Books of the week: From Megha Majumdar's A Burning to Ilan Kelman’s Disaster by Choice, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal June 08, 2020 09:42:18 IST
Books of the week: From Megha Majumdar's A Burning to Ilan Kelman’s Disaster by Choice, 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 week, 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 doing home deliveries, e-retail website, chain store — and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.


Books of the week From Megha Majumdars A Burning to Ilan Kelmans Disaster by Choice our picks


A Burning
By Megha Majumdar
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 304 pages

Writer and editor Megha Majumdar’s debut novel tells the story of three characters whose lives are entangled in the aftermath of a catastrophe: There’s Jivan, a Muslim girl accused of a terrorist attack because of a Facebook comment. Then there’s PT sir, a gym teacher with political aspirations who attaches himself to a right-wing political party. And finally, there’s Lovely, an outcast with an alibi that can set Jivan free, but at the cost of the things she holds dear.

Read more about the book here.

You People
By Nikita Lalwani
Penguin Random House | Rs 892 | 240 pages

Writer Nikita Lalwani’s novel revolves around the kitchen of The Pizzeria Vesuvio, an Italian restaurant in London. The chefs here are Sri Lankan, and half the kitchen staff is made up of illegal immigrants. Tuli, the restaurant’s owner, promises to help anyone in need. But soon Tuli’s leadership leads them all to danger, and the full extent of his operations unravel, leaving each to face a challenging moral choice.

Read more about the book here.


Lockdown Liaisons: Leaving and Other Stories
By Shobhaa De
Simon & Schuster India | Rs 89 | 60 pages

Writer and columnist Shobhaa De’s collection of stories document and reflect on the impact of the coronavirus on the human condition. From the story of a woman with a child who realises she doesn’t love her husband, and an elderly lady who lives alone and has nosey neighbours, to a migrant who must make a tough decision, these stories focus on love, and on people trying to make sense of these altered circumstances.

Read more about the book here.


Disaster by Choice: How Our Actions Turn Natural Hazards into Catastrophes
By Ilan Kelman
Oxford University Press | Rs 750 | 192 pages

University College of London’s Professor of Disasters and and Health Ilan Kelman’s book challenges the idea of a ‘natural disaster’. Disasters, it argues, don’t occur due to natural causes, but are the resultof human choice and action, a reflection of our inability to deal with the environment. He discusses the social and political causes that eventually lead to disasters, and highlights examples of impeccable human action in limiting this damage and saving lives.

Read more about the book here.

The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here
By Hope Jahren
Penguin Random House | Rs 705 | 224 pages

Award-winning scientist Hope Jahren’s book discusses the connection between humanity’s consumption habits and our dwindling planet. She explains the science behind inventions like large-scale farming and automobiles, reminding how they release CO2 into the atmosphere, and elaborates on the consequences of these projected emissions. She also talks about the actions we can take to fight back.

Read more about the book on Firstpost.


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
By Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press | Rs 899 | 528 pages

Author Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to her Hunger Games trilogy. It follows 18-year-old Coriolangus Snow, preparing for his time as a mentor in the Games. As he starts to mentor the female tribute from District 12, he must weigh his need to follow rules against his desire to survive no matter what.

Read more about the book here.


Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet
By Kate Pankhurst
Bloomsbury | Rs 299 | 32 pages

Author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst book throws light on the trailblazing women whose work has helped protect our natural world and environment. From Isatuo Ceesay recycling waste to Jane Goodall researching chimpanzees, and from Anita Roddick encouraging fair-trade and cruelty-free shopping to Wangari Maathai resisting deforesation, these stories offer encouragement, showing how small and big actions can combat climate change.

Read more about the book here.


COVID-19: What You Need To Know About the Coronavirus and the Race for the Vaccine
By Michael Mosley
Simon & Schuster India | Rs 250 | 160 pages

Doctor, science journalist, and award-winning author Michael Mosley explains the science behind the novel coronavirus, offering a basic understanding of its transmission, recovery from it, and the most effective ways of protecting against it. He discusses his and his sons’ experiences of becoming ill amidst the pandemic and recovering. Through interviews with doctors and virus researchers, he also details ongoing efforts in vaccine development.

Read more about the book here.

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