Cinema, dieting, Delhi on book shelf

New Delhi: A compilation of short stories on women, the story of a budding lawyer wrongly diagnosed with cancer, the confessions of a serial dieter, an anthology of filmmaker Satyajit Ray`s articles -- the bookshelf this week is an eclectic mix.

1. "The Habit of Love"; Written by Namita Gokhale; Published by Penguin-India; Priced at Rs.250

This book of short stories is about women and the strange workings of their heart written over a period of two decades. It brings out the threads that have bound women throughout history - exploring emotions as contrasting as loneliness, love minus riders, motherhood and a woman`s need to find her words and voice in a society that has overlooked the mindspace of the other sex for centuries.

The stories are both everyday and exotic like that of journalist Madhu Sinha, who strikes a quaint kinship with a man as young as her son, a swan which acts as the narrator of the tale of Nala and Damayanti and pert young miss Vatsala Vidyarthi, who suspects her one night stand of stealing her money.

2. "When Loss is Gain"; Written by Pavan K. Varma; Published by Rupa & Co; Priced at Rs.395

Anand, a budding lawyer, quits his job when he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is told that he has a few months to live. Life hits rock bottom when his wife leaves him for his best friend Adi. But life grants him a second chance when the doctor says the diagnosis was wrong and he is cancer-free.

Anand goes to the remote Bhutanese retreat of Wangsisina to enjoy the simple joys of life. Life takes a twist in the mountains when he meets Tara, an enigmatic woman who is fleeing her own tragic past. The book is a maiden shot at fiction by diplomat Pavan K. Varma, a noted non-fiction writer, translator and cultural ideologue.

3. "Confessions of a Serial Dieter"; Written by Kalli Purie; Published by Harper Collins; Priced at Rs.250

Kalli Purie has struggled with her weight since childhood and has finally found a weight she is happy with. Mostly. The diets featured in her book are structured rather like episodes in her life, full of characters, anecdotes and juicy nuggets of weight wisdom - from `surya namaskars` to Bollywood beats to drastic coconut water diets.

In this candid tell-all, Kalli, a fitness honcho, looks at weight-related complexes, myths and dilemmas and tells us not just what to do but how to do it. Kilo by kilo.

4. "Deep Focus: Reflections on Cinema"; Anthology of Satyajit Ray`s articles; Published by Harper Collins India; Priced at Rs.450

Satyajit Ray is acknowledged as one of the world`s finest filmmakers. His films changed the way the world looked at Indian cinema. But he was also a bestselling writer of novels and short stories, and possibly the only Indian filmmaker who wrote prolifically on cinema.

This book brings together, for the first time in one volume, some of his most cerebral writings on films. With the economy and precision that marked his films, Ray writes on the art and craft of cinema, pens an ode to silent cinema, discusses the problems in adapting literary works to film and pays tribute to contemporaries like Jean-Luc Godard and Uttam Kumar.

5. "From Red Fort to Raisena"; Written by J.P. Losty, Salman Khurshid, Ratish Nanda and Malvika Singh; Published by Roli Books; Priced at Rs.2,975

The book traces the journey of Shahjahan`s new capital of the Mughal Empire, Shahjahanabad, built on the banks of the river Yamuna in 1638 AD, to New Delhi, the new capital of British-ruled India in 1911.

From Red Fort to Jama Masjid and from Jahanara Bagh to Hayat Bakhsh Bagh, every palace, mosque, bazaar and bagh in the Mughal city was planned to perfection. The new city too was a blend of Mughal architecture and modern aesthetics. This book celebrates the centenary with four essays on different aspects of Delhi`s history.