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HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

This week’s reads include a beautifully illustrated book of folklore, a history of surgery, and an examination of evil in a central Hindu epic

books Updated: Mar 01, 2018 22:04 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Great reads this week!(HT Team)


Under the Knife; Arnold Van De Laar; Rs 699, 357pp; Hachette

How did a decision made in the operating theatre spark hundreds of conspiracy theories about JFK?

How did a backstage joke prove fatal to world-famous escape artist Harry Houdini?

How did Queen Victoria change the course of surgical istoyr?

What helped Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette finally consummate their marriage after seven years?

This is the fascinating story of the past, present and future of surgery.*


Speaking to an Elephant; Manish Chandi and Madhuri Ramesh; Illustrations by Matthew Frame; Rs 350, 55pp; Tara Books

This collection of unusual folklore features the world of the Kadars, a small indigenous community in South India. Originally narrated to the authors by Kadar elders, these stories recall ways of living in the wilderness that hold important lessons for all those interested in regrowing our forests.

Textured and dramatic illustrations by Matthew Frame bring alive the world of animals and trees. This handsome book complements the authors’ other title, Walking is a Way of Knowing.*


Evil in the Mahabharata; Meena Arora Nayak; Rs 650, 354pp; Oxford University Press

Good and evil, loyalty and treachery, faith and doubt, honour and ignominy – the Mahabharata has served as a primer for codes of conduct to generations of Hindus. Over time, the epic has also fascinated those who love a tale well told. In its telling however, the story has lost much of its richness and nuance, and the characters have become one-dimensional cut-outs – either starkly good or irredeemably evil.

Read more: Last week’s most interesting reads

In this reinterpretation, Meena Arora Nayak analyses how the values espoused in the Mahabharata came to be distorted into meagre archetypes, creating customary laws that injure society even today.*

*All copy from book flap.

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 22:04 IST