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Books for the weekend

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New Delhi: Book lovers prep up your weekend as we bring you some exciting good reads from various genres. These books are sure to make a worthy read on that lazy Sunday afternoon.

Meet Bant Singh, an agrarian labourer with indomitable spirit despite being physically disabled; Mohammed Aamir Khan, who refuses to be defeated despite being framed as a terrorist and being jailed for 14 years; an IAS officer explains complex ideas of Indian philosophy in simple and accessible language; and finally, tips from a journalist on how to invest money and save for future.

There’s much the bookshelf has for you this weekend. Take a look:

1. Book: The Ballad of Bant Singh; Author: Nirupama Dutt; Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Pages: 213; Price: Rs. 250

The book relates the life story of Bant Singh the protagonist and his tales of courage. On the unfortunate evening of January 5, 2006, Bant Singh, a Dalit agrarian labourer and activist in Punjab’s Jhabar village, was ambushed and brutally beaten up by upper-caste Jat men armed with iron rods and axes.

He then had to fight for justice for his minor daughter, who was gang-raped. He lost both his arm and a leg while fighting against the Jat men. But this incident could not demolish his spirit and continues to fight for equality and dignity, inspiring others with his revolutionary songs.

2. Book: Framed as a Terrorist; Author: Mohammad Aamir Khan with Nandita Haksar; Publisher: Speaking Tiger; Pages: 234; Price: Rs. 250
In 1998, an ordinary young man was kidnapped by the police from the by-lanes of old Delhi and accused of being a terrorist. The man was released after serving 14 years in jail – when proven innocent.

Based on the true story of the author, Mohammad Aamir Khan, the book is a tale of phenomenal humanity, perseverance, and courage in the face of extreme injustice. Despite facing torture and solitary confinement, the author remains committed to the secular and democratic values that he grew up with.

3. Book: Chaturvedi Badrinath – Unity of Life and Other Essays; Edited by Tulsi Badrinath; Publisher: Oxford; Pages: 158; Price: Rs. 450
The latest book edited by Tulsi Badrinath is a compilation of essays written by her father Chaturvedi Badrinath. The book takes a reader into Badrinath’s approach towards life. An IAS officer for 31 years, he delivered lectures on the concept of dharma and its application in modern times.

Ranging over perceptions of the self and the other; different ways of ordering society in Jainism, Islam and Christianity; the paradox of sex; the roots of violence and the quest for truth and peace – Badrinath’s essays gained wide acclaim and popularity.

4. Book: The Money Book; Author: Vivek Law; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 194; Price: Rs. 395
Planning to invest money in starting a new business? Want your money to multiply fast? Or save some earnings that would secure future post-retirement? Well, here is the answer to queries related to money and investment.

Using relatable examples, the author simplifies the process of savings and investing by bringing the best possible ways to multiply money. Decoding terms like mutual funds, equities, and life insurance, Vivek Law shows that there is no need to toil throughout life to have a secure and comfortable lifestyle.(IANS)

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“A Suitable Girl”: Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published

Seth suffered from writer's block after his break-up

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"A Suitable Girl": Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published, flickr

Hardly has any novel been awaited with as much curiosity and anticipation in recent times as Vikram Seth’s sequel to the monumental “A Suitable Boy” (1993). Five years on, since he was first expected to deliver the manuscript, the novel is still to see the light of the day. But what seems like a saga of missed deadlines can very well — far from our eyes — be a masterpiece in the making.

“The more I talk of her, the more shy she becomes,” Seth had told this correspondent in 2015 about “A Suitable Girl”, the novel-in-waiting.

Seth, as his literary agent David Godwin puts it, has been known to take his time with his books. The prolonged delay, however, was not acceptable to Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and he was asked to return an advance payment of $1.7 million when the deal was called off. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, an imprint of the British publisher Orion, then acquired the novel — and it was scheduled to release in 2016.

But a flying bird — a friend and confidant of the writer — says that he is now giving the “final touch” to the novel and that one can expect “the big announcement” soon.

Seth released a collection of poems titled “Summer Requiem” in the meanwhile. In the collection, he traces the immutable shiftings of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both “gifts and harms”. Composed as they were while he was (which he still is) writing the sequel, several poems in the offering open doors to his mind, or perhaps they may be preludes to the larger narrative that he is weaving.

“I have so carefully mapped/the corners of my mind/that I am forever waking/in a lost country,” he writes in the opening poem. Interestingly, Seth’s companion to “A Suitable Boy” will be a jump sequel — the characters have travelled from the 1950s and it will be very much a novel set in somewhat the present times.

novels By Vikram Seth
novels By Vikram Seth, flickr

In its title poem, he mourns that the “liberated generation lives a restrained youth,” and then adds: “I must forsake attachment”. On another occasion in the book, readers find him lamenting over “the peaceful love” that the narrator has “never found”. In another short poem “Late Light” he writes: “Outside the great world’s gifts and harms/ There must be somewhere I can go/To rest within a lover’s arm/At ease with the impending snow”.

Reportedly, Seth suffered from writer’s block after his break-up with French violinist Phillippe Honor but that was a long time ago and was reflected in “An Equal Music”. He has moved on or has he not?

Nonetheless, it has been about five years since “A Suitable Girl” was first expected to hit the stands but the wait is surely worth it. As writer-politician Shashi Tharoor says about his good friend’s technique — that “Vikram Seth draws an entire roadmap of his novel, planning every minute element in great detail” — the sequel, thanks to all the anticipation and the pressure on the writer, may actually be a masterpiece in the making, as sublime as its counterpart and yet set in the time of its readers.

Vikram Seth is a recipient of the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, and among several other prestigious honours, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. He has been widely translated and is among leading novelists on the global stage. He has published three novels — “The Golden Gate” (1986), “A Suitable Boy” (1993) and “An Equal Music” (1999) — along with several collections of poetry such as “Mappings” and “All You Who Sleep Tonight”.

Also read: Here is all the reason for Bookworms to look ahead for the upcoming year: A List of the Best Stories and Novels in 2017!

Seth — an openly gay man — is also one of the prominent faces of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. (IANS)