Drama, innocence & creativity on bookshelf

New Delhi: The bookshelf this week is pure innocence and drama - from children`s cult writer Ruskin Bond to one of the greatest story-tellers of our times Toni Morrison... Browse on.

1. Book: "Hip Hop Nature Boys & Other Poems"; Anthology by Ruskin Bond; Published by Penguin India, Priced at Rs.150

If a tortoise could run/And losses be won/And bullies be buttered on toast; If a song brought a shower/ And a gun grew a flower/This world would be nicer than most!

Beautiful, poignant and funny, Ruskin Bond`s verses for children are a joy to read to yourself on a lazy summer afternoon or to recite in school among friends. For the first time, his poems for children, old and new, come together in this illustrated volume. Nature, love, friends, school, books -- all find a place in the poetry of India`s favourite children`s writer.

2. Book: "Home"; Written by Toni Morrison; Published by Random House, Priced at Rs.499

An angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after an enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. His home - and himself in it - may no longer be as he remembers it, but Frank is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from, which he has hated all his life.

As Frank revisits the memories from childhood and the war that leave him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he thought he could never possess again. Toni Morrison`s deeply moving novel reveals an apparently defeated man finding his manhood and finally, his home.

This is a stunning new novel, by the author of Beloved.

3. Book: "Origins of Love"; Written by Kishwar Desai; Published by Simon & Schuster; Priced at Rs.350 (Indian price)

In Delhi a small baby lies alone and abandoned. The product of IVF and surrogacy, she had been so coveted - until she was born with a fatal illness. No one knows how the infection could have been transferred to the child, but one thing is certain: no one wants her now.

Thousands of miles away in London, Kate and Ben are desperate for a baby. But, despite efforts, fate seems to be skewed against them. Then, as Kate suffers another miscarriage, she knows something has to change. She has heard of women who are prepared to carry a baby for others, and she knows this might be a way to finally find happiness.

But will her desire for a baby stop at nothing? And between the two, feisty social worker Simran Singh is determined to uncover the truth behind the shadowy façade of the multi-million dollar surrogacy industry. Women and children are being exploited, their lives thrown away like so much dust. Is she is the only person prepared to stand up for what is right?

4. Book: "The Village"; Written by Nikita Lalwani; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs.399

After a long journey from England, Ray Bhullar arrives early on a winter morning at the gates of the Indian village which will be her home for the next three months. The door of the hut which she will share with Serena, her English co-worker, is a loose sheet of metal, the windows holes in the walls. And outside, village life apparently goes on as normal. And yet, the village is anything but normal. It is a village of murderers, an open prison. And when Ray and crew take up residence, it seems that they are innocent visitors in a violent world, on a mission to hold the place up to viewers as the ultimate example of tolerance. But the longer the visitors stay, and their need for drama intensifies, the line between innocence and guilt blur and new kind of cruelty emerges.

5. Book: "Wisha Wozzariter"; Written by Payal Kapadia; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs.125

Wisha Wozzariter is a zany, imaginative take on the journey of a writer, written as a modern-day fable. It attempts to be humorous without being weighed down by profundity. Wisha is a 10-year-old girl who wishes, as her name suggests, that she were a writer. When she meets a bookworm, she stops wishing and starts writing. With him, she takes many a wild ride on the "Thought Express".

Proverb and metaphor take physical form here: She scours the "Marketplace of Ideas" for a winning idea for her book; she scouts the "Superhero Salon and the Bargain Bazaar" for a hero; and she visits the "Circus of Bad Form" to understand why Structure is so important to Story.

She encounters a motley crew of characters, from a purple mouse who is scared of her own shadow, to a stout and shifty villain. On her journey, Wisha discovers the creative process by which anything beautiful and lasting is created, a process in which "Faith, Luck and Destiny" play no mean part. The story is peppered with references to some of the most outstanding examples of children`s fiction, touch stones in the genesis of any good writer. This is intended for eight to 12-year-olds.

IANS

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