Books of the week: From Sunjeev Sahota's China Room to Ritu Menon's Address Book, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal May 31, 2021 10:06:27 IST
Books of the week: From Sunjeev Sahota's China Room to Ritu Menon's Address Book, 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 week, 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

China Room
By Sunjeev Sahota
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 256 pages

Author Sunjeev Sahota’s novel follows Mehar, a young bride in 1929 rural Punjab, trying to discover the identity of her husband. She and her sisters-in-law spend their days in the family’s ‘china room,’ away from the men. When Mehar comes up with a theory about which man is hers, passions ignite that put more than one life at risk.

Read more about the book here.

Manottama: Narrative of a Sorrowful Wife
By Anonymous Hindukula-Kamini Pranito; translated by Somdatta Mandal
Hawakal Publishers | Rs 300 | 74 pages

English professor Somdatta Mandal translates this 1968 novel by an unnamed Bengali woman identifying herself as ‘A Woman belonging to the Hindu Lineage.’ It talks about the pitfalls of female education in the 19th century, providing a domestic picture where an educated wife has to compromise because of an uneducated husband.

Read more about the book here.

The Cursed Inheritance
By Sutapa Basu
Readomania | Rs 250 | 144 pages

Author Sutapa Basu’s novel follows Anahita Sarkar, brought up in London and to whom a Kolkata mansion is bequeathed. As she reaches the mansion, secrets pursue her in a grand house that speaks to her. The mysterious past puts her family’s reputation at risk. Can she dig deeper to unravel the mystery and turn the cursed inheritance into a blessing?

Read more about the book here.

No One An Outsider: Varanasi Tales
By Vivek Nath Mishra
Hawakal Publishers | Rs 250 | 128 pages

Writer Vivek Nath Mishra’s collection of short stories focuses on the lives and feelings of people living in Varanasi. It presents a different side of people living in a city considered heavenly and special, explores their experiences, and shows how the emotions they experience are the same as those of someone living anywhere else in the world.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Address Book: A Publishing Memoir In the time of COVID
By Ritu Menon
Women Unlimited | Rs 210 | 144 pages

Author and publisher Ritu Menon’s memoir talks about her time in lockdown. Housebound, she goes through her address book looking for a name and number from a long time ago. As she goes through the pages, she sees the people she’s encountered in 35 years as a feminist publisher. It also dwells on the books she made, authors published, issues raised, and more.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

A Pandemic and the Politics of Life
By Ranabir Samaddar
Women Unlimited | Rs 360 | 208 pages

Social scientist Ranabir Samaddar’s book details the Indian experience of fighting COVID-19 , analysing the why and how of this public health emergency. It talks about the production of an unanticipated politics of life and the desire for a new type of public power. It also focuses on the themes of outbreaks of various crises, the marching migrants, and emergence of biopolitics. The book also asks what one means by care and protection in a post- COVID-19 world.

Read more about the book here.

The Braided River: A Journey Along the Brahmaputra
By Samrat Choudhury
HarperCollins India | Rs 599 | 424 pages

Author and journalist Samrat Choudhury’s book follows his journey along the Brahmaputra, from the edge of Tibet where it enters India to where it meets the Ganga at a spot marked by Bangladesh’s biggest red-light district. Along the way, he meets suspicious Indian spies, locals, and more. Alongside is the history of the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, formation of the Assamese identity, and ecological challenges posed by proposed dams.

Read more about the book here. Read more by the author here.

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