HT Picks: New Reads
This week’s pick of interesting reads includes a book that demystifies economic theories, an exploration of what it means to lose one’s home, and a novel about the dark power of secretsUpdated: Oct 30, 2020, 16:07 IST
THE JOURNEY BACK HOME
Varmull, nestled amidst the Pir Mountains and the Jhelum river, with its small town familiarity exchanged in quiet lanes, has always been home. Until violence overwhelms the streets, and there is no option but to flee. For six punishing summers in a sweltering Delhi barsati, Rahul, Doora and their young son try to push back their memories and their longing for Kashmir.
Around them, the city remains rude and alien. Their landlord calls Rahul a Muslim-Brahmin because he eats meat; his Pandit relatives want him to join a Hindu extremist group.
It isn’t long then before Rahul flees again, this time to England, where he hopes he will not have to make these choices: Pandit or Kashmiri? Professor or husband? Rational intellectual or wounded exile? Expat or refugee. As he struggles to survive his foreignness, stumbling from one accidental relationship to another, a series of bombings in London blasts Kashmir right back into his life. And he knows he must attempt the journey back home.
A devastating exploration of what it means to lose one’s home, A Bit of Everything lays bare the many ways in which the violence of a land tears apart the everyday lives of its people.*
THE POWER OF SECRETS
Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.
When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.
But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.
In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…*
LESSONS IN ECONOMICS
Why are all the good mangoes exported from India? Why should we pay our house help more? Why do we hesitate to reach out for that last piece of cake in a gathering? Are more choices really better? Why do many of us offer a prayer but are reluctant to wear a seat belt while driving? Are Indians hardwired to get grumpy at a peer’s success? What’s common between a box of cereal and your résumé?
Can economics answer all these questions and more? According to Dr Sudipta Sarangi, the answer is yes.
In The Economics of Small Things, Sarangi uses a range of everyday objects and common experiences like bringing about lasting societal change through Facebook and historically momentous episodes like the shutting down of telegram services in India to offer crisp, easy-to-understand lessons in economics. The book explains everything from Game Theory to the Cobra Effect without depending on graphs or equations — a modern-day miracle!
Through disarmingly simple prose, the book demystifies economic theories, offers delightful insights, and provides nuance without jargon. Each chapter will give you the tools to meaningfully engage with a subject that has long been considered alienating but is unavoidable in its relevance.*
*All text from press releases.