Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Books on Nepal

Here is a selection of books on Nepal:
  • Kings of the Forest: The Cultural Resilence of Himalayan Hunter-Gatherers by Jana Fortier. In today's world hunter-gatherer societies struggle with seemingly insurmountable problems: deforestation and encroachment, language loss, political domination by surrounding communities. Will they manage to survive? This book is about one such society living in the monsoon rainforests of western Nepal: the Raute. Kings of the Forest explores how this elusive ethnic group, the last hunter-gatherers of the Himalayas, maintains its traditional way of life amidst increasing pressure to assimilate. Author Jana Fortier examines Raute social strategies of survival as they roam the lower Himalayas gathering wild yams and hunting monkeys. Hunting is part of a symbiotic relationship with local Hindu farmers, who find their livelihoods threatened by the monkeys' raids on their crops. Raute hunting helps the Hindus, who consider the monkeys sacred and are reluctant to kill the animals themselves. Fortier explores Raute beliefs about living in the forest and the central importance of foraging in their lives. She discusses Raute identity formation, nomadism, trade relations, and religious beliefs, all of which turn on the foragers' belief in the moral goodness of their unique way of life. The book concludes with a review of issues that have long been important to anthropologists - among them, biocultural diversity and the shift from an evolutionary focus on the ideal hunter-gatherer to an interest in hunter-gatherer diversity.
  • Buddhist Art: A Historical and Cultural Journey by Gilles Béguin and translated by Narisa Chakrabongse. Buddhism and its art represents the one truly unifying factor of the entire Asian continent and has become a fundamental part of our shared world heritage. However, to draw a unique portrait of this art in a single work is a formidable undertaking due to the great plurality in traditions spanning different countries and regions over various epochs. Furthermore, the variability in the state of conservation of Buddhist monuments and their decorations provides additional challenges. A passionate scholar of Buddhist art, Giles Béguin has chosen to organise his synthesis in the form of an historical atlas. Together with photography, plans and reconstructions of the monuments and their artwork, this publication also contains previously unpublished cartography. The author takes the reader on an historical and cultural journey across the vast continent of Asia stretching from India, Sri Lanka and Gandhara to countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Burma in Southeast Asia up to the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Tibet before arriving at the Far Eastern civilisations of China, Korea and Japan.
  • Kathmandu Valley Style by Lisa Choegyal, Craig Potton and Gautam Sjb Rana. Nepal is widely acclaimed for its unique art and architectural styles. The ancient palaces, temples, courtyards and streetscapes of Kathmandu Valley are protected as no less than seven World Heritage Sites. Recent efforts to preserve the architectural heritage of Kathmandu have carefully and authentically restored many of the Valley's important public monuments. Lesser known are the recent imaginative and adaptive use of Nepali architecture and decorative styles into new buildings and private homes. Kathmandu Valley Style captures the wealth of the past and illustrates how influences from the Malla Newar, Tibetan and Rana architecture have been incorporated into present-day buildings and lifestyles. Using traditional themes and building techniques in the restored historic and new structures has breathed fresh life into Kathmandu's rich living cultural heritage, and provided additional attractions for visitors. Featured in this volume are over 40 historic and new buildings, many of them never before photographed or published. Reinforcing national pride in Nepal's vernacular architecture, this unique collection demonstrates how traditional art and architecture can be successfully incorporated into homes for today's changing world.
  • Life Of My Sisters by Debby Ng and Edwin Koo. Only a mere 28% of girls in Nepal are literate, and less than three out of ten can read. Without essential skills, these girls risk falling victim to prostitution rings and child trafficking networks. Others are forced to live on the streets. Education is the best hope these girls have of a normal life - a life of independence and true freedom. For more than a decade, Little Sisters Fund has been giving Nepalese girls a glimmer of hope through scholarships for underprivileged girls in Nepal. Photographers Debby Ng and Edwin Koo entered the home of these little girls. With beautifully evocative photographs and sensitive essays, they tell the heart-warming and inspiring stories of these girls - Nepal's hope for a better future. Net publisher proceeds from the book will be contributed to Little Sisters Fund.
  • Nepal: Trekking+Climbing 25 Treks And 12 Climbing Peaks by Steve Razzetti. This book describes 25 treks and 12 climbing peaks in the Nepal Himalaya, with coverage of the entire country from Saipal in the west to Kangchendzonga in the east. Designed for first-time visitors as well as experienced trekkers and climbers, it is an essential sourcebook for anyone contemplating a venture in Nepal's wild Himalayan regions. With detailed maps and beautiful photographs. Indexed.

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