#onlinedating | Booklist to go-to as pandemic offers an unmatched experience of solitude- The New Indian Express | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

The season for reading arrived with the year and refuses to leave. As Stephen King so put it, “Books are uniquely portable magic.” These three months, the written word and the spoken word as in audio books and podcasts have become personal teleporting machines to take readers into the grim realms of Stephen King and Dean Koontz as well as romance in the Big Apple and the unknown side of Kasturba Gandhi. Had Alistair MacLean been alive, he would have chuckled that fear is the key. Ebooks of The Eyes of Darkness, a fictional work by Koontz on a virus attack, came third on Amazon’s charts, up by an incredible 3,000 percent in just three weeks. Kindle sales in India rose by 80 percent in March. Social distancing crept into literature as book readings, author interactions and even literary festivals like the prestigious JLF came home online.

The pandemic offered the unmatched experience of solitude. However, all wasn’t grim. Adult fiction diva Sara Desai’s new novel with the usual multicultural twist is part of an increasing fascination for the global Indian’s life abroad. Thrillers from Scott Turow and Sam Bourne are totally edge of the seat. Children learn why mothers cry when onions are peeled. Ruskin Bond has something for anyone who has the blues. What if Hillary refused to marry Bill? How did secretive corruption plague Samsung that dominates the world? Ghost brides possess men and a priest with a yen for human flesh haunts Japanese ghost stories.

Many readers went back to the classics, others caught up with new exciting books such as The Witcher and The Hunger Games that stormed OTTs. Colouring books for both children and adults amused the stay-at-home folks. JK Rowling, Ruskin Bond and Sudha Murty were perennial favourites as usual. Self-help books and health advice calmed nervous germophobes. Cookery books saw their fair share of downloads with amateur chefs being born by the minute. The government was flooded with requests to declare books essential items during the lockdown. While that did not happen, stores are opening shutters to buyers and browsers. The world has turned a new page. So must we.

Editor’s choice

The Marriage Game
By Sara Desai
It’s sexy, it’s romantic and it’s ruthless. Heartbroken Layla Patel living with Michelin chef dad meets corporate downsizer Sam Mehta. Dad puts her on an online dating site with hilarious results for both in this “enemies to lovers’ adult romance”. 

Pizza Girl
By Jean Kyoung 
Frazier
This roaring debut novel revolves around a pregnant pizza delivery girl, Jane (Frazier herself was one, though not pregnant) and Jenny, whose rebellious son wants a rare pizza not on the menu. Full of warmth.

The Margot Affair
By Sanaë Lemoine
Margot Louvre, the teenage daughter of an ambitious politician and an actress, wants to expose a 17-year-old secret. If public, it will destroy lives and loves. Will she take the fatal step? This debut novelist is bad for your nails.

Friends and Strangers
By J Courtney Sullivan
In this literary chronicle on modern life, Sullivan writes about privilege meeting egalitarianism. Wealthy New York mother Elizabeth and her innocent au pair  Sam become unlikely friends in a moving story about family and parenthood. 

Fiction

Rodham
By Curtis Sittenfeld
It is based on the premise what if Hillary had said ‘No’ to Bill Clinton. Would the White House be the same? Would it have had a President Clinton? Could there be a President Rodham? Wittily written, it reimagines a different future, making it a must-read.

A Burning
By Megha Majumdar
This debut novel exposes India’s violent social landscape, helplessness, hatred and naivete. A girl seeking social media fame is tortured by cops to falsely admit to terrorism. A transgender pathetically attempts to gain sexual legitimacy and sophisticated acceptance. A schoolteacher witnesses a horrifying lynching in a village. Majumdar’s India will appeal to the conscience-keepers who are fighting a losing battle. 

Where the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
Kya Clark has forever lived with the stigma of being the ‘Marsh Girl’. But she yearns for love. Even as the town hunts her down as the suspected killer of an eligible young man, she finds solace in two new friends. But will her haunting past catch up?

Grown Ups
By Marian Keyes
Another heart-warming family saga. Through the Caseys, we witness familial bonds of love, jealousy, secrets stashed away and ego clashes with a difference… the book begins at the end. 

Jaipur Journals
By Namita Gokhale
Set against the Jaipur Literature Festival, there is something for everyone here. Part love letter-part satire, it celebrates the greatest literary show ever in style, but unsparingly.
Amnesty
By Aravind Adiga
Adiga addresses the cause celebre of the times­—the refugee’s plight. It deals with identity crisis that immigrants, legal and illegal, face. Written in his trademark witty prose, the book raises uncomfortable questions about race, prejudice and belonging.

Waiting for Tom Hanks
By Kerry Winfrey
Annie Cassidy wants to be the next Nora Ephron. And, she wants her own ‘Sleepless in Seatleesque’ Tom Hanks. But neither seems to be happening till one day a movie is set to be filmed in her neighbourhood. Now she is determined to script her perfect real life story.

The Cliffhangers
By Sabin Iqbal
A tourist is raped and a group of teenagers are the suspects. Proving their innocence is not an easy task as they realise soon. Communal intolerance rears its ugly head and small incidents keep occurring to add to the tension.

Chosen Spirits
By Samit Basu
A sex scandal, a company takeover and  betrayals collide in dirty, water-starved and smog-infested Delhi. In the midst of this chaos, Joey rescues Rudra and together they battle for sanity to find the lives they want to lead.

Low
By Jeet Thayil
Destruction is Dominic Ullis’ middle name. After the death of his wife, his life has been on a downward spiral. This is a drug-laden joyride through a kaleidoscopic La La Land infested by pain and darkness.

The Death of Jesus
By JM Coetzee
In this concluding volume of the Nobel Prize-winning author’s trilogy, pampered orphan David leaves home to learn soccer, leaving Simon and Ines behind. Safety, death and the afterlife imbue this ending with the message that even if memory is ignored, love cannot be.

Non-fiction

Samsung Rising
By Geoffrey Cain
Once nothing but a small Korean agricultural company, Samsung became the world’s most powerful company 40 years later. This is the inside story of this secretive mammoth corporation that involves corruption, scandals and triumphs in the merciless world of technology.
 
Our House is on Fire
By Svante and Greta Thunberg
Thunberg is the most successful environmental franchise today. The title is the call Greta made at the World Economic Forum to save the world. As her family’s pain and Nature’s become mutual metaphors, the book examines her hopes and prescription.  

Upstream
By Dan Heath
How to solve a crisis? Preventing it from happening. With the help of extensive research, Heath shows how this is not a fantastical proposition and can easily be turned into reality.

The New World Disorder and the Indian Imperative
By Shashi Tharoor & Samir Saran
A new world order is on the due. Can India lead from the front despite the many hurdles that stand in the way? New actors and ideas are emerging everyday, and who takes the reins remains to be seen.

The Other Side of the Divide
By Sameer Arshad Khatlani
One week in Lahore can give birth to a lifetime of anecdotes coupled with memories of good food, good conversation and old world etiquette. Khatlani discovers all this and more in this brilliantly written snapshot of his time spent across the border.

Superhuman River
By Bidisha Banerjee
Tracing the path of the Ganga to diagnose what ails the river, Banerjee has interwoven myth, folklore and modern science to make sense of the 2,525-long serpentine flow of India’s holiest of holies.

The Room Where It Happened
By John Bolton
As the American presidency unravels, the former NSA reveals Donald Trump’s descent into megalomaniacal chaos, deals with dictators, bribery and familial corruption. His ignorance is startling in the world’s most powerful leader who didn’t know the UK is a nuclear power, or that Finland isn’t part of Russia. 

Into the Heart of the Himalayas
By Jono Lineen
After his brother meets with a tragic death, Jono Lineen seeks inner peace through a journey of faith. It takes him from the Muslim Himalayas to the Buddhist Himalayas, till it finally culminates at the Hindu Himalayas. A must-read for travel aficionados.

Jennifer
By Nandita Puri
An eight-year-old’s childhood is illegally traficked from India to the US where she is sexually abused and assaulted for two decades until she is deported to India. This is her voice warning against another child from sharing a similar fate. Listen.

 THEIR PICKS

Rakshit Shetty Actor

The Power of Your 
Subconscious Mind 
By Dr Joseph Murphy
We often wonder how exactly our subconscious mind functions. Murphy guides us in how to understand that mind better and in turn control its depths.

The 7 Habits of Highly 
Effective People
By Stephen R Covey
The author talks about the values of virtuous habits. He discusses in detail seven essential habits that one must incorporate for a better life.

The Secret
By Rhonda Byrne
It focuses on the importance of gratitude. The book is considered one of the defining works on inspirational writing.

Maha Samparka
By Manu
An alternative narration, it uses the Mahabharata, Rigveda and more to arrive at the evolution of Bharata. 

The Handmaid’s Tale 
By Margaret Atwood
One of the best known books of Dystopian Literature, this book presents a haunting image of a world where women are just commodities.

Kindle clicks

Dirt
By Bill Buford
Fancy a bit of French cooking? Follow Italian Chef Bill Buford as he goes sniffing around hallowed French restaurants and picks his way gingerly through a maze of revered gastronomy. This is bound to be a food-lover’s paradise.

The Mamba Mentality
By Kobe Bryant
The premature death of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar merits a tributary book or two. The fact that this one is Bryant’s own take, makes it even more appealing and read-worthy. He shares his knowledge of the game, layered with detailed accounts.

All Adults Here
By Emma Straub
A novel about failures and rising to the challenge, irrespective of our age, this coming-of-age book is relatable to any period of your life. Revolving around a disjointed joint family, it is humorous, magical and full of kindness and forgiveness by turns.

Big Summer
By Jennifer Weiner
An unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness, it also lays bare the ever-increasing hurdles of a life lived Kingsized online. It’s a story of how two friends grow apart, find their own inner cores and then reconnect only to edge closer to losing everything again.

The Jetsetters
By Amanda Eyre Ward
This book is everywhere – from being a New York Times Bestseller to being featured on Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club and The Oprah Magazine. Charlotte Perkins at 70 writes a sexy essay and wins a globe-trotting holiday. Her family is naturally invited, and chaos is suddenly redefined.

Beach Read
By Emily Henry
Two broke authors battling writer’s block, one would think Augustus and January would have much in common. But the similarities end there. All seems to be lost, including their literary careers, till they hit on the perfect deal to save themselves from oblivion.

28 Summers
By Elin Hilderbrand
The agony romance, the bittersweet relationship, dramatic interludes, hush-hush talks and careers and lives at stake, if this kind of writing appeals to you, look no further. Oh, and did we mention, a budding Presidential election in the wake?

Valentine
By Elizabeth Wetmore
The Texas oil boom of 1976 brings in its wake violence and pain. Even as the men rejoice at striking black gold, the women know instinctively that nothing morally good will come of it. Their fears are only reinforced when a teenager is brutally assaulted and left for the dead.

Murder in Montego Bay
By Paula Lennon
Two brothers, accustomed to a privileged life and heirs to a robust business empire, get on the wrong side of the law. While one of them is detained, the other is let go. It would have been a simple case, but the one to walk free turns up dead within minutes.

The Chain
By Adrian McKinty
A story woven around a dangerous game. A stranger kidnaps your child. There are two simple steps to freeing your child. First, you must kidnap someone else’s child. Second, your victim must kidnap another person’s child. And so the game continues.

The Vanishing Half
By Brit Bennett
A novel that marries literary flair with psychological insights, The Vanishing Half is about a pair of twin sisters who grow up identical on the outside, but carve their own independent identities and stories. But separated by miles and lies, the two still are the twins they themselves tried to bury in the past.

Writers & Lovers
By Lily King
A bad break-up and her mother’s death have rocked Casey’s world. In debt and directionless, her anchor in these troubling times is the book she has been writing for the last six years. And then she meets Silas and Oscar. Too much good luck? Or two much trouble?

Mythology & Historical Fiction

The Anarchy
By William Dalrymple
A defining book about how an Empire was looted and brought to its knees by a company that originally sailed into the land with the promise of trade. The book is a detailed account of what is perhaps the first corporate war ever waged.

Akbar
By Ira Mukhoty
Regarded as the greatest Mughal ruler, Akbar ruled for almost 50 years. Mukhoty covers in detail his reign, known as the wealthiest period in India’s Mughal history. She also elaborates on many royal women who were centric to Akbar’s life and rule.

The Emperor Who Never Was
By Supriya Gandhi
Very little is known about Shah Jahan’s eldest son, Dara Shukoh. A learned Sufi, Dara was thought to succeed his father to the throne, before being defeated by his brother, Aurangzeb. The book throws light on an Emperor who could have been.

Pilgrim Nation
By Devdutt Pattanaik
Not long ago, seekers and sages travelled through the length and breadth of this ancient land. Pattanaik traces the steps through 32 holy sites, and in the process unravels the multilayered history and geography of the nation.

The Mirror and the Light
By Hilary Mantel
Eight years in the making, the final book in the Cromwell Trilogy is stunning in the vast area it covers. A masterpiece that stays close to history, the book starts with the death of Anne Boleyn and ends with another decapitation—that of Thomas Cromwell.

The Vault of Vishnu
By Ashwin Sanghi
A Pallava prince, a Buddhist monk, a Neolithic tribe and a reclusive scientist—what can all these different people have in common? What is it that they are trying to guard for ages? A young investigator must find the answers, before the balance of power tilts towards the evil.

Plassey
By Sudeep 
Chakravarti
The battle between Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah and Lord Robert Clive changed the course of history. Here Chakravarti delves deeper into the battle: Was it all about land conquests? Who were the other prominent figures? Why does Plassey still fascinate historians today? Was the result decisive?

A Long Petal of the Sea
By Isabel Allende
A young doctor is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Forced into exile with his sister-in-law. He boards a ship bound for Chile chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda. In the magnificent historical recreation, characters flit through the pages and we meet them through the doctor.

Bahawalpur
By Anabel Loyd
A princely state that acceded to Pakistan, Bahawalpur has been lost in the pages of time. Based on conversation with existing family members of the royal family, the book traces the history of the family and the troubled days that led to the decision of going with Pakistan.

The Magnificent Diwan
By Bakhtiar K Dadabhoy
Not much is known about Salar Jung. One of 19th century India’s most influential and powerful statesman. This book tries to fill that gap and manages admirably. Besides chronicling his life, the meticulously researched book also gives a peek into the life and times of Hyderabad.

The Greatest Ode to Lord Ram
By Pavan K Varma
In this book, Varma selects some stanzas of Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas and gives his commentary on the same. The book makes an effort to explain the god and the man that Rama was through philosophy and poetics.

Thrillers & Mysteries

American Dirt
By Jeanine Cummins
It’s a day Lydia will never forget. Her niece’s 15th birthday turns into a nightmare with Acapulco’s drug cartel gunning down her entire family. Only she and her son survive and they have to make every second count to ensure that they are not the next target. Terrifyingly delicious.

Camino Winds
By John Grisham
On Camino Island, author Nelson Kerr is found dead during a violent hurricane. Can his thriller-writer pal Mercer Mann find the killer through clues in a manuscript? Mercer’s second coming.

To Kill A Man
By Sam Bourne
Activist Natasha Winthrop has it in her to be the new American President. She kills an intruder during a home invasion and hires political troubleshooter Maggie Costello. As Natasha becomes the face of the #MeToo movement Costello finds cracks beneath the perfect facade. Who is the real Natasha Winthrop?

The Guest List
By Lucy Foley
A remote island. The wedding of the year. Old friends. Smiling faces. But underneath it all thrive jealousies and secrets. And, of course, the unlucky #13. An Agatha Christie archetype, this page-turner with death lurking at every corner is utterly unputdownable.

The Last Trial
By Scott Turow
An 85-year-old revered lawyer, Sandy Stern comes out of retirement to defend his old Nobel Prize-winner friend Kiril Pafko  who has been indicted for fraud, insider trading and even murder. The unfolding events reveal truths that question Stern’s belief in his friend’s integrity, the judicial system and professional duty. A page-turning legal thriller worthy of the master’s pen.

Interlibrary Loan
By Gene Wolfe
A brilliantly futuristic thriller where robots and humans fight to the end in a world that clones are trying to save.

Pew
By Catherine Lacey
A man is found sleeping inside a town church. With no memory of his identity or even his gender, he needs a roof. The town decides to name him Pew, and rotates him from house to house. Over time he creates his own bank of secrets of every house and resentment begins to build. 

The Boy from the Woods
By Harlan Coben
Dan Brown once described Coben as ‘the modern master of the hook and twist’. A girl goes missing. But no one seems to take it seriously. Least of all, her own family. But Wilde knows something is not right. His own feral instincts of having grown up in the wilderness are his best tools to find the girl alive.

The Last Flight
By Julie Clark
Two women. Both alone. Both scared. And both ready to do what it takes to get a shot at a better life. In an airport bar, a deal is made that binds the two women together forever. But when one dies moments later in a tragic accident, it is left to the other to live the life they both deserved.

Fair Warning
By Michael Connelly
Jack goes on a date one evening, and the next morning he is accused of murder. While he tries to prove his innocence, he decides to do some amateur sleuthing to unearth clues about the death of his date. With the cops closing in, he realises someone wants him dead too.

THEIR PICKS

Bose Krishnamachari Artist

The Daily Practice of Painting
By Gerhard Richter
Moving between figurative and abstract art, Richter developed his own style. He is revered as a theorist today.

Art After Philosophy & After
By Joseph Kosuth
Kosuth’s works are rooted in French theory. This book comprises his writings and interviews over a 24-year period. 

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Interviews Vol: 1 & 2
By Hans Ulrich Obrist
This French curator loved interviewing people. Some of his over 300 interviews are part of these collections.

The Metamorphosis
By Franz Kafka
What does one say about The Metamorphosis? A seminal work, it is unsurpassed in its imagery. 

The Legends of  Khasak
By OV Vijayan 
Ravi travels to a remote village. The book talks about the effect of one on the other.

Self help

The Gift of Forgiveness
By Katherine 
Schwarzenegger Pratt
Learning to forgive is a moral crisis, but is needed. Through in-depth interviews and real-life case studies, the reader is taken one step at a time to be kinder to the world and to oneself in the process.

Together
By Vivek K Murthy
The world today is a global village, but disconnect is rampant. This brilliant book examines why companionship is a medical necessity and teaches that everyone can benefit from human bonding.

How to Get Sh*t Done 
By Erin Falconer
Do you promise yourself every year this will be the one you finally check off your bucket list? The first thing to do is to give yourself a break! You can do more by doing less. Dump nonessentials and focus on what’s important.

Death: An 
Inside Story
By Sadhguru
Sadhguru tries to dispel the taboo about death by discussing how it is an essential part of life. One has to be ready to deal with the death of loved ones. 

Becoming a King
By Morgan Snyder
This is a book for men. Why does a man entrusted with great power destroy everything under his care? But it need not be. And it is not what God intended. 

Kids & Young Adult

In A Dark, Dark Wood
By Ruth Ware
A party at an isolated cottage gives Clara a chance to reconnect with childhood friend, Nora. But skeletons tumble out of long-locked cupboards and unpleasant secrets emerge. Will their friendship succumb to the test of times, or emerge stronger?

I Hate my Curly Hair
By Divya Anand
A humorous take on self-acceptance through that problem every curly-haired girl faces. From talking about standing up to bullies to finally learning to celebrate gloriously curly hair, it is a book that teaches you to be confident in your skin.

Hey Diddle Diddle
By Anushka Ravishankar & Priya Kuriyan
Set in Kerala, the novel celebrates the whimsical notions of childhood; if, say, a cow can jump over the moon, can a horse jump too? Along with charming water colours and paper-folding art pieces, it celebrates friendship and end of inhibition.

Tine and the Faraway Mountain
By Shikha Tripathi & Ogin Nayam
If the mountains have your heart, this is your book. Tine wants to be closer to the hills where she grew up. Based on the experiences of a real-life mountaineer from Arunachal Pradesh, the narrative focuses on self-belief and realising one’s dreams.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
By Charlie Mackesy
Four unlikely friends discover what really matters in an uncertain world. Through conversations and adventures, the story unfolds many lessons for children. It is based on the writer-illustrator’s daily Instagram feed.

My Daddy and the Well
By Jerry Pinto & Lavanya Naidu
A father narrates his childhood days in a Goan village without electricity, where he had to jump into the well to get water for the trees. With drawings by renowned illustrator Lavanya Shankar.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
By Deepa Anappara
Jai, Pari and Faiz band together to get to the bottom of child kidnappings. What begins as a fun investigative game soon turns into a desperate chase for criminals. It gets murkier when djinns decide to enter the plot.

Karma Meets a Zombie
By Evan Purcell
Karma has been defending his village for as long as he can remember. He may not be the bravest or the smartest kid around, but he is a Monster Fighter. But things take a nasty turn when one of his friends in school turns into a zombie.

How the Onion Got its Layers
By Sudha Murty
With charming illustrations woven around words, favourite children’s author Sudha Murty answers puzzling childhood questions: Why does an onion have layers? Why do they make mothers cry? A story fit for anyone with a child in their hearts. 

The Little Book of Everything
By Ruskin Bond
In the middle of online classes or assignments, at work or during a heart break, keep this book close at hand. Turn to it when you are feeling low and there is no one to talk to. It’s a patient friend who always has something comforting to say. Like, “Bad times are good times to prepare for better times.”

The Piano
By Nandita Basu
A simple but moving (literally) story of friendship between a girl and her piano that covers decades. The story travels from Germany to war-torn France and England before coming to Calcutta. A tale of love and loss, and of the power of music.

The Torchbearers
By AB Majmudar
Prem is a bored 11-year-old whose only escape from dreary reality is the imaginary world of fantastic wishes. But what a wish he hadn’t bargained for coming true was getting a genie, a dragon and superpowers to save the world.

Music, Food & Films

Sebastian and Sons
By TM Krishna
The mrdangam is an integral part of Carnatic music, but mrdangam-makers are an unsung sort. Krishna brings to the forefront the history of these keepers of tradition. Featuring legendary players and distinguished makers of the classical drum.

The Non-conformist
By Parikshat Sahni
Legendary actor Balraj Sahni counted among his host of admirers Harivansh Rai Bachchan and his son Amitabh Bachchan, who has written the foreword for the book. Parikshat gives a candid picture of his father, and lets us peek into history.

Sridevi
By Satyarth Nayak
Sridevi is perhaps the first female superstar of Indian cinema. She could stand up to the clout of Amitabh Bachchan. With a diverse fan following spanning both the North and the South, her untimely death cemented her legend with mystique.

Fix It With Food
By Kavita Devgan
Can you eat your way to a longer and healthier life? This volume can be your companion in treating every ailment with the right kind of nutrition. Through a list of 40 superfoods, boost your immune system and kickstart a healthier lifestyle.

Memoirs & Biographies

A Woven Life
By Jenny Housego & Maya Mirchandani
When Jenny Housego, textile historian and co-founder of Kashmir Loom, was a child she thought she would grow up to be a spy. Instead she brought to light India’s forgotten weaves. Layered like her vocation and open like her life, the book has  a foreword from famed textile revivalist Laila Tyabji and discusses in detail Jenny’s days from London to Kashmir.

Jinnah
By Ishtiaq Ahmed
Ahmed delves into unused archival material to arrive at the personality of the man both celebrated and reviled in India and Pakistan. It discusses the evolution of the politician from an Indian freedom fighter to Pakistan’s founder.

Uncanny Valley
By Anna Wiener
A brutal look at Silicon Valley where Weiner spent a short time working a non-tech job. The toxic atmosphere of greed, sexual harassment, dodgy valuations and unprincipled data snooping come through vividly, exposing the patina of the billionaire dream.  

Kasturba Gandhi
By BM Bhalla
A seminal work that illuminates Kasturba, both the activist and the wife who walks shoulder to shoulder with her illustrious husband, and recognises her contribution to the Independence movement.

Let Me Say It Now
By Rakesh Maria
From the 1993 serial blasts and the 26/11 case to the Sheena Bora case, Maria’s career was the stuff legends are made of. Not new to controversy, he always maintained a stiff upper lip until finally breaking his silence in this tell-all book.

Backstage
By Montek Singh 
Ahluwalia
From the IMF to Delhi’s corridors of power, Ahluwalia rose to prominence to play a key role in the shaping of the country’s future. An insider’s account of his time at the centre of economic policy making in the UPA administration.

THEIR PICKS Anjana Basu Author

Calling Elvis
By Shantanu Datta
A memorable collection of conversations between musical greats— John Lennon with Keith Richards— in this expertly curated book.

Murder in the Monastery
By Barun Chanda
A dark and gritty detective novel about sex and violence set in Sikkim where the abbot of a monastery asks the vacationing detective to find a rare missing manuscript.

An Extreme Love of Coffee
By Harish Bhat
Two coffee lovers-turned-lovers in search of treasure, who are pursued by Japanese ninjas, are helped by a friendly ghost.

The Empress of the Taj
By Timeri Murari
A journey to a forgotten village—Mumtaz Mahal’s Burhanpur and the very heart of a long dead empire.
 
Candid Tales
By Adithi Rao
Biker Candida Louis wanders across India on a motorbike encountering strange phenomena 

THEIR PICKS 

Anupam Arunachalam Author and illustrator

Lord of Light
By Roger Zelazny
A fantasy novel pretending to be a science fiction. The writing is elegant and the plot intricate.

The Information
By James Gleick
Gleick weaves the coarse fibres of history and science to show how information is passed down through the ages.

The Arrival
By Shaun Tan
A graphic novel without text. Luscious pencil illustrations tell the heartwarming tale of an immigrant coming to a foreign city.

The Fifth Season
By NK Jemisin
An epic fantasy with an innovative magic system, a deliciously weird setting and strong, well-developed characters.

Artemis Fowl
By Eoin Colfer
Not really a children’s book, it’s got plenty for adults to sink their teeth into. It’s got its own movie too.

Short Stories & Translations

Between the Assassinations
By Aravind Adiga
Basing his collection in Kittur, India, this poignant work comprises the stories of people at crossroads. From bright minds to the ones with no morals, or from the high and mighty to the underprivileged, Adiga lends a voice to a diverse section of people.

A Ballad Of Remittent Fever
By Ashoke Mukhopadhyay
Set in disease-riddled Calcutta on the cusp of World War I, Dr Dwarikanath Goshal combats paternal prejudice, buys cadavers for dissection and mocks superstition as he follows generations of knowledgeable ghosts. Characters connected to his life fight their own battles in Mesopotamia’s killing fields or are heartbroken in love.

Chorashastra
By VJ James
His father was a petty coconut thief. But the protagonist of Chorashastra wants more. He breaks into a professor’s house and finds him submerged in the ancient text , the Chorashastra. The professor uses the thief to test the value of the script making amazing dreams coming alive.

Japanese Ghost Stories
By Lafcadio Hearn
The master of the macabre draws on the dark side of Japanese folklore in this retelling of ghost stories about evil goblins, headless monsters, faceless ghouls and more. The haunting influence of his Irish childhood in the 19th century makes them even darker.


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