What the books are about

The Wisdom ...

Drawing on Buddhist principles, this book loosely discusses His Holiness’s ideas on forgiveness, though Chan presents them gently through stories. Apart from the teachings on forgiveness, what comes through most clearly is the personality of the Dalai Lama himself. We learn that he had something of a temper as a young man and that he can’t resist pulling men’s beards. The book’s serious call to forgiveness becomes all the more engaging and possible because of the Dalai Lama’s own lighthearted spirit.

Maximum City...

Returning to Mumbai from New York after 21 years, Mehta is depressed by his beloved city’s transformation. Investigating the city’s bloody 1992–1993 riots, he meets Hindus who massacred Muslims, and their leader, the founder of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, Bal Thackeray. Daring to explore further, Mehta travels into the city’s criminal underworld with tough top cop Ajay Lal, developing an uneasy familiarity with hit men. Mehta likewise deploys a gritty documentary style when he investigates Mumbai’s sex industry, profiling an alluring, doomed dancing girl and a cross-dressing male dancer who leads a strange double life.

Against All Enemies...

Former counterterrorism director Clarke starts out by describing how he took charge in the situation room on the day of the 9/11 attacks and facilitated communication among the White House, the FBI and the FAA. Not only does he paint a vivid portrait of the White House in crisis mode, but he even recalls a number of conversations. With his deep tenor and weighty pauses, Clarke never lets readers forget the gravity of the situation, but he isn’t above making an attempt at the various accents and inflections of the major players.

To Kill a Mockingbird

A reprint of a classic ! Funny and written with unspectacular precision, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is about conscience — how it is instilled in two children, Scout and Jem Finch; how it operates in their father, Atticus, a lawyer appointed to defend a Negro on a rape charge; and how conscience grows in their small Alabama town.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

A reprint of a classic! Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening. By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness. Nonetheless, this is a spirituality classic, and an especially engaging parable for adolescents.