Books of the week: From Dalit Lekhika to Sudha Murty’s Grandparents’ Bag of Stories, our picks

Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar.

Aarushi Agrawal November 15, 2020 12:28:48 IST
Books of the week: From Dalit Lekhika to Sudha Murty’s Grandparents’ Bag of Stories, our picks

We love stories, and even in the age of Netflix-and-chill, there's nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption — whether curled up in bed, in your favourite coffeehouse, or that long (and tiresome) commute to work. Every Sunday, we'll have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure. Get them wherever you get your books — the friendly neighbourhood bookseller, e-retail website, chain store — and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.

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– FICTION

Dalit Lekhika: Women’s Writings from Bengal
Edited by Kalyani Thakur Charal and Sayantan Dasgupta
Stree-Samya Books | Rs 500 | 150 pages

Writer and Bangla Dalit Sahitya Academy member Kalyani Thakur Charal and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur Sayantan Dasgupta edit a collection of translated short stories and poems written by Bengali Dalit women. The selection introduces readers to the writers’ struggle of finding a space for themselves in an exclusionary mainstream. Among the contributors are Shyamali Ray, Kanika Sarkar, Shimli Hawladar, Sujata Biswas, and more.

Read more about the book here.

Padmavati the Harlot and Other Stories
By Kamala Das
Aleph Book Company | Rs 399 | 108 pages

Some of writer and poet Kamala Das’ short fiction has been collected here. Among the stories are ‘A Little Kitten’, where a newly married woman finds her life becoming dull as she settles into the tedium of married life. In ‘The Princess of Avanti’, an old woman believes she’s a princess and is glad to be courted by three suitors. And in ‘The Sea Lounge’, a man realises, too late, that he loves the woman he’s breaking up with.

Read more about the book here.

The Archer
By Paulo Coelho; translated by Margaret Jull Costa
Penguin Random House India | Rs 250 | 160 pages

With illustrations by Christoph Niemann, bestselling author Paulo Coelho’s novel follows Tetsuya, a man who was once famous for being gifted with the skill of the bow and arrow but has since retired from public life. A boy with many questions comes searching for him, and Tetsuya illustrates his answers by using the bow and arrow as a metaphor to explain the tenets of a meaningful life.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Beyond Possible: One Soldier, Fourteen Peaks ― My Life in The Death Zone
By Nimsdai Purja
Hachette India | Rs 699 | 320 pages

Nepal-born Nimsdai Purja served as a Gurkha and in the elite Special Boat Service before leaving to explore his passion for mountaineering. He announced that he would be climbing 14 mountains that are over 8,000 metres above sea level. These have a death zone because at that altitude, the body and brain start to wither and die. The world record for climbing them stood at almost eight years – he said he’d summit them in under seven months. Here, he details this experience and his time in the death zone.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

Unbound: Indian Women @ Work
By Gita Aravamudan
Penguin Random House India | Rs 250 | 232 pages

Author and journalist Gita Aravamudan has interviewed working women from different walks of life and various parts of the country, painting a picture of today’s women professionals in India. Among the interviewees are Biocon Ltd chairman and managing director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, and former CEO of Tesco Hindustan Service Centre Meena Ganesh. There’s also hair designer Rachel and call-centre employee Sumathi. Female engineers discuss gender discrimination, and working mothers speak of balancing motherhood and work.

Read more about the book here.

Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK
Edited by Radhika Govinda, Fiona Mackay, Krishna Menon, Rukmini Sen
Zubaan Books | Rs 550 | 330 pages

This collection of essays explores the potential and challenges of teaching, learning, researching, and working as feminist academics. It is edited by Sociology teacher at University of Edinburgh Radhika Govinda; Politics professor at Edinburgh Fiona Mackay; Professor of Gender Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi Krishna Menon; and Sociology professor at Ambedkar Rukmini Sen. The essays also provide a lens through which to view contemporary higher education.

Read more about the book here.

– YOUNG READERS

Grandparents’ Bag of Stories
By Sudha Murty
Penguin Random House India | Rs 250 | 240 pages

Writer and chairperson of Infosys Foundation Sudha Murthy presents a collection of stories about life during the lockdown. The grandparents welcome their grandchildren into their house, who stitch masks, share household chores, and prepare food for workers. They also lose themselves in stories of goddesses, kings, princesses, serpents, magical beanstalks, thieves, palaces, and more.

Read more about the book here.

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