged as a force to reckon with. The first car to be conceptualized and designed for – and then developed and manufactured in – India, the ‘Sunshine Car’ outshone its competition in every sphere, winning awards and setting standards in technology, quality and trust that are yet to be achieved by any other small car in the Indian market. Over a period of sixteen years it set the record for the quickest small car brand to go from zero to a million units sold, achieved profitability for Hyundai at unprecedented speed and made an impressive global impact as a ‘made in India’ automobile in markets as diverse as Algeria and Zimbabwe, Western Europe and North America. “In Santro: The Car that Built a Company, B.V.R. Subbu, who spearheaded much of this success, reveals the hitherto untold story of how this small car made such a big impact and firmly established a relatively unknown Korean car manufacturer as a market leader in the Indian automobile industry. Vivid anecdotes detail the thrills and challenges of introducing a new product in a new market; the canny business decisions that overthrew the competition; the unforgettable marketing campaign with Shah Rukh Khan that made the car the household name it became; and the high-stakes power battles and everyday drama that characterize corporate India.“A story about a car-like-no-other, B.V.R. Subbu’s narrative is by turns revelatory, insightful and thoroughly entertaining. If there’s one business book you read this year – let it be this one.”

Santro: The Car That Built A Company
By B.V.R Subbu
Publisher: Hachette
Pages: 254

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