Books of the week: From Abdourahman A Waberi's The Divine Song to Seema Mustafa's Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India, our picks

Aarushi Agrawal

We love stories, and even in the age of Netflix-and-chill, there's nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption €" whether curled up in bed, in your favourite coffeehouse, or that long (and tiresome) commute to work. Every Sunday, we'll have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure. Get them wherever you get your books €" the friendly neighbourhood bookseller, e-retail website, chain store €" and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.



The Divine Song By Abdourahman A Waberi Seagull Books | Rs 499 | 190 pages

Award-winning African author Abdourahman A Waberi's novel follows Sammy Kamau-Williams in whom readers see glimpses of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised writer Gil Scott-Heron. Sammy travels from Tennessee to New York, and then the concert halls of Paris and Berlin, going wherever there's an audience for jazz and blues. From African tales to segregation, the civil rights movement, addiction, and jail, Sammy's story encompasses several facets of the African American experience.

Read more about the book here.


A Day in the Life of Mangal Taram By Anita Agnihotri; translated by Rani Ray Niyogi Books | Rs 395 | 204 pages

Translated by educator and editor Rani Ray, the book is a collection of 14 short stories by award-winning writer Anita Agnihotri. There's the story of Mangal Taram, a Gond boy, who's a forest guard, and keeps a record of the wildlife, flora, and fauna of the forest, while his mind is trapped in fear and anxiety. In Darjeeling's Batasia loop, Hema transforms the life of a man. In another story, a possessive and ruthless lover treasures his first love in the brick and mortar cage of his ancestral home.

Read more about the book here.


Reed Hastings: Building Netflix By Matt Burgess Hachette India | Rs 699 | 208 pages

Journalist and author Matt Burgess presents an overview of Netflix co-founder, chairman and CEO Reed Hastings' career trajectory. It also details his management style and personality, and discusses his biggest mistakes. It analyses why he decided to take Netflix from product business dealing with DVDs to technology company focused on streaming. It also considers what the future might bring for him and his different ventures.

Read more about the book here.


Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India: Writings on a Movement for Justice, Liberty and Equality Edited by Seema Mustafa Speaking Tiger | Rs 450 | 228 pages

Edited by journalist and editor Seema Mustafa, the book is a collection of essays by thinkers and activists, ground reports and photographs by journalists, and interviews with some of the women at the core of the Delhi protests. It examines how the sit-in by a group of Muslim women united people across the country, leading to among the biggest civil rights movements in Independent India's history. It also answers questions like "Can the Shaheen Bagh protests reverse the damage done to our democracy in recent years?", among others.

Read more about the book here.

Delhi in Historical Perspectives By KA Nizami; translated by Ather Farouqui Oxford University Press India | Rs 1,100 | 184 pages

General secretary of the Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Hind) Ather Farouqui translates a compilation of lectures delivered at the University of Delhi and Ghalib Institute in Delhi from the Urdu, by late historian KA Nizami, first published in 1972. From the Delhi Sultanate to the Mughals, he presents a cultural, social, economic and spiritual history of the city. His sources include Persian, Hindavi, and Urdu accounts of literature, travel, biography, hagiography, and administration.

Read more about the book here.

Godroads: Modalities of Conversion in India Edited by Peter Berger and Sarbeswar Sahoo Cambridge University Press | Rs 895 | 325 pages

Edited by Odisha's indigenous highland communities' research Peter Berger and IIT Delhi sociology teacher Sarbeswar Sahoo, the book deals with the dynamics of conversion and religious change. It focuses on the processes and modalities of conversion within, between, and across different religious traditions, through the lenses of anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history, and theology, by relying on Indian case studies.

Read more about the book here.


A Bend in Time: Writings by Children on the COVID-19 Pandemic By various authors Talking Cub | Rs 199 | 176 pages

With an introduction by award-winning children's writer Bijal Vachharajani, the book is a collection of stories and essays by children and young adults across India, as they process living in a COVID-19 world. While one writer wonders why her dreams have gone missing, another looks to history to understand the impact of lockdown on ancient times. Some wonder if the star of hope will shine again, and others look for answers in science.

Read more about the book here.

Also See: Books of the week: From Jenny Housego's A Woven Life to Ranjan Chakrabarti’s Critical Themes in Environmental History of India, our picks

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