Books of the week: From Jahnavi Barua's Undertow to Mariam Khan’s It’s Not About the Burqa, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal February 25, 2020 09:25:32 IST
Books of the week: From Jahnavi Barua's Undertow to Mariam Khan’s It’s Not About the Burqa, 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.

  • 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 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 Jahnavi Baruas Undertow to Mariam Khans Its Not About the Burqa our picks

– FICTION

Undertow
By Jahnavi Barua
Penguin Random House India | Rs 499 | 256 pages

Writer Jahnavi Barua’s Undertow is the portrait of a family, and of the nature of love. It follows the solitary and restless 25-year-old Loya, who sets off on an unexpected journey to Assam, away from her mother Rukmini and Bengaluru home. She is looking for her Asian elephant Elephas maximus and her grandfather Torun Ram Goswami, whom she has never met before. On this quest, she unravels family history, and develops a deeper understanding of the bonds that hold people together.

Read more about the book here.

Analog/Virtual and Other Simulations of Your Future
By Lavanya Lakshminarayan
Hachette India | Rs 399 | 320 pages

Writer and game designer Lavanya Lakshminarayan’s debut is set in the dystopian Apex City, in a future where the world’s nations have collapsed and a few states form civilisation. Bangalore is now rebranded, ruled by Bell Corporation. Here, technology is the key to survival, productivity is power, and the self must be engineered for the sole noble goal in life, success. While the correct values and opinions can make one ascent to the ranks of the Virtual elite, failure to do so means deportation, with no electricity, running water, and no access to one’s humanity.

Read more about the book here. Read a short story by the author here.

The Mercies
By Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 699 | 352 pages

Award-winning poet and novelist Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is inspired by the real-life events of the Vardø storm, 1620s witch trials, and how suspicion can wriggle its way through a community. As the men of Vardø are lost to the waves of the storm, women must fend for themselves. Eighteen months later arrives Absalom Cornet with his wife Ursa. While she sees independent women, he sees only a place flooded by god, one that he must wipe out at all costs.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Unbroken: The Brussels Terror Attack Survivor
By Nidhi Chaphekar
Amaryllis | Rs 599 | 354 pages

On 22 March, 2016, Nidhi Chaphekar, a cabin crew manager, was assigned the flight from Brussels to Newark. That day at the Brussels airport, a shocking terror attack killed 32 people and injured hundreds, also gravely injuring Chaphekar. In Unbroken, written in the form of a daily journal, Nidhi lays out her life and career as a flight attendant, detailing the trauma and treatment she underwent, and the willpower that helped her through in the aftermath of the incident.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race
Edited by Mariam Khan
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 599 | 272 pages

Edited by intersectional feminist and writer Mariam Khan, It’s Not About the Burqa is an essay collection by Muslim women about the contemporary Muslim female experience. Among other things, they talk about the hijab, wavering faith, love, divorce, feminism, queer identity, sex, and the threat of a disapproving community. From activist Mona Eltahawy’s definition of a revolution to journalist Saima Mir’s experience of an arranged marriage, and from author Sufiya Ahmed’s Islamic feminist icon to playwright Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s relationship with her hijab, these essays call out the oppression, stereotyping, misogyny, and Islamophobia.

Read more about the book here.

Ambedkar’s Preamble: A Secret History of the Constitution of India
By Aakash Singh Rathore
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 256 pages

Philosopher, writer, and teacher Aakash Singh Rathore establishes how and why the Preamble of the Indian Constitution is essentially Ambedkarite, and how its central concepts have their provenance in Ambedkar’s writing. Although regarded as the chief architect of the Constitution, Ambedkar’s role in authoring the Preamble is often neglected. In establishing Dr Ambedkar’s authorship of the Preamble, the book presents a shift from mainstream constitutional history.

Read more about the book here.

– YOUNG READERS

Candid Tales: India on a Motorcycle
By Adithi Rao
HarperCollins India | Rs 299 | 164 pages

Writer Adithi Rao and illustrator Ruchi Shah’s Candid Tales is based on the five-month-long journey of biker Candida Louis. The book explores the people, cultures, and secret places along the journey. It also introduces younger readers to the spirited and fearless Candida, also inspiring readers to follow their dreams.

Read more about the book here.

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