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HT Picks: The week’s most interesting books

A hymn for positive energy, a memoir by the world’s most famous transgender and the autobiography of a tennis legend - there’s a lot to read!

books Updated: Jul 15, 2017 08:47 IST
Hindustan Times
Devdutt Pattanaik,Caitlyn Jenner,John McEnroe
The book picks of the week

Reflecting on one of Hinduism’s most popular prayers for positive energy.
Every time I experience negativity in the world, and in myself, every time I encounter jealousy, rage, and frustration manifesting as violation and violence, I hear, or read, the Hanuman Chalisa.
Composed over four hundred years ago by Tulsidas, its simple words (in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi) and its simple metre (dohas and chaupais) musically evoke the mythology, history, and mystery of Hanuman, the much-loved Hindu deity, through whom Vedic wisdom reaches the masses.

As verse follows verse, my frightened, crumpled mind begins to expand with knowledge and insights, and my faith in humanity, both within and without, is restored. - Devdutt Pattanaik. *

In this remarkable memoir - written during her pivotal first years of becoming her authentic self - Caitlyn Jenner reflects on her past as she looks to her future.

Bruce Jenner, the celebrated Olympic icon and later the patriarch of one of the most famous families in the world, seemed to be living a dream life of success, fame and prosperity. But the all-American image and million-dollar smile belied a lifelong struggle with gender dysphoria, and in 2015 the public mask of Bruce Jenner was finally retired and Caitlyn Jenner was introduced toe the world and set free to exist on her own terms. Since then, Caitlyn has undertaken an arduous emotional and physical odyssey to achieve the completeness she always felt was missing.

In The Secrets Of My Life, Caitlyn reflects on the inner conflict she experienced growing up in an era of rigidly defined gender identities, and the cruel irony of being hailed by an entire nation as the ultimate symbol of manhood. She recounts her Olympic triumph, her rise to fame, and relates how her sense of frustration and shame grew with the passing years and the lengths to which she had to go to conceal her true self. Caitlyn in turn uncovers the toll that these personal struggles had on her three marriages, and, subsequently, the relationships with her children. She also talks candidly about her life in the public eye as a member of the Kardashian clan, what led to her decision to become Caitlyn, and how she, her family, the transgender community and the rest of the world has since embraced her new life.

Filled with incredibly personal and moving stories of struggle and victory, of anxiety and fear, and, finally, of surrender and acceptance, The Secrets of My Life reveals the real Caitlyn Jenner by tracing her long and eventful journey to becoming herself. *

An autobiography where the tennis legend confronts his demons and reveals his struggle to reinvent himself from ex-champion to father, broadcaster and author.

He is one of the most controversial and beloved athletes in history, a tennis legend and a volcanic, mesmerising presence. But after reaching the top of his game - what came next? Fifteen years after his international number-one bestseller Serious, John McEnroe is back and ready to talk.

Now the undisputed elder statesman of tennis, McEnroe has won over his critics and as a brilliant commentator at the US Open, Wimbledon, and other grand Slam tournaments - with outspoken views on the modern game and its top players. Who are the games’ winners and losers? What’s it like playing guitar onstage with the Rolling stones, hitting balls with today’s greats, breaking bread with his former on-court nemeses, getting scammed by an international art dealer, and raising a big family while balancing McEnroe -sized expectations? 

In But Seriously, John McEnroe confronts his demons and reveals his struggle to reinvent himself from ex champion to father, broadcaster, and author. The result is a richly personal account, blending anecdote and reflection with razor sharp and brutally honest opinions, all in McEnroe’s signature style. This is the sports book of the year: wittily entertaining, very funny, surprisingly touching and 100% McEnroe. *

*Text reproduced from the book flap

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 19:45 IST