2013 is here and we at The Week Bureau are sticking to our resolution of reading more. If you haven’t kept up with your reading resolution, it’s never too late to start. The Week, in collaboration with Mandala Book Point, brings you another reading list. Take a pick and enjoy a lazy afternoon reading this weekend.
Behind the Beautiful Flower
by Katherine Boo
Price: Rs 798
From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life. In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal.With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, the book carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.
Winter of the World by Ken Follet
Price: Rs 638
The book picks up right where the first one, Fall of Giants, left off, as its five interrelated families enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.Carla von Ulrich finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak. American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events.These characters and many others find their lives entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century.The historical background is brilliantly researched, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance. Follet brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
Difficult Daughters by Manju Kapur
Price: Rs 472
Set around the time of Partition and written with absorbing intelligence and sympathy, Difficult Daughters is the story of a woman torn between family duty, the desire for education, and illicit love. Virmati, a young woman born in Amritsar into an austere and high-minded household, falls in love with a neighbor, the Professor--a man who is already married. That the Professor eventually marries Virmati, installs her in his home (alongside his furious first wife) and helps her towards further studies in Lahore, is small consolation to her scandalized family. Or even to Virmati, who finds that the battle for her own independence has created irrevocable lines of partition and pain around her. Difficult Daughters was short-listed for the Crossword Book Award in India.
The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes
Price: Rs 720
In his widely acclaimed new collection of stories, Julian Barnes addresses what is perhaps the most poignant aspect of the human condition: growing old. The characters in The Lemon Table are facing the ends of their lives, some with bitter regret, others with resignation, and others still with defiant rage. Their circumstances are just as varied as their responses. In 19th-century Sweden, three brief conversations provide the basis for a lifetime of longing. In today’s England, a retired army major heads into the city for his regimental dinner and his annual appointment with a professional lady named Babs. Somewhere nearby, a devoted wife calms (or perhaps torments) her ailing husband by reading him recipes. In stories brimming with life and our desire to hang on to it one way or another, Barnes proves himself by turns wise, funny, clever, and profound–a writer of astonishing powers of empathy and invention.
Ghost train to the Eastern Star
by Paul Theroux
Price: Rs 880
Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by train through Asia. In the three decades since, the world he recorded in that book has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India booms while Burma smothers under dictatorship; Vietnam flourishes in the aftermath of the havoc America was unleashing on it the last time he passed through. In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Theroux re-creates that earlier journey. His odyssey takes him from Eastern Europe, still hung-over from communism, through tense but thriving Turkey into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbor Azerbaijan revels in oil-fueled capitalism. Theroux is firsthand witness to it all, encountering adventures only he could have: from the literary to the dissolute. Wherever he goes, his omnivorous curiosity and unerring eye for detail never fail to inspire, enlighten, inform and entertain