Books of the week: From Stephen King’s The Institute to Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, our picks

 Books of the week: From Stephen Kings The Institute to Margaret Atwoods The Testaments, our picks


The Institute
By Stephen King
Simon & Schuster | Rs 799 | 576 pages

Author of over sixty worldwide bestsellers, Stephen King is synonymous with horror and fantasy fiction. His latest novel The Institute follows Luke Ellis who is kidnapped one night, his parents being murdered, and taken to The Institute. There he is banded with other children, all of whom have special talents of telekinesis and telepathy. As he experiences the ruthless life and notices defiant children silently disappearing, Luke becomes increasingly desperate. He wants to get help, but no one has escaped from the Institute before.

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
By Elif Shafak
Penguin Random House | Rs 699 | 320 pages

Elif Shafak is a Turkish-British award-winning novelist, also author of Three Daughters of EveThe Bastard of IstanbulThe Forty Rules of Love, and Honour, among others. Shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, Shafak’s 10 minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World narrates the thoughts that run through Tequila Leila’s consciousness in the ten minutes after her death, while her brain is slowly ebbing to silence. With each minute Leila recalls cherished memories; from the bubbling wax women used on their legs to the cardamom coffee she shared with a student at the brothel where she worked. She also remembers the precious friends she made, the ones now desperately trying to find her. Told in Shafak’s haunting, vivid prose, 10 Minutes talks of love and cruelty, life and death.

Cow and Company
By Parashar Kulkarni
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 204 pages

Set during the colonial period, Cow and Company starts with the opening of the British Chewing Gum Company whose mission is to replace paan with chewing gum in every Indian mouth. A cow, given her habit of continually chewing, is chosen as the company’s mascot. Eventually, religious sentiments are hurt. Cow and Company is Parashar Kulkarni’s hilarious debut novel, expanding the short story of the same name for which he was awarded the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2016.


The Testaments
By Margaret Atwood
Penguin Random House | Rs 799 | 432 pages

Margaret Atwood is an award-winning author, recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the Arthur C Clarke Award, and the Franz Kafka Prize among others. She’s also a founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize and Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Published in 1985, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale became a modern classic over time. Now, 34 years later, she has published the conclusion of that story with The Testaments. The Republic of Gilead is still in power but signs point to internal crumbling. At a crucial time like this, Atwood details the lives of three women, how they meet, and the explosive results of that convergence. With the novel, Atwood displays the inner workings of Gilead; and the women who must face themselves and decide how far they will go for the things they believe.


Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age
By Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne
Hachette India | Rs 699 | 268 pages

Brad Smith is the current President at Microsoft and Carol Ann Browne is the tech giant’s Senior Director, External Relations and Executive Communications. The core premise of their book Tools and Weapons is that individuals and companies are responsible for the technology they have created. They must step up and take responsibility for the changes their tech has brought about in the world, and for the future we are headed toward. They also detail the responsibility of governments who need to catch up with and regulate technology as it impacts people and communities. The writers give us a glimpse inside Microsoft, as it struggles to cope with these issues.

The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire
By William Dalrymple
Bloomsbury | Rs 699 | 544 pages

William Dalrymple is a Scottish historian and critic, and best-selling author of The Last Mughal and Nine Lives among others. In The Anarchy he details how the East India Company took over most of the country and outlines the devastating effects of a country being ruled by a corporation headquartered in London, with most shareholders knowing nothing about India. From defeating the Mughal empire in 1765 to steadily growing throughout the country in the following decades, Dalrymple tells the tale of the company’s growth in India and its horrific abuse of corporate power.

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems
By Randall Munroe
Hachette India | Rs 550 | 320 pages

In How To, cartoonist and best-selling author of What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions uses mathematics and science to give serious scientific answers to absurd queries. The questions Munroe tackles range from ‘How to Jump Really High’ to ‘How to Throw a Pool Party’ (when you don’t have a pool) and from ‘How to Keep Your House from Moving’ to ‘How to Play Tag’. He also gives options for disposing of the book if one is so inclined, through either dissolving it in the ocean, launching it into the sun, or converting it into vapour, among others.