March 28, 2020
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New book from Khushwant, touching 100, Sandipan Deb's Aardvark Media, and Oxford India Perennials


Freehand Writing

The grand old man of letters, Khushwant Singh, touching 100, is all set to come out with his new book, A Freethinker’s Prayer Book. Editors working with him say he is as excited as always before the launch of a new book, his memory is sharp as ever, but only that he gets tired soon. And if you thought he has sobered up, sample these lines from the book: “Old age is a nuisance. It buggers up your life. Though I have not yet gone senile and I have been spared the indignity of bedpans and nurses wiping my bottom, it is now time to go.”

Bookworms Beware

Aardvark Media is the latest start-up in publishing, led by former managing editor of Outlook Sandipan Deb. Aardvark is betting big on e-publishing, which is still taking baby steps in India. Apart from print, it will publish e-books, smartphone books and audio books, expecting a shift in reading habits. The first title, Kismet 3.0, a ‘straight-from-the-gut tale of a 25-year-old techie’ is out, and is available on Flipkart; the Kindle version is on Amazon.

Of Lasting Value

OUP has come out with a fine set of important books in their series Oxford India Perennials. There is Romila Thapar’s Asoka and Decline of the Maurya Empire, Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq, U.R. Ananthamurthy’s Samskara, C.A. Bayly’s Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars, among others, in the first lot. In all, there will be 14 titles launched this year. The books in the series have never been out of print, and have new forewords, introductions and prologues by authors and editors. They cost between Rs 200 and Rs 500.

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