Books of the week: From An Anthology on Climate Change to Kalpish Ratna’s A Crown of Thorns, our picks

Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar

Aarushi Agrawal October 11, 2020 12:56:26 IST
Books of the week: From An Anthology on Climate Change to Kalpish Ratna’s A Crown of Thorns, 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

A Drop of Blood
By Joginder Paul; translated by Snehal Shingavi
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 184 pages

Author and associate professor of English at University of Texas Snehal Shingavi translates award-winning Urdu writer Joginder Paul’s debut novel Ek Boond Lahoo Ki. It follows Mohan Karan, blessed with good looks and a rare blood type. While his degree in English literature makes him little money, he discovers that selling his blood to a private blood bank has promising returns. While unexpected possibilities open up, little does he realise the personal cost these come at.

Read more about the book here.

– POETRY

Open Your Eyes: An Anthology on Climate Change
Edited by Vinita Agrawal
Hawakal Publishers | Rs 500 | 202 pages

Award-winning poet Vinita Agrawal’s anthology investigates the relationship between human beings and the natural world, and aims to bring to readers’ attention the threat that is climate change. Each contributor has interpreted the theme differently, looking at climate change through physical, emotional, and spiritual lenses. The book also includes a foreword by poet Ranjit Hoskote.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Nothing to Lose: The Authorized Biography of Ma Anand Sheela
By Manbeena Sandhu
HarperCollins India | Rs 599 | 272 pages

Writer Manbeena Sandhu followed the Osho movement for two decades before finally meeting Sheela. In this book, she outlines Sheela’s life, from her intense relationship with Bhagwan to heading an ashram at Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, in the 1980s. The book also discusses her alleged spearheading of the largest bio-terror attack in American history, and the 39 months she spent in jail.

Read more about the book here. Read an excerpt from the book here.

– NON-FICTION

The City-Makers: How Women are Building a Sustainable Future for Urban India
By Renana Jhabvala and Bijal Brahmbhatt
Hachette India | Rs 399 | 208 pages

Social workers Renana Jhabvala and Bijal Brahmbhatt tell the story of the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT), established in 1994 with the aim of mobilising and empowering the urban poor women, who are living in slums and bearing the burdens of housework, childcare, and earning a livelihood. Over 25 years, MHT has affected the lives of over 1.7 million individuals. The book records this journey, sharing accounts of courageous women who have taken steps to bring change at the personal and community level.

Read more about the book here.

Fractured Forest, Quartzite City: A History of Delhi and it's Ridge
By Thomas Crowley
SAGE Publications India and Yoda Press | Rs 795 | 368 pages

Researcher Thomas Crowley tells the history of Delhi, placing its environment at the centre of the narrative, focusing especially on the Ridge, referred to as Delhi’s ‘green lung.’ Even as the city has been a hub of politics, warfare, trade, and religion, the Ridge’s trees can’t be separated from the stones below them, nor the cities that rose and fell around them. Through an ecological vantage point, Crowley offers a new light in which to understand the city’s historical and geographical interconnections.

Read more about the book here.

– COVID-19

And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again: Writers from Around the World on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Edited by Ilan Stavans
Penguin Random House India | Rs 799 | 400 pages

As COVID-19 has become a defining global experience, writers, artists, and translators from over 30 countries – including translator Arshia Sattar from India – come together to offer a portrait of the time, and be an antidote to the confines of isolation. Edited by writer Ilan Stavans, the book takes its name from the last line of Dante’s Inferno, when the poet and his guide emerge from hell to observe the beauty of heaven once again. The stories, essays, poems, and artwork follow in that spirit, pointing toward a more connected future.

Read more about the book here.

A Crown of Thorns: The Coronavirus and Us
By Kalpish Ratna
Context | Rs 399 | 264 pages

Surgeons Ishrat Syed and Kalpana Swaminathan write together as Kalpish Ratna. They assess the current narrative of COVID-19, which has so far focused primarily on the virus. But instead of just the novel coronavirus, the book considers the relation between the virus and humanity. We have coexisted with viruses since the dawn of evolution. So, what has changed? Have we disrupted something crucial in nature? The book combines science, history and the human story, offering the long view of the pandemic.

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