HT Picks; New Reads

Published on Nov 11, 2022 10:02 PM IST

This week’s list of interesting reads includes an anthology of short fiction that shows there’s more to Goa than beaches, a book on the life of one of India’s greatest monarchs, and a vegetarian cookbook

An anthology of Goan short stories, a book on a great Chola monarch, and a cookbook that presents some interesting traditional vegetarian recipes, all feature on this week’s reading list. (HT Team)
An anthology of Goan short stories, a book on a great Chola monarch, and a cookbook that presents some interesting traditional vegetarian recipes, all feature on this week’s reading list. (HT Team)
ByHT Team

A new anthology of short fiction

304pp, ₹799; Aleph (These stories are proof that there’s more to Goa than beaches and seafood)
304pp, ₹799; Aleph (These stories are proof that there’s more to Goa than beaches and seafood)

The Greatest Goan Stories Ever Told features some of the best short fiction to emerge from the pens of Goans living in India and abroad over the last century, in English and superbly translated from the Portuguese, Konkani, and Marathi. The storytellers included range from eminent writers such as Laxmanrao Sardessai and Vimala Devi to contemporary writers like Damodar Mauzo, Ramnath Gajanan Gawade, Jessica Faleiro, and Derek Mascarenhas.

The collected stories cover subjects as wide, diverse, and absorbing as the Goan people — from iron ore mining in Epitácio Pais’s A Story about Mines and Pundalik Naik’s The Palm Tree and the agrarian village lifestyle in Mahableshwar Sail’s The Yoke and Prakash S Parienkar’s The Sacrifice, to diasporic experiences in Selma Carvalho’s Bed Blocker No 10 and Roanna Gonsalves’s Curry Muncher, and patriarchal family structures in Nayana Adarkar’s The Protector. Goa threads these stories together — its varied characters from various communities and religions, its colourful people, its Portuguese colonial history, its picturesque landscape, and the general aura surrounding the place.

Selected and edited by Manohar Shetty, the 27 stories in this anthology are proof that there’s more to Goa than hats and sunglasses, printed shirts and shorts, cameras, seafood, and holidaymakers frolicking on its beaches.*

King of Kings

392pp, ₹699; Aleph (The compelling life of one of India’s greatest rulers)
392pp, ₹699; Aleph (The compelling life of one of India’s greatest rulers)

Rajaraja Chola, King of Kings, Incomparable Chola, Great Saviour, Jewel of the Solar Dynasty, Lion Among Kings, was one of the greatest rulers of medieval India. During his reign, the Chola empire expanded through virtually all of the southern reaches of the peninsula and beyond, from the Krishna-Godavari delta in northern Andhra Pradesh to large parts of northern Sri Lanka. Born Arulmozhi Varman in 947 CE, he trained under his father and uncle for over a quarter of a century and then ruled for 29 years. King of Kings is a fitting title for this multifaceted man who was brilliant, ambitious, ruthless, and a visionary. He fortified the foundations of what was till then a ragtag kingdom, put into place a meticulously organized system of administration, and led the kingdom to reign supreme in military might, as an economic powerhouse, and in art, architecture, literature, music, and dance.

In this book, Kamini Dandapani explores the man behind the larger-than-life image of Rajaraja and the milieu in which he reigned. The origins of the Chola empire lie in the Sangam era around 2,000 years ago, when the first rulers of the family, men like Karikala and Kochengannan, ruled over small tracts of land around the Kaveri delta. By the middle of the ninth century, the “Imperial Cholas” (as historians named them) began to consolidate power at the expense of rivals like the Pallavas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Cheras, Gangas, Pandyas, and other smaller kingdoms. Rajaraja became king in 985CE and, during his reign, the Chola empire reached its zenith. All his major achievements are described in detail — victories on the battlefield, the expansion of territory, the building of the monumental Brihadeeshwara Temple, the gargantuan land survey, and much else besides. The book goes into every aspect of Chola society — the place of women, the flowering of culture, including the making of exquisite Chola bronzes, the spread of religion, and the lives of ordinary people. After the death of Rajaraja in 1014, his son Rajendra expanded the empire; others that followed had mixed fortunes and, a couple of centuries later, the dynasty succumbed to their greatest rivals, the Pandyas.

However, in their heyday, and especially under their greatest king, few empires or emperors could compare with the Cholas and Rajaraja. This scrupulously researched and brilliantly told biography brings to vivid and compelling life one of India’s greatest empires and rulers.*

Seasonal Vegetarian Wholesomeness

191pp, ₹1,295; Roli Books (A tour of India’s culinary landscape)
191pp, ₹1,295; Roli Books (A tour of India’s culinary landscape)

Bringing to you vegetarian wholesomeness and stories from India, Thali is an immersive tour into India’s culinary landscape. As one of the largest consumers of vegetarian diet in the world today, many Indian communities in the plains and the peninsula have depended on the large variety of healthy local produce rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, cereal due to suitable climatic conditions over generations. There’s a diversity of food available for every occasion, season, festival, age, region and even the day of the week – you name it. Exquisitely designed, with 70 easy-to-make quintessentially Indian recipes, Thali makes your mouth water and jaws drop with histories of India’s places and people telling you who they are and why they eat what they eat.

Doctor, nutrition expert, well being advocate and columnist, Nandita Iyer is the author of three best selling books. She has been writing on nutrition, health and food for over 15 years. Since 2006, her popular blog Saffron Trail has been a major resource for healthy food and vegetarian recipes.*

*All copy from book flap.

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