The New Year reading list

From memoirs and urban fantasies to studied explorations of who we are as a peoplethere are many books to look forward to in 2017

If you tried to take on a reading challenge in 2016— 52 books in 52 weeks, or the less ambitious a-book-a-month kinds—but gave up midway, don’t worry. The new year isn’t far, so you can make a fresh start with a host of new books. Some favourite authors and characters will make a comeback, while biographies and autobiographies we’ve been waiting years for will finally hit the shelves; some prolific writers continue their release spree, while a crop of novelists will make exciting debuts. Here is a list of forthcoming titles that caught our eye.

Fiction

Fire Boy, Sami Shah (Pan Macmillan India)

An urban fantasy in which djinns roam the streets of Karachi alongside its corrupt policemen, beggars, and a host of other creatures from folklore and mythology. This is Pakistani stand-up comedian Sami Shah’s debut novel.

Scheduled release: May

Don’t run, my love,Easterine Kire (Speaking Tiger)

Norway-based author Easterine Kire is back with another novel. After winning The Hindu Prize for 2015 for her novel When the River Sleeps, Kire returns once again to Naga folklore. This time, however, she tells an unusual love story—of a woman who falls for a magical creature out of folklore, a weretiger.

Scheduled release: To be announced (TBA)

The book of chocolate saints, Jeet Thayil (Aleph)

Newton Francis Xavier, the reformed alcoholic, poet, and India’s greatest living painter from Thayil’s Booker finalist Narcopolis, returns. Now living in New York, he returns to India for a final show of his work. The book introduces a host of memorable characters while offering insights into love, death, art and God.

Scheduled release: Monsoon

Erotic stories for Punjabi widows, Balli Kaur Jaswal (HarperCollins UK)A witty novel that might make you rethink the traditional vs modern clash. Once dutiful wives, a group of barely literate widows have many untold stories about their sexuality—and they couldn’t care less about the protagonist’s attempts at emancipating them.

Scheduled release: Spring/Summer

Book 2 of the Ram Chandra Series, Amish Tripathi (Westland)

After Scion Of Ikshvaku, Amish’s much-awaited second book in his best-selling Ram Chandra series will be out in 2017.

Scheduled release: Spring/Summer

When I hit you, Meena Kandasamy (Juggernaut)

This harrowing narrative of an abusive marriage is told through an unnamed narrator, who marries a left-wing college teacher. The seduction of poetry and politics falls short, however. What she thought of as love is a contract of ownership for him—one that he plans to hold on to through violence and rape.

Scheduled release: Spring/Summer

Murder in seven acts: The Lalli stories, Kalpana Swaminathan (Speaking Tiger)

Swaminathan, one half of the author-duo Kalpish Ratna, brings back her enduring character—the sexagenarian lady detective Lalli—with a new set of mysteries.

Scheduled release: TBA

The ministry of utmost happiness, Arundhati Roy (Penguin India)

Twenty years after her Booker prize-winning A God Of Small Things, this book marks Arundhati Roy’s return to fiction. According to a 2011 report in The Independent newspaper, it was fellow Booker winner and critic John Berger who urged her to write it.

Scheduled release: TBA

The CEO who lost his head, Aditya Sinha (Pan Macmillan India)

This novel from former DNA newspaper editor-in-chief Aditya Sinha is crime fiction set in a Mumbai-based newspaper office—a world of Bollywood, tabloids and daily news, with an inevitable dose of scandal and crime.

Scheduled release: January

The Lovers: A novel, Amitava Kumar (Aleph)

A delicious mix of reportage, anecdote and annotation, picture and text, fragment and essay, this book by the professor of English at Vassar College in Arlington, New York, is about a man in search of a love story. It’s billed as a funny and meditative study of love.

Scheduled release: Monsoon

Non fiction

Age of anger: A history of the present, Pankaj Mishra (Juggernaut)

A book that studies and gives historical perspective to a range of issues plaguing us today— from the rise of vengeful nationalism and shootings in the US, to the evolution of the Islamic State network, and the trend of widespread racism and misogyny on social media.

Scheduled release: Spring/Summer

An unsuitable boy, Karan Johar with Poonam Saxena (Penguin)

Anyone who is familiar with Bollywood will also know about Karan Johar. With this book, the very private director, producer and talk-show host opens up about his life and times in the film business.

Scheduled release: TBA

Indira Gandhi: Her life and after life, Sagarika Ghose (Juggernaut)

Marking the birth centenary of the former prime minister, journalist Sagarika Ghose looks at the many avatars of Indira Gandhi—from a shy daughter to her transformation into the Iron Lady of India.

Scheduled release: Spring/Summer

Political corruption in India: How should it be combated? N. Ram (Aleph)

The former editor-in-chief of The Hindu draws from theory as well as his experiences of reporting on the Bofors scam—a defining moment in politics—to understand what ‘political corruption’ is. He also tries to answer the question: Can systemic corruption be rooted out from the country?

Scheduled release: Summer

The Nanavati case, Bachi Karkaria (Juggernaut)

Earlier this year, the film Rustom took us all back to the 1959 Nanavati case that captivated India. Journalist Bachi Karkaria’s book now studies the murder case and tries to understand why it continues to grip public imagination so many years later.

Scheduled release: Spring/Summer

Nawaznama: A memoir, Nawazuddin Siddiqui with Rituparna Chatterjee
(Penguin random house)

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, now a popular and critically acclaimed Bollywood actor, was once a small-town boy who stumbled into acting while searching for a job in Delhi. This is his journey.

Scheduled release: TBA

Indians: A portrait of a people, Shashi Tharoor (Aleph)

There are few writers as prolific as Tharoor. Close on the heels of a book about the British empire in India, the author and politician marks India’s 70th year of independence with this wise yet hilarious study of who Indians are as a people—their food habits, languages, pet peeves and idiosyncrasies.

Scheduled release: Monsoon

The Malayalis: A portrait of a community, Paul Zacharia (Aleph)

A book on the comic yet heroic lives of an incorrigibly argumentative and contrary people, who are prepared to fight in any place or circumstance to keep their intelligence, creativity and dreams alive.

Scheduled release: Autumn

The book of Indian dogs, S. Theodore Baskaran (Aleph)

A comprehensive book on the 25 breeds that make up India’s canine heritage, including Karvanis (caravan hounds), Rajapalayams and Rampur hounds, as well as other lesser-known breeds. The book benefits from former Tamil Nadu chief postmaster general Baskaran’s extensive travel, research and experience with his own dogs.

Scheduled release: Spring

India after Gandhi: The history of the world’s largest democracy—EXPANDED AND updated 10th anniversary edition, Ramachandra Guha (Pan Macmillan India)

Guha’s modern classic now also includes the past decade—peace talks in Kashmir and Nagaland, the fall of the Congress, the rise of current prime minister Narendra Modi, and more.

Scheduled release: May

Veerappan: Chasing the brigand, K. Vijay Kumar (Rupa)

Authored by the man who spearheaded the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force’s plans for Veerappan’s capture and subsequent death in a shootout, this book is an account of the rise of the dreaded bandit and the operation launched to catch him.

Scheduled release: Spring

Lone fox dancing: A memoir, Ruskin Bond (Speaking Tiger)

Among the many memoirs and personal accounts coming out in 2017, Ruskin Bond’s is one we are especially looking forward to. Filled with anecdotes and his effortless and understated wisdom, Bond’s story spans eight decades.

Scheduled release: TBA

A life among the scorpions, Jaya Jaitly (Rupa)

The life and times of former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, as well as an account of what it is like to be a woman in the Indian political scenario.

Scheduled release: Winter

Indelible India: A golden treasury of journalism, edited by M. J. Akbar (Aleph)

An anthology of the finest timeless stories and opinion pieces written by independent India’s most intrepid editors and reporters—Frank Moraes, Chitra Subramaniam, Arun Shourie, Shekhar Gupta, Surya Prakash, Khushwant Singh, N. Ram, Tavleen Singh, T.J.S. George, Kuldip Nayar, and many more.

Scheduled release: Monsoon

Robin Williams, David Itzkoff (Pan Macmillan International)

A biography of the beloved actor written by a culture reporter from The New York Times who, having reported extensively on Williams, considers him a “cultural hero of mine".

Scheduled release: October

Poetry

Suspected Poems, Gulzar (Penguin)

Famed Hindi lyricist Gulzar’s collection of political poems will be available in English for the first time.

Scheduled release: TBA

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