BABYJI BY ABHA DAWESA

 Recommended by: Saikat Majumdar, author of The Scent of God, The Firebird among others “The book is a coming-of age narrative, centring on the experiences of a teenage girl, Anamika Sharma, who goes through an experimental but purposeful sexual awakening via intimate relationships with three women. Written in a brisk and enjoyable way, Babyji is a hidden mirror to a conservative Indian society. More men, I feel, should read about intimacy between women so as to educate themselves about social and erotic worlds that are free of masculine interference.” 

A HANDBOOK FOR MY LOVER BY ROSALYN D’MELLO 

Recommended by: Madhuri Banerjee, author of Forbidden Desires “A Handbook for My Lover by Rosalyn D’Mello is a memoir by the author about her sexual encounters, desires, and heartbreak. Most people in India feel women shouldn’t have desires. Rosalyn’s brave memoir shows us that women need and deserve better men to fulfil them and that desire can’t be tamed by rules or society.”

LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER BY D.H. LAWRENCE 

Recommended by: K. Hari Kumar, author of The Other Side Of Her “At one time, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was considered so explicit (and profane) that the book was banned for obscenity in the USA. The story follows Constance Reid (Lady Chatterley) and her unhappy marriage to an upper-class Baronet husband. Emotionally neglected by the paralysed husband, Constance or Connie, finds solace in having an affair with the gamekeeper at her husband’s estate. The central idea of this D.H. Lawrence classic is that sexuality and sexual freedom are sometimes more important than a mere perusal of an intellectual (read ideal) life. The steamy scenes will put many modern writers to shame, but more importantly, the story thrusts on the restorative powers of sex without being too preachy or correct.”

THE GOLDEN LOTUS BY LANLING XIAOXIAO SHEN 

Recommended by: Kiran Manral, author of Saving Maya, More Things in Heaven and Earth “I chanced upon a copy of The Golden Lotus, a Chinese erotic novel written in the late Ming period. It is an absolutely glorious erotic novel. The story is of an ambitious woman, who is ruthless in her quest to better her position in life, fully in command of her sexual self. The narrative somewhere slips in some little morals about giving in to unbridled lust and debauchery, and how it can ruin you, but that moral gets buried in the hedonistic depiction of all kinds of sexual exploration.” 

LIHAAF BY ISMAT CHUGHTAI 

Recommended by: Koral Dasgupta, author of Ahalya “A story based in the backdrop of colonial India. Begum Jaan, a woman married in a rich Muslim household in Aligarh, finds secret pleasure in the touch of Rabbu, a house help. Young women in a conservative society and homosexuality were too much to deal with, and the story was ahead of its times. The descriptions of romance and consciousness of the body are delightfully modern.” 

THE VEGETARIAN BY HAN KANG 

Recommended by: Meghna Pant, author of One & A Half Wife “The Vegetarian is a dystopian fantastical tale set in South Korea. It leads us into the inner life of Yonghye, an ordinary and dutiful wife, in a dull marriage to a bland office-going husband. A powerful story that underscores male entitlement over the female body inside and outside of the shackles of marriage, this is a haunting and disturbing erotica novel that must be read by everyone.