Between the lines

IN RETROSPECT, 2002 would be best remembered in the context of book selling in India as a year, which altered the profile of many names, ushered in a few good wordsmiths and of course, with an expected doze of writers doing it just for the sake of writing. An irrefutably notable event that brought smiles to the booksellers mid-year is the nomination of the new Indian President. As the word spread, his tomes too notched up huge sales, the best fared, however, being "The Wings of Fire". Straight from the country's nuke science father, mass curiosity shot A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to a bestseller topic overnight.

Kalam has no immediate family member to dish out a "pictorial tribute" to his admirable works, but a handful of celebrity kin came out with "words of love" for their coveted family members as the year progressed. The first to hit the stand with such a tell-tale was sitar maestro Ravi Shankar's daughter Anoushka and then followed the flood gush with Jaya Bachchan's do on life-partner, the one and only Amitabh. Pierced in sarod king Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's sons' first person account on their "baba", the latest being Ritu Nanda's homage to daddy dear, the late Raj Kapoor. Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh too gave out bits of his life to fans through his biography, "Beyond Time". All's healthy and fair in the Internet age but what's not so is the exorbitant pricing of these productions, specially when they work adversely to a certain degree on the sales ledgers. Nevertheless, a few titles can be grouped as top sold books of the year. But mention can be made about a few ones by Indian authors that made a dent throughout 2002. Hari Kunzru's "The Impressionist"; Anurag Mathur's reprint of "Making the Minister Smile"; B.N. Tandon's "PMO Diary, Prelude to the Emergency"; Anita Nair's "Lady's Coupe"; M.J. Akbar's "The Shade of Swords" etc can be named. Among the foreign authors who penned Indian subjects, Saul David's "The Indian Mutiny"; Yann Martel's Booker Prize winner "Life of Pi" and Lars Blinkenberg's "India, Pakistan: History of Unsolved Conflict" did well. Among foreign titles, John Grisham's "The Summons"; Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" are successful names in India. But nothing to beat Spenser Johnson's international bestseller, "Who Moved my Cheese" even in Indian charts! A faint reply came, "I Moved Your Cheese", though without help!