Books This Weekend: Of gifts, tigers and letters

New Delhi– Flick through inspiring stories of powerful gifts; read about the Sundarbans, a vast tangle of mangrove swamp and tidal delta that India and Bangladesh share. Wade through a rare view of the world where borders are fluid, and read an inspiring story of joy, suffering and medicine that takes readers from the jungles of Bangladesh to the US.

The IANS bookshelf offers a varied fare this weekend.

1. Book: Every Gift Matters; Author: Carry Morgridge; Publisher: Greenleaf; Pages: 164; Price: Rs 1,300

In her book Every Gift Matters, Carrie Morgridge shares inspiring stories of powerful gifts in action showing readers how to turn the act of giving into a vehicle for positive change. Drawing on 15 years of experience supporting causes that align with her passions through gifts, Morgridge demonstrates how a smart strategy, high expectations, a deep network, and hands-on personal involvement will ensure that one’s gift is compounded over time to have the biggest impact possible.

Each person and every gift can make a difference, writes Morgridge. Whoever you are, no matter how much or how little you have, your gift matters. The smallest, seemingly unimportant donation can transform a life. And the best news is that giving transforms two lives: the one who receives and the one who gives.

spell-of-the-tiger2. Book: Spell of the Tiger; Author: Sy Montgomery; Publisher: Aleph; Pages: 234; Price: Rs 299

Spell of the Tiger takes readers to the Sundarbans, a vast tangle of mangrove swamp and tidal delta that lie partly in India and partly in Bangladesh. It is the only spot on earth where tigers routinely eat people, swimming silently behind small boats at night to drag away fishermen, snatching honey collectors and woodcutters from the forest.

But unlike in other parts of Asia, where tigers are rapidly being hunted to extinction, the cats in the Sundarbans are revered. With the skill of a naturalist and the spirit of a mystic, Montgomery reveals the delicate balance of Sundarbans life, explores the mix of worship and fear that offers tigers unique protection there, and unlocks some surprising answers about why people at risk of becoming prey might consider their predator a god.

3. Book: A Story for Mukti; Author: Jill MacDonald; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 220; Price: Rs 350

Legendary theatre activist Habib Tanvir met a very young Jill MacDonald at the Edinburgh Festival in 1955. Despite the difference in age and backgrounds, the attraction between the left-wing thespian and the artistic English girl was instant — and the relationship enduring, resulting in the birth of a daughter, Anna, in 1964.

Returning to India in 1958, he continued their correspondence, describing in detail his difficulties in adapting to his own country and in establishing Naya Theatre. Stuffed into a small, battered writing case, these letters travelled around with Jill for more than 50 years, somehow remaining intact. Her side of the correspondence is lost, but here she presents her own story, relating it to Mukti, the eldest of their three grandsons.

Never before published, Habib’s letters provide a unique insight into the heart and mind of a renowned and multi-talented artist at a seminal period of his life. Together with Jill’s own narration, A Story for Mukti also provides a rare view of a world where borders were fluid and a shared love of communicating sustained a romance across continents and through the years.

4. Book: The Temple Road; Author: Fazlur Rahman; Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Pages: 304; Price: Rs 450

As a young boy, Rahman lost his mother, the heart of his family, and soon after barely survived kala-azar, a parasitic illness. The Temple Road: A Doctor’s Journey is an inspiring story of love, joy, suffering, medicine and achievement that takes readers from the jungles of Bangladesh to Dr Rahman’s training in leading medical centres in New York and Houston, and the overwhelming emotions that come with his work as one of the most talented oncologists in the US.

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