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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

A book that debunks fake news, an account of the Indian TV newsroom, and a novel on the effects of toxic masculinity on the list of this week’s good reads

books Updated: Apr 26, 2019 16:44 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Fake news, the Indian TV newsroom, and a novel on toxic masculinity on our reading list this week!
Fake news, the Indian TV newsroom, and a novel on toxic masculinity on our reading list this week!(HT Team)
         

INDIA MISINFORMED; THE TRUE STORY BY PRATIK SINHA, Dr SUMAIYA SHAIKH, ARJUN SIDHARTH

270pp, Rs 399; HarperCollins
270pp, Rs 399; HarperCollins

The propaganda of misinformation and hoaxes disseminated through print, graphics, and the internet has altered the social landscape of India. It has led to multiple cases of lynching, mob violence, defamation and riots, and continues to pose a serious threat to Indian democracy.
India Misinformed: The True Story, written by the team of Alt News, a fact-checking website that debunks fake information – and edited by Pratik Sinha, Dr Sumaiya Shaikh and Arjun Sidharth – identifies the purveyors of fabricated news, exposes the propagandas machinery and familiarizes readers with techniques to detect these menacing stories.
Was Jawaharlal Nehru anti-Hindu? Was Narendra Modi declared one of the most corrupt prime ministers in the world? Is Sonia Gandhi the fourth richest woman in the world? Did Rahul Gandhi register as a non-Hindu at the Somnath Temple? Do treatments promoted by the Ministry of AYUSH have robust scientific evidence for efficacy? With photographs to underline its arguments, India Misinformed: The True Story presents the real picture.*


THE INDIAN NEWSROOM BY SANDEEP BHUSHAN

312pp, Rs 699; Westland
312pp, Rs 699; Westland

An account of the Indian television newsroom is, in some ways, the story of post-liberalisation India itself. In just two decades, the country grew from state-owned Doordarshan’s monopoly to a market dominated by umpteen private news channels. English language news has a particularly interesting trajectory here, both because of its disproportionate influence on the national conversation and its proximity to power.
In this personal-is-political history of the television industry in India, veteran journalist Sandeep Bhushan takes an unflinching look at his own profession. What caused the death of field-based reportage, and the marginalization of reporters? What is access journalism, and what’s wrong with it? How did India evolve the star system? How did technology influence the development of the Indian newsroom? Is the reporter-editor relationship necessarily adversarial? How does the owner-editor system, perhaps unique to India, work in practice? What about corporate ownership? And importantly, how does India compare with the USA or UK, which have a longer history of television news and more mature markets?
The Indian Newsroom is a straight-talking behind-the-scenes look at the crisis in Indian news television by one of the best in the business, offering an examination of the choices that lie ahead for India -- and the industry.*


THE CITY AND THE SEA BY RAJ KAMAL JHA

267pp, Rs 499; Penguin
267pp, Rs 499; Penguin

In a crumbling neighbourhood in New Delhi, a child waits for a mother to return home from work. And, in parallel, in a snow-swept town in Germany on the Baltic Sea coast, a woman, her memory fading, shows up at a deserted hotel. Worlds apart, both embark, in the course of that night, on harrowing journeys through the lost and the missing, the living and the dead, until they meet in an ending that breaks the heart – and holds the promise of putting it back together again.
Called the novelist of the newsroom, Raj Kamal Jha cleaves open India’s tragedy of violence against women with a powerful story about our complicity in the culture that supports it. This is a book about masculinity – damaging and toxic and yet enduring and entrenched – that begs the question: What kind of men are our boys growing up to be?
The novel takes off from the night of a horrific rape in New Delhi, where Jha leaves behind the story that was, and sets out in search of a story that could have been, opening, a conversation, listening to voices that can, perhaps, find utterance only in fiction.
The City and the Sea, Jha’s fifth and most audacious novel yet, is a call for empathy and imagination in the fight for justice. It’s also one possible answer to the fundamental question which drives the art of the novel and is the basis of all hope: What If?*

*All copy from book flap.

First Published: Apr 26, 2019 16:43 IST

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