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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

HT Picks – the most interesting books of the week

A look at a high-powered marriage, a novel that’s on the Booker shortlist, and a big book on the human capacity for ideation are all on the reading list this week.

books Updated: Sep 07, 2019 12:49 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
This week’s picks include the story of a marriage, a new novel from a master, and a big book on humanity’s capacity to imagine things into existence.
This week’s picks include the story of a marriage, a new novel from a master, and a big book on humanity’s capacity to imagine things into existence.(HT Team)
         

THE MOUNTBATTENS BY ANDREW LOWNIE

490pp, Rs 699; HarperCollins
490pp, Rs 699; HarperCollins

From British high society to the South of France, from the battlefields of Burma to the Viceroy’s House, The Mountbattens is a rich and filmic story of a powerful partnership, revealing the truth behind a carefully curated legend.

Was Mountbatten one o f the outstanding leaders of his generation, or a man overpromoted because of his royal birth and ruthless self-promotion? What is the true story behind controversies such as the Dieppe Raid and Indian Partition, the love affair between Edwina and Nehru, and Mountbatten’s assassination in 1979?

Based on over 100 interviews, research from dozens of archives and new information released under Freedom of Information requests, prize winning historian Andrew Lownie sheds new light on this remarkable couple.*

QUICHOTTE BY SALMAN RUSHDIE

416pp, Rs 699; Penguin
416pp, Rs 699; Penguin

Inspired by the Cervantes classic, Sam DuChamp, mediocre writer of spy thrillers, creates Quichotte, a courtly, addled salesman obsessed with television who falls in impossible love with a TV star. Together with his (imaginary) son Sancho, Quichotte sets off on a picaresque quest across America to prove worthy of her hand, gallantly braving the tragicomic perils of an age where “Anything-Can-Happen.” Meanwhile, his creator, in a midlife crisis, has equally urgent challenges of his own.

Just as Cervantes wrote Don Quixote to satirize the culture of his time, Rushdie takes the reader on a wild ride through a country on the verge of moral and spiritual collapse. And with the kind of storytelling magic that is the hallmark of Rushdie’s work, the fully realized lives of DuChamp and Quichotte intertwine in a profoundly human quest for love and a wickedly entertaining portrait of an age in which fact is so often indiscernible from fiction.*

*Copy from www.penguinrandomhouse.com

OUT OF OUR MINDS BY FELIPE FERNANDEZ-ARMESTO

464pp, Rs 799; Simon & Schuster
464pp, Rs 799; Simon & Schuster

To imagine – to see that which is not there – is the startling ability that has fuelled human development and innovation through the centuries. As a species we stand alone in our remarkable capacity to refashion the world after the pictures in our minds.

Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy and history, Felipe Fernandez –Armesto reveals the thrilling and disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps – from the first Homo Sapiens to the present day. Through groundbreaking insights in cognitive science, he explores how and why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalizing glimpse into who we are and what we might yet accomplish. Fernandez Armesto shows that bad ideas are often more influential than good ones; that the oldest recoverable thoughts include some of the best; that ideas of Western origin often issued from exchanges with the wider world; and that the pace of innovative thinking is under threat.*

*All copy from book flap.

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First Published: Sep 06, 2019 21:59 IST

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