WEATHER BY JENNY OFFILL
Suggested by Elizabeth Flock “My recommendation for a great summer read is “Weather” by Jenny Offill, which has recently released. It’s a book about the end of the world, via the climate and political crisis in America. But it’s also funny, emotional, and totally relatable for anyone concerned about the state of things, anywhere in the world. Offill tells the story in quick, clever fragments, so it’s also very readable, whether you’re on the train, in bed, or at the beach. I’m about to read it a second time.”
LIPSTICK BY VISH DHA MIJA
Suggested by Seema Anand I am an absolute sucker for old fashioned crime detective fiction. And if it stars a strong, sexy, brilliant female as the lead detective – I’m completely hooked. DCP Rita Ferreira, heading up the crime branch at Mumbai’s Crawford Market Police HQ, outmanoeuvring bad guys and stopping the world in its tracks with her fabulousness, is the perfect ice cold drink for a hot summer evening. Light, witty, extremely well researched – a must read.
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BY GEORGE R.R. MARTIN
Suggested by Durjoy Datta “Martin’s last book is going to come out this winter, so before that, everyone needs to read this. It is a series of epic fantasy novels by him, so there is enough time to read all the Game of Thrones books (as they’re known). I am definitely reading and rereading to wash off the memories of the show.”
NORWEGIAN WOOD BY HARUKI MURAKAMI
Suggested by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu “Norwegian Wood, among other Murakami geniuses, is one of the most beautiful love stories. Fragile and awakened the vulnerability of love in the modern world. It broke my heart and mended it as well. It’s the perfect summer romance to indulge in, and a book I always carry with me.”
GIRL WOMAN OTHER BY BERNADINE EVARISTO
Suggested by Abeer Hoque “This book is the 2019 Booker Prize winning novel by Bernadine Evaristo. It’s about women, and how their roles, relationships, and ambitions are mediated by history, patriarchy, immigration, capitalism, and more. The book follows 12 women in England over several decades, each chapter filling out a different point of view with masterful, mesmerising character development. I’ve never read a book that’s so compulsively readable that wasn’t plot-driven.
GHACHAR GHOCHAR BY VIVEK SHANBAG AND WHAT DO WOMEN WANT – ADVENTURES IN THE SCIENCE OF FEMALE DESIRE BY DANIEL BERGNER
Suggested by Shunali Khullar Shroff “Ghachar Ghochar is a thin but elegant novel that is a masterfully told story about a complex, almost dysfunctional family. The story opens in an old Coffee House in Bangalore where the narrator unburdens himself to its phlegmatic but wise waiter, Vincent, morning and night. A line in the book sums Ghachar Ghochar perfectly: “It’s true what they say — it’s not we who control the money, it’s the money that controls us.” Shanbag employs an economy of words and narrates a story that keeps you restless right till the end. What Do Women Want – Adventures In The Science Of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner is a book that has surprised not just men but also women (blame it on systematic brainwashing through centuries). The book weaves together a detailed study, anecdotes and lab experiments to debunk many myths about female sexuality. The writer uses research to make a point that women’s sexuality is still bound by strict ideas about evolution.”
AKBAR: THE GREAT MUGHAL BY IRA MUKHOTY
Suggested by Manu Pillai “Ira Mukhoty has written a splendid new biography of Emperor Akbar. For one of India’s greatest kings, it is surprising that we haven’t seen a good biography in recent years, and Mukhoty fills the gap with great sophistication and style, telling us everything from Akbar’s personality on the battlefield to his intellectual curiosity. Written with ease but without compromising on research, this book promises to be one of this summer’s highlights in India.
ONE PART WOMAN BY PERUMAL MURUGAN
Suggested by Meghna Pant This must-read book is another gem from the translation pool in India. The love between the couple, the stabbing degradation of being childless in our society, and the vividly painted life of the rural South were the high spots in the novel. As a writer, I found that the foreshadowing with the portia tree was beautifully rendered by the author. It also helped me add Murugan to my recent favourites, like KR Meera and Vivek Shanbag.
THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT BY HILARY MANTEL
Suggested by Ira Mukhoty Intrigue, ambition and murder. Hilary Mantel’s new book, The Mirror and the Light, last of her trilogy set at the Tudor court of Henry VIII, has all the elements needed to enliven those languid summer months. At 880 pages, this may be the only book you read, but Mantel’s lyrical prose and her deft story-telling will keep you enthralled by the court of the bloodiest of the Tudor kings.
BLUE IS LIKE BLUE BY VINOD KUMAR SHUKLA
Suggested by Annie Zaidi: “I recommend Blue is like Blue. It is a new collection of translated stories. The originals, in Hindi, by Vinod Kumar Shukla are quite well known. These stories appear on the surface to be almost unbearably ordinary. However, their power lies in the telling of what is unremarkable, for it lingers the way dust does on surfaces around the house.
MALEVOLENT REPUBLIC BY KAPIL KOMIREDDI
Suggested by Tripurdaman Singh Kapil Komireddi’s Malevolent Republic is a short, arrestingly brilliant, and devastating history of modern India. From the sins and failings of the Congress to the accelerating decay of democracy under the BJP, Komireddi’s blistering critique pulls no punches, and offers a chillingly tantalising glimpse of what India might become – ‘culturally arid, intellectually vacant, permanently aggrieved and implacably malevolent.’
THE HEART ASKS PLEASURE FIRST BY KARUNA EZARA PARIKH
Suggested by Aanchal Malhotra “This book will be out in May. Poignant and topical, Karuna Parikh’s debut novel obfuscates the boundaries of land and religion. Set in an age of growing xenophobia, it is a book that offers us the frailties of love, and the power of empathy. Parikh’s gift of language draws the reader in from the first sentence.”