What is the importance of books? Haruki Murakami, Nobel prize-winning author, would answer by saying, “Have books ‘happened’ to you? Unless your answer to that question is ‘yes,’ I’m unsure how to talk to you.”
Books can have different benefits for different people. Some read for pleasure and some for improving their communication skills.
There is no doubt that books aid you in gaining deeper insights into life.
As the new year begins, reading new books should be on everyone’s to-do list.
This year exploring these books by Indian authors will turn out to be an enriching experience.
1. In an Antique Land (Amitava Ghosh): It is an autobiographical tale of Amitava Ghosh’s travel in Egypt intertwined with the story of the medieval Jewish trader Abraham Ben Yiju. The book is significant as it talks about the ancient trade relations between India and Egypt.
2. Raag Durbari (Sri Lal Shukla): This Hindi novel is a satire on the social and political corruption in post-independence Indian society. It has been translated into English by Gillian Wright and is relevant to modern times.
3. The Goat Thief (Perumal Murugan): It is the first-ever anthology of Tamil author Perumal Murugan’s short stories translated into English. These are poignant stories about the characters who live on the margins and are ready to fight against all adversity.
4. Seven Sixes are Forty-Three (Kiran Nagarkar): The protagonist of this Marathi novel is Kushank Purandare, a writer who depends on others for his living. Through this dependency, he gets a closer look at the hopelessness and insanity of modern Indian lives.
5. Kashmir- The Untold Story (Humra Quraishi): It is a tale of journalist Humra Quraishi’s travels through the villages of Kashmir. She tells the stories of the ordinary Kashmiris which are usually lost between the media and political propaganda.
6. Nagamandala (Girish Karnad): In this drama, Karnad has woven two Kannada folktales together. It is a commentary on how patriarchal notions restrict women and propagates their emancipation from such restrictive bonds.
7. Very Close to Pleasure There’s a Sick Cat (Shakti Chattopadhyay): It is a collection of Bengali poems of Shakti Chattopadhyay translated into English by Arunava Sinha. His poems are a mix of colloquial and high diction Bengali. These are an excellent read for the lovers of poetry and reflect feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and dislocation.
8. Frozen Whites in a Dark Ally (Himanshi Shelat): This Gujarati short story collection has been translated into English by Vinod Meghani. The stories in this collection portray the lives of women from all strata of society, like, unmarried girls, married women, widows, and sex workers. The use of understated themes, profound characterizations, and thought-provoking depictions lead the readers to a sublime experience.
9. The Inheritance of Words (Mamang Dai): This collection of short stories by women from Arunachal Pradesh has been compiled and edited by Mamang Dai. The stories revolve around various subjects ranging from identity to home, language, folk culture, and much more. It can be a fruitful experience to learn about the lesser-known culture of north-eastern states.
10. Helen: The Life and Times of A Bollywood H-Bomb (Jerry Pinto): This critically acclaimed book is the biography of Bollywood actor and dancer Helen. It is an insightful narration of her real and reel life. The book also examines the broader aspects of Indian cinema such as the evolution of the character of a vamp, and various tropes and styles developed with it.