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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

HT Picks: This week’s most interesting reads

Essays on the idea of India, a look at all the inventions that have made modern life what it is, and a collection of provocative feminist pieces, there’s a lot to read this week

books Updated: Jul 28, 2017 21:58 IST

Hindustan Times
This week’s book picks.
This week’s book picks.

Is India overshadowed by a monologue? Is there space for alternative views? Or, are we expected to fall in line? And speak in unison?

As India celebrates the seventieth year of Independence, this book brings together diverse views: Politicians, activists, administrators, artistes and academicians offer their myriad ideas of the nation. With a contextual introduction by Nidhi Razdan, this politically charged, argumentative, candid and humorous book opens a window to our understanding of India.*


Who thought up paper money? How did the contraceptive pill change the face of the legal profession? What was the secret element that made the Gutenberg printing press possible?

The world economy defies comprehension. A continuously changing system of immense complexity, it offers over ten billion distinct products and services, doubles in size every fifteen years and links almost every one of the planet’s seven billion people. It delivers astonishing luxury to hundreds of millions. It also leaves hundreds of millions behind, puts tremendous strains on the ecosystem and has an alarming habit of stalling. Nobody is in charge of it. Indeed, no individual understands more than a fraction of what’s going on.

How can we make sense of this bewildering system on which our lives depend?

From the tally stick to the barcode, concrete to cuneiform, each invention in Tim Harford’s fascinating new book has its own curious, surprising and memorable story, a vignette against a grand backdrop. Step by step, readers will start to understand where we are, how we got here and where we might be going next. *


Smart and provocative, witty and uncompromising, this collection of Laurie Penny’s writing establishes her as one of the most urgent and vibrant feminist voices of our times. From the shock of Donald Trump’s election and the victories of the far right, to online harassment and the transgender rights movement, these darkly humorous articles provoke challenging conversations about the definitive social issues of today.

Penny is lyrical and passionate in her desire to contest injustice; she writes at the raw edge of the zeitgeist at a time when it has never been more vital to confront social norms. These revelatory, revolutionary essays will give readers hope and tools for change from one of today’s boldest commentators.*

*All text from flap/back of the book.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 21:57 IST