HT Picks; New Reads

This week’s reading list includes a family saga masquerading as a crime novel set in early 1960s New York City, 33 real life short stories that invite the reader into the world of possibilities, and a comprehensive study of Jayaprakash Narayan’s life and ideas
This week’s interesting reads includes the new novel from a Pulitzer prize winner, real life short stories about experiential leadership, and a biography of Jayaprakash Narayan. (HT Team)
This week’s interesting reads includes the new novel from a Pulitzer prize winner, real life short stories about experiential leadership, and a biography of Jayaprakash Narayan. (HT Team)
Published on Oct 22, 2021 04:25 PM IST
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ByHT Team

Of heists and double lives

320pp, ₹699; Hachette
320pp, ₹699; Hachette

To his customers and neighbours on 125th street, Ray Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across the subway tracks, it’s still home.

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normality has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time.

Cash is tight, especially with all those instalment plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn’t ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweller downtown who doesn’t ask questions either.

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa – the ‘Waldorf of Harlem’ and volunteers Ray’s services as the fence. The heist doesn’t go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops , vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers and other assorted Harlem lowlifes.

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates his double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?

Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully-recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.*

A journey into experiential leadership

207pp, ₹595; Rupa
207pp, ₹595; Rupa

Fear of not being good enough; unfulfilled potential; anxiety around the future; finding a purpose-driven career; inability to harmonise between work and life; lack of meaningful work…

Do you resonate with these challenges? Have you been trying to figure out how to get out of it? Would expert guidance help you find answers to your puzzling questions?

If your answer is yes, you have picked up the right book!

These 33 real life short stories will inspire and invite you to the world of possibilities. They will take you through similar experiences of your own with ideas and advice from global readers to help you arrive at answers you’ve been searching for.

Experience the immense power of wearing a lens of abundance, curiosity and intent. Boost your leadership skills. Unleash what you’ve been holding within.

In The Elephant At The Dinner Table, Amit Nagpal weaves real-life experiences of over 31 years, with five years of dedicated research, interview with successful leaders across the globe and a beneficial resource bank.*

A Biography of Jayaprakash Narayan

271pp, ₹799; Penguin
271pp, ₹799; Penguin

Few figures in modern India have enjoyed such acclaim and adoration as Jayaprakash Narayan. And yet, he has been equally vilified for all that went wrong in the unfinished post colonial movement for freedom and democracy. Jayaprakash Narayan, or JP as he was universally known, epitomized the Marxian and Gandhian style of political engagement, and famously brought a powerful government to its knees. Throughout his life, he channeled an emotional hunger for transformative politics, jettisoned easy options, shunned power and incubated revolutionary ideas.

A comprehensive study of JP’s life and ideas – from the radicalisation of his thought process at American university campuses in the 1920s to his political coming of age in the 1930s and subsequent disenchantment with Gandhi’s leadership; from his infectious confidence about the future of socialism to his seemingly naïve plans to outmanoeuvre powerful forces within the Congress; from his fractious friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru to his relentless crusade against the stifling of dissent – The Dream of Revolution, Bimal and Sugata Prasand’s rigorously researched biography of JP, dispenses with cliches, questions commonly held perceptions and pushes the limits of what a biographical portrait is capable of.

Rich in anecdotes and never-before told stories, this book explores the ambiguities and ironies of a life lived at the barricades, and one man’s unremitting quest to usher in a society based on equality and freedom.*

*All copy from book flap.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021