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Six wonderful books that will tune up your life

These books offer a whole lot of possibilities for you to explore and fall in love with. Bon voyage to a whole new world of books!

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Last Updated: Sep 15, 2015, 08.59 AM IST
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These books offer a whole lot of possibilities for you to explore and fall in love with. Bon voyage to a whole new world of books!
These books offer a whole lot of possibilities for you to explore and fall in love with. Bon voyage to a whole new world of books!
Reading should be all about shedding the old and donning the new, letting go of the past and welcoming the future. So what better to read right now than books that have a brand new way of looking at things - be it an established theory, an old dictum or a traditional social norm? Here is a collection of 6 fantastic books that will help you look beyond the obvious and tune up with the new. Just like the spring, they offer a whole lot of possibilities for you to explore and fall in love with. Bon voyage to a whole new world of books!

- The Age of Radiance: The epic rise and dramatic fall of the atomic era

Is the Atomic Era dead and gone – making way for a Digital Age? What started in 1895 with Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of radiation and was carried forward by the likes of Pierre and Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard, raised its ugly head as a fearful destroyer during World War II. Today, the fear of a nuclear holocaust might have waned, but too many meltdowns and accidents have also made us realise that nuclear power might not be the miracle source of cheap and safe energy that we expect it to be. In this lucid and detailed account, the New York Times’ best-selling author Craig Nelson explores the hope, despair and Eureka moments of a power era (pun intended), bringing to life the colourful characters who made it happen and explaining the scientific & political complexities with a rare clarity of vision. An unputdownable saga of the nuclear age that reveals how the boon and bane of atomic power will continue to impact our life.

- A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power

A thought-provoking piece of work by the former US President, Jimmy Carter, who was encouraged to write this book by a ‘wide coalition of leaders of all faiths.’ The key theme is as old as History itself, revealing how women suffer from inequality all over the world and how they are subjected to torture and servitude, in one form or another. Worse still, such diktat is justified by false interpretations of carefully selected religious texts, quoted out of context, while violence and warfare further lead to women’s exploitation. Does that remind you of the khap panchyats who unofficially dictate the social norms across Rural India or the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, the education activist who was shot by the Taliban? Such incidents abound and A Call to Action is based on those, documenting and addressing the unconscionable human suffering.

- Show Your Work! 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered

A best-selling author and artist, Austin Kleon has hit it on the head in this age of networking. Getting noticed is not an easy task in an overcrowded space, but following a common sense approach and some simple to-dos can get you going. According to the writer, it’s the follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, Steal Like An Artist. “This book is for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion. If Steal was a book about how to be more creative by stealing influence from others, Show is a book about how to influence others by letting them steal from you,” explains Kleon. In other words, Steal is all about how to be more innovative while the newest one focuses on self-marketing, without being pushy. The book is short and sassy, simple and enjoyable – but packs a punch, all the same.

- Second Wind: Navigating the passage to a slower, deeper, and more connected life

There is only one success: To be able to spend your life in your own way, said American writer Christopher Morley. And going by that yardstick, most of us might have failed. However, this book by Dr Bill Thomas (MD and a well-known expert on ageing) holds out hope – helping one explore a new roadmap not necessarily driven by quantifiable and material success. Harmonising life the way we want it, could be one of the most difficult challenges post midlife. But unless a smooth migration from adulthood to elderhood takes place, people are bound to suffer as they try to cope with a life essentially out of balance. Second Wind mostly focuses on the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) at work and the realistic options they can embrace for a more meaningful life and better developmental opportunities. Sounds like a sound prescription for the overall well-being of an age-biased system, but can we ultimately heal a fast-paced and fast-burning-out society that is economically and culturally flawed?

- The Story of the Jews: Finding the words 1000 BC-1492 AD

Here is one grand panorama spanning continents and millennia, and tracing the history of a race whose epic tale of survival in the face of heavy odds never fails to fascinate. Award-winning historian Simon Schama, professor of Art History and History at Columbia University, has penned the social and cultural history of the Jews in a way that is authentic and insightful, analytical yet personal. As the colourful history unfolds, one goes on an intriguing journey where “the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with gems and spices founder at sea.” It’s a journey that includes all – from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians – among whom the Jews dwelt. It is, indeed, everyone’s story, evolving across Time.

- Hope is a ferris wheel

If you are wondering why we have listed the debut novel of Robin Herrera, ostensibly a book for young adults, here’s the reason – it’s inspiring but starkly realistic, tender without the feel-good sop, a mosaic of many hues as seen by 10-year-old Star Mackie. Star lives in a trailer home, which is far from idyllic; lives with a family, which is near-dysfunctional, and studies in a new school where she lacks acceptance. But she is a determined little person who fights her own battles and doesn’t abandon hope – a character as powerful as Kaye Gibbons’ Ellen Foster or Katherine Patterson’s Gilly Hopkins. The poetry club Star runs at school is her only escape route to emotions and aspirations that she could not voice otherwise. And her love for Emily Dickinson’s works keeps her strong, helping her through many a rough passage. For Star, hope is a Ferris wheel that will never fail to surface, in spite of the rough-and-tumble called life. Loads of heartening and humorous moments further endear this book, making it a must-read even for adults who have lost faith and hope.
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