Books of the week: From Jenny Housego's A Woven Life to Ranjan Chakrabarti’s Critical Themes in Environmental History of India, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal July 05, 2020 09:50:46 IST
Books of the week: From Jenny Housego's A Woven Life to Ranjan Chakrabarti’s Critical Themes in Environmental History of India, 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

Lallan Sweets
By Srishti Chaudhary
Penguin Random House India | Rs 299 | 288 pages

Writer Srishti Chaudhary’s debut novel, set in 1995, follows Tara Taneja who lives in the small town Siyaka. She runs the Ultimate Mathematics Tuition Centre and works for her grandfather Lalaji at his sweet shop Lallan Sweets. When Lalaji retires, he decides his shop will be earned, not inherited, and devices a quest for his three grandchildren. Along with Nikku, the quest takes Tara from Mathura to Ludhiana, battling old secrets, family legacies, and unexpected dangers.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

A Woven Life
By Jenny Housego, with Maya Mirchandani
Roli Books | Rs 695 | 216 pages

Along with journalist Maya Mirchandani, textile historian Jenny Housego traces her life story. From a childhood in the English countryside to the world of Asian textiles, art and museums, she has spent five decades travelling across Asia, documenting weaves and handcrafted textiles. She also discusses falling in and out love and a broken marriage, parenting, and cofounding the luxury brands Shades of India and Kashmir Loom.

Read more about the book here.

Gone Away: An Indian Journal
By Dom Moraes
Speaking Tiger | Rs 399 | 220 pages

First published in 1960 and now re-issued with an introduction by author Jerry Pinto, Gone Away is a travelogue by author and poet Dom Moraes, covering three months he spent in the subcontinent in 1959. Several things happened, from a visit to a speak-easy in Bombay to an interview with Jawaharlal Nehru, and from an hour spent closeted with the Dalai Lama to meeting the Nepalese poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota. As he went up to Sikkim, he was even shot at by a Chinese detachment, but escaped.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

Critical Themes in Environmental History of India
By Ranjan Chakrabarti
SAGE India | Rs 1,495 | 496 pages

Vidyasagar University Vice Chancellor Ranjan Chakrabarti’s book delves into Indian environmental history and examines critical themes, from rivers and water bodies to forests, land use, and wildlife. It argues that environmental history is an important gateway to understand the complex human-nature relationship, and reminds of the contemporary importance of listening to the voice of nature more carefully.

Read more about the book here.

The Death Script: Dreams and Delusions in Naxal Country
By Ashutosh Bhardwaj
HarperCollins India | Rs 599 | 280 pages

Journalist Ashutosh Bhardwaj’s book focuses on the time he spent living in the Red Corridor, reporting on the Maoists and police conflicts, between 2011 and 2015. He writes about the people he met on both sides of the conflict, and those caught in the crossfire, reminding of the human cost of such a fight. He also meditates on larger questions of violence, betrayal, love, obsession, and what it means to live through and record such experiences.

Read more about the book here.

Death; An Inside Story
By Sadhguru
Penguin Random House India | Rs 299 | 376 pages

Spiritual leader Sadhguru’s book meditates on the nature of death. Through discussing his inner experience, he comments on the more profound aspects of death and elaborates on what preparations one can make for one’s death and how one can assist someone who is dying.

Read more about the book here.

– YOUNG READERS

Habber-Jabber-Law: A Nonsense Adventure
By Sukumar Ray; translated by Arunava Sinha
Speaking Tiger | Rs 199 | 72 pages

Translated by Arunava Sinha, writer Sukumar Ray’s classic nonsense work is set on a hot afternoon. A boy, sitting in his garden, suddenly finds himself transported into a land of ridiculous creatures, from the cat that was a hanky to the raven who’s an accountant and the old men Uto and Booto who claim to be 13-year-olds. And then the commotion about a defamation suit where the judge is a barn owl. Will the crocodile, frog, and hedgehog be able to present their case?

Read more about the book here.

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