Books This Weekend: Of everyday vibes, teenage crushes, and a stolen van Gogh

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New Delhi–Flex your muscles with a self-help book that teaches you how to keep your motivation strong; get swayed by Manav Kaul’s stories on teenage love; and, finally journey along with a conman extraordinaire as he tracks a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting — to steal it himself.

The IANS bookshelf has these exciting reads this weekend:

1. Book: You Are a Badass Every Day; Author: Jen Sincero; Publisher: Hachette India; Price: Rs 499; Pages: 216

See your motivation slacking a mere hours after a life-changing seminar or book? A new self-help book guides anyone who has ever had trouble staying motivated while trailblazing towards badassery.

“Think of it as the booster shot for all the for all the motivational medicine you’re taking. Or as your accountability partner, your personal trainer, your superhero pill, or as the keeper of the mighty flame roaring beneath your nether regions,” the introduction reads.

Success coach and author of ‘You Are A Badass’ and ‘You Are A Badass at Making Money’ Jen Sincero suggests working out muscles of badassery in the spiritual gym, which could involve meditating, listening to powerful speakers, making gratitude lists, making a vision board and staring at it, and writing down your manifesto and visualising yourself in your new life. It contains 100 exercises, reflections, and cues that you can use to immediately realign your mind and keep your focus unwavering.

2. Book: A Night in the Hills; Author: Manav Kaul; Translator: Pooja Priyamvada; Publisher: Westland Books; Price: Rs 299; Pages: 214

A bittersweet ode to teenage love, when coyly-exchanged handwritten letters expressed newfound feelings of affection, reminds readers of the days that breezed past the previous generation like a dream. Written by Manav Kaul, the story ‘Prem Kabootar’ (translated to ‘A Bunch of Old Letters’) finds space in a new collection of stories set in the unnamed village and towns of the country.

Summaries of more stories tell us: A tourist is baffled by his taciturn companion on a dark and scary night in the hills; a woman aches to find a way out of an extra-marital affair that is going nowhere; a middle-aged man ponders the little details of his first love affair from the confines of a hospital bed.

Actor-author Manav Kaul mines the varied and many-hued emotions of teenage crushes, fear, love, longing and lust in the new book ‘A Night in the Hills’, which is appearing for the first time in an English translation and seeks to establish him as an essential voice in Indian literature. It has been translated from Hindi by writer and translator Pooja Priyamvada.

3. Book: The Heist Artist; Author: Vish Dhamija; Publisher: HarperCollins; Price: Rs 299; Pages: 264

The novel opens in the art classroom of the Delhi College of Art, engrossed in a discussion on Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. It gradually shifts from the Dutch impressionist’s artistic style to his stolen paintings – generating rapt attention from the students. The first chapter ends with the reader knowing that the professor, a van Gogh expert, is involved with a stolen painting himself. Expected of the beginning of the first chapter of a crime fiction novel, it reveals no more.

As the synopsis tells us: Vagh Pratap Singh aka the Captain is a conman extraordinaire. From transporting illegal merchandise and stealing cars to breaking safes, he’s done it all. But now, in his 40th year, he’s ready to retire. So when Udham Kumar, a crooked politician, commissions the Captain to track down and steal ‘Poppy Flowers’, a Vincent van Gogh painting that has been smuggled into India after going missing from a museum in Egypt in 2010, the Captain knows that he’s found his last, and biggest case.

But the painting is now in the possession of a dangerous gangster, and the Captain is being followed by Udham Kumar’s ruthless associates, greedy for both money and power. As the odds against him begin to stack up, the Captain realises that his last heist might not be as easy as he had imagined. (IANS)


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