April may be the cruelest month, but at Story, you can beat the heat and the boredom with this excellent mix of information and entertainment on your reading list.
Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer
Revolving around a Russian refugee called Alexander Karpenko — who must choose between fleeing to America or Great Britain — this is a novel that mingles the irreversibility of choice with the inevitability of destiny, culminating in an enthralling story that will keep you turning the pages breathlessly.
The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakurni
A re-telling of the Ramayana in Sita’s voice, it shines the spotlight on the role and identity of women, who have always been sidelined in traditional patriarchal narratives. Breaking the stereotype of the all-sacrificing female figure of submission, Divakurni’s Sita is willing to stand up for her own rights, making the book a relevant read in today’s times.
Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
The history of mankind has been a fascinating journey from an innocuous species to the rulers of the earth. Written with precision, simplicity, and at times, a poetic flourish, Sapiens documents the remarkable progress of humanity across the agricultural, industrial, and technological ages, besides providing a calculated glimpse into the future.
The Verdict: Decoding India’s Elections by Prannoy Roy And Dorab R. Sopariwala
Using hardcore data and rigorous deliberation, this book debunks some of the myths surrounding electoral politics in India. Are opinion polls and exit polls accurate? How much do women’s votes matter? What is the basis of the “fear factor”? Can electronic voting machines be tampered with? Find the answers to all these and more in this very timely publication.
Mind Without Fear by Rajat Gupta
This is the self-told saga of a man who transitioned from immigrant orphan to global business leader, before a scandal destroyed his career and reputation. Told with candour and poignancy, this is an intriguing exploration of an international icon’s fall from grace.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney
The latest instalment in the extremely popular Wimpy Kid series traces the adventures of Greg Heffley and his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, who are embroiled in a battle for survival in the backdrop of unrelenting snowfall. When the snow settles down, will Greg and Rowley freeze to death or will they find a way out?
The Upside-down King: Unusual Tales About Rama And Krishna by Sudha Murty
Ever seen a man with a thousand arms? Did you know Ravana’s half-brother was the god of wealth? Were you aware of the time when the moon laughed and babies were found inside fish? Sudha Murty unravels all these forgotten stories and much more in a captivating tour through the lives of the two most famous avatars of Lord Vishnu.
The 5 Am Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma
Legendary leadership and elite performance expert Robin Sharma reveals the mantra for success that has propelled his clients to achieve their dreams by focusing on the benefits of waking up early. Incorporating lifestyle advice in an enlivening, amusing story, the book celebrates the early-rising habit.
Life’s Amazing Secrets: How To Find Balance And Purpose In Life by Gaur Gopal Das
Structured in the form of a conversation, monk and life-coach Gaur Gopal Das shares his wisdom regarding the myriad issues of life and how to attain harmony with one’s identity. A distillation of the author’s experiences and learnings, this book promises to transform your vision of life as well as your idea of yourself.
The Oscars were announced recently, so you’re probably trying to catch as many award-winning movies from the list as you can. Like many a year before this, the Academy Award for Best Picture went to a story that first came to life as a book. Green Book was inspired by an annual guidebook by Victor Hugo Green, for African-American roadtrippers, called The Negro Motorist Green-Book, published from 1936 to 1966. Team Story revisits some other books that went on to win the Best Picture Award in their screen adaptations.
- Q & A by Vikas Swarup: Popularly known as Slumdog Millionaire, the Danny Boyle movie won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2009. The plot explores the life of an impoverished orphan in Mumbai who must outsmart a quiz show if he wants to break free from his misfortunes.
- Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien: The third instalment of this fantasy trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson, swept the Oscars in 2004. Could the forces of Gondor and Rohan defeat Sauron the Dark Lord? Read the book if the movie kept you on the edge of your seat.
- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje: In 1997, the movie brought us to tears. In the book, Ondaatje’s words leave a searing trail as they explore a war-ravaged world through the fevered visions of an injured man.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: While Jack Nicholson’s performance might be unforgettable in the 1976 movie, Kesey’s words that so carefully depict a world that hinges between madness and sanity is simply haunting.
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo: No surprises that both parts 1 and 2 of Francis Ford Coppola’s interpretation of Mario Puzo’s modern classic of crime, betrayal, family and honour was awarded Best Picture in 1973 and 1975.
Whether you want a serious discussion on life or just a fun, fast-paced read, here’s a list of bestsellers at Story bookstore over the past year.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (HarperCollins): After Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, here’s another thriller novel, where a child psychologist spends her days spying on her neighbors. One day she witnesses something terrifying … Or does she?
The Fox by Frederick Forsyth (Corgi): The author of iconic page-turners like The Day of the Jackal and The Kill List has delivered another taut thriller, revolving around a 17-year-old brilliant mind, global security, deadly weaponry and superpowers.
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Hachette): In the fourth Cormoran Strike novel, J.K. Rowling writing under her pseudonym spins another compelling mystery. Also watch out for the crackling Robin-Cormoran “working relationship”.
Life’s Amazing Secrets: How to Find Balance and Purpose in Your Life by Gaur Gopal Das (Penguin): Navigating through Mumbai’s infamous traffic, monk and life-coach Gaur Gopal Das and his wealthy young friend Harry discuss matters like finding one’s purpose in life and the key to lasting happiness.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (Penguin): Harari — of Sapiens fame — addresses some of today’s most urgent issues, from nuclear war to ecological cataclysms to technological disruptions.
Why I am a Hindu by Shashi Tharoor (Aleph): At a time when religious identity dominates public and political discourse, writer-MP Shashi Tharoor closely examines of his own belief in Hinduism, and talks about the great contributors to Hinduism, Adi Shankara and Patanjali to Ramanuja and Swami Vivekananda.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney (Puffin): In the 13th title of the popular children’s series, snow shuts down Greg Heffley’s middle school, and his neighbourhood transforms into a wintry battlefield.
Like A Girl by Aparna Jain (Context, Westland): Stories of 56 trailblazing women who broke the rules to forge new paths for themselves and others.
The Revenge of the Non-vegetarian by Upamanyu Chatterjee: The novella is set between 1949 and 1973 and we find civil servant, Madhusudan Sen making a reappearance from English, August. In fact, the story is set earlier in Sen’s career, where Chatterjee strives to make a wry comment on the demonisation of meat consumption in current political climes. Its beauty lies in the straightforward, tongue-in-cheek nature of the narrative which traces the fate of a servant who has murdered a family because he was hungry for the meat they cooked.
Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer (Pan Macmillan India): Arguably Archer’s best since Kane and Abel, this is the story of Alexander Karpenko and his mother, who flee the Kremlin and toss a coin to decide which ship they should board at stowaways, the one going to England or the one going to USA. We love this book for its clever format, and, of course, the twist in the tale, which comes with the very last word of this fast-paced novel.
A Century is not Enough by Sourav Ganguly (Juggernaut Books): The former Team India skipper takes readers through the highs and lows in his career, giving us a keep into the man behind the Maharaja of Indian cricket.
Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking): This memoir by the former First Lady of the US is winning hearts all over the world with its candid yet thoughtful style, and inspiring readers to overcome adversities and be the best versions of themselves.
The Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber): The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2018, this is a complex novel, with unknown places and unnamed characters. Though not spelt out, the setting appears to 1970s Belfast. Yet it a contemporary novel of stunning depths, especially in this post-truth #MeToo era of us and them.
Jasmine Days by Benyamin (Juggernaut): A young girl who moves to the Middle East with her family and works as a radio jockey there gets embroiled in revolution and must choose between family and friends. Translated from Malayalam by Shahnaz Habib, Jasmine Days won the JCB Prize for Literature.
The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (HarperCollins India): This is the story of the Ramayana, told from Sita’s perspective. The book also foregrounds the experiences of other women whose stories are often sidelined in the original epic. It is a fine successor to Divakaruni’s bestselling book, The Palace of Illusions, which retold the Mahabharata in the voice of Draupadi.
Goyendapith Lalbazar II by Supratim Sarkar (Ananda Publishers): After the phenomenal success of Goyendapith Lalbazar, top cop Supratim Sarkar returns with the second volume of his riveting true-crime stories.
Half Torn Hearts by Novoneel Chakraborty (Penguin): Shanay discovers a truth about Afsana’s past a few weeks before their engagement. How does he deal with it? A twisted love story about those who destroy themselves for the ones they love.
The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Harper): This is the story of The Ramayana, told from Sita’s perspective. The book also foregrounds the experiences of the other women whose stories are often sidelined in the original epic.
The Reason is You by Nikita Singh (Harper): The book, under the guise of a simple love triangle narrative, explores how depression affects the life of a person and those around them and tries to create awareness in the minds of its readers about mental health.
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Scholastic): The best-selling series is back in a new avatar inspired by the recent success of the movie. They say the book is always better than the movie. Here’s your chance to test that theory.
Get Better at Getting Better by Chandramouli Venkatesan (Penguin): This book looks at why and how success in one’s career can be achieved using the author’s own formula called the ‘get-better model’.
Democracy on the Road by Ruchir Sharma (Penguin): A compilation of the author’s observations about democracy in India as he travels around the country, on the eve of a general election, following election campaigns and interviewing political leaders. He offers an insight into the various factors influencing the election process.
Delusional Politics by Hardeep Singh Puri (Penguin): The author examines the political scenarios in India, the UK and the US and the sometimes inexplicable actions of their leaders. He critically discusses recent events such as Brexit and the elections of Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, how they came about, and the possible future effects.
Goyendapith Lalbazar II by Supratim Sarkar (Ananda): A top cop of Kolkata and bestselling writer returns with the second volume of his riveting true-crime stories.
Food Story : “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf
Story, on Elgin Road, is a bookstore and much more these days. When you step through its sliding doors, you’ll be tempted to spend more time in the foyer, because the walls are spilling over with edible goodies. If you’re looking to give your pantry a makeover, Food Story is a good place to roll out the shopping cart.
To begin with, there’s a whole range of morning beverages to choose from, which means you can begin your day with either a Davidoff Rich Aroma coffee or a light Matcha tea. With Heinz Baked Beans and rolled Quaker Oats, you have breakfast sorted. Keep the kids engaged on weekend mornings with a host of different cereals, ranging from Fruit Loops to Banana Crunch.
Food Story was established in October 2018. “The idea was to bring to Calcutta new and imported products that are not easily available in the market. We’re very proud of our wide range of chocolates, coffees, exotic herbs and spices, and healthy options for kids, like imported jam and drinks. Some of the brands we’ve featured are Nando’s, Davidoff, Perrier and John West. We want to see Calcutta eat better and healthier, and so we have a range of seeds, nuts (everything from pecan to Brazil nuts to pine nuts), dehydrated fruits (strawberry, kiwi, mango) and organic honey, pulses and spices,” said the curator of Food Story, Shambhavi Pansari.
If you’re in the mood to whip up a meal yourself, because the latest food video on Instagram has brought out your inner Remy, take a look at the section dedicated to pastas. Spaghetti, farfalle, fettuccine, penne — there’s a shape for any Italian dish you’re craving. But if less-work-more-flavour is your style, then stock up on Nando’s Peri-Peri sauces, whether it’s extra-hot, lemon and herb or garlic.
For those of you on a health kick, there are bottles of extra virgin oil and apple cider vinegar. Nuts and seeds also come in handy packets, so just slip one inside your bag for sudden hunger pangs. But take a break too, and treat yourself to some flavoured coffee at the very least — there’s Irish Cream, Vanilla and Hazelnut to choose from! There are plenty of delicious chips, dips and gourmet popcorn for Family Movie Night or a house party, too. When you come to Food Story, it’s a complete culinary adventure.