The world doesn’t necessarily need to be annexed by another pandemic or even an apocalypse, for you to start reading books. Now that you seem convinced, here is a list of ten latest books, that you might find useful to subdue your procrastination monkey.
1. Murder of the Mushaira- Raza Mir
Published in March 2021, ‘Murder of the Mushaira’ is being highly appreciated by readers across the globe. A historic fiction induced with a murder mystery, the book is set during the pre-independence era, at a critical time when Indian soldiers began revolting against the British. The author introduces the readers to the protagonist, Asadullah Mirza “Ghalib”, a Poet Laureate to the last Mughal emperor and also a detective, who investigates the murder of a poet at a Mushaira. With a plethora of more than 80 characters, the author successfully represents the socio-economic status of 1857 Delhi.
2. Home in the world- Amartya Sen
One of the most awaited books of the year, ‘Home in the world’ is a memoir of the Nobel prize laureate Amartya Sen. “For Amartya Sen, “home” has been many places, including Dhaka, in modern Bangladesh, where he grew up; Calcutta, where he studied economics; and Cambridge, where he engaged with the greatest minds of the twentieth century. In ‘Home in the World’, these “homes” collectively form an unparalleled and truthful vision of twentieth- and twenty-first-century life,” reads the blurb of the book. Though not as impressive as the Sen himself, the memoir is a remarkable story of the journey of a brilliant mind. Sen speaks lucidly of diverse subjects including; economics, Hinduism, literature and so many other things that caught his interest on the way. The story of how he came to find himself at home, not in one corner of the world but in myriad settings, is peppered with stories of people and places told with love passion and wit.
3. Better to have gone – Akash Kapur
Written by Akash Kapur who is a well known Indian-American journalist, ‘Better to Have Gone’ is a non-fiction book about a village in India called Auroville, where Kapur along with his wife Auralice explore the deaths of her parents in a little hut in India in 1986. The book takes an enlightening look at how a well-meaning utopian community in India became complicated by reality. In a propulsive narrative, he chronicles the story of John Walker and Diane Maes, the parents of his wife, Auralice, who left their homes in the waning days of the hippie movement for South India’s idealistic “planned city” Auroville, which grew out of an ashram, where they were “joined by hundreds and then thousands of others”—including Kapur and his parents.
4. The Island of Missing Trees- Elif Shafak
Written by one of the best authors of the current era, Elif Shafak has yet again stood out with yet another brilliant book. The ‘Island of Missing Trees’ is a rich, magical tale of belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal. The ‘Island of Missing Trees’ is a bewitching, lyrical and richly magical story about belonging and identity, human destruction of nature and restoration. Defne and Costas are on opposite sides of a divided country; she is Turkish, he is Greek, they both call Cyprus home, and their love is forbidden. The only place they can meet is the Happy Fig tavern, so named because of the miraculous Ficus carica tree that grows in the middle of the room. That fig tree will witness their happy encounters and quiet partings, but it will be there even when war breaks out, turning the city into a ruin and separating lovers. Decades later, 16-year-old Ada, born in London, begins to take an interest in the land of her ancestors. She has never visited Cyprus, and the only connection to that island is the fig tree that grows in her backyard.
The novel provides an informative and compassionate account of the tragedy of fractured communities torn apart by war, partition, division, religion, love, loss, grief, migration, the natural world, and the search for a sense of identity and belonging that refuses to be denied.
5. Beyond Order-Jordan Peterson
This book is for the J.P fan club who have been waiting since 2018 when Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life, was published. ‘Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life’ is a sequel to his book 12 Rules for life. According to Jordan Peterson, both books are predicated on the notion that chaos and order are "the two fundamental elements of reality", and that "people find meaning in optimally balancing them". The difference between the two books, according to Peterson, is that the first focuses "more on the dangers of an excess of chaos", while the second is more concerned "with the dangers of too much structure". Peterson says that 12 Rules "argues for the merits of a more conservative view of the world" while Beyond Order "argues for the merits of a more liberal view.
6. Rumours of Spring: A girlhood in Kashmir-Farah Bashir
An undoubtedly brilliant piece of writing, ‘Rumours of Spring’ is the unforgettable account of Farah Bashir's adolescence spent in Srinagar in the 1990s. As Indian troops and militants battle across the cityscape and violence becomes the new normal, a young schoolgirl finds that ordinary tasks - studying for exams, walking to the bus stop, combing her hair, falling asleep - are riddled with anxiety and fear. With haunting simplicity, Farah Bashir captures moments of vitality and resilience from her girlhood amidst the increasing trauma and turmoil of passing years - secretly dancing to pop songs on banned radio stations; writing her first love letter; going to the cinema for the first time - with haunting simplicity. This deeply affecting coming-of-age memoir portrays how territorial conflict surreptitiously affects everyday lives in Kashmir.
7. Sach Kahun Toh- Neena Gupta
A book that has been a talk of the town since its release, ‘Sach Kahun Toh’ is an autobiography of the veteran Bollywood actor Neena Gupta. In ‘Sach Kahun Toh’, actor Neena Gupta chronicles her extraordinary personal and professional journey-from her childhood days in Delhi's Karol Bagh, through her time at the National School of Drama, to moving to Bombay in the 1980s and dealing with the struggles to find work. It details the big milestones in her life, her unconventional pregnancy and single parenthood, and a successful second innings in Bollywood. A candid, self-deprecating portrait of the person behind the persona, it talks about her life's many choices, battling stereotypes, then and now, and how she may not be as unconventional as people think her to be.
8. Klara and the sun- Kazuo Ishiguro
The novel is set in a dystopian future in which some children are genetically engineered for enhanced academic ability. As schooling is provided entirely at home by on-screen tutors, opportunities for socialization are limited and parents who can afford it often buy their children androids as companions. The book is narrated by one such Artificial Friend called Klara. Although Klara is exceptionally intelligent and observant, her knowledge of the world is limited.
9. The Lost Fragrance of Infinity-Moin Mir
Inspired by the sacred geometry of Sufism, and filled with beauty, poetry and profound insights into the Golden Age of Islam, ‘The Lost Fragrance of Infinity’ appeals both to the head and the heart. Using symbolism and metaphors, Moin Mir traces his protagonist’s inward journey from the destruction of his ego to self-analysis and the eventual realization that the journey is about bettering one’s life through deeds of kindness. Mir takes the readers into the 18th century, where conflicts, ambitions and intrigues prevail. Three magnificent empires which powered discoveries of new frontiers, not just territorial but also in arts, literature and spirituality: the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal stand on the brink of destruction and with that the Old World order gives way to the new and Europe starts pushing the boundaries.
10. A Map of Longings: The Life and works of Agha Shahid Ali- Manan Kapoor
This first definitive biography of Agha Shahid Ali offers a rich portrait of the poet and the world he inhabited. The book is a scintillating portrait of one of the finest poets of the late 20th century. In this biography, Manan Kapoor explores the concerns that shaped Shahid’s life and works, following the footsteps of the poet from Kashmir to New Delhi and finally to the United States. He charts Shahid’s friendships with figures like Begum Akhtar and James Merrill, and looks at the lives the poet touched with his compassion and love. He also traces the complex evolution of Shahid’s evocative verses, which mapped various cultures and geographies, and mourned injustice and loss, both personal and political.