What to Read Next Issue 16
College stories, Caste, Ukraine again and a Birthday Party
It’s a few days to Graduation here at Duke University. The sun is out, the graduates-to-be are already posing for pictures. On the lawns of the college quad, all is a happy bustle of bonhomie, as parents look upon progeny getting their degrees.
It’s the perfect time to pick up campus stories, and here are 7 college stories every family will enjoy. Start with Our Shantiniketan by Mahasweta Devi or The Secret History by Donna Tartt. See the full list in Book Box, my new weekly books column in the Hindustan Times ; you could subscribe at Rs.599 for 6 months for HT online or download the HT app to read these weekend columns for free.
From college to caste.
Dalit history month observed in April may have just passed, but race and caste continue to be dominant themes of our world. Here are our top 4 reads from the outpouring of Dalit writing, raw and roiling, fiction and non-fiction.
Start with When I Hid My Caste Baburao Bagul’s depiction of Dalit life originally published in Marathi in 1963, translated into English by Jerry Pinto in 2018 . These stories throb with visceral portraits of characters driven to Dostoevskian desperation. A young railway clerk, a streetwalker, a wrestler, a bereaved mistress are some of the protagonists who feature in these stories. They illustrate, with searing emotional intensity, the price caste exacts.
And finally, with the Ukraine war showing few signs of ending, here are four books from that part of the world, to give you an understanding into this continuing conflict. Start with Zinky Boys by Nobel Prize winning Svetlana Alexeivich.
If ever there was a potent plea for peace, this book is it. Alexeivich is known for the raw power of her oral histories, from Second Hand Time to Chernobyl Prayer, and Zinky Boys is as hard-hitting as the others. The book’s title comes from the zinc coffins that contain dead boys who have been sent to fight a faraway war.
After all this poignancy and pain, we recommend an absorbing antidote - a book about breathing. The prose flows, the research is riveting and oh so lightly carried. Breath by James Nestor is a breeze to read.
And now for upcoming book events !
Author Simran Dhir joins us to chat about Best Intentions. It’s a zippy, racy debut that explores family, religion, fundamentalism and freedom of speech in a romance that (dare I say it) pays homage to the frothiest yet most fundamental of them all- Pride and Prejudice.
Join Aspire for Her to receive this book club meeting invite: https://aspireforher.com/sign-up/
May 15 IIM Women Worldwide Alumni 4.30 pm IST online
Horror author and IIM alumni Chandrima Das picks this atmospheric historical fantasy. Mexican Gothic is Rebecca meets Dracula with a strong female protagonist. Can trauma be transmitted through generations, can evil be interred in stone, can a house be haunted? Lots to discuss in this one! IIM Women alumni mail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive this invite.
May 22 Beas Book Club 5.00 pm IST online
VS Naipaul double bill ! Examining Nobel Laureate Naipaul's formative years, the need for roots through these 2 novels.
Meeting invite : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81037473270?pwd=Q0p0Qzd2NU1zUTQrUG5HdEJmOUJPZz09 Meeting ID: 810 3747 3270 Passcode: books
June 15 Juhu Book 6.30 pm IST online
At the Juhu Book Club, we are always trying to read more and to read diverse books. So when we found Kindle was giving away 8 books from different countries on World Book Day, we decided to read as many as we could ! Join us in #jbcsummerreading2022. You can read one or more. Check our social media for reviews.
Meeting invite : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86990057225?pwd=QU1XQTd1dWVqQ0JlUjdqczI3WGxtQT09 Meeting ID: 869 9005 7225 Passcode: books
Would love to hear from you with suggestions on how to make this newsletter better. Write to me at email@example.com, I will do my very best to reply soon.
For weekly updates read Book Box, my new weekly books column in the Hindustan Times ; you could subscribe at Rs.599 for 6 months for HT online or download the HT app to read these weekend columns for free.
And if you’d like to revamp your reading life, consider signing up for a book box. You will receive specially curated books every month, delivered directly to your doorstep.
Last month Sonya’s Book Box turned one year old! Here are a few pictures of the festivities.
For more pictures and more book recommendations, follow us on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter and Linkedin.
Till next month then, Happy reading !