Specimen Days; Michael Cunningham; Harper Collins; £3.99. WHEN you first read about Lucas he seems an ordinary enough child, recently bereaved by his brothers' sudden death. But as the story unfolds, there are hints of an unusual mind, some kind of abnormality perhaps. Lucas's obsession with Catherine, his dead brother's girlfriend, is equally unusual. After all Lucas is just 13 and she 27. But Lucas takes it upon himself to protect her from the terrors that he is sure will visit her. Lucas and Catherine are born once again in a different era but their lives are still intertwined. This book is the story of an unusual trio whose destinies are linked through different eras. They continue in their individual narratives to travel towards an unknown, but seemingly, beautiful end. This book could be about the terrors of machines, the loss of innocence or the incomprehensible stories of mankind. Whatever its genre, it is a masterpiece whose passages resound in your ears long after you've put the book down. The Weather Makers; Tim Flannery; Penguin; £6.00 WRITER and scientist, Tim Flannery takes it upon himself to help us discover through history what the world's wonderful natural ecosystems are all about. In a detailed book which is at once exciting and speculative, Flannery explains how even the smallest of changes in the world has impacted the eco system and what this means for us as inhabitants of the earth. Through the homes of polar bears, golden toads into deserts and rainforests and swamps, he goes on to show how over the decades the earth's climate has changed and how even the smallest of these changes has eventually a far reaching and wider impact. Covering everything from greenhouses and their effect on the environment to the latest hurricanes, Flannery does an admirable job of a prosaic and boring issue to many. A must read book if you want to know what's happening today with the environment around you.

Thrills Throbs Murmurs; Sushil K Chaudhry; Literati Group; Rs.250 YET another addition to the brave new world of Indian fiction. This then is the story of a medical doctor, his growing up years, adolescence, his professional life and the years later. In between are marked the milestones that he feels shaped his life and made him the person he is today. For instance his best friend Guddu chides him and this in turn spurs him to do something with his life. The women who impacted him and the cases he saw in the years at hospital and then a private practitioner and what they taught him. Thrills Throbs and Murmurs could indeed have been a hilarious account of a young medic's life but somewhere ends up being a long tale served up with no spice. With missing punctuation, bad grammer and not enough prepositions, this book loses out of even the basics that it should not be denied.