Books of the week: From Salma's The Curse to Tobie Nathan's A Land Like You, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal December 07, 2020 10:52:40 IST
Books of the week: From Salma's The Curse to Tobie Nathan's A Land Like You, 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

A Land Like You
By Tobie Nathan; translated by Joyce Zonana
Seagull Books | Rs 799 | 352 pages

Author and psychology professor Tobie Nathan’s novel, set in 1925 Cairo’s Jewish Quarter Haret al-Yahud, follows Esther, a beautiful woman believed to be possessed by demons who longs to have a child. Zohar is born, but because his mother’s breasts are dry, is nursed by a Muslim peasant also believed to be possessed and who’s just given birth to a girl Masreya. United by a rabbi’s amulet, the milk-twins will be consumed by a passionate love.

Read more about the book here.

– SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES

The Curse: Stories
By Salma; translated by N Kalyan Raman
Speaking Tiger Books | Rs 350 | 192 pages

Award-winning translator N Kalyan Raman translates Tamil author Salma’s short stories, about women and their worlds, largely rooted in Tamil Nadu’s rural Muslim communities. In the title story, a spinster is trapped between her desire for marriage and a haunting family history. In another, a woman details how her access to toilets has been regulated by trauma, shame, and the male gaze.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Reporting India: My Seventy-year Journey as a Journalist
By Prem Prakash
Penguin Random House India | Rs 699 | 264 pages

ANI Chairman Prem Prakash presents an account of his time as a journalist, photographer, and film cameraman, detailing his personal and professional life. He recalls covering important events including the 1962 Indo-China war, the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan, the Emergency, Indira Gandhi’s assassination, and Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death, capturing some of the country’s defining moments.

Read more about the book here.

The Lost Homestead: My Mother, Partition and the Punjab
By Marina Wheeler
Hachette India | Rs 699 | 336 pages

Anglo-Indian, London-based barrister Marina Wheeler’s mother Dip Singh and her Sikh family were among the millions that had to flee Punjab during the Partition. She now calls upon her mother’s memory, accounts from her family, and her own research in India and Pakistan to explore how people rebuilt their lives, attempting to make sense of her mother’s experiences while telling her family’s story.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

Food and Faith: A Pilgrim's Journey through India
By Shoba Narayan
HarperCollins India | Rs 499 | 292 pages

Author and journalist Shoba Narayan seeks to answer questions like why we pray, the role of religion in one’s life, the use of rituals, and more. She answers these by looking at sacred food at shrines, from Puri’s bhog to Amritsar’s langar and from Palani’s panchamritam to Mathura’s pedas, and more. Sacred food or prasad is linked to the history, myth, and identity of shrines all over the country, a connection she explores.

Read more about the book here.

Breathing Here Is Injurious to Your Health: The Human Cost of Air Pollution and How You Can Be the Change
By Jyoti Pande Lavakare
Hachette India | Rs 399 | 360 pages

Journalist Jyoti Pande Lavakare writes about air pollution and the importance of holding governments responsible in the fight for clean air. She recounts the journey she’s undertaken with her group Care For Air, from presenting data at schools to participating in protests and media debates, and from questioning legislature to eventually approaching the Supreme Court, using every available forum to push for clean air.

Read more about the book here.

The Commonwealth of Cricket: A Lifelong Love Affair with the Most Subtle and Sophisticated Game Known to Humankind
By Ramachandra Guha
HarperCollins India | Rs 699 | 360 pages

Award-winning historian Ramchandra Guha presents a first-person account of the transformation of Indian cricket, from India being marginal in the cricket world to becoming the world’s sole cricket superpower. He traces this arc of cricket across all levels the game is played: school, college, club, state, country. He also presents portraits of local heroes and icons, and international stars.

Read more about the book here. Read an interview with the author here.

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