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HT Picks: This week’s interesting reads

A book on Pakistani society and culture, one that examines changes in our bodies, and a novel about a girl caught in a revolution are all good reads

books Updated: Jul 06, 2018 22:41 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
Raza Rumi,medicine,werewolves
Raza Rumi, Benyamin and Gavin Francis are on the reading list. (HT Team)

BEING PAKISTANI; SOCIETY, CULTURE AND THE ARTS BY RAZA RUMI

302pp, Rs 399; HarperCollins

Exploring various aspects of the arts, literature and heritage of Pakistan, Raza Rumi argues that culture in Pakistan is not particularly unique to the nation, but rather a part of the cultural identities shared by South Asians. From the songs of Kabir and the ballads of Bulleh Shah to the cult of the feminine in the Sindh region, Rumi takes a kaleidoscopic view of the deep-set cultural mores that tie India and Pakistan together. Going further, he examines aspects of the visual arts, poetry, music and literature of Pakistan that impact global cultural narratives. Finally, he introduces readers to contemporary Pakistani writers and artist and the milieu in which they express their creativity, giving us a fascinating glimpse into cultural production in Pakistan today.
Being Pakistani is a riveting account of artistic traditions and their significance in present day Pakistan, presenting an alternative view of the country, beyond the usual headlines that focus on political instability and terrorism. *


SHAPESHIFTERS BY GAVIN FRANCIS

282pp, Rs 599; Hachette

As we journey through life, our minds and bodies change constantly. In Shapeshifters, award winning writer and doctor Gavin Francis charts these extraordinary human transformations, from the moment of conception to our very last breath.

Some of these changes - like puberty or the menopause - are familiar, even expected. Some may be welcome milestones, like a longed-for pregnancy or gender transition. But others will take us by surprise being thrown into the shadows of dementia, or having a limb amputated. One of Francis’ patients even found a thorn growing from the centre of her forehead.

Covering topics as diverse as bodybuilding, werewolves and jetlag, Shapeshifters explores the unprecedented power of medicine to alter our lives - and the limitations of that power. As he helps patients face transformations both temporary and sustained , Francis draws on history art, myth and magic to show how the very essence of being human is change. *

JASMINE DAYS BY BENYAMIN; TRANSLATED BY SHAHNAZ HABIB

264pp, Rs 499; Juggernaut

Sameera Parvin moves to an unnamed Middle Eastern city to live with her father and her relatives. She thrives in her job as a radio jockey and at home she is the darling of the family . But her happy world starts to fall apart when revolution blooms in the country. As the people’s agitation gathers strength, Sameera finds herself and her family embroiled in the politics of their adopted land. She is forced to choose between family and friends, loyalty and love, life and death.

Jasmine Days is the heart-rending story of a young woman in a city where the promise of revolution turns into destruction and division. *


*All copy from the book flap.

First Published: Jul 06, 2018 22:40 IST