Books of the week: From Romesh Gunesekera’s Suncatcher to understanding the ISIS Peril, our picks

  • We love stories and there is nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption.

  • Every Sunday, we will have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure.

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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 Books of the week: From Romesh Gunesekera’s Suncatcher to understanding the ISIS Peril, our picks

– FICTION

Suncatcher
By Romesh Gunesekera
Bloomsbury | Rs 599 | 336 pages

Booker Prize-shortlisted author Romesh Gunesekera’s latest Suncatcher is a coming-of-age novel set in 1964 in Ceylon, which is on the brink of change. Schools are closed, government is in disarray, press is threatened, and religious sentiment is burgeoning. The only thing Kairo wants is to read comics in his room, or bicycle and daydream, while his parents are lost in their own lives. Kairo’s life turns inside out though, as soon as he meets Jay, a rebellious teenager. Kairo starts to understand privilege and the world of devastating consequences, as he leaves the world of make believe and follows Jay into one of guns, fast cars, and Niromi, the girl he meets through Jay.

Read an excerpt from the book here. Read more about the book here.

The Rat Eater
By Anand Ranganathan and Chitra Subramaniam
Bloomsbury India | Rs 499 | 372 pages

Borrowing from the stories of Agatha Christie, somebody is killing politicians one by one. When a Mumbai politician is found in a plastic bag behind a park bench, DIG Ajay Biswas is called to take over the case. He arrives in the city with his wife Aparajita and soon realises that he is being deliberately misled, fed with false leads. The Rat Eater spans from rural India to Cambridge and tells the story of someone who has decided that a price must be paid in blood.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier
By Shaheen Bhatt
Penguin Random House India | Rs 250 | 200 pages

Shaheen Bhatt is a screenwriter who has lived with depression for over 17 years. In this memoir, she talks about her daily experiences and presents the dialogue of depression as a largely misrepresented mental illness in the world today. She also comments on living with depression in her privileged, famed circumstances, validating her own feelings and talking about the human condition. She talks about acknowledging, accepting, and overcoming the challenges one faces when living with depression.

Read more about the book here.

Ghalib: A Thousand Desires
By Raza Mir
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 200 pages

Teacher and author Raza Mir’s Ghalib: A Thousand Desires is a biography of Ghalib, among the most widely chronicled Urdu poets in English. Mir traces not only Ghalib’s life but also his enduring effect over history. The biography comprises research and anecdotes, also placing Ghalib in the context of his times, living in an era when the Mughal rule was coming to an end and Delhi was changing. Mir has also included a selection of Ghalib’s poems and ghazals, providing commentary on the themes and meanings of the works.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

The ISIS Peril: The World’s Most Feared Terror Group and Its Shadow on South Asia
By Kabir Taneja
Penguin Random House India | Rs 499 | 208 pages

Journalist and researcher at the Observer Research Foundation Kabir Taneja explores the psychology of South Asian jihadists in his book The ISIS Peril. One of the biggest shortcomings in understanding ISIS is that no one seems to fully understand what the group is. The most feared group in the West, their maps – which started to show up on social media around 2014 – portray a desire to take over South Asia. Taneja assess the militant group’s grasp over the region and their psychology through various narratives across the country, their online propaganda, and their attacks and bombings. With detailed primary sources, Taneja uncovers their ideology, exposing their fault lines, and highlighting the challenges in defeating them.

Read more about the book here.

Mahal: Power and Pageantry in the Mughal Harem
By Subhadra Sen Gupta
Om Publications | Rs 599 | 304 pages

Writer Subhadra Sen Gupta uncovers the lives of the women who inhabited the Mahal, a grand fortress in every part of the Mughal Empire, housing the women of the court. Few men could enter and their mystery has intrigued for centuries. Sen Gupta discusses the role these women played in Mughal courts, and uncovers their lesser-known lives. She narrates the story of Ehsan Daulat Begum, Babur’s grandmother, without whom there would be no Mughal Empire; of the Padshah Begums who managed the Mahal; of female scholars and poets like Salima Sultan Begum and Zeenat-un-Nissa; and of queens and princesses and the trades they oversaw. While highlighting their role, Sen Gupta also pieces together their everyday lives, presenting a new perspective through which to look at Mughal history.

Read more about the book here.

– YOUNG READERS

The Spark that Changed Everything: Stories of the World's Greatest Discoveries, Ideas and Inventions
By Veena Prasad
Hachette India | Rs 299 | 192 pages

Teacher and writer Veena Prasad’s book The Spark that Changed Everything collects stories of some of the world’s greatest discoveries, inventions, and lucky accidents. She highlights how, through all these, the world has been shaped into the way it is today. From clothing to cartography, chemistry, music, mathematics, and metallurgy, she discusses breakthroughs across a range of subjects. Complemented with illustrations and photographs, the book is a journey into human imagination and history.

Read more about the book here.

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Updated Date: Dec 02, 2019 09:53:19 IST