HT Picks; New Reads - Hindustan Times
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HT Picks; New Reads

ByHT Team
Feb 03, 2023 09:22 PM IST

This week’s list of interesting reads includes a book on Lata Mangeshkar, Keigo Higashino’s latest crime thriller, and a volume that traces the history of India’s reservation policy

The person behind the enigma

On the reading list this week are an ode to the majestic life of one of India’s most loved vocal artists, Keigo Higashino’s new mind-bending mystery, and a volume that traces the history and making of the reservation policy in India. (HT Team)
On the reading list this week are an ode to the majestic life of one of India’s most loved vocal artists, Keigo Higashino’s new mind-bending mystery, and a volume that traces the history and making of the reservation policy in India. (HT Team)

345pp, ₹799; Penguin (An ode to a majestic life)
345pp, ₹799; Penguin (An ode to a majestic life)

An ode to the majestic life of the late Lata Mangeshkar, Lata: A Life in Music celebrates art in its totality and tells the life story of India’s most loved vocal artists. The result of Yatindra Mishra’s decade-long dialogue with the great singer, it also explores the lesser-known aspects of the great artist, introducing the readers to Lata Mangeshkar as an intellectual and cultural exponent and providing a rare glimpse into the person behind the revered enigma.At the confluence of cinema, music and literature, this is the most definitive biography of the voice of the nation that also documents sociocultural changes from the late British era through post-Independent India right up to the twenty-first century. This is the story of the various myths, mysteries, truths and contradictions which make a human an icon and also make an icon incredibly humane.*

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A very public murder

359pp, ₹699; Hachette (Another mind-bending mystery from the modern master of classic crime)
359pp, ₹699; Hachette (Another mind-bending mystery from the modern master of classic crime)

In the latest from international best selling author Keigo Higashino, Tokyo Police Detective Kaga is faced with a very public murder that doesn’t quite add up, a prime suspect unable to defend himself, and pressure from the highest levels for a quick solution.In the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo an unusual statue of a Japanese mythic beast – a kirin – stands guard over the district from the classic Nihonbashi bridge. In the evening, a man who appears to be very drunk staggers onto the bridge and collapses right under the statue of the winged beast. The patrolman who sees this scene unfold, goes to rouse the man, only to discover that the man was not passed out, he was dead; that he was not drunk, he was stabbed in the chest. However, where he died was not where the crime was committed – the key to solving the crime is to find out where he was attacked and why he made such a super human effort to carry himself to the Nihonbashi Bridge. That same night, a young man named Yashima is injured in a car accident while attempting to flee from the police. Found on him is the wallet of the murdered man.Tokyo Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga is assigned to the team investigating the murder – and must bring his skills to bear to uncover what actually happened that night on the Nihonbashi bridge. What, if any, connection is there between the murdered man and Yashima, the young man caught with his wallet? Kaga’s investigation takes him down dark roads and into the unknown past to uncover what really happened and why.A Death in Tokyo is another mind-bending mystery from the modern master of classic crime, finalist for both an Edgar Award and a CWA Dagger, the internationally bestselling Keigo Higashino.*

Caste, Quotas and the Constitution of India

247pp, ₹599; Penguin (Tracing the history and making of the reservation policy in India)
247pp, ₹599; Penguin (Tracing the history and making of the reservation policy in India)

Reservation or affirmative action is a hugely controversial policy in India. While constitutionally mandated and with historians, political scientists and social activists convinced of its need, many resist it and consider it as compromising “merit” and against the principle of equality of opportunity.In These Seats Are Reserved, Abhinav traces the history and making of the reservation policy.How were groups eligible for reservations identified and defined? How were the terms “depressed classes” and “backward classes” used in British India and how have they evolved into the constitutional concepts of “Scheduled Castes”, “Scheduled Tribes”, and “Other Backward Classes” in the present day?The book delves into the intellectual debates that took place on this matter in the Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court and Parliament. Several contentious issues are examined dispassionately: are reservations an exception to the principle of equality of opportunity? Do quotas in government service undermine efficiency? Can “merit” really be defined neutrally? What is the thinking behind the rule that no more than 50 per cent of the available seats or positions can be reserved?Deeply researched and ably narrated, this volume is a compelling addition to every thinking individual’s library.*

*All copy from book flap.

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