Books of the week: From The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates to Greta Thunberg's story, our picks

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

  • Every Sunday, we'll 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.


 Books of the week: From The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates to Greta Thunbergs story, our picks


The Dutch House
By Ann Patchett
HarperCollins | Rs 550 | 352 pages

Following the Second World War, Cyril Conroy starts building what becomes a huge real estate empire, and his first goal is to buy the Dutch House estate. However, Cyril’s son Danny tells the story of how the house was the undoing of everyone in the family, and how for Danny and his sister Maeve, their relationship is the only thing they can depend on.

Best-selling American author Ann Patchett’s latest novel The Dutch House explores the bond of the two siblings, their childhood and past home, and of memories that won’t leave them. Set over the span of five decades, the novel is akin to the idea of a paradise lost, and delves deep into questions of love, forgiveness, and inheritance.

Read more about the book here.

The Water Dancer
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Penguin Random House | Rs 699 | 576 pages

Hiram Walker is born into bondage as a slave, his mother is sold away and he loses all memory of her. He is, however, gifted with a special power, which also saves his life. Eventually, the idea is birthed in him to escape the house he was born into. While nurturing the resolve to rescue the family he left behind, Hiram embarks on a tumultuous journey from the Deep South to the hopeful movements in the North. He witnesses the corrupted greatness of Virginia’s plantations, finds guerrilla cells in the wild, and is even enlisted in the underground war against slavers. A pick for Oprah’s book club, The Water Dancer is a dramatic story of one of history’s biggest atrocities.

Read more about the book here.

You Beneath Your Skin
By Damyanti Biswas
Simon & Schuster | Rs 350 | 320 pages

In this crime fiction novel, women living in New Delhi's slums are found disfigured and stuffed in trash bags, events spiralling further out of control. At the centre of this world of poverty, misogyny and political corruption is Indian-American single mother Anjali Morgan. She’s a psychiatrist, has an autistic teenage son, and has been having an affair with Police Commissioner Jatin Bhatt. He must make difficult choices in this situation, and with Anjali, confront old wounds and unearth secrets, as it all ties together.

Read more about the book here.


Year of the Monkey
By Patti Smith
Penguin Random House | Rs 366 | 192 pages

American author, poet, and musician Patti Smith lodged herself as a definitive part of New York’s growing punk movement, with her 1975 debut album Horses. Often referred to as the ‘punk poet laureate,’ she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Following Just Kids in 2010 and M Train in 2015, Year of the Monkey is Smith’s third memoir, where she recounts one year of solo travel, drawing readers into her own personal wonderland. She details her exploits and bares open her curious, thinking, exploring, writing mind to readers. Smith also meditates on all the changes the year brings to her life, along with the happiness and sorrow, all set against America’s changing political landscape. The writing is accompanied by her Polaroids.

Read more about the book here.


The Cousins Thackeray: Uddhav, Raj and the Shadow of their Senas
By Dhaval Kulkarni
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 304 pages

In The Cousins Thackeray, journalist Dhaval Kulkarni studies the political careers of two brothers, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Raj Thackeray. The two started out as powerful allies but had a bitter falling out over the issue of the party mantle’s inheritance. While the former cemented his position as heir to Bal Thackeray, the latter branched out, hijacking members of his parent party. The book also discusses the two brothers’ personalities, examining questions of personal and political identity, and understands the place of the Thackeray cousins in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and Indian politics.

Read excerpts from the book here, here, and here. Read more about the book here and here.

Truth: A Brief History of Total Bullsh*t
By Tom Phillips
Hachette India | Rs 599 | 304 pages

Tom Phillips is editor of a leading UK fact-checking organisation, also author of Humans: A Brief History Of How We F**Ked It All Up. In Truth, he recounts the history of humans lying to each other and ourselves. In a world where people trust the internet more than experts and is generally termed the ‘post-truth’ age, Phillips recounts just how long distortions of the truth have really prevailed.

Read more about the book here.


Greta's Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went On Strike To Save The Planet
By Valentina Camerini
Simon & Schuster | Rs 199 | 144 pages

Greta Thunberg is the schoolgirl who inspired the global climate change movement at 15 years of age. On 20 August 2018 in Stockholm, noticing rising temperatures and news about fires throughout Sweden, Greta decided she can’t wait any longer. Politicians needed to do something to save the environment and instead of returning to school, Greta took a placard and went to strike outside Sweden’s parliament building. That one Friday has now grown into the worldwide ‘Fridays for Future’ or ‘School Strike For Climate’ movement; Greta has spoken about climate change at the United Nations summit, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

With illustrations by Veronica Carratello and translated by Moreno Giovannoni, this is her story, and of the many other young people fighting the environmental indifference of the powerful, for a better future.

Read more about the book here.

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Updated Date: Oct 08, 2019 09:28:54 IST