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Which book did you like the most this year?
In a year of relative boom for the publishing industry, it is not an easy task to zero in on books one particularly liked. In this year-end special issue, ANURADHA ROY talks to a random selection of informed readers to find out which books stood out for them.
Spotlight
FOCUS
Voices from the city
Karachi could be Mumbai's lost twin and, like Mumbai, has had its share of violence and upheaval. Yet, the city by the sea has also provided voice to many women writers, says ANURADHA KUMAR.

Essay
NOSTALGIA
Bombay poet
ARVIND KRISHNA MEHROTRA recalls what it was like to be in Bombay as a young, book-loving and aspiring poet...


CULTURE
Outside the fold
The Arts and the Sciences are intricate cultural complexes and our universities need to come out of a strict compartmentalisation of disciplines. Only then can we develop insights and aesthetic experience through active participation in the cultural patterns of our society, says SHELLEY WALIA.

Book Review
VERSE
Deceptive simplicity
THERE is a deceptive simplicity in Sitakant Mahapatra's poetry. They deal with his remembered village by the banks of the River Chitropala, his children, parents and grandparents. They explore life, meditate upon it, with a child-like innocence, ...
Redemption in love
WEST BENGAL in the 1970s and the calm of the post-Naxalite era is being shattered by an emerging student movement. Its leader, the ruthless Bacchu Sen, is savvy enough to realise that the promise of upliftment isn't enough for the masses: even a ...
CONTEMPORARY HISTORY
The nation as contested space
Written with lucidity, rigour and elegance, Reinventing India by Stuart Corbridge and John Harriss brings a sense of balance to discussions of contentious issues like cultural and economic determinism. And in Depolitizing Development, Harriss combines readability with a devastating critique of the kind of politics that informs the discourse on development emerging from the World Bank. A review by NEERA CHANDHOKE.
SOCIETY
It isn't funny
The tragedy of O.V. Vijayan's record of the past is that it should be so relevant even today, says MARK TULLY.
SCIENCE
The 'official' line on atomic energy
The history of atomic energy in India is not as straightforward or pretty as it is made out to be in From Fission to Fusion, says SHOBHIT MAHAJAN.
GARDENING
All you needed to know
LAEEQ FUTEHALLY attempts a chapter-by-chapter review of a book on gardening that has strong overtones of a philosophy which suggests the unity and sacredness of all life.
SHORT STORY
Sumptuous feast
1942-BORN freelance writer Sivasankari reached celebrity status even while Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. What else do you say of one who was called by name the moment she caught the eyes of the PM? A charming conversationalist, she was found ...
HISTORY
A human narrative
Histories of late 18th Century India tend to celebrate imperial and anti-imperial victories. In White Mughals, Dalrymple describes, with a novelist's compassion, the tragic costs of one man's rebellion, says PANKAJ MISHRA.
SEXUALITY
Re-presentations of love
Same-Sex Love, an anthology of readings in homosexual love from Indian literature and history, is not just about re-reading our sexualities; it is about re-reading ourselves and what we have always thought we are, says BRINDA BOSE.
REFLECTIONS
Confessions of a Murakami junkie
For a realistic person, Haruki Murakami writes weird stories. And life wasn't the same after they crash-landed into TENZING SONAM'S world. A narrative of his adventures in the labyrinth of the subconscious, with Murakami as the lead explorer.
ENVIRONMENT
Labour of love
We are biodiversity millionaires and this multimedia CD-ROM leaves one in no doubt that it is the most valuable of assets, says RANJIT LAL.
SHORT FICTION
Silent stream of tears
These portraits of urban middle class life are really one long continuous piece of fiction, says PREMA NANDAKUMAR.
POETRY
Reasons for returning
The Universal Home Doctor takes us on a dark journey, one that challenges the boundaries of existence in very physical terms, says TISHANI DOSHI.
Eye catchers
Hindi: Language, Discourse, Writing, edited by Rustam Singh, published by Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University.



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