Books of the week: From Savarkar biography to Sharbari Ahmed’s Dust Under Her Feet, our picks

 Books of the week: From Savarkar biography to Sharbari Ahmeds Dust Under Her Feet, our picks

Bangladeshi-American Sharbari Zohra Ahmed is a playwright, screenwriter and creative writing teacher, who has notably worked on the Priyanka Chopra starrer Quantico. In her debut historical fiction novel Dust Under Her Feet, Ahmed tells the story of Yasmine Khan who is navigating love and betrayal against the war-torn backdrop of 1940s Calcutta. With the retreating British Raj and the constant threat of Japanese attacks, Ahmed scrutinises racial prejudice and colonial effects with refreshing prose and perspective.

Read more about the book here.

The Black Dwarves of the Good Little Bay
By Varun Thomas Mathew
Hachette India | Rs 450 | 336 pages

Set in 2040, The Black Dwarves of the Good Little Bay shows a Mumbai of the future where the people of the city live their lives with no memory of the past – except for one man, now considered mad, trying to make them remember. A book about the loss of a way of life and about regret, it looks back on the present day and the choices we are making as a people; a searing, layered narrative of the world we inhabit.

Read more about the book here.


Psychedelic Apes
By Alex Boese
Pan Macmillan | Rs 520 | 320 pages

With a Masters in the history of science, author Alex Boese – also founder of the Museum of Hoaxes – specialises in the fields of ‘mad science’, popular hoaxes, urban legends and conspiracy theories.

His latest release, Psychedelic Apes: From parallel universes to atomic dinosaurs – the weirdest theories of science and history explores weird scientific theories, discussing questions like ‘What if the Earth is at the centre of the Universe?’, ‘What if Homer was a woman?’, ‘What if there’s only one electron in the universe?’ and ‘What if everything is conscious?’ among many bizarre others.

Read an excerpt here. Read more about the book here.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Bureaucracy But Were Afraid to Ask
By TR Raghunandan
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 272 pages

TR Raghunandan quit the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) after over 25 years of service and now works as a consultant and adviser about policy, anti-corruption, decentralisation and research.

In this book he uses a matter-of-fact tone and humour to explain the structure and functions of the Indian bureaucracy and the various roles of civil servants, demystifying the system and making it accessible for the common citizen.

Read more about the book here.


Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924
Vikram Sampath
Penguin Random House India | Rs 999 | 624 pages

Sourced from original archival research, this biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar traces his life and the development of his political ideology. From his treatise during the great Revolt of 1857 to vying for India’s independence and being brutally tortured at Andaman’s Cellular Jail, the book traces his changing philosophy and presents one of India’s most controversial political thinkers through a new perspective.

Vikram Sampath is an author and historian who was awarded the Sahitya Akademi’s first Yuva Puraskar in English literature for his book My Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician. He has also established a digital sound archive, the Archive of Indian Music and is the founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival.

Read more about the book here.


10 Indian Women Who Were the First to Do What They Did
By Shruthi Rao
Duckbill | Rs 200 | 112 pages

Award-winning children’s author Shruthi Rao recounts the lives of ten pioneering Indian women who faced challenges and paved the path for more women to follow their dreams. She tells the stories of social reformer and first female teacher of India Savitribai Phule, the first Indian female physician Kadambini Ganguly, trailblazer of the Indian women’s labour movement Anasuya Sarabhai and track-runner and athlete PT Usha among others.

Read more about the book here.


Toni Morrison
Alfred A Knopf | Rs 463 | 352 pages

With the recent passing of the towering icon Toni Morrison, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction among many others, English literature has lost an important pillar and chronicler of the African-American experience.

In her 1987 novel Beloved, set after the American Civil War, Morrison tells the story of Margaret Garner who flees and escapes slavery. It explores the black community, their struggles and displacement at the time, and honours the many lives lost to the slave trade.