The Big Binge Bookshelf – Second edition, May 2018

'The Big Binge Bookshelf' offers a nice blend of genres this weekend.

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Mumbai: In the times of stories about fake ashrams, flick through an interesting book about a so-called guru and his blinded followers, among whom is one who eventually discovers the truth about criminal charges against him; read a mysterious tale that revolves around a woman who searches for evidence to know the truth about her sister’s death; wade through a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid; and get an access to mouth-watering recipes of traditional dishes from the subcontinent that make for a delightful read.

Read how after the 13th day of the Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas and Kauravas look to avenge their losses; understand the need for balancing conflicting goals as well as the importance of promoting entrepreneurship from within; flick through the love story of two dancers on many facets of love and trust; and enjoy a collection of diverse stories set in Kolkata and Delhi.

‘The Big Binge Bookshelf’ offers a nice blend of genres this weekend.

1. Book: A Broken Sun; Author: Aditya Iyengar; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 199

In the bloody aftermath of the 13th day of the Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas and Kauravas look to avenge their losses.

In the Pandava army, a grief-stricken Arjuna speaks to his dead son and tries to find solace on the battlefield, even as his brother Yudhishthira tries to keep his family from falling apart.

On the other side, the Kauravas, led by Guru Drona and Radheya, try desperately to bring the war to an end.

Their lives entwine tragically on the battlefield in a tale of loss and redemption. Narrated through the voices of Radheya, Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Ghatotkacha and Sushasana, “A Broken Sun” is the second part of Iyengar’s trilogy on the Kurukshetra war.

2. Book: Entresutra; Author: Soumodip Sarkar; Publisher: Bloomsbury; Pages: 208

As entrepreneurship and innovation become the new corporate and societal mantra, this book peers through known wisdom, glancing back and looking forward to what entrepreneurship and innovation mean, unravelling key ingredients for success.

Covering a vast and complex terrain, the book uncovers six pillars that determine entrepreneurial success, providing insights strung together from different fields of knowledge, as well as the author’s own experiences, to narrate a compelling and realistic account.

While each of these pillars constitutes a story in its own right, taken together, a piece of fabric is woven that permits the reader to appreciate the entrepreneurial journey, drawing lessons for one’s own endeavours as Aha! moments are encountered along the way.

The book is also intended for corporates to understand how innovation unravels, for understanding the need for balancing conflicting goals as well as the importance of promoting entrepreneurship from within. “EntreSutra” will whet the appetite of the curious and help demystify the essence of creation.

3. Book: Rasia; Author: Koral Dasgupta; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 238

Two women wait for him at two different ends of the crossroads. He knows which path is his, but he can’t walk that path until he has attended to the other.

One perfect couple. An obsessed seductress. A Bharatanatyam show in Manhattan.

Raj Shekhar Subramanian and Manasi, both Bharatanatyam dancers, are made for each other. Till an obsessed fan, Vatsala Pandit enters their lives, testing the man’s character and his wife’s patience.

But then Manasi invites Vatsala to her Bharatanatyam show, she will be performing with her husband, the very man Vatsala wants to take from her. Why? Why did Shekhar agree to take in Vatsala as his student in the first place?

This singular love story deftly explores the many facets of love-mutual trust, obsessiveness, the arrogance of passion, the need for self-fulfilment, the yearning for the beloved and the complexity of modern relationships.

4. Book: The Love Song of Maya K and other stories; Author: Shuma Raha; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 214

It’s about a rumour that ends in calamity, a girl who is demonised because of her evil horoscope, a man who preys upon young girls, a train journey that forces a woman to look at her marriage anew, the gorgeous inner life of a shop girl and a child overwhelmed by the wonder and terror of his world. Set in Kolkata and Delhi, the stories in this collection deal with love and betrayal, dogma and superstition, sexuality and thwarted desires.

The characters belong to the world of urban, aspirational India where snobbery and the rat race go hand-in-hand with class and religious conflicts.

Dark or funny, satirical or poignant, these stories are as much a snapshot of modern India as they are an intense crystallisation of the unpredictable chaos of life.

5. Book: The Guru Who Came Down from the Mountain; Author: Roshen Dalal; Publisher: Tiger; Pages: 286

Dev, charismatic and powerful, a guru with thousands of followers around the world, and a string of ashrams fuelled by a flourishing business in drugs and gun-running. Ashrams that bring him the power and wealth, he craves and fulfils his desire for women.

But of all the women, he knows, there are three who play a pivotal role in his life – his wife, Gita, whose death is shrouded in mystery, and
Cynthia and Madge, who unwittingly launch him into his career as a guru.

Nitya is Dev’s complete antithesis – pure of heart and deeply spiritual. He comes to Dev as a disciple, and for years his devotion to his guru makes him blind to his failings. But when the truth can no longer be ignored, he is disillusioned.

Though he escapes charges of rape and murder, Dev does finally receive a death sentence – he is fatally afflicted with AIDS.

As he lies on his deathbed in Rishikesh, Nitya comes to see him, unable to turn away from him completely. Dev tells him his story, and what compelled him to make the choices he did. Nitya also uncovers the truth about Gita’s death.

When the end finally comes, Nitya has a deeper understanding of the man he once loved so blindly and realizes how, ultimately, the quest for perfection can be marred by human frailty.

6. Book: My Sister’s Grave; Author: Robert Dugoni; Publisher: Thomas and Mercer; Pages: 410

Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House, a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder, is the guilty party.

Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy becomes a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicates her life to tracking down the killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking.

As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past – and open the door to deadly danger.

7. Book: Letters to My Ex; Author: Nikita Singh; Publisher: Harper Collins; Pages: 137

“It feels like I’m on autopilot. I have no control over anything. The pain of losing you is so crippling that I can barely hold pieces of myself together. The slightest nudge could break me. But somehow, my possessed brain knows what I need. It’s telling me to stick to my choice, to stay away from you, to open a word document and bleed on paper, try to throw up all my jumbled thoughts in form of words, collect all disconnected facts, try to make sense of it all.”

From the author of “Like a Love Song” and “Every Time It Rains”, a story of heartbreak and things left unsaid…

8. Book: Feast With a Taste of Amir Khusro; Author: Bisma Tirmizi; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 208

“Stories and food remain the same, only faces change and those too only vaguely. The same faces keep coming back every few generations to eat the same food and live out the same stories.”

When Ayesha understands that her relationship with food has made her obese, she embarks upon a journey of self-discovery which leads her to discover the fascinating journey of regional cuisine – the food she loves.

Interestingly told the narrative shifts from present to an imagined past and back again, erasing lines that define time and space.

Laced with mouth-watering recipes from the subcontinent and details of traditional preparations, this book is as much for the gastronome as it is for one who loves a tale well told.

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