Book bound

The upside of global warming is the summer reading list. This year too, Mughal is the dish du jour after the success of Ira Mukhoty and Audrey Truschke who are regular fixtures at all litfests.

Published: 09th June 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2019 03:29 AM   |  A+A-

The upside of global warming is the summer reading list. This year too, Mughal is the dish du jour after the success of Ira Mukhoty and Audrey Truschke who are regular fixtures at all litfests. Anuja Chandramouli’s Muhammad bin Tughlaq reveals hidden sides of a much-misunderstood king while The Women Who Ruled India by Archana Garodia Gupta portrays hitherto unknown queens like the begums of Bhopal who changed Indian history and geography.

Even travel books are bitten by the H-Word. On the topic of biographies, Close to the Bone by former supermodel Lisa Ray describes her fight against cancer with stellar writing devoid of self-pity. Crime fiction rules with new writers and new fighters: a new twist to serial killer and historical crime is Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, which startles with an unexpected denouement. British-Asian crime writing has come of age with books like Glasgow-born Abir Mukherjee’s A Necessary Evil featuring Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee getting on the bestseller lists. Europe’s noir power list is untouched with dark orphanage deaths by Fred Vargas, the Scandinavian witchcraft of Camilla Grebe and a new Inspector Camilleri out on the stands.

Korea is the next big thing with Asia as the backdrop: The Plotters by Un-su Kim is a political commentary on new Korea. The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa visualises an Orwellian Japan where crime and tyranny overlap. The biography of Dawood Ibrahim’s mentor is the amuse-bouche in the Indian death list. Ravi Dabral’s Greed Lust and Addiction rubs shoulders on the shelves with Chetan Bhagat now trying his hand at crime with The Girl in Room 105. New Age mythology’s winning run does not end as Devdutt Pattanaik remains prolific and Anand Neelakantan gives a trademark spin to Bali’s persona. Literary juries have recognised translations as a major ouvre: Perumal Murugan won the JCB prize. Vivek Shanbhag and KR Meera took readers out of their comfort zone. Publishing’s rising star is poetry—Sudeep Sen waxes lyrical on the great Kaifi Azmi. New discoveries in old formats keep publishing going with separate imprints for short stories, essays and reprints of old faves like Khushwant Singh. This summer is about stepping into the personal Quantum Realm before the chaotic world claims the soul back.

Fiction

Gun Island 
By Amitav Ghosh
Another special Calcutta novel from another time recording the time travel and travels of a gun-obsessed doctor seeking the lost connection between an extinct, illustrious family and the misfortunes of his own as he travels through Kolkata, Venice and Sicily confronting stories which upend his own reality.
  
A Respectable Woman
By Easterine Kire
Nagaland’s first English novelist depicts the terrible aftermath of the Battle of Kohima which signalled the end of the Japanese invasion of India. Told through the osmotic voices of mother and daughter, the lyrical prose evokes a haunting landscape and people haunted by memory and history.

Disappearing Earth 
By Julia Phillips
In a remote peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two little sisters go missing leading to an emotional catastrophe in the tight knit community. Stories overlap as the characters, all bound together connected by a crime—a witness, a neighbour, a detective, a mother—as a rich geography of forests and barren tundra unfolds in the sentences that outline both anguish and xenophobia.

Friends from College 
By Devapriya Roy
Charulata Ghosh is off to the city of her youth, Calcutta, where lives  her best friend and journalist Aaduri Bagchi, former boyfriend and now filmmaker Ronny Banerjee. They come together at  a family wedding where jokes and memories are traded, laughter has the undertaste of pain and rediscovery is the other side of loss.

The Last Romantics 
By Tara Conklin
A classic American family novel which involves the four Skinner siblings and has travelled to 2079, Conklin’s second novel records the musings of a 102-year-old poet about her sexual epiphanies, the tortured mind of brother Joe, a feminist mother and the ‘pause’ that changed their lives forever one balmy summer.

Queenie 
By Candice Carty-Williams
It’s all about ‘space’. This debut black Briton novel about Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British journalist in London, is all about finding space. Her career and love life are going nowhere but Queenie finds her feet in the texting ethos of the millennials. A six-figure publishing deal has put Carty-Williams on top of the literary watch list.

My Lovely Wife 
By Samantha Downing
The Skimm wrote, “Think: Dexter but sexier.” “A dark and irresistible debut,” said People magazine. The family next door has a surprising secret; one of them is a serial killer. The narrator’s femme fatale wife seduces him with the dark pleasure of murder as an escape from humdrum suburban life. A debut with an edge.
  
My Sister, the 
Serial Killer 
By Oyinkan Braithwaite
This time the serial killer is the sister. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the beautiful but deadly Ayoola’s elder sister Korede is a hospital nurse who is in love with the handsome Dr Tade. Having helped Ayoola clean up her bloody messes, Korede has to protect Tade, who is the next target. Critics critiqued the book as a sub-narrative of African patriarchal tyranny, but Braithwaite uses it to explore the impact on the continent’s women.  

Biloxi 
By Mary Miller
Not just another dog book, this. Self-pitying mysogynist Louis finds Lalya, a dog, as he tries to escape meeting his ex-wife. The routines of partnership with Lalya redeem his loneliness in a gruff way; most Indian readers may not ‘get’ the book, but, hey, well written dissociation is universal.  

Rules for Visiting 
By Jessica Francis Kane
A nearing-forty gardener in a university takes a month-long vacation after she gets a prize for a poem about a tree she curated on campus. A story about self discovery and friendhip, the take knits together despair, desire and dysfunction as it criss-crosses continents. 

Babu Bangladesh! 
By Numair A Choudhury
Some accidents literally wait to happen. The novel which had been in the works for 15 years was finished just before its creator died in a freak mishap. Fantasy and history meet in this elegy to memory that encompasses immigrants, fish monsters and New York’s alien communities.

The Farm 
By Joanne Ramos
Pregnant women are lab rats at Golden Oaks, breeding perfect babies with the focus on the bottomline and the right clients. Surrogacy is not an unfamiliar theme, but a perfect system using psychological manipulation for profit is Philippines-born Ramos’s debut statement that examines the role of women and mothers in a society with dystopian desires.
 
Searching for Sylvie Lee 
By Jean Kwok
Amy Lee from New York flies out after her cousin in the Netherlands calls about her sister Sylvie’s suden disappearance. The complexities of a Chinese family living in the US and Europe are addressed through the narratives of racism and social triumph: but there’s more to it than just the police dropping in.

The Editor 
By Steven Rowley
James Smale has been struggling for years before he finally gets his big break. His novel is bought by a publishing house, headed by the stunning and mysterious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship and she pushes James to write a different ‘out-of-the-book’ ending. As James gets to work, he wonders if his editor has a larger plan, or he is just imagining it all.

Editor’s Choice

Courting Mr Lincoln 
By Louis Bayard 
Told in the alternating voices of Mary Todd and Joshua Speed, and inspired by historical events, this book creates a sympathetic and complex portrait of Mary unlike any that has come before. It also showcases a moving portrayal of the deep connection between Joshua and the 16th US President. It is an evocation of the unformed man who would grow into one of the nation’s most beloved Presidents. 

Metropolis 
By Philip Kerr
Berlin, 1928. It was a period of decadence and excess as Berliners—after the terrible slaughter of WWI and the hardships that followed—are getting to relish life. Bernie is a young detective working in Vice when he gets a summons. It seems that someone is determined to clean up Berlin of anyone less than perfect.

I Have Become the Tide 
By Githa 
Hariharan 
Three distinctive narratives intertwine past and present in compelling ways to raise an urgent voice against the cruelties of caste and the forces that crush dissent. They also celebrate resistance, the redemptive beauty of words and the courage found in friendship and love. 

Unwinding of the Miracle 
By Julie 
Yip-Williams
It is about a life lived well and cut cruelly short. With glorious humour, bracing honesty and the cleansing power of anger, Julie Yip-Williams sets the stage for her final legacy: the story of her life. Inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering, it is about truth and honesty.

Shakespeare’s Library 
By Stuart Kells  
The search for Shakespeare’s library is much more than a treasure hunt. Knowing what the Bard read offers insight into the myths of Shakespeare and the debate around authorship. The library’s fate also holds profound implications for literature.

Non-fiction

The Doctor and 
the Saint 
By Arundhati Roy
The ageing grandstanding Booker girl of India takes on a jaded theme: Ambedkar vs Gandhi. Only, her intellectual acumen is able to find new relevance in the Dalit icon’s position and emphasises the need for his resurrection. 

India Misinformed 
By Pratik Sinha, Dr Sumaiya Shaikh and Arjun Sidharth
Not only the one and only authoritative book on fake news and digital disinformation for political ends, the fact-checking authors highlight the scary power of smartphone misuse that has led to communal violence and lynchings. 
The Friendship Cure 
By Kate Leaver
A conundrum that has existed since Damon and Pythias, now projected into the realm of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other means of non-location bonding, decoding friendship is the brave new journey of British journalist-author who has undertaken to solve puzzles like why are bromances different from womances and whether men and women ever be ‘just friends’.

We Are Displaced 
By Malala Yousafzai
Pakistan’s only Nobel Prize winner is an inspiration against Islamic terrorism and violent patriarchy. In this passionate semi-memoir-cum-travelogue, Malala explores her own displacment and the stories of nationless girls she has met on her journeys, who were ejected by war and conflict. She puts a face on each one to argue that there should be no orphans. 

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by 
Jack the Ripper
By Hallie Rubenhold 
Were Jack the Ripper’s victims Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane prostitutes? Rubenhold argues otherwise as he offers meticulour research about these women who wrote ballads, owned coffee houses, lived on country estates, worked in printing preses and even escaped human traffickers.

Crime, Thriller

The Book Artist
By Mark Pryor
The eighth of the Hugh Marston novels featuring book collector and security boss of the US embassy in Paris is a racy read on a murder at the Dalí Museum which reveals the murky world of high art. Of course, there’s the CIA element too.

The Legacy 
By Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Icelandic crime gets a new sleuth in detective Huldar who must solve a woman’s murder with her little daughter as the only witness. The girl has gone mute, and Haldar races against time to stop the killer from striking again. The Queen of Nordic noir doesn’t disappoint.

Murder at the Grand 
Raj Palace
By Vaseem Khan
The fourth mystery  in the witty Bay Ganesh series, Mumbai detective Ashwin Chopra investigates the murder of an American billionaire who had just spent $10 million at an art auction. Who knifed him? Meanwhile, Chopra’s wife Poppy, a restaurateur, tries to solve the mystery behind a vanished bride.
Bellini and the Sphinx 
By Tony Bellotto 
From the Bellini series by one of Brazil’s most popular guitarists and writers, the action takes place over a single day. The hard drinking, hard boiled PI is called to investigate the vanished mistress of a married doctor. Then the doctor turns up dead and his widow hires Bellini to crack the case. A classic thriller in the Philip Marlow mould.

Child’s Play
By Kia S Abdullah
From the keyboard of the young British Bangladeshi writer comes a tale of young Allegra whose life is upended when Michael Stallone, head of Vokoban, a secret goverment agency whose main purpose is to investigate pedophiles, manipulates her into becoming an investigator. Sexy, devious and revenge-laden, this is Abdullah’s second novel.

The Outsider 
By Stephen King 
An unspeakable crime results in a confounding investigation. Stephen King is back with his trademark unsettling story. A violated corpse turns up and the murderer is identified. The case is ironclad, or so it seems. As horrifying answers emerge amid unbearable suspense, it is clear that there is more to the murder.  

Murder in the 
Crooked House
By Soji Shimada
Translated from Japanese, this classic 1980s locked room mystery from one of Japan’s most beloved writers features ace crime fighter Kiyoshi who solves the murder of a man at a party in a billionaire’s maze-like home. Kiyoshi’s challenge is to protect the other guests, who keep turning up dead.
 
The Coronation
By Boris Akunin 
The legendary Russian aristocrat and amateur sleuth Fandorin is back and on the trail of the Tsar’s nephew kidnapped by the evil Dr Lind who wants to stop Nicholas II’s coronation.  The tale twists and turns as Fandorin and faithful Japanese valet Masa rescue the young royal and prevent the fabulous Orlov diamond from being given as ransom.

This Poison Will Remain
By Fred Vargas
A dark and intriguing tale from the master of French crime writing about three men who grew up in the same orphanage in Nimes and killed by spider venom. Commissaire Adamsberg and team investigate. The ninth book in the Adamsberg series.
The Plotters
By Un-su Kim
In his first English translation, iconic South Korean writer introduces death-weary sniper-for-hire Renseng who suddenly discovers his conscience and code. Born in a dustbin and trained in assassin school with a library as a front, he questions existence as bodies of friends and foes pile up.

Darkest Truth 
By Catherine Kirwan
This debut novel by the latest sensation in Irish crime fiction launches lawyer Finn Fitzpatrick who is asked by a dead girl’s father to investigate a famous but predatory film director he holds responsible. Shades of #metoo appear as powerful forces try to stop her from probing further.

The Hidden Truth 
By Biswajit Patnaik
Murder and evil resonate in this collection of four crime stories—Broken Horses, Whisper in the Woods, The Phone Call and Oak Asylum. They feature a sister’s revenge, a determined cop, blackmail and a psychopath’s twisted mind. 

Killer Thriller
By Lee Goldberg 
The plots of bestselling thriller writer Ian Ludlow’s books tend to come true. But this time when the truth unfolds during a China visit Ludlow is suspected of espionage. Not a good situation to be in Communist China.

Short Stories, Collections, Essays

Orange World and Other Stories 
By Karen Russell
Karen Russell is known for her comedic genius. Her writings are full of rom outlandish predicaments populating unforgettable stories. In this collection, yet again, she manages to capture the existential beauty of ordinary life amid a life that is dark, feral and agonisingly unforgiving.

I Miss You When I Blink 
By Mary Laura Philpott
Womanhood is difficult nut to crack. And who better to guide that Mary Laura Philpott? With stories and personal anecdotes, she shatters myths and at the same time shows that all is not lost—despite countless existential crises, we can still take a deep breath and move on in search for a better tomorrow and people. 

The Courtesan, the Mahatma & the Italian Brahmin 
By Manu S Pillai
Unlike most essays, here is one that looks into India’s past, rather than mulling over the present. It is an astonishing world of richness, unfortunately either lying forgotten or expunged. With Pillai’s help, just dipping into these stories to absorb the India that once was, will bring the reader face-to-face with immense drama and action.

DEVAPRIYA ROY

The Women Who Ruled India: Leaders. Warriors. Icons. 
by Archana Garodia Gupta
The Young and the Restless: Youth and Politics in India 
by Gurmehar Kaur
A Suitable Boy 
by Vikram Seth
Swerving to Solitude: Letters to Mama 
by Keki N Daruwalla 
Beyond the 
Boulevards 
by Aditi Sriram

Politics, Government

Majoritarian State 
By Angana P 
Chatterji, Thomas Blom Hansen, 
Christophe Jaffrelot
Hindu nationalism is rising in contemporary India. Led by a BJP government since 2014, nationalism in most corners of the country is akin to Right-wing ideology. As the contributors argue, even the state apparatus is slowly turning towards a Hindutva ideology. But, is this ideology also the common man’s voice?

Malevolent Republic 
By KS Komireddi 
Coming on the heels of another general elections that saw the return of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, this book is a sound critique of post-Independence India. KS Komireddi calls out the concessions made to the Hindu right, distortions of the past and demeaning India’s minorities. He also voices his concern demanding India’s reclamation.

The Verdict 
By Prannoy 
Roy, Dorab R Sopariwala 
Psephology is a tricky word in India today. Especially after pundits got it wrong all too often in recent times. Here, original research and as-yet-undisclosed facts are put forward to explain the entire span of India’s electoral history and how it unfolds and why people vote the way they do.

NEW Favourites

The Fate of Butterflies 
By Nayantara Sahgal
The Granddame of Indian literature got bullied by goons for her latest book on the rise of the right wing in modern affluent India. The scholar with humble origins who wants to take India from the age of Gandhi and Nehru to the present day—an ostracised gay couple, a gang rape, Cow Commission to eradicate beef eaters. All these are allegories for the new India that Sahgal has visualised. 
The Forest of 
Enchantments 
By Chitra Banerjee 
Divakaruni
Sticking to her literary ouvre of powerful female themes, the author retells the Valmiki Ramayana in Sita’s voice. Not the usual depiction of the subservient woman who follows her lord into the forest and is captivated by a golden deer, Divakaruni’s Sita is a martial arts expert, naturalist, herbalist and has the gift of seeing into the future. 
You Know You 
Want This
By Kristen Roupenian 
The centrepiece of this collection of dark short stories is “Cat Person”, the internet sensation that got 2.6 million hits and appeared at a crucial moment in the #metoo movement. The stories in Roupenian’s portmanteau are magically insane, in which digital exorcism, cannibalistic sexuality and penile fantasies of ‘nice guys’ create an urban gender mythology of its own. 
A Mouth Full of Blood 
By Toni Morrison
This collection of non-fiction from 1976 to 2013 by the doyenne of Afro-American literary power praises and laments death in 9/11, healthcare in the US and black figures such as Martin Luther King Jr, James Baldwin and Chinua Achebe. Morrison’s anguish over race issues is expressed with intense clarity and passion, throwing quetions backward on slavery and the marginalised of America.
Days of My 
China Dragon
By Chandrahas 
Choudhury
Writers use devices to tell multiple stories that meld into one narrative. Chaudhury uses a reinvented real life Udupi restaurant of his youth as a place through which ideas, desires and discoveries pass: little stories and habits of its employees and customers, principles of Tao, the perfect dragon motif and bonding through cooking by a neurosurgeon.

Fantasy, Science Fiction

Vintage 1954 
By Antoine Laurain
Hubert Larnaudie finds a bottle of 1954 Beaujolais in in his family’s cellar. After drinking it with a motley gang of charcaters, they wake up in 1950s Paris. A bygone era comes alive as they meet Truffaut, Cocteau, and Édith Piaf. In oenophile France, it’s part vintage and part nostalgia for classic Paris and a France that’s no more.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf 
By Marlon James
After Black Panther, Africa is unstoppable. Now comes the first book of the trilogy which its author and Man Booker winner with the matted tresses calls his ‘African Game of Thrones’. Through the fabled lands of precolonial Africa, the fearsome mercenary Tracker looks for a missing child by crossing turbulent rivers, confronting albinos, bush fairies, anti-witches, dirt mermaids, grass trolls, vampire lightning birds, alchemists, mad monkeys, malformed twins, cannibals, vampires, a leopard, slavers, queens, ghosts, sorcerers, comely eunuchs and Giraffe Boy and Smoke Girl. Enjoy. 

Fall 
By Neal Stephenson
Aeon Flux meets Mad Max meets Escape from LA in this dystopian travelogue set 29 years in the future. A group of Princeton students travel to visit a friend’s home in Ameristan through a chaotic land of machine gun nests, the Miasmic fall of the open internet and a nuked-out fakery. 
The Winter of the Witch 
By Katherine Arden 
Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee, pursued by those who blame her magic. A vengeful demon, stronger than ever, determined to engulf the world in chaos, finds allies among men and spirits. 

Red, White & Royal Blue 
By Casey McQuiston
Alex Claremont-Diaz is an overnight sensation after his mother becomes the US President. There’s just one problem: The American Prince Charming is in love with the Real Prince, Henry. 

Children’s literature

Arabel and 
Mortimer Stories 
By Joan Aiken, 
Quentin Blake
Like all nights, Arabel’s father, Ebenezer Jones, drives home late one night in his taxi. But tonight he has an unexpected guest with him—‘a large black bird, with a hairy fringe around its beak’. From the moment the raven enters the Jones family, nothing is same again. And soon there are escapades galore with the family and their favourite pet raven. 

One Lonely Tiger 
By Benita Sen, 
Sekhar Mukherjee
In a sensitive way, this book weaves together the loneliness of our wildlife, the loss of habitat, the man-animal conflict, and the pathos of vanishing species. It raises some pertinent questions of what it means if all other lives were to go extinct because of the greed of humans? Or can we manage to salvage what is left?

Twice Upon the Time
By Payal Kapadia
Keya is a princess, while Nyla is a tomboy. But both are happy being who they are. It’s Mia of Princess Diaries neatly divided into two with neither wanting the other half. Wickedly funny, it is the perfect book for girls who have outgrown princesses.
The Whizz Pop 
Chocolate Shop 
By Paola Escobar, 
Kate Saunders
What happens when Oz and Lily’s family inherits an ancient chocolate shop? First they move in upstairs and things seem fine till they realise the house is haunted. And they have the agonising task of keeping the gold chocolate moulds with magical powers safe from ghosts and some evil villains.

Comet in Moominland 
By Tove Jansson 
The moment Moomintroll gets to know a comet is speeding towards Earth and will probably destroy everything and everyone, he decides to take matters into his own hands. With Sniff for company, he sets off in search of the learned Professor and ends up meeting the Snorkmaiden. Will he mange to save Earth?

Biography, Memoir

This Land Is Our Land 
By Suketu Mehta
Immigration almost always prompts equal parts discussion and controversy in American society. Suketu Mehta knows this like no one else. Here he draws on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager in New York City. He merges his immigrant life with his vagabond life of reporting around the world, and soundly tackles the subject of anti-immigrant backlash globally.
Close to the Bone 
By Lisa Ray
She was one of India’s first supermodels, before taking on other roles. Actor. Cancer survivor. Mother. Nomad. In an unflinching and moving account of her nomadic existence, her quest for love and her fight with cancer, Lisa Ray shines forth and shows her funny, honest, and inspiring side. As she says, it’s more than a cancer memoir but a celebration of love and rememberance
Gopalganj to Raisina 
By Lalu Prasad Yadav
Lalu Prasad Yadav—the man may be behind bars and ruled out of electoral politics for good, but he still has mass appeal and charisma. His rustic wit and flair into the Lutyens’ political narrative of drabness and sheer chutzpah enamoured him to many, and especially to the Bihari, who suddenly found an icon.

Dawood’s Mentor 
By S Hussain Zaidi
Dawood meets Khalid and they forge an unlikely friendship. And as they say, the rest is history. As one man lays the foundation, the other establishes the organisation that would go on to rule the Mumbai underbelly for years to come. Even from foreign shores.

Southern Lady Code 
By Helen Ellis
You can take the woman out of Alabama, but you cannot take Alabama out of the woman. And who knows it better that Helen Ellis? She may have married and settled in New York, but as they say, once a Southerner, always a Southerner. Here’s womanhood with a dose of humour.

Sport, Fitness

The Barefoot Coach 
By Paddy Upton
Paddy Upton is known for his out-of-the-box thinking. His illuminating anecdotes on winning and failure push on to work on resolving life’s tangled knots. This is a must-read for all fans of the game, as also teachers who believe that inspiring and being candid in their approach is half the battle won. 

Game Changer 
By Shahid Afridi
Afridi is a name synonymous with hard work and struggle—within and without. As a kid his focus remained on pulling his parents out of poverty. Later as a captain, he tried to struggle with his corrupt teammates. The gallant Pashtun or the bad boy embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal, Afridi is a man for all seasons.

The World’s Fastest Man 
By Michael Kranish 
Major Taylor was one remarkable man who broke barriers of race to triumph and be the world’s fastest cyclist. But somewhere down the line, this fascinating man’s groundbreaking journey was forgotten like so many others. Michael Kranish tries to do justice to the lost hero. 

The Nine Waves 
By Mihir Bose 
In a short span of 50 years, India has gone from being underdogs to the champions across all forms. Eagerly courted by cricketing nations, Team India displays skills which make it a worldbeater. Over a billion Indians, the greatest fan base in the world, is their support system that looks on them as dragon-slayers.
The Cost of These Dreams 
By Wright Thompson 
Very rarely does a sport book come along that is a collection of stories. From one of America’s most beloved sportswriters, this collection of true stories is about cherished dreams and their realisation. Not everything is perfect always, but then nor does everything go wrong all the time. Here is a little of both worlds.

Religion, Mythology, Historical Fiction

Muhammad Bin Tughlaq 
By Anuja Chandramouli
All of history has painted Muhammad bin Tughlaq as a cruel ruler. But his reign also saw unsurpassed splendour. In this fictional retelling, Anuja Chandramouli reimagines a different Tughlaq than what we know of him. In the process she also manages to bring to life the incredible woman behind the monarch.

The Daughter’s Tale 
By Lucas Correa 
Countless books have been written around the Nazi period. Here is yet another. Heartbreaking and immersive, like most books of the time, this is a saga of love, survival and redemption woven around a family and the lengths a mother is willing to go in order to save those she loves. It is a piece of World War II history that has been lying forgotten and hidden.

The Women Who 
Ruled India 
By Archana Garodia Gupta 
From the lost pages of time, Gupta ressurrects women rulers who were ahead of their time. Women who stood shoulder to shoulder with men and commissioned roads and mosques, instituted laws and were generous patrons of the arts and sciences. She lays bare little-known facts to celebrate heroic women rulers who were unafraid to forge ahead.

Wisdom of the Gods for You and Me 
By Devdutt Pattanaik
In special omnibus edition, we realise our own ignorance when we approach god and try to understand faith. As usual, Pattanaik presents it all in the simplest manner, helping us in return make a sense of contemporary times viz-a-vis our faith. 

From Vedanta 
to WhatsApp 
By Dev Prasad
This is not a mere anthology of tales, it is more than that. It talks about stories that were once considered the medium to transfer knowledge. In this new age, here is a ready reckoner of going back to where it all began.

Graphic Novels

The Handmaid's Tale 
by Margaret Atwood
Already a global phenomenon thanks to its televised form, the graphic version of this feminist classic vividly enhances the terrifying reality of Gilead. In a republic where women are constantly subdued and their role reduced to fertility vessels, the rebellious Offred seeks to reclaim her life as an independent woman. With arresting art by Renée Fault, the visual feast promises to unnerve.

Doab Dil 
by Sarnath Banerjee
Banerjee is more than just an artist and a storyteller. He is a philosopher, who takes the reader by the hand to places unknown, where two rivers (Do Ab) meet. Here in between twin worlds, lie the answers to countless questions on the fates of a ninth century Arab scholar and a tense Gurugram CEO. He has answers for all of life’s even and odd asks.

A Wrinkle in Time 
by Madeleine L’Engle
Another classic, which after 50 years, has come out in an illustrated form. Now, Hope Larson’s vivid interpretations bring to light the interesting characters that come together to stave off evil forces and keep the world safe. Imagine Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, Calvin O’Keefe and the three Mrs—Who, Whatsit and Which; the time has come to get to know them better.

Translations

Outcaste 
By Matampu Kunhukuttan
Based on a true story that covered the trial of a Namboodiri woman, charged with sleeping with 64 women. This ahead-of-its-time feminist story tells a powerful story of revenge that Paptikutty wreaks on her community. 

Stalingrad 
By Vasily Grossman
Translated for the first time in English, this is the story of life and fate. As Hitler and Mussolini plan the huge offensive on the Eastern front, some lives will be be torn apart forever. Pyotr spends a final night with his wife and children. The Shaposhnikov family gathers for a meal that may be their last; a frail and old Alexandra looks at the future of living a refugee’s life. The war is set to consume all, sparing none from its cruel claws.

A Gujarat Here, A Gujarat There 
By Krishna Sobti
It is Delhi, 1947. The city is bursting at the seams with Partition refugees. This memoir-cum-feminist anthem is a powerful tale of loss and dislocation. At the same time, it charts the lifecourse of a determined and spirited woman, who builds a new life for herself against all odds.

The Rock that was Not 
By Githanjali
In these 12 stories, day-to-day issues in a woman’s life come to the fore. The isolation, societal stigma, trauma of being treated as objects and constantly labelled for being who they are irrespective of the person within each of them.

travel, Food

Dare Eat That 
By Divya Anand 
A foodie’s journey through some weird bites—this couple on a quest to eat every species on the earth ends up using sign language to haggle over ant eggs in Bangkok, literally gobbles a horse in Luxembourg, and manages to hold on to a slippery eel for a barbecue. It is a book that explores delectable and weird tastes all at once.

Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan 
By Devang Singh, Varud Gupta
Food is sacred and every religion, every community has its own version of offerings to the gods—food fed to departed Zoroastrian souls; Tibetan monks serving Preta, the hungry ghost; and of course the famous 56-course feast of the Jagannath Temple. This travelogue-cum-cookbook goes beyond mere morsels to explore its connection with faith.

Nadiya’s Family Favourites 
By Nadiya Hussain 
After winning a cooking challenge in Britain, Nadiya Hussain took the kitchen and the world by storm. From creating the perfect dishes to complement moments we all love and cherish with friends and family to lazy weekends dedicated to easy-to-russle-up dishes, weeknights with Nadiya just got more interesting.
The Mughal Feast 
By Salma Yusuf Husain
What if you were given a port key that transported you to Shah Jahan’s kitchen? Salma Yusuf Husain is your port key to that world. Transcribing the original handwritten Persian recipe book from the time of the Mughal emperor, she presents a culinary journey into the imperial kitchen.
In Putin’s Footsteps 
By Nina Khruscheva and Jeffrey Tayler
Nikita Khrushchev’s great grand-daughter, Nina Khrushcheva, and an ex-pat living and reporting on Russia, Jeffrey Tayler come together to undertake a poignant journey. Taking a leaf out of Vladimir Putin’s fabled New Year Eve speech, together they travel across all 11 time zones in the country.
Volcanoes, Palm Trees and Privilege 
By Liz Prato 
White tourist at a beachside haven is a travelogue piece that has been done many times over. But Prato’s research and humour elevates her role to a chronicler of paradise. Bringing together Hawaiian history, pop culture, contemporary affairs, and personal narrative, she weaves a picture of heaven and threats it faces in this era of commercialisation.

Cities and Canopies 
By Harini Nagendra, Seema Mundoli 
Trees are nature’s museums, believe the authors. They go beyond the foliage to trace the history of various cities and places through the trees that were planted there and the times that each tree witnessed. From Dehradun’s clock tower to Grand Trunk Road, this book which is kind of a nature travelogue, stands apart in a class of its own.

A Year in Paris 
By John Baxter
When France revolted in 1789, the common people wanted to overthrow everything to do with the monarchy and the church. Poet and playwright Philippe François Nazaire Fabre renamed the months of the year. Baxter devotes each section of the book to each of Fabre’s months. In the process, he gives us a Paris that we have seldom had the good fortune to see.

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