Books of the week: From Alka Joshi's The Henna Artist to Gunjan Veda’s The Museum of Broken Tea Cups, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal March 09, 2020 09:35:58 IST
Books of the week: From Alka Joshi's The Henna Artist to Gunjan Veda’s The Museum of Broken Tea Cups, our picks
  • We love stories and there is nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption.

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

  • Happy reading!

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.

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Books of the week From Alka Joshis The Henna Artist to Gunjan Vedas The Museum of Broken Tea Cups our picks

– FICTION

Amnesty: A Novel
By Aravind Adiga
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 499 | 272 pages

Man Booker Prize awardee Aravind Adiga’s Amnesty is a suspense novel about an illegal immigrant, Danny, previously Dhananjaya Rajaratnam, living in Sydney, who was denied refugee status when he fled from Sri Lanka. After three years, he’s finally coming close to having a normal life. But one morning he learns of a murder, and knows he can provide helpful information. He now wrestles with whether to come forward and risk deportation or stay quiet.

Read more about the book here.

The Henna Artist
By Alka Joshi
Mira Books | Rs 1,988 | 342 pages

Alka Joshi’s debut novel The Henna Artist follows 17-year-old Lakshmi who has escaped an abusive marriage in 1950s Jaipur. Famed for her original designs and sensible advice, she becomes the most sought-after henna artist – and confidante – among the wealthy, upper-class women. As she lives her dream of an independent life, she is suddenly confronted by her husband who has tracked her down, with a sister in tow Lakshmi didn’t know she had, threatening the entire balance of the life she has cultivated for herself.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Just Transferred: The Untold Story of Ashok Khemka
By Bhavdeep Kang and Namita Kala
HarperCollins India | Rs 599 | 276 pages

Journalists Bhavdeep Kang and Namita Kala tell the story of IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who’s spent 27 years in service and had 53 transfers. With a reputation for honesty, he garnered attention in 2012 for cancelling the land deal of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra while the Congress Party was in power. Throughout his career, he’s suffered the consequences of refusing to compromise his honesty, from being stripped of his official car to being charge-sheeted. Through Khemka’s story, the book offers an insider view of India’s administration, and discusses the challenges for honest officers under successive regimes.

Read more about the book here.

Jennifer: One Woman, Two Continents and a Truth Called Child Trafficking
By Nandita Puri
Rupa Publications | Rs 295 | 240 pages

In her book, writer and journalist Nandita Puri details the story of Jennifer who, aged eight, arrived in Seattle, Washington in 1990, with an Indian passport that contained no last name. She had been illegally trafficked to the US in the name of adoption. From here she was thrust into a world of foster care, sexual abuse, drugs, and crime, before being deported back to India two decades later. Here, she had to start her life over from scratch. A story of courage and survival, Jennifer reflects the stories of millions of illegal inter-country adoptees.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

The Museum of Broken Tea Cups: Postcards from India’s Margins
By Gunjan Veda
Yoda SAGE Select | Rs 525 | 288 pages

Former public policymaker and international development strategist Gunjan Veda’s book The Museum of Broken Tea Cups uses the symbology of the used, broken tea cups that upper caste houses set outside for use of Dalit workers to recognise the cultural contribution of Dalit communities. She focuses on stories of individual artists living in the forgotten lanes of Indian villages and towns. The book also celebrates the students, teachers, artists, and activists who’ve managed to change their lives against all odds.

Read more about the book here.

Uncivil City: Ecology, Equity and the Commons in Delhi
By Amita Baviskar
SAGE Yoda Press | Rs 1,195 | 300 pages

Institute of Economic Growth’s Professor of Sociology Amita Baviskar examines the contradiction of urban ecological capacity to sustain life and the fact that city governance and environmental campaigns have little to do with ecology and justice. She does this by assessing two decades of Delhi’s environmental politics. The book argues for a revival of discourse around environmental issues and focuses on the power of citizenship and civility to save the environment.

Read more about the book here.

– YOUNG READERS

Timeless Tales from Marwar
By Vijaydan Detha; Translated by Vishes Kothari
Penguin Random House India | Rs 250 | 208 pages

Vishes Kothari translates the stories of Padma Shri Vijaydan Detha, reintroducing the folk tales and fables of the Thar Desert region for young readers. The book comprises a hand-picked compilation from the Batan ri Phulwari (the Garden of Tales), which is a 14-volume collection written over 50 years. From evil witches to miserly seths and from clever insects to kind snakes, the book offers an introduction to some of Rajasthani folk culture’s most well-known figures.

Read more about the book here.

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