Books of the week: From Priyanka Chopra Jonas' memoir to Fakir Mohan Senapati's Six and a Third Acres, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal February 08, 2021 10:34:58 IST
Books of the week: From Priyanka Chopra Jonas' memoir to Fakir Mohan Senapati's Six and a Third Acres, 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, e-retail website, chain store — and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.



Six and a Third Acres: A Novel
By Fakir Mohan Senapati; translated by Leelawati Mohapatra, Paul St-Pierre, and KK Mohapatra
Aleph Book Company | Rs 399 | 208 pages

Father of modern Odia literature Fakir Mohan Senapati’s novel, first published between 1897-99, talks about village politics, caste oppression, and land-grabbing under the zamindari system in colonial Odisha. Zamindar Ramchandra Mangaraj is known for land-grabbing and this time the six and a third acre land his eye falls on belongs to a humble weaver couple. Unable to fight back, the couple succumbs to the harsh realities of caste-ridden village life.

Read more about the book here.

The Time of the Peacock: A Short Novel
By Siddharth Chowdhury
Aleph Book Company | Rs 499 | 136 pages

Author Siddharth Chowdhury’s novel is set in the New Delhi publishing world. John Nair, managing editor of Peacock India, is throwing a grand party for the book launch of Best in Show: The Peacock Book of Indo-Anglian Fiction. With all of literary India in attendance, in walks Nair’s old friend Ritwik Ray, the eccentric bard of Patna, with a new novel in hand, Godse Chowk.

Read more about the book here.


By Ranjit Hoskote
Penguin Random House India | Rs 499 | 224 pages

Poet Ranjit Hoskote’s collection addresses questions like ‘where is home, in a world beleaguered by climate crisis, pandemic, and genocide?’ Rife with linguistic experimentation, it celebrates our plurality. We see vulnerability and rupture in the erasure of ancient scripts, melting Arctic ice, and a lion tamer’s primal fear; and redemption through love in a dancer’s courage, a leather worker’s promise, and a locksmith’s passion for ruins.

Read more about the book here.

When the Night Agrees to Speak to Me
By Ananda Devi; translated by Kazim Ali
HarperCollins India | Rs 399 | 120 pages

Poet and teacher Kazim Ali translates French language writer, and 2010 awardee of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Ananda Devi’s poetry, bound by Mauritius’ island politics yet vast like the waters surrounding it. With lyrical, erotic prose, it brings alive everything, from the title’s Night to skin, mud, a green sari, sound, and time itself.

Read more about the book here.


Unfinished: A Memoir
By Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Penguin Random House India | Rs 699 | 240 pages

Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ memoir takes readers from her childhood to her teenage years in the US and return to India, where she won Miss India and Miss World, launching her acting career. She also discusses the challenges she faced navigating the Indian film industry and Hollywood. Besides her career, she also talks about her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, losing her father to cancer, marrying Nick Jonas, and more.

Read more about the book here.

Guru Dutt: An Unfinished Story
By Yasser Usman
Simon & Schuster India | Rs 599 | 336 pages

Author and journalist Yasser Usman explores the life of Guru Dutt in this definitive biography. As a child, Dutt began as a dancer under the guidance of Uday Shankar, then becoming an unconventional filmmaker who still desired commercial success, and an entrepreneur running a film studio. All of this ran parallel to a deeply troubled personal life, including a tumultuous marriage with Geeta Dutt, eventually leading to his suicide.

Read more about the book here.


The Punished: Stories of Death-Row Prisoners in India
By Jahnavi Misra, Project 39 A
HarperCollins India | Rs 499 | 176 pages

Based on interviews conducted as part of a research project by Project 39A, writer Jahnavi Misra presents stories of death-row prisoners and their families. In one, an ex-bandit faces the silence of prison life with her notebook and pen. In another, a family recalls the night their son was arrested for rape and murder. And in another story, a woman learns through fellow prisoners that she’s been allotted the death penalty.

Read more about the book here.

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