A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet
Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel―her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven―follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion.
Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders―including Eve, who narrates the story―decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside.
As the scenes of devastation begin to mimic events in the dog-eared picture Bible carried around by her beloved little brother, Eve devotes herself to keeping him safe from harm. A Children’s Bible is a prophetic, heartbreaking story of generational divide―and a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation. Amazon
The Cliffhangers By Sabin Iqbal
Journalist Sabin Iqbal’s debut novel follows the rape of a tourist in Kadaloor, a village on the southern coast of the country, on New Year’s Eve. The chief suspects are a group of teenage boys called Cliffhangers. As they try to prove their innocence, they also deal with the communal intolerance dividing Hindu and Muslim fishermen and villagers. Amid this growing tension and hunt for the rapist, the village starts to propel toward disaster.https://www.firstpost.com/living/books-of-the-week-from-the-deoliwallahs-to-aparna-vaidiks-history-of-lynching-in-india-our-picks-8041071.html
The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama
Daniel Abe, a young doctor in Chicago, is finally coming back to Hawai’i. He has his own reason for returning to his childhood home, but it is not to revisit the past, unlike his Uncle Koji. Koji lives with the memories of Daniel’s mother, Mariko, the love of his life, and the scars of a life hard-lived. He can’t wait to see Daniel, who he’s always thought of as a son, but he knows the time has come to tell him the truth about his mother, and his father. But Daniel’s arrival coincides with the awakening of the Mauna Loa volcano, and its dangerous path toward their village stirs both new and long ago passions in their community. Alternating between past and present—from the day of the volcano eruption in 1935 to decades prior—The Color of Air interweaves the stories of Daniel, Koji, and Mariko to create a rich, vibrant, bittersweet chorus that celebrates their lifelong bond to one other and to their immigrant community. As Mauna Loa threatens their lives and livelihoods, it also unearths long held secrets simmering below the surface that meld past and present, revealing a path forward for them all. Amazon
Daddy by Emma Cline
From the author of “The Girls” comes a collection of 10 stories with remarkable range. An absentee father collects his son from boarding school after a shocking act of violence. A nanny to a celebrity family hides out in Laurel Canyon in the aftermath of a tabloid scandal. A young woman sells her underwear to strangers. A notorious guest arrives at a placid, not-quite rehab in the Southwest.
In ten remarkable stories, Emma Cline portrays moments when the ordinary is disturbed, when daily life buckles, revealing the perversity and violence pulsing under the surface. She explores characters navigating the edge, the limits of themselves and those around them: power dynamics in families, in relationships, the distance between their true and false selves. They want connection, but what they provoke is often closer to self-sabotage. What are the costs of one’s choices? Of the moments when we act, or fail to act? These complexities are at the heart of Daddy, Emma Cline’s sharp-eyed illumination of the contrary impulses that animate our inner lives. Amazon
Eartheater by Dolores Reyes, Translated by Julia Sanches
Set in an unnamed slum in contemporary Argentina, Eartheater is the story of a young woman who finds herself drawn to eating the earth—a compulsion that gives her visions of broken and lost lives. With her first taste of dirt, she learns the horrifying truth of her mother’s death. Disturbed by what she witnesses, the woman keeps her visions to herself. But when Eartheater begins an unlikely relationship with a withdrawn police officer, word of her ability begins to spread, and soon desperate members of her community beg for her help, anxious to uncover the truth about their own loved ones.
Surreal and haunting, spare yet complex, Eartheater is a dark, emotionally resonant tale told from a feminist perspective that brilliantly explores the stories of those left behind—the women enduring the pain of uncertainty, whose lives have been shaped by violence and loss. Amazon
Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie
Kyoto, Japan, 1948. “Do not question. Do not fight. Do not resist.”
Such is eight-year-old Noriko “Nori” Kamiza’s first lesson. She will not question why her mother abandoned her with only these final words. She will not fight her confinement to the attic of her grandparents’ imperial estate. And she will not resist the scalding chemical baths she receives daily to lighten her skin.
The child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her, fearful of a stain on the royal pedigree that they are desperate to uphold in a changing Japan. Obedient to a fault, Nori accepts her solitary life, despite her natural intellect and curiosity. But when chance brings her older half-brother, Akira, to the estate that is his inheritance and destiny, Nori finds in him an unlikely ally with whom she forms a powerful bond—a bond their formidable grandparents cannot allow and that will irrevocably change the lives they were always meant to lead. Because now that Nori has glimpsed a world in which perhaps there is a place for her after all, she is ready to fight to be a part of it—a battle that just might cost her everything.
Spanning decades and continents, Fifty Words for Rain is a dazzling epic about the ties that bind, the ties that give you strength, and what it means to be free. Amazon
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists. Amazon
His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
Afi Tekple’s Ghanese wedding isn’t quite how she pictured it. For one thing, she assumed her groom would be there. When she’s told she’ll be marrying Elikem, a wealthy businessman and son of the woman who has been a sort of benefactor for her family since her father’s death, she’s both nervous and excited. Even with the knowledge he might still be in love with the mother of his child. After meeting him and spending more time with him, Afi finds herself falling in love with her Elikem. But the “other woman” doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, which means Afi has to decide if she can live with sharing her husband forever. https://www.shondaland.com/inspire/books/a34849051/the-best-books-of-2020/
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by Victoria E. Schwab
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. BookBrowse
Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent
All three of the Drumm brothers were at the funeral.
But only one of them was in the coffin.
William, Brian, and Luke: three boys, born a year apart, trained from birth by their wily mother to compete for her attention. They play games, as brothers do…yet even after the Drumms escape into the world beyond their windows, those games—those little cruelties—grow more sinister, more merciless, and more dangerous. And with their lives entwined like the strands of a noose, only two of the brothers will survive.
Crisply written and quickly paced, perfect for fans of breathtaking suspense, Little Cruelties gazes unflinchingly into the darkness: the darkness collecting in the corners of childhood homes, hiding beneath marriage beds, clasped in the palms of two brothers shaking hands. And it confirms Liz Nugent—whose work has invited comparisons to Patricia Highsmith and Barbara Vine and has been celebrated as “captivating” (People) and “highly entertaining” (The Washington Post)—as one of the most exciting, perceptive voices in contemporary fiction. Amazon
The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross
What if there was a town the Nazis somehow missed? That’s what has somehow happened with the tiny Jewish burg of Kreskol, deep in the Polish forest. For decades, they’ve lived in isolation, away from modern technology and the wars that almost destroyed the continent. But when one couple gets divorced and subsequently heads out of town and another villager is sent to track them down, a chain of events is set in motion that will lead to the town’s discovery by the outside world. A gorgeous debut.
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
The prequel to “Practical Magic” that traces a centuries-old curse to its origin, beginning with Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in 1600s Salem. Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters. Amazon
Members Only by Sameer Pandya
Raj Bhatt is often unsure of where he belongs. Having moved to America from Bombay as a child, he knew few Indian kids. Now middle-aged, he lives mostly happily in California, with a job at a university. Still, his white wife seems to fit in better than he does at times, especially at their tennis club, a place he’s cautiously come to love.
But it’s there that, in one week, his life unravels. It begins at a meeting for potential new members: Raj thrills to find an African American couple on the list; he dreams of a more diverse club. But in an effort to connect, he makes a racist joke. The committee turns on him, no matter the years of prejudice he’s put up with. And worse still, he soon finds his job is in jeopardy after a group of students report him as a reverse racist, thanks to his alleged “anti-Western bias.”
Heartfelt, humorous, and hard-hitting, Members Only explores what membership and belonging mean, as Raj navigates the complicated space between black and white America. Amazon
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. Amazon &. https://nypost.com/2020/08/29/here-are-the-novels-everyone-will-be-buzzing-about-this-fall/e-time adversary
The Searcher by Tana French
“This hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best one yet…its own kind of masterpiece.” –Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.
“One of the greatest crime novelists writing today” (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking how to tell right from wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we stake on that decision. Amazon, NPR
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families.
One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in.
Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted—including the book club—but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.
In Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, a group of women who love to read about true crime and grisly murders must put their sleuthing skills to the test when they believe a vampire has moved into their neighborhood. It’s macabre, thrilling, and terrifying all at the same time.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings.
Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie’s guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good—her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamorous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion’s share of each week’s benefits—all the family has to live on—on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes’s older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Shuggie is meanwhile struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that he is “no right,” a boy with a secret that all but him can see. Agnes is supportive of her son, but her addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her—even her beloved Shuggie.
A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love, Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen in fiction. Recalling the work of Édouard Louis, Alan Hollinghurst, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, it is a blistering debut by a brilliant novelist who has a powerful and important story to tell. Amazon & BookBrowse
That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye
Herman’s wife and child are nowhere to be found, and the weather in the village, perfectly agreeable just days earlier, has taken a sudden turn for the worse. Tourist season is over. It’s time for the vacationing Parisians, Herman and his family included, to abandon their rural getaways and return to normal life. But where has Herman’s family gone? Concerned, he sets out into the oppressive rain and cold for news of their whereabouts. The community he encounters, however, has become alien, practically unrecognizable, and his urgent inquiry, placed in the care of local officials, quickly recedes into the background, shuffled into a deck of labyrinthine bureaucracy and local custom. As time passes, Herman, wittingly and not, becomes one with a society defined by communal surveillance, strange traditions, ghostly apparitions, and a hospitality that verges on mania.
A literary horror story about power and assimilation, That Time of Year marks NDiaye once again as a contemporary master of the psychological novel. Working in the spirit of Leonora Carrington, Victor LaValle, and Kōbō Abe, NDiaye’s novel is a nightmarish vision of otherness, privilege, and social amnesia, told with potent clarity and a heady dose of the weird. Amazon & NYPost
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland
How do you tell the real story of someone misremembered―an icon and idol―alongside your own? Jenn Shapland’s celebrated debut is both question and answer: an immersive, surprising exploration of one of America’s most beloved writers, alongside a genre-defying examination of identity, queerness, memory, obsession, and love.
Shapland is a graduate student when she first uncovers letters written to Carson McCullers by a woman named Annemarie. Though Shapland recognizes herself in the letters, which are intimate and unabashed in their feelings, she does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her. Her curiosity gives way to fixation, not just with this newly discovered side of McCullers’s life, but with how we tell queer love stories. Why, Shapland asks, are the stories of women paved over by others’ narratives? What happens when constant revision is required of queer women trying to navigate and self-actualize in straight spaces? And what might the tracing of McCullers’s life―her history, her secrets, her legacy―reveal to Shapland about herself?
In smart, illuminating prose, Shapland interweaves her own story with McCullers’s to create a vital new portrait of one of our nation’s greatest literary treasures, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are. Amazon, NY Library
Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Amazon
Dancing with the Octopus by Debora Harding
One Omaha winter day in November 1978, when Debora Harding was just fourteen, she was abducted at knifepoint from a church parking lot. She was thrown into a van, assaulted, held for ransom, and then left to die as an ice storm descended over the city.
Debora survived. She identified her attacker to the police and then returned to her teenage life in a dysfunctional home where she was expected to simply move on. Denial became the family coping strategy offered by her fun-loving, conflicted father and her cruelly resentful mother.
It wasn’t until decades later – when beset by the symptoms of PTSD- that Debora undertook a radical project: she met her childhood attacker face-to-face in prison and began to reconsider and reimagine his complex story. This was a quest for the truth that would threaten the lie at the heart of her family and with it the sacred bond that once saved her.
Dexterously shifting between the past and present, Debora Harding untangles the incident of her kidnapping and escape from unexpected angles, offering a vivid, intimate portrait of one family’s disintegration in the 1970s Midwest.
Written with dark humor and the pacing of a thriller, Dancing with the Octopus is a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking narrative of reckoning, recovery, and the inexhaustible strength it takes to survive. A gripping memoir, Dancing With the Octopus is both a heartbreaking reconstruction of a crime and a powerful account of healing from trauma. Amazon &
Humans by Brandon Stanton
Brandon Stanton created Humans of New York in 2010. What began as a photographic census of life in New York City, soon evolved into a storytelling phenomenon. A global audience of millions began following HONY daily. Over the next several years, Stanton broadened his lens to include people from across the world.
Traveling to more than forty countries, he conducted interviews across continents, borders, and language barriers. Humans is the definitive catalogue of these travels. The faces and locations will vary from page to page, but the stories will feel deeply familiar. Told with candor and intimacy, Humans will resonate with readers across the globe–providing a portrait of our shared experience. Amazon
The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland
You swab your cheek or spit into a vial, then send it away to a lab somewhere. Weeks later you get a report that might tell you where your ancestors came from or if you carry certain genetic risks. Or the report could reveal a long-buried family secret and upend your entire sense of identity. Soon a lark becomes an obsession, an incessant desire to find answers to questions at the core of your being, like “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” Welcome to the age of home genetic testing.
In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. Copeland explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story.
The Lost Family delves into the many lives that have been irrevocably changed by home DNA tests—a technology that represents the end of family secrets. There are the adoptees who’ve used the tests to find their birth parents; donor-conceived adults who suddenly discover they have more than fifty siblings; hundreds of thousands of Americans who discover their fathers aren’t biologically related to them, a phenomenon so common it is known as a “non-paternity event”; and individuals who are left to grapple with their conceptions of race and ethnicity when their true ancestral histories are discovered. Throughout these accounts, Copeland explores the impulse toward genetic essentialism and raises the question of how much our genes should get to tell us about who we are. With more than thirty million people having undergone home DNA testing, the answer to that question is more important than ever. Gripping and masterfully told, The Lost Family is a spectacular book on a big, timely subject. Amazon
The Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght
An American scientist chronicles his travels through remote Russian landscapes to study the elusive and endangered Blakiston’s fish owl. From the very first pages, Slaght, the Russia and Northeast Asian Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society, grips readers with vivid language and tight storytelling. His many months trekking through the icy wilderness to find and track rare fish owls—the largest owl on Earth—inform a narrative that blends field research, personal journey, and adventure writing.
Part of the book’s success lies in the author’s ability to present the stakes and draw out the tension therein, making what could be a dry tale of bird-watching a compelling story of the necessity of conservation. In this case, the stakes include the owls’ disappearing habitat but also Slaght’s livelihood. “Fieldwork is often regular repetition of challenging or unpleasant activities,” writes the author, “an application of persistent pressure to a question until the answer finally emerges.” In the bitter cold terrain of eastern Russia, it’s that much more difficult. Throughout the book, Slaght lives up to his rugged-conservationist persona as he writes of helter-skelter snowmobile trips circumnavigating rushing rivers of ice, vodka-soaked encounters with village locals, and solitary, achingly beautiful nights observing the majestic owls firsthand. He is an engaging writer who imbues each scene with an intimate sense of place. “The nights dragged on,” he writes, “a deep winter stillness perforated by occasional firecracker-like pops: ice expanding in tree cracks as air temperatures plummeted after sunset. The adult female fish owl was like a ghost. We heard her vocalize with her mate almost every night, but she appeared onscreen only once, when she hit our snare but pulled the knot free before we reached her.” The cast of characters he brings to life—both human and avian—illuminates the delicate symbiosis of the natural world and sheds a welcome light on the remarkable creatures that are too little known. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jonathan-c-slaght/owls-of-the-eastern-ice/
In the summer of 1941, Harry Hopkins, Franklin Roosevelt’s trusted advisor, arrived in Moscow to assess whether the US should send aid to Russia as it had to Britain. Unofficially, he was there to determine whether Josef Stalin–the man who had killed over six million Ukrainians during the 1930s–was worth saving.
In this riveting and sweeping narrative, author John Kelly chronicles the turbulent wartime relationship between the great leaders–Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin–and military commanders of America, Britain, and the Soviet Union. Faced with the greatest challenge of the century, the Allied leaders and their war managers struggled against a common enemy–and each other. The story behind how victory was forged is an epic story, rich in drama, passion and larger-than-life personalities. The Allies eventually triumphed, but at what cost?
Using his trademark character-rich writing style and focusing on unique, unknown, and unexplored aspects of the story, Kelly offers a fresh perspective on the decision-making that changed the course of the war–and the course of history.
Saving Stalin brings to vivid life the epic story of the century’s greatest human catastrophe. It is an unforgettable master work in historical narrative. Amazon
Superhuman River: Stories of the Ganga By Bidisha Banerjee
Worshipped as a living goddess for centuries, the Ganga is one of the most important rivers in the world. From its icy Himalayan origins, the river winds its way eastward for 2,525 kilometres through five major Indian states before spilling across the Bangladesh border at the Bay of Bengal, creating the largest mangrove system on earth the many-mouthed Sundarbans delta. Five hundred million people are sustained along its banks or eke out a living by tilling land that the river fertilizes. Its waters have spawned hundreds of towns and cities, foremost amongst them Varanasi, or Kashi, the city favoured by Lord Shiva himself one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Ganga is the living threshold between the human and the superhuman, mythically originating in the Milky Way and extending to the underworld. Described in legend as the sacred river that yields gold, it is one of the most polluted rivers in today s world. More than a billion litres of waste flow into the river every day. The Ganga River dolphin, once present in abundance, is severely endangered and nearly impossible to sight. In 2014, the Modi government launched their flagship programme, Namami Gange, to rejuvenate the holy river with a staggering budget of Rs. 20,000 crores. More than five years after Modi promised an aviral, nirmal Ganga , the river remains highly polluted and the ground realities show little or no progress. Will the Ganga ever be clean? For ten years, Bidisha Banerjee explored the Ganga from its source to the sea. The result is Superhuman River, a compelling and fresh perspective on every aspect of this extraordinary river. Amazon
“We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence” by Becky Cooper
You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget.
1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious twenty-three-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.
Forty years later, Becky Cooper a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a ‘cowboy culture’ among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.
We Keep the Dead Close is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history. Amazon & ….
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