We’re not one for New Year’s resolutions but what we do try to do pretty much all the time (and do frequently fail at) is to keep our bookshelves stacked and reading list updated. Whether it is in bed before sleeping, over lunch breaks or even in the bathroom – our reading time is special, a moment that’s just ours as we deep dive into the pages of our favourite authors and riveting reads.
Mystery, Romance, Drama, Socio-Political – the incredible talent coming out of the country covers pretty much every genre and style there is giving readers more than plenty of options to choose from. It can be an overwhelming experience sifting through all the new releases every month but don’t worry we’ve got your back.
We’ve put together a list of upcoming releases across the country mostly in the first half of the year that we’re really looking forward to. So bring out your wallets and get pre-booking!
I. ‘My Seditious Heart’ by Arundhati Roy
An upcoming collection of non-fiction essays by Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy, ‘My Seditious Heart’ traces a twenty-year journey of the writer. The collection is almost a memoir, of sorts, an “unfinished diary of nowadays” consisting of honest, raw and political essays by perhaps one of the subcontinent’s most celebrated and contentious minds.
II. ‘Gun Island’ by Amitav Ghosh
‘Gun Island’ will be Amitav Ghosh’s first work of fiction in four years. We follow the story of Deen Datta, a dealer of rare books who’s solitary indoor life is turned upside down making him embark of a transcontinental journey from India to Los Angeles and Venice by a tangled route of the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way.
III. ‘The Forest of Enchantments’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
In this book, award-winner author, poet and professor Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni takes us through the Ramayana from a fresh perspective. Here, Sita is at the centre of the novel and it is her eyes with which we view the world of the great Epic. ‘The Forest of Enchantments’ humanises other women of Ramayana that are often side-lined, making this a riveting read about love, loss and the role of women in a man’s world.
IV. ‘The Hungryalists: The Poets Who Sparked a Revolution’ by Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury
This is the little-know story of a group of rebels from Bengal who started a movement, inspired writers around the world and generations in India for years to come. The Hungry Generation (or ‘the Hungryalists’) were a group of anti-establishments writers, poets and artists of the 1960s who changed the cultural landscape of Bengal, braving threats, politics and arrest along the way.
V. ‘A Gujarat Here, A Gujarat There’ by Krishna Sobti, translated by Daisy Rockwell
Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer Krishna Sobti is among the most respected writers in the Hindi canon. Her books has been translated to English by Daisy Rockwell and tells a story set in 1947 India at the time of Partition. A story in parts of displacement and loss it also follows the life of a spirited young woman, named Krishna, as she tries to find her way through life and a place to call home. Escaping the confusion around her, she finds an opportunity to become governess to the child maharaja Tej Singh Bahadur and with it a chance to make princely state Sirohi her new home.
VI. ‘The Scent of God’ by Saikat Majumdar
The third novel by Saikar Majumdar, ‘The Scent of God’ tells the tale of Anirvan, who has dreams of becoming a monk at al elite all-boys’ boarding school in late 20th century. It is run by a Hindu monastic order, one that wouldn’t agree, understand nor accept Anirvan being drawn to a fellow male student. The books raises questions of faith, spirituality and love in a world where the three find it hard to co-exist.
VII. ‘Sitayana’ by Amit Majumdar
The Ramayana is a timeless epic with countless permutations, combinations and re-telling, and Amit Majumdar’s is perhaps among the most captivating of the lot. The story is told from multiple perspectives, from Ravana and Hanuman to the squirrel helping Lord Rama’s army build the bridge.
VIII. ‘Kaifiyat: Verses on Love and Women’ by Kaifi Azmi, translated by Rakhshanda Jalil
Poet Kaifi Azmi’s legacy lies in his beautiful Urdu verses that stand the test of time. This collection features poems and lyrics by Azmi on love, romance and women, translated by Rakhshananda Jalil who also writes an introduction on the poet’s life and leagacy. The book also consists of a moving forward by Shabana Azmi, his daughter.
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