Of history, roaring women, ghazals and kids’ memory

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) Uncover the gripping stories of each day in history; rejuvenate your “roaring” power with powerful stories of 30 women; absorb a comprehensive account of Urdu ghazals; and, finally, understand how parents can activate the working memories of their little ones.

The IANS Bookshelf has these varied reads this weekend.1. Book: On This Day in History; Author: Dan Snow; Publisher: John Murray/Hachette India; Price: Rs 699; Pages: 412The book offers a key story for each day of the year. Narrating the backstory behind anniversaries remembered globally, the book shows us “how each day offers a different and unexpected insight into our past”.

“From the most important British battle that you’ve never heard of (20 May 685) to the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney (6 July 1957), and from why Julius Caesar should have been wary of the Ides of March (15 March 44 BC) to the day Jeanne de Clisson became a pirate and single-handedly declared war on the King of France (2 August 1343), history is full of unlikely heroes and fascinating turning points.”Full of historical snippets like these, the volume holds anniversaries of key events from January 1 to December 31.

However, Indian readers may be disappointed to find some key historical events missing from the offering, including India’s independence on August 15, 1947, or the birth of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 1869.2. Book: Roar; Author: Cecelia Ahern; Publisher: HarperCollins; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 337Irish novelist and the bestselling author of “P.S. I Love You” Cecelia Ahern’s latest book “Roar” narrates the stories of 30 women who discover their strength and realise that they hold the power to bring about change.”The women in these startlingly original stories are all of us:

The women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From the woman who slowly disappeared to the woman who was kept on the shelf and the woman who returned and exchanged her husband, discover 30 touching, often hilarious, stories and meet 30 very different women,” the book’s synopsis reads.The book has been endorsed by Booker Prize Longlisted author Donal Ryan.3. Book: Hazaaron Khawaishen Aisi:

The Wonderful World of Urdu Ghazals; Editor, Translator: Anisur Rahman; Publisher: HarperCollins; Price: Rs 599; Pages: 456Presenting an ever-moving kaleidoscope of the Urdu ghazal — “a literary curiosity, a quintessential form of poetic expression known for its infectious appeal” — the book “Hazaaron Khawaishen Aisi” is a “comprehensive collection of Urdu ghazals from its very beginning in the late 16th century to the present times”.The volume features 65 poets — including celebrated names like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Jaun Eliya, Nida Fazli and Shahryar — from seven literary periods to represent a rich fare of ideas and styles, those of the secular and the sacred, the pious and the profane, the plebeian and the patrician in manners, as diverse as life itself.

This volume includes the Roman transliteration of the originals in Urdu alongside their English translations.”The chasm between English and Urdu is pretty deep… Anisur Rahman’s anthology, however, could be any translator’s envy. I can’t think of a genuine English poet amongst us who could have done such a fine job of moulding poetry from one language into another,” reads the endorsement by poet-writer Keki N. Daruwalla.4. Book: Super Child! Unlocking the Secrets of Working Memory; Author: Gayatri Kalra Sehgal; Publisher: Rupa; Price: Rs 295; Pages: 240The book is packed with comprehensive, exciting and goal-oriented activities for junior school children.

It empowers parents with the science behind each activity in a manner that may enable them to design the games themselves, facilitating learning specific to their child’s needs.”Strategically planned, exercises in this book activate the working memory skills of young learners and enhance their individual learning style, at par with the school’s curricula,” the book’s synopsis reads. It claims to develop and enhance skills to remember, reformulate and assimilate information, giving the child a better edge for the future.–IANSsj/ss/vm

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