New books on the shelves

A feel-good novel from Japan that celebrates good food, a memoir of a Gandhian environmentalist, and much more.

Published : Nov 16, 2023 11:00 IST - 3 MINS READ

Heaven and Earth Grocery Store

James McBride 

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 


Set in 1972, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where immigrant Jews and African Americans live cheek by jowl, the novel lays bare the lives of people who exist on the margins of white, Christian America. But the story is not all bleakness: love and community sustain the people, helping them defy the town’s white establishment. 


The Kamogawa Food Detectives 

Hisashi Kashiwai, translated by Jesse Kirkwood 



The father-daughter team running Kamogawa Diner in Tokyo not only rustles up extraordinary dishes but also styles themselves as “food detectives”, who are capable of recreating a dish from their customers’ memory to unlock their past. A bestseller in Japan, this feel-good novel is a celebration of food and good company. 


The Forgotten Wife: The Story of Hidimbi and Bheem 

Madhavi Mahadevan 

Speaking Tiger 


The latest in the retelling of stories from the epics, this is the tale of Bheem; his wife for just a year, the demoness Hidimbi; and their son, Ghatotkach, who is fated to become cannon fodder in the great war of Kurukshetra. Madhavi Mahadevan foregrounds women’s desire and their unjust treatment in the hands of patriarchy.  


Gentle Resistance: The Autobiography of Chandi Prasad Bhatt

Translated by Samir Banerjee

Permanent Black


Gentle Resistance narrates the extraordinary life of the Gandhian environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt who turned to full-time social work after hearing the Sarvodaya messages of Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan. It also gives us a glimpse into peasant life in India’s forested mountains where demanding weather conditions, a fragile ecology, and lack of opportunity blend into an ecosystem being changed now by consumerism and modernity.


Lest We Forget: How three sisters braved the Partition

Indira Varma

Westland Books


Indira Varma, who was six when she first heard of the impending partition of India, recounts her family’s years as homeless refugees in India, her life shuttling between cities and towns until she finally settled in Delhi, and her journey to building a successful business in travel.

This is the story of one life upturned by the Partition, but it is also an ode to the power of love and that thing called hope. It is, ultimately, both a record of, and a guide to, a life well lived.


Monsoon Economy: The Price of Conquering Nature

Tirthankar Roy

Penguin Business


In the monsoon regions of South Asia, the rainy season sustains life but brings with it the threat of floods, followed by a long stretch when little gainful work is possible and the looming threat of famine. Tirthankar Roy explores the interaction between the environment and the economy in the emergence of modern India, and especially how the tropical monsoon climate makes economic and population growth contingent on water security



The Colony of Shadows 

Bikram Sharma 

Hachette India 


The Vaster Wilds 

Lauren Groff 

Riverhead Books 


Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories 

Kate Atkinson 



What You Need to Be Warm 

Neil Gaiman 

Bloomsbury Publishing 



Judgment at Tokyo: World War II on Trial and the Making of Modern Asia

Gary J. Bass



Plural Feminisms: Navigating Resistance as Everyday Praxis

Edited by Sohini Chatterjee and Po-Han Lee

Bloomsbury Academic


The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture

Courtney Thorsson

Columbia University Press


Broken Code: Inside Facebook and the Fight to Expose Its Harmful Secrets

Jeff Horwitz


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