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Five books to be released in January 2018

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Do not miss out a single chance in reading these books in 2018
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New Delhi, Dec 29, 2017: After a significant year for publishing in India, the upcoming month of January in 2018 will set the literary mood for a new beginning. The Jaipur Literature Festival will see the release of several significant books, apart from hosting over 200 sessions that will witness participation from writers and thinkers from across the world. With a lot taking place simultaneously and options as diverse as ever, bookworms have quite a choice to make.

The IANS recommendations for January pares a long list to present the five most promising titles that bookworms must take note of.

Here are the five books that we cannot wait to read this January:

1. “Why I Am A Hindu”, by Shashi Tharoor (Aleph)

In “Why I Am a Hindu”, Tharoor gives us a profound book about one of the world’s oldest and greatest religions. Starting with a close examination of his own belief in Hinduism, he ranges far and wide in his study of the faith. He looks at the myriad manifestations of political Hinduism in the modern era, including violence committed in the name of the faith by right-wing organisations and their adherents. He is unsparing in his criticism of extremist “bhakts”, and unequivocal in his belief that everything that makes India a great and distinctive culture and country will be imperiled if religious fundamentalists are allowed to take the upper hand.

2. “Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb”, by Hassan Abbas (Penguin)

In “Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb”, Abbas profiles the politicians and scientists involved in the development of the country’s atomic bomb and the role of China and Saudi Arabia in supporting its nuclear infrastructure. Drawing on extensive interviews, the book also unravels the motivation behind the Pakistani nuclear physicist Dr A.Q. Khan’s involvement in nuclear proliferation in Iran, Libya and North Korea, and argues that the origins and evolution of the Khan network were tied to the domestic and international political motivations underlying Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project and its organisation, oversight and management.

3. “Small Acts of Freedom”, by Gurmehar Kaur (Penguin)

In February 2017, Gurmehar Kaur, a 19-year-old student, joined a peaceful campaign after violent clashes at a Delhi University college. As part of the campaign, Kaur’s post made her the target of an onslaught of social media vitriol. Kaur, the daughter of a Kargil war martyr, suddenly became the focal point of a nationalism debate. Facing a trial by social media, Kaur almost retreated into herself. But she was never brought up to be silenced. “Real bullets killed my father. Your hate bullets are deepening my resolve,” she wrote at the time. Today, Kaur is doubly determined not to be silent. “Small Acts of Freedom” is her story.

4. “Keepers of the Kalachakra”, by Ashwin Sanghi (Westland)

A seemingly random selection of heads of state is struck down like flies by unnamed killers who work with the clinical efficiency of butchers. Except that they leave no trace of their methods. Sanghi returns with another quietly fearsome tale — this time of men who guard the “Kalachakra” — The Wheel of Time. Sanghi describes a world of people at war with one another — a boomeranging conflict of faiths that results in acts of such slow and planned human cruelty that they defy imagination. Zigzagging from Rama’s crossing to Lanka to the birth of Buddhism; from the charnel-grounds of naked tantric practitioners to the bespoke suits of the Oval Office; and from the rites of Minerva, shrouded in frankincense, to the smoke-darkened ruins of Nalanda, the mystery novel is a journey that will have you gasping for breath.

5. “Diwali in Muzaffarnagar”, by Tanuj Solanki (HarperCollins)

Friendship between two teenage boys dissolves in the aftermath of an act of violence typical of the place they live in — the north Indian town of Muzaffarnagar. A young man comes to the same town to celebrate Diwali with his family and learns that, given his roots, his cosmopolitanism might not be an option any more. A young woman, hitherto unburdened by family duties, grapples with the absence of grief upon her father’s death. Elsewhere, a recently married couple is pulled apart by a crisis rooted in the woman’s traumatic childhood. In Solanki’s book of short stories, young men and women travel between the past and the present, the metropolis and the small town, and the always-at-odds needs of life: Solitude and family. (IANS)

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Earth Day 2018: Focusing on Ending Plastic Pollution

Earth Day 2018 focuses on Plastic pollution

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A demonstrator holds a placard as she participates in the March for Science rally on Earth Day in Mexico City, Mexico April 22, 2017. The placard reads:
FILE - A demonstrator holds a placard as she participates in the March for Science rally on Earth Day in Mexico City, Mexico April 22, 2017. The placard reads: "A country without science, research and education is a country dependent." Earth Day 2018, which is Sunday, will focus on plastics pollution. (VOA)

Each year on April 22, many people stop to think about the health of the world environment, as as if it were a New Year’s Day for nature, many make resolutions to treat the world around them more responsibly.

The day first celebrated in 1970 is approaching a half-century of existence with a movement that started in the United States and spread around the world. People celebrate the day with environmental action such as natural area cleanups, public demonstrations, tree plantings and, in 2016, the signing of the international Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep climate change in check.

The theme for 2018 is plastic pollution. Experts say a large mass of discarded plastic that has gathered in the Pacific Ocean, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles — more than 155 million hectares (600,000 square miles), or twice the size of the U.S. state of Texas.

FILE - In this photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a black-footed albatross chick with plastics in its stomach lies dead on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Nov. 2, 2014. Midway sits amid a collection of man-made debris called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Along the paths of Midway, there are piles of feathers with rings of plastic in the middle — remnants of birds that died with the plastic in their guts. Each year the agency removes about 20 tons of plastic and debris that washes ashore from surrounding waters.
FILE – In this photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a black-footed albatross chick with plastics in its stomach lies dead on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Nov. 2, 2014. Midway sits amid a collection of man-made debris called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Along the paths of Midway, there are piles of feathers with rings of plastic in the middle — remnants of birds that died with the plastic in their guts. Each year the agency removes about 20 tons of plastic and debris that washes ashore from surrounding waters. (VOA)

The patch developed in less than 100 years, as plastics have been in common use only since the 1950s. It is one of several masses of refuse found in the world’s oceans, brought together by weather patterns and water currents. Experts say many types of plastic that do not biodegrade can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years.

Also Read: ‘Skip The Straw’: A Call For Earth Day

This year’s Earth Day focuses on getting rid of single-use plastics, promoting the using of alternative materials, recycling and developing more responsible behaviors concerning the use of plastics.

The environmental group behind Earth Day, the Earth Day Network, estimates that 1 billion people around the world recognize Earth Day in some way.  VOA