Books of the week: From Behind Bars in Byculla to Edward Snowden's Permanent Record, our picks of new memoirs
Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar.
We love stories and there's nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption
Every Sunday, we'll have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure.
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.
By Edward Snowden
Macmillan | Rs 699 | 352 pages
Edward Snowden is an American whistle-blower who leaked highly classified information in 2013, exposing the mass surveillance practices of the National Security Agency. He revealed how the US was working toward building a system that would expose all the personal electronic correspondence of every single person on the planet. In his memoir Permanent Record, Snowden recounts how he helped build the system and explains why he later decided to expose it.
Over the years, living under asylum in Russia, Snowden has become, for many, a symbol of the conscience of the internet. In Permanent Record – for which the US government is suing Snowden – he records his life as one lived online, a crucial narrative in the digital age, written with unflinching honesty, wit, and passion.
Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison
By Jigna Vora
Penguin Random House India | Rs 299 | 264 pages
In 2011, renowned journalist Jyotirmoy Dey was murdered by the Chhota Rajan gang. A few months later, fellow journalist Jigna Vora was arrested as suspect; and acquitted of all charges seven years later. Now, Vora has written about the whole experience, understanding prison first from the outside as a crime reporter, detailing her court hearings, and then recounting her time as an inmate, where she was held in company of fellow inmate Pragya Thakur. Vora discusses the delicate power dynamics of prison life and explains what it takes to survive behind bars.
Sketches: The Memoir of an Artist
By KM Vasudevan Namboodiri
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 240 pages
Translated for the first time into English by Gita Krishnankutty and with a foreword by MT Vasudevan Nair, Sketches: The Memoir of an Artist is the memoir of the renowned Kerala-based artist, illustrator, and sculptor KM Vasudevan Namboodiri, better known as Artist Namboodiri. Interspersed with his illustrations, Namboodiri recreates 20th century Kerala and its artists. He details his childhood in the temple town Poonami, recounting the community spaces that serves as cultural centres of creativity and encouraged an exchange of ideas. He also walks readers through his time at art school, having been a student at the Madras School of Fine Arts. Told with witty humour and charm, Sketches is a visual and literary narrative of the life and times of Artist Namboodiri through his own words.
The Bugle Calls: A Life in the Indian Army
By Kiran Doshi and Naresh Rastogi
Tranquebar | Rs 599 | 292 pages
In September 1965, Indian forces, though understrength, emerge victorious over Pakistani forces. And in December 1971, Indian forces march into Bangladesh, with the Pakistani Army there surrendering soon after. The Bugle Calls is an honest and humorous memoir of a life spent in the Indian Army, and lived through two of independent India’s biggest wars with Pakistan. With strong visual imagery atmospherically recreating military life, the book offers insight into Army life through a personal perspective.
Read more about the book here.
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
By Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
Bloomsbury | Rs 462 | 304 pages
In October 2017, journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the story about Harvey Weinstein which ignited the #MeToo movement across the world. In She Said, the duo recount how they went about this, from facing Weinstein and his team of defenders and investigators, to convincing numerous women to go on the record about their experiences. Kantor and Twohey describe how they learnt about allegations against Weinstein through confidential conversations and dug their way through decade-old secret pay-outs and non-disclosure agreements; to bring to the fore the voices of, and for, women.
Read more about the book here.
That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea
By Marc Randolph
Hachette India | Rs 699 | 320 pages
In That Will Never Work Netflix co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph reveals how Netflix went from concept to company. In the 1990s when brick-and-mortar video stores ruled and streaming was unheard of, Randolph had the idea of making use of the internet to rent movies out to viewers. He discussed this with his business partner Reed Hastings, who became Netflix’s primary investor, and together they founded the company.
Today, with millions of subscribers all over the world, Randolph walks readers through the early struggles as a start-up, exemplifying how anyone with determination can build upon a simple idea. The book also serves as a guidebook for many of the fundamental questions one struggles with in a business, being a personal, insightful story about entrepreneurship.
A tribute to TS Shanbhag, who fuelled generations of readers' indulgences at Bengaluru's Premier Book Shop
Shanbhag’s Premier Book Shop was always chaotic and there was simply not enough space for the books stored. There would also be people standing about and reading without buying, something he never objected to.
Kabir Bedi talks new memoir, and what makes him a rebel: I'm a child of the '60s, decade of social revolution
"Society likes conformity. Those who deviate from the norm are seen as threats. But it's our individuality that makes us unique. You have to be different to make a difference," says Kabir Bedi.
Dedicated is Davis’ attempt to show that commitment, so often associated with conservatism and traditionalism, can be a radical act.