Category > Sport and leisure

Opening Innings in the Kitchen

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 Cooking on the Run by Boria Majumdar, book reviewA cricket writer and sports scholar writing about food? That’s a surprise for a start, even though cricket writers certainly eat and probably enjoy their food as much as anyone else. Boria Majumdar’s book, though is written with specific agenda, to get men who cannot cook into the kitchen and make them comfortable with the pots and pans. He describes his book as “simply the average Indian man’s survival mechanism in times of need” and begins by explaining that one point he couldn’t even make an omelette. Then, while at Oxford on his Rhodes scholarship stint, he encountered Professor Talib Ali who invited him to dinner and fed him a comfortingly spicy home cooked meal that made Majumdar feel perfectly at home and determined to master food before his wife arrived on the scene.


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Philosophy for a Six

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 Centurion: The Father, the Son and the Spirit of Cricket  by  Pramesh Ratnakar, book reviewA book about Sachin Tendulkar eavesdropping on a college principal interview. Invisible to boot. Sounds impossible, but impossible or otherwise that’s what the Centurion is about. It takes the reader through a debates, arguments and internal musings that turn philosophy, sport and history inside out. But that is after you get to the inside pages. The first stopper is the cover which does not carry the author’s name. And which cocks a snook at the Catholic trilogy in the subhead, though diverting it deftly by adding the word cricket.

Inside is a dialogue between The Arranger of All and someone who may be the author but who declares vehemently that since the author is known by the fiction he creates the author is in short a work of fiction, so there is no need for the author to identify himself.


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London’s Olympic Follies: The Madness and Mayhem of the 1908 London Games

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London's Olympic Follies: The Madness and Mayhem of the 1908 London Games: A Cautionary Tale by Graeme Kent, book reviewHaving caught a bad dose of Olympic Fever this summer, I was pleased to spot London’s Olympic Follies: The Madness and Mayhem of the 1908 London Games: A Cautionary Tale by Graeme Kent in the recent Kindle sale. I was keen to find out more about the history of the modern Olympic Games, and particularly London’s place in that history.

London 1908 was the fourth modern Olympiad, if we’re not counting the unofficial games in Athens in 1906. The Olympic movement was still gaining fame and learning lessons. With a large stadium built in White City, London was ready to go, having taken over at fairly short notice from Rome which found itself unable to host the games.


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Playing the Game

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The Winning Way, Anita and Harsha Bhogle , book reviewSports and management have been joining hands in India ever since companies like Tata Steel started hiring cricketers and built a sports stadium in Jamshedpur. ‘Sports is a way of life’ was one of their corporate mottos. What does that have to do with Harsha and Anita Bhogle’s first book? Quite a lot because while many people feel that sport has no relationship to management, it actually shares quite a few values and sports terminology has crept insidiously into management jargon. According to the Tata Steel ethos, good sportsmen make good citizens.

What does sport have in common with management? Quite a few things – most sports rely on teamwork and leadership and so does management.

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It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels

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It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels by Robert Penn, book reviewRoy H Williams once wrote, “lives, like money, are spent. What are you buying with yours?”. This is a question that many of us will struggle to answer coherently, I suspect, but not Robert Penn. For Penn is a man with enthusiasm for all things pedal-powered; he has ridden a bike for thirty-six years, on nearly every day of his adult life, including one 40,000km, three-year, round the world trip as an apparent reaction to having been a pin-striped solicitor for too long. As his book “it’s all about the bike” – a cheeky riposte to Lance Armstrong’s best-selling biography about recovering from cancer to win the Tour de France – opens, Penn owns five bikes in various states of repair, but has decided he needs a new one. “I could go online right now with a credit card and spend £3000 on a mass-produced carbon or titanium racing bike” he writes. “It’s tempting, very tempting. But it’s not right. Like many people, I’m frustrated at the round of buying stuff that is designed to be replaced quickly…I want the best bike I can afford, and I want to grow old with it…I want MY bike.”


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The Man Who Cycled the Americas

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The Man Who Cycled the Americas,  Mark Beaumont, book reviewThe blogosphere is well suited to the coverage of extended journeys or endurance achievements; there have, in recent years, been several excellent blogs written by cyclists (Tom Kevill-Davies’s The Hungry Cyclist and currently Alastair Humphreys’s terrifically entertaining blog covering his round the world cycle ride are just two of them) and a few of these have been the catalyst for full length books, proving not only the enduring popularity of cycling but just how much the public’s imagination i-s fired by tales of such feats of strength, daring and will to succeed.

Following on from “The Man Who Cycled the World”, an account of his record breaking trip of 2008, “The Man Who Cycled the Americas” is Mark Beaumont’s next major undertaking, cycling down the back bone of the continents of North and South America.


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You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!

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You've Gone Too Far This Time, Sir! - Danny Bent, book reviewYou’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir! is the true account of Danny Bent’s journey from the UK to India…by bike. Inspired by teaching his class about underprivileged children in a village in India, he decided to go there to teach and help the children. When one of the children in his class in the UK asked how he planned to get there, his first thought was to reply “Plane, of course”, but he realised that by doing that he could undo a lot of the good work he had done in teaching the class about environmental issues. So he said he would cycle…

The journey is nothing short of epic. India is far away – even by plane. To travel there by a non-motorised form of transport is a huge undertaking, through Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Pakistan among other place.


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Michael Freeman’s 101 Top Digital Photography Tips

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Michael Freeman's 101 Top Digital Photography Tips by Michael Freeman, book reviewWhen I made the transition from a compact digital camera to a digital SLR last summer, I knew there was going to be a lot to learn. The instruction manual that came with the camera did not give enough information, and I have since been looking at books that could help me to take better quality photographs. Perhaps the best I have looked at so far is Michael Freeman’s “101 Top Digital Photography Tips”. The quality of the paper and the superb design of the book immediately draw you to it, but as you start to leaf through the pages you realise that there is much more to it than the look and feel. It delivers on information for all levels of photography, whether you just point and shoot or you are a professional.

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Jumbo to Jockey

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Jumbo to Jockey: One Midlife Crisis, a Horse, and the Diet of a Lifetime by Dominic Prince, book reviewMen are famously poor at dealing with growing older. The classic mid-life crisis usually involves a mistress or a Harley Davidson (possibly both) but in the case of Dominic Prince, it was a very different type of passion that kicked in. Standing on the scales on his 47th birthday, Prince could barely see past his belly but the truth was there – he was nearly 17 stone. He drank too much, ate FAR too much, smoked cigars and got out of breath if he took any exercise. Rather than join Weightwatchers or take up golf, Prince decided to he wanted to become a jockey because he had liked to ride when he was younger. It’s not the most obvious of things to want to do – it would be like me deciding I want to become a gymnast because I’d done a passable handstand in primary school.


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A Salute to ‘The God of Cricket’

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SACHIN : Genius Unplugged by  Suresh Menon, book reviewWorld Cup time is possibly the best time to bring out a book on Sachin Tendulkar, so that his fans can both read and admire his current exploits live on the television. Perhaps the only Indian who has touched as many lives as Sach is Amitabh Bachchan. Both are figures for a millennium. Tendulkar is even more unusual because his life has never been touched by scandal, nor has he been seen to lose his cool under the greatest of match pressure, which makes him a role model for young India.

Sachin – Genius Unplugged is a collection of 18 essays deftly edited by famous cricket writer, columnist and author Suresh Menon.

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The Fight

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The Fight by Norman Mailer, book reviewThe Fight is the late writer Norman Mailer’s acclaimed book about the 1974 World Heavyweight Championship bout between champion George Foreman and challenger Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa, Zaire. Mailer was there to expertly cover The Rumble in the Jungle and infiltrated both camps (Ali in particular was a friend of Mailer) to get an inside picture of the famous encounter. The book is his account of the build-up and fight, the personalities, the entourages, the intrigue, ‘Bantu’ philosophy and the extraordinary experience of being in Africa for such a spectacular and unique event. My paperback copy of The Fight runs to nearly 240 pages and this is a must for anyone interested in boxing or Muhammad Ali.


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Nikon D40/D40x Digital Field Guide

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Nikon D40/D40x Digital Field Guide (Digital Field Guide) by David D. Busch, book reviewThe instruction manuals that are provided with cameras do not usually go into a great deal of detail. Spending a few extra pounds on a comprehensive guide book for a particular model of camera seems like a good investment. For the owner of a Nikon D40 or D40X digital single-lens reflex camera, David Busch’s Digital Field Guide is an excellent choice.

After a ‘Quick Tour’ explaining how to shoot your first picture, review your pictures, correct the exposure and transfer images to a computer, the guide is split into two main sections. Part I is entitled ‘Using the Nikon D40/D40X’ and covers three chapters: Exploring the Nikon D40/D40X, Nikon D40/D40X Essentials, and Setting Up Nikon D40/D40X.


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