Books of the week: From John Zubrzycki's The House of Jaipur to Meghaa Gupta's Unearthed, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal September 07, 2020 09:37:13 IST
Books of the week: From John Zubrzycki's The House of Jaipur to Meghaa Gupta's Unearthed, 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

Those Delicious Letters
By Sandeepa Datta Mukherjee
HarperCollins India | Rs 299 | 296 pages

Blogger and bestselling author Sandeepa Datta Mukherjee’s novel tells the story of Shubha, who soon after her 40th birthday, starts receiving letters with traditional Bengali recipes from a mysterious lady who claims to be her grandmother. The recipes impress everyone except her husband Sameer. As she’s drawn into this world of forgotten food and tries to find the letter-writer, her own life starts to unravel.

Read more about the book here.

The Silence of the Hyena: Stories & A Novella
By Syed Muhammad Ashraf; translated by M Asaduddin and Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Aleph Book Company | Rs 599 | 224 pages

Award-winning Urdu short story writer Syed Muhammad Ashraf’s collection of stories is translated by award-winning author M Asaduddin and Harvard University Fellow Musharraf Ali Farooqi. Among the stories are ‘Rogue,’ in which three men set out to hunt a rogue elephant, but in the shadowy night, shapes start to appear in the mist; and ‘Death of an Antelope,’ in which the old leader of a blackbuck herd is challenged by a young buck.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

The House of Jaipur: The Inside Story of India’s Most Glamorous Royal Family
By John Zubrzycki
Juggernaut | Available for free because of COVID-19 | 376 pages

In his book, journalist and author John Zubrzycki reveals untold stories about life behind palace doors of the House of Jaipur. Spanning the final decades of the British Raj to the present day, the book also talks about how feudal traditions were challenged when princely states were abolished and discusses how the Jaipur family has sought ways to stay relevant in a 21st-century democratic India.

Read more about the book here.

Manmatha Nath Dutt: Translator Extraordinaire
By Bibek Debroy
Rupa Publications | Rs 395 | 168 pages

Scholar and translator Bibek Debroy presents a portrait of the translator Manmatha Nath Dutt and of 19th-century Calcutta. Debroy was intrigued when he saw Dutt’s name attached to the translations of almost all the ancient texts he also wanted to translate from Sanskrit into English. It led him on a trail to discover more about the translator who has remained largely ignored thus far.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

Sex and the Supreme Court: How the Law Is Upholding the Dignity of the Indian Citizen
By Saurabh Kirpal
Hachette India | Rs 699 | 352 pages

Edited by advocate Saurabh Kirpal, the book is a collection of writings about Supreme Court decisions that have championed an individual’s right to identity and dignity. Essays are from Justice MB Lokur who writes about the transgender community and Justice BD Ahmed who discusses Muslim law in the modern context, among others like Arundhati Katju, Menaka Guruswamy, Madhavi Divan, and more.

Read more about the book here.

Stoned, Shamed, Depressed: An Explosive Account of the Secret Lives of India's Teens
By Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava
HarperCollins India | Rs 399 | 272 pages

Journalist Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava’s book investigates the secret lives of India’s urban teenagers, several of whom struggle with addiction to harmful substances, social media, and gaming. Others are dealing with peer pressure, bullying, body shaming, and resultant health issues. Through speaking with teens, parents, teachers, and child psychologists, the book chronicles the journey from teenage to adulthood, finding the path full of temptations with easily blurred boundaries.

Read more about the book here.

– YOUNG READERS

Unearthed: The Environmental History of Independent India
By Meghaa Gupta
Penguin Random House India | Rs 299 | 232 pages

Writer Meghaa Gupta’s book covers India’s historic movements and green missions since 1947. It discusses the relationship India has shared with the environment, from protesting against dams to protecting tigers and hugging trees, and from battling waste and pollution to coping with rising temperatures.

Read more about the book here.

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