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Top Ten Books This Week - June 25, 2018
Top fiction and non-fiction works of this week | By Yentha
On Jun 25, 2018

Non-Fiction
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1. Ullekh N.P:Kannur:Inside India's Bloodiest Revenge Politics:Rs 499.00

Kannur, a sleepy coastal district in the scenic south Indian state of Kerala, has metamorphosed into a hotbed of political bloodshed in the past few decades. Even as India heaves into the age of technology and economic growth, the town has been making it to the national news for horrific crimes and brutal murders with sickening regularity. What makes this region so susceptible to vendetta politics and such deadly violence? How is it an anomaly in Kerala, the state with the highest social development parameters in India? Born in Kannur and brought up amidst some of the tallest political leaders of the state, author Ullekh N.P. delves into his personal experiences while drawing a modern-day graph that charts out the reasons, motivations and the local lore behind the turmoil. He analyses the numbers that lay bare the truth behind the hype, studies the area's political and cultural heritage, and speaks to the main protagonists and victims. With his journalistic skills and years of on-the-field reporting, he paints a gripping narrative of the ongoing bloodbath and the perceptions around it.Ullekh's investigations and interviews reveal a bigger game at work involving players who will stop at nothing to win.

2. Simon Winchester:Exactly:How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World:Rs 599.00

Bestselling author Simon Winchester writes a magnificent history of the pioneering engineers who developed precision machinery to allow us to see as far as the moon and as close as the Higgs boson.Precision is the key to everything. It is an integral, unchallenged and essential component of our modern social, mercantile, scientific, mechanical and intellectual landscapes. The items we value in our daily lives – a camera, phone, computer, bicycle, car, a dishwasher perhaps – all sport components that fit together with precision and operate with near perfection. We also assume that the more precise a device the better it is. And yet whilst we live lives peppered and larded with precision, we are not, when we come to think about it, entirely sure what precision is, or what it means. How and when did it begin to build the modern world?Simon Winchester seeks to answer these questions through stories of precision’s pioneers. Exactly takes us back to the origins of the Industrial Age, to Britain where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John ‘Iron-Mad’ Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden and Joseph Whitworth. Thomas Jefferson exported their discoveries to the United States as manufacturing developed in the early twentieth century, with Britain’s Henry Royce developing the Rolls Royce and Henry Ford mass producing cars, Hattori’s Seiko and Leica lenses, to today’s cutting-edge developments from Europe, Asia and North America.As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?

3. Brian J.Ford :Too Big to Walk:The New Science of Dinosaurs:Rs 599.00

Ever since Jurassic Park we thought we knew how dinosaurs lived their lives. In this remarkable new book, Brian J. Ford reveals that dinosaurs were, in fact, profoundly different from what we believe, and their environment was unlike anything we have previously thought.In this meticulous and absorbing account, Ford reviews the latest scientific evidence to show that the popular accounts of dinosaurs’ lives contain ideas that are no more than convenient inventions: how dinosaurs mated, how they hunted and communicated, how they nursed their young, even how they moved. He uncovers many surprising details which challenge our most deeply-held beliefs – such as the revelation that an asteroid impact did not end the dinosaurs’ existence.Professor Ford’s illuminating examination changes everything. As he unravels the history of the world, we discover that evolution was not Charles Darwin’s idea; there were many philosophers who published the theory before him. The concept of continental drift and plate tectonics did not begin with Alfred Wegener a century ago, but dates back to learned pioneers hundreds of years before his time. Ever since scientists first began to study dinosaurs, they have travelled with each other down the wrong path, and Ford now shows how this entire branch of science has to be rewritten.A new dinosaur species is announced every ten days, and more and more information is currently being discovered about how they may have lived: locomotion, hunting, nesting behaviour, distribution, extinction. Ford brings together these amazing discoveries in this controversial new book which undoubtedly will ruffle a few feathers, or scales if you are an old-school dinosaur lover.

4. Graham Hoyland:Yeti: An Abominable History:Rs 599.00

What leads us to believe in monsters? What happens when we meet the brutal creatures of our nightmares?Tales of the yeti, the ‘Abominable Snowman’ of the Himalayas, have been recorded for centuries. This huge, ape-like, hairy creature has tantalised explorers, mountaineers and locals with curious footprints and elusive appearances. But until recently, no one has been able to identify what this mythical creature might be, or even determine if it is real.On an expedition to the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Graham Hoyland found and filmed footprints of the mythical yeti in a part of the country that has never before been visited by Western explorers. In a lost valley near the unclimbed mountain Gangkar Punsum, Hoyland believes he was stalked by the mysterious yeti, a beast so unspeakably powerful that locals say it can kill a yak with one savage blow of its fist.As he delves into the fascinating history of this ancient legend, Hoyland hears tales of the yeti from Sherpas who have tried and failed to track it. He explores the literary hinterland behind the legend and searches for the yeti’s American cousin Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and her African relative Mokèlé-Mbèmbé. From the dubious, mystical pseudo-science of the Nazis in the 1930s to our current era of ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’, Hoyland examines the age-old cultural phenomena that have shaped our collective consciousness and fuelled a belief in the existence of these monstrous creatures.

5. Manu S.Pillai:Rebel Sultans:The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji:Rs 599.00

In 1707 when Emperor Aurangzeb went to his grave, the Mughal empire began to crack into a hundred fractured pieces. It was the lure of the Deccan that drained this conqueror’s energies, putting him on a course of collision with his most threatening adversaries. After all, the Deccan was a land that inspired wonder. Its treasures were legendary, and its kings magnificent. It was a horizon of rousing adventure, attracting talent from beyond oceans. A traveller here could encounter bands of European snipers, available for military hire, or forbidding fortresses where African nobles scaled the heights of power. Diamonds and pearls lay heaped in the Deccan’s bazaars, while in its courts thrived Persians and Marathas, Portuguese and Georgians, presiding over a world of drama and betrayal. A thousand fortunes were made in the Deccan, drawing the formidable envy of generations of Mughal emperors.In Rebel Sultans, Manu S. Pillai narrates the story of the Deccan from the close of the thirteenth century to the dawn of the eighteenth. Packed with riveting tales and compelling characters, this book takes us from the age of Alauddin Khilji to the ascent of Shivaji. We witness the dramatic rise and fall of the Vijayanagar empire, even as we negotiate intrigues at the courts of the Bahmani kings and the Rebel Sultans who overthrew them. From Chand Bibi, a valorous queen stabbed to death, and Ibrahim II of Bijapur, a Muslim prince who venerated Hindu gods, to Malik Ambar, the Ethiopian warlord, and Krishnadeva Raya on Vijayanagar’s Diamond Throne – they all appear in these pages as we journey through one of the most arresting sweeps of Indian history. Unravelling a forgotten chapter in our medieval past, Rebel Sultans reminds us of a different age and a different time in the Deccan – one that ended an empire and rewrote India’s destiny.

Fiction
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1. S.Hussain Zaidi:Eleventh Hour:Rs 299.00

 New Delhi, 2017. It is nine years since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai and the wounds have still not healed. Especially not for Superintendent of Police Vikrant Singh, who ends up landing a slap on the High Commissioner of Pakistan's face when he meets him at an event. Meanwhile, in Bhopal, five members of the Indian Mujahideen, arrested by Vikrant, break out of the Central Jail. Vikrant, suspended for the diplomatic disaster, is unofficially asked to assist the team tracking the escaped terrorists. In another part of the country, a retired tycoon, a heartbroken ex-soldier and a young woman dealing with demons of her own embark on a journey of self-discovery aboard a cruise liner from Mumbai to Lakshadweep. Fate, however, has other plans, and the cruise liner is hijacked. Racy and riveting, this is Hussain Zaidi at his best.

2. Hanan-Al-Shaykh:The Occasional Virgin:Rs 499.00

From a major novelist of the Arab world comes a bold, witty and highly contemporary novel about two women looking for love, set in Italy, Lebanon and London.Huda and Yvonne are on holiday in the Italian Riviera, enjoying the sun and the sparkling Mediterranean, reminiscent of their childhoods in Lebanon. Yvonne doesn't know what she's doing wrong, either there or back in London where she runs an ad agency - she seems to spend her time waiting for the right man to come along and not leave again just as quickly. Her friend Huda has no problems in this department, only she isn't really interested in her effect on men - till Hisham comes along. But it isn't love spurring Huda on, it's her desire to teach him a lesson. Because while you can't escape your past, you can perhaps avenge it.Frank, funny and fearless, The Occasional Virgin is the colourful, wickedly entertaining story of two unforgettable women and the lengths we'll go to for love.

3.  Sadia Abbas :The Empty Room :Rs 495.00

 In 1970s Karachi, where violence and political and social uncertainty are on the rise, a beautiful and talented painter, Tahira, tries to hold her life together as it Shatters around her. Her marriage is quickly revealed to be a trap from which there appears no escape. Accustomed to the company of her brother Waseem and friends, Andaleep and Safdar, who are activists, writers and thinkers, Tahira struggles to adapt to her new world of stifling conformity and to fight for her identity as a woman and an artist. Tragedy strikes when her brother and friends are caught up in the cynically repressive regime. Faced with loss and injustice, she embarks upon a series of paintings entitled ‘the empty room’, filling the blank canvases with vivid colour and light. Elegant, poetic and powerful, the empty room is an important addition to contemporary Pakistani literature, a moving portrait of life in Karachi at a pivotal moment in the nation’s history and a powerful meditation on art and the dilemmas faced by women who must find their own creative path in hostile conditions.

4. Ruth Ware:The Death of Mrs.Westaway:Rs 599.00

 When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast. There's just one problem - Hal's real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger's funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her. Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…The brand new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10.

5. Tilly Bagshawe:Sidney Sheldon's The Silent Widow:Rs 399.00

 Sweeping from Mexico City to the dark underbelly of LA, The Silent Widow has all the trademark glamour, suspense and unexpected twists of a classic Sidney Sheldon novel.A young American au pair, Charlotte Clancy, vanishes without a trace in Mexico City. The case is left cold, but its legacy will be devastating.A decade later, LA is shaken by a spate of violent murders. Psychologist Nikki Roberts is the common link between the victims, her patients at the heart of this treacherous web.When someone makes an attempt on Nikki’s life, it’s clear she is a marked woman.Nikki makes a living out of reading people, drawing out their secrets, but the key to this shocking pattern eludes her. With the police at a dead end Nikki drafts in Derek Williams, a PI who isn’t afraid to put his hand into the hornet’s nest. Williams was thwarted in the notorious Charlotte Clancy case all those years ago, but what he unearths in LA – and the mention of one name in particular – leaves him cold, and takes him on a dangerous path into the past.A shadowy manipulator has brought his deadly game to the streets of LA. In a crime spanning generations, it seems Nikki Roberts knows all too much – and a ruthless killer knows the price of her silence.In this crooked city, where enemies and friends are one and the same, Nikki must be the master of her own escape . .

 
 
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