Amitabh Ghosh
Amitabh Ghosh

Reading right in 2019

Lounge picks 12 books that you must read this year

The publishing calendar for 2019 is dotted with big names in fiction and non-fiction, and some promising debuts. Lounge picks 12 books that you must read this year

With her best-selling novel The Palace of Illusions, based on the story of Draupadi, turning 10 this year, the author returns with another narrative inspired by the epics. Told in the voice of Sita, this is a fictional re-imagining of the queen of Ayodhya’s predicament during her exile with her husband Ram.

Small Days and Nights by Tishani Doshi (Bloomsbury)

In this novel of powerful reckonings, the acclaimed poet charts the destiny of Grace, who leaves her marriage to arrive in Puducherry, where her mother has died, leaving her an inheritance she could scarcely have dreamt of.

You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian (Vintage)

Author of the story Cat Person, published in The New Yorker, which went viral last year in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Roupenian is publishing her first book, a collection of tales that, the publisher promises, will “thrill" and “chill" the readers in turn.

How Not To Be A Man by Pankaj Mishra (Juggernaut Books)

The award-winning writer returns with a study of the connections between masculinity, young men and the age of anger.

This new novel from the best-selling author of Eat Pray Love presents a coming of age story set in wartime New York. The protagonist, 19-year-old Vivian Morris, leaves Vassar College to work as a seamstress at a disreputable revue theatre in the city. Soon her life is transformed by the glamour and glitz of the industry, opening doors that lead her into new mistakes, but also new epiphanies.

The Anarchy by William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury)

One of the world’s best-loved popular historians returns with a riveting account of the East India Company’s takeover of India during the Mughal rule, a move that eventually led to the birth of British Raj.

J.B.S. Haldane, born in Britain but spiritually bound to India, was one of the pioneering scientists of the 20th century. This biography recounts the story of his rise to eminence and his contribution to genetics and evolutionary biology, while also removing the film of mystery that surrounds much of his colourful life.

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh (Penguin Random House)
A US-based rare book dealer’s visit home to Kolkata turns into a surreal adventure as his life becomes entangled with the myths and legends of Manasa, the goddess of snakes in Bengal. Blurring the boundaries between human and divine, dream and reality, Ghosh’s much-awaited new novel will be published in June.

Democracy on the Road by Ruchir Sharma (Penguin Random House)

Based on the best-selling author’s experience of reporting on the Indian elections for the last 25 years, this is an essential read for 2019 as the nation heads to the polls. Taking stock of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure, it looks to the future through the lens of politics and economics.

The Diary of Manu Gandhi edited by Tridip Suhrud (Oxford University Press)
One of Gandhi’s close associates, Manuben Gandhi chronicled her life and times with the Mahatma between 1943-48. Published in two volumes with annotations by the scholar Tridib Suhrud, this is a portrayal of an intimate, if sometimes troubled, relationship.

With five billion people, one-third of the global economy and two-thirds of the world’s mega-cities, Asia presents a picture of ever-growing might. Leading global strategist Khanna analyses the continent’s impact on the future and its role in setting a new template for the entire planet.

Bonus: Look out for The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale, publishing in September. The action of the new novel takes place 15 years from the time where the original story ends and is narrated by three women.

Close