Books of the week: From Martin Popoff's biography of Rush to Kerry Drewery’s The Last Paper Crane, our picks
Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar.
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.
In this edition, we round up newly released audiobooks, that can be acquired with ease from the comfort of your home, while you stay in during the coronavirus lockdown. Happy listening!
For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.
A Contemporary Asshat at the Court of Henry the VIII
By MaryJanice Davidson | Read by Morgan Hallett
Recorded Books | Rs 938 | 12 hours and 52 minutes
Bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson’s latest book follows American expat Joan Howe, who has accidentally time-travelled to the court of Henry VIII. Returning to the present day, she meets the scientists from the think tank that created the time travel portals, who say they cannot control them, and Joan is the only one to have returned. Now working to rescue the missing, she also comes across a rogue employee from the think tank who has remained in the past to alter history.
One Summer in Crete
By Nadia Marks | Read by Daphne Alexander
Pan Macmillan | Rs 323 | 9 hours and 31 minutes
Writer and editor Nadia Marks’ novel tells the story of Calli, whose life has fallen apart. Her relationship has ended and her chances of starting a family are gone. She finds the perfect escape in work, when she’s sent to write a magazine article about the Greek island Ikaria. Travelling to Crete, from where her family originates, Calli meets her aunt Froso, and starts to uncover secrets, both her own and those of the island.
– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES
Anthem: Rush in the 1970s
By Martin Popoff | Read by Michael Butler Murray
ECW Press | Rs 703 | 11 hours and 9 minutes
Writer and music reviewer Martin Popoff’s Anthem is the first in a three-part biography of the Canadian rock band Rush, titled Rush Across the Decades. It creates a portrait of the musicians through first-hand interviews with Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart, and discussions with family, friends, and other musicians. It places the band’s catalogue in the context of Canadian and general popular culture. It also details the perseverance of the musicians, dismissed by the music industry as the Led Zeppelin of the north.
Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest
By Ian Zack | Read by Rosa Howard
Beacon Press | Rs 1,005 | 9 hours and 28 minutes
Writer and editor Ian Zack presents an in-depth biography of singer Odetta, known as the ‘Voice of the Civil Rights Movement,’ for challenging racism and prejudice through her art. Through her charged folk music, lyrics, and strong persona, she brought about political, social, and cultural change. The book follows her from her start in the segregated Alabama to stardom in New York, and discusses how she used her fame to bring attention to the civil rights movement.
The Arab Winter: A Tragedy
Written and read by Noah Feldman
Princeton University Press | Rs 538 | 5 hours and 31 minutes
Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman argues that the Arab Spring wasn’t as much failure as it was a series of tragedies where the Middle Eastern people took collective action for self-determination. He provides an account of the political consequences of the Arab Spring, focusing on the Egyptian revolution and counterrevolution, Syrian civil war, rise and fall of ISIS, and the Tunisian struggle for Islamic constitutionalism, challenging the idea that the Arab Spring wasn’t truly transformative.
Today's Wonder Women: Everyday Superheroes Who Are Changing the World
By Asha Dahya | Read by Sarah Mollo-Christensen
Dover Publications | Rs 668 | 7 hours and 38 minutes
Writer Asha Dahya tells the stories of 50 women and female-identifying heroes, through stories, essays, and interviews, celebrating their powers of love, determination, and vision. Stories include those of Alexa Carlin, who as a 17-year-old CEO overcame a one percent chance of surviving sepsis; Mariah Hanson who launched the Dinah, the world’s largest music festival for lesbians; and Laverna Delgado, director of Fashion & Freedom, which rescues victims of sex trafficking and trains them to enter the fashion industry, among others.
– YOUNG ADULTS
The Last Paper Crane
By Kerry Drewery, Natsko Seki | Read by Bruno Roubicek, Rina Takasaki
Hot Key Books | Rs 683 | 3 hours and 34 minutes
Author Kerry Drewery’s novel follows Japanese teenager Mizuki, worried about her grandfather who is clearly upset, claiming he could never get over something from his past. When she persuades him to tell her, we are in 1945 Hiroshima, and her grandfather, as a teenage boy, is relaxing at home with his friend Hiro, when a nuclear bomb is dropped on the city. The two teenage boys must now brave the devastation and search for Hiro’s fiver-year-old sister Keiko, leaving a trail of origami paper cranes with their address for her.
– YOUNG READERS
Mark Anchovy: Pizza Detective
By William Goldsmith | Read by Kris Dyer
Piccadilly Press | Rs 569 | 4 hours and 42 minutes
Writer and illustrator William Goldsmith’s first children’s book follows pizza delivery boy and aspiring detective Colin Kingsley. There are no cases to solve until the Golden Spatula League (GSL) come along, the premier agency of caterer-detectives, run by children. To join them, Colin, codenamed Mark Anchovy, must fly to Rome and track down the stolen painting Girl with a Squirrel. And the prime suspect is Alan Fresco, art thief and pizza addict, making it the toughest mystery the GSL has encountered.
In Beloved Beasts, Michelle Nijhuis shows that history can help contextualise and guide modern conservation
Through the eyes and actions of individuals, Beloved Beasts portrays the evolution of the surprisingly young field from a pursuit almost solely of the privileged Western elite to “a movement that is shaped by many people, many places, and many species.”
In Gods and Ends, Pereira paints an honest — if despondent — look at the lives of Goan Catholics living in a chawl. Obrigado Mansion is in Orlem in Malad but, it could be any chawl in Mumbai, where residents are boxed in by paper-thin walls, their lives on display for everyone around.
Wildlife biologist and conservationist Sanjay Gubbi on why there's little understanding about leopards in India
In an interview with Firstpost, Gubbi discusses learnings from his research work, his new book Leopard Diaries, threats to leopards like poaching and habitat loss, and what readers interested in leopards — or even wildlife in general — can do to further conservation goals.