Books of the week: From Veio Pou's Waiting for the Dust to Settle to Brandon Stanton’s Humans, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal November 08, 2020 12:33:01 IST
Books of the week: From Veio Pou's Waiting for the Dust to Settle to Brandon Stanton’s Humans, 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

Name Place Animal Thing
By Daribha Lyndem
Zubaan Books | Rs 250 | 208 pages

Writer and civil servant from Shillong, Daribha Lynden’s debut novella is the coming of age story of a young Khasi woman and the politically charged Shillong she lives in. Taking its title from the school game, the book traverses ages, lives, and places. With interconnected stories building on each other, it covers a childhood and the shift to adulthood, detailing the growing awareness that comes with it.

Read more about the book here.

Waiting for the Dust to Settle
By Veio Pou
Speaking Tiger | Rs 399 | 224 pages

English teacher Veio Pou’s debut novel is set in the 1980s and 90s Manipur. It follows 10-year-old Rakovei, who observes the army around his home and dreams of becoming a soldier. Life is peaceful in the surrounding Naga villages until 1987, when the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland attacks the Assam Rifles outpost at Oinam Hill, and brutal retaliation follows, called Operation Bluebird. Rakovei witnesses all the horrors and starts to understand how, caught between the Indian Army and the Naga underground, his people suffer.

Read more about the book here.

– SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS

Tales from the Himalayas
By Priyanka Pradhan
Rupa Publications | Rs 295 | 168 pages

Journalist and award-winning writer Priyanka Pradhan’s collection of 17 stories details life in the Himalayas, talking of snow leopards, mountain ghouls, bagpiping girls, and itchy herbs. She writes of the state of Uttarakhand with its customs and traditional clothes, the sweet-sour taste of berries, the chilly autumn wind, and the smell of musky pine forests.

Read more about the book here.

Mistress of Melodies: Stories of Courtesans and Prostituted Women
By Nabendu Ghosh; edited by Ratnottama Sengupta
Speaking Tiger | Rs 350 | 208 pages

National Film Award winner and writer Ratnottama Sengupta brings together dancer, writer, and director Nabendu Ghosh’s stories about courtesans and women engaged in sex-work. Among them are the widow Chhaya who elopes and remarries, and is then duped by her new husband; Basana who sees the highs and lows of life after being drawn into prostitution as an adolescent; Hasina who auctions her daughter’s virginity and lives to regret it; and Gauhar Jaan who enchants every man with her song but yearns for a true love.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

The Women’s War: A Female Soldier’s Account of Her Time in Afghanistan
By Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky
Yoda Press-SAGE Select | Rs 595 | 288 pages

Danish soldier and writer Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky details her tours to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province between 2007 and 2009. There she met Afghan women fighting oppression, domestic violence, and horrors of the Taliban. They receive aid to establish beauty salons, chicken farms, and other projects. They also help the international military forces in unexpected ways, realising that these forces are their only chance to get rid of the Taliban. The book looks at what war does to women, their grief, and perseverance.

Read more about the book here.

Jiji: the trials and tribulations of Parveena Ahangar
By Younis Ahmad Kaloo
Hawakal Publishers | Rs 300 | 74 pages

Journalist Younis Ahmad Kaloo’s book offers glimpses into the life of Parveena, who’s been searching for her son Javed Ahmad Ahangar after his enforced disappearance. 18 August, 2019, marked 29 years of this search. From cantonments to courts and jails, she goes wherever her son’s presence is rumoured. Having had no traces so far, she’s resolved to continue this search until her last breath.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

Humans
By Brandon Stanton
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 1,499 | 432 pages

Photographer, storyteller, and creator of Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton’s book documents the stories he’s chronicled through five years of travel. He’s visited London, Paris, Rome, Iraq, Dubai, Ukraine, Pakistan, Jordan, Uganda, Vietnam, Israel, and more, talking to people in over 40 countries. With photos and illustrations, his interviews go deeper, showing readers the faces of world as he saw them.

Read more about the book here.

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