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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

A book on the disappearing livelihoods of Tamil Nadu, lessons from the Vedas and the Puranas on getting rich and a new translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana - all that on this week’s list of good reads

books Updated: Oct 11, 2019 20:20 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
On A look at Tamil Nadu’s disappearing livelihoods, advice from the Vedas and the Puranas on getting rich, and a new translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana
On A look at Tamil Nadu’s disappearing livelihoods, advice from the Vedas and the Puranas on getting rich, and a new translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana (HT Team)


265pp, Rs 399; Westland
265pp, Rs 399; Westland

In a rapidly urbanizing nation, rural India is being erased from the popular imagination. Through her five years of travelling across the villages of Tamil Nadu, Aparna Karthikeyan gets to know men and women who do exceptional – yet perfectly ordinary – things to earn a living. She documents, though 10 of these stories, the transformations, aspirations and disruptions of the last twenty-five years. The people she meets force these question of her, and her reader: What is the culture we seek to preserve? What will become of food security without farmers? How can ‘development’ exclude 833 million people?

Including interviews with journalist P Sainath, musician TM Krishna and writer Bama, among others, Nine Rupees an Hour is a critical portrayal of the drastic and asystematic erosion of traditional livelihoods.


108pp, Rs 195; Rupa
108pp, Rs 195; Rupa

In the Vedas and Puranas we find numerous stories of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Today, we call her money. I learnt that Lakshmi is restless. She hates being in one place for long; she needs to move all the time. When she walks towards us, it feels like paradise, or Swarga. When she goes away from us, it feels like hell, or Naraka. In this book, I retell stories of how to make Lakshmi keep coming our way. In other words, how to become rich. These stories helped me. And I feel they will held you too.


571pp, Rs 699; HarperCollins
571pp, Rs 699; HarperCollins

Valmiki’s Ramayana, composed as early as 500 BCE, remains a story that speaks to every generation and continues to enthrall millions of people in the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

The noble prince Rama is exiled from Ayodhya on his stepmother’s whim, and his loyal brother Lakshmana and beautiful wife, Sita, follow him into the forest despite the many dangers it holds. But when Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, king of the rakshasas, Rama must go deep into himself to find the physical and emotional resources he needs to rescue her.

Apart from exploring the fundamental human question of how to be good, the Ramayana is also the story of a god who comes to earth to establish righteousness. The tension between Rama’s essentially divine nature and his all too human trials makes this one of the most compelling epics in world literature.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 20:19 IST

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