Editor’s Pick : 8 Books To Read This July

“Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.”
–  Sara Coleridge

Not sure about apricots or gillyflowers, but July has brought way too much rain in India for sure. From Mumbai to Delhi, rains have been causing havoc as well as comforting the parched souls sometimes. It is the perfect weather to cuddle up with books if you are not venturing out in the tumultuous weather. Here are this month’s picks that you can gorge upon sans guilt.

Kitty’s War – Daman Singh

December 1941. Pearl Harbour has just happened. Japan is closing in on India too and the British are juggling their problems regarding the external war and internal revolution for India’s freedom. Katherine Riddle or Kitty arrives in the Indian town of Pipli with her father and ayah. She battles a different war altogether, torn in between two worlds. This is an unusual story of a young girl during war.

While the premise of the book seems way too interesting for lovers of history and drama, there’s a trivia about the author that might interest the readers too. Daman Singh is the daughter of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur. She is a published writer in her own right with two previous novels and a memoir on her parents. Pick up this book for her lucid writing style.

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Eleventh Hour – S Hussain Zaidi

If you have some interest in the underworld of Mumbai, you must have heard of the films ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Shootout at Wadala’. These are based on books by S Hussain Zaidi, a veteran investigative and crime journalist. He has also written books like Dongri to Dubai, Byculla to Bangkok in great detail and aplomb. Eleventh Hour is his latest novel on terrorism.

New Delhi, 2017. It is nine years since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai and the wounds have still not healed. The Superintendent of Police is suspended for misconduct with the High Commissioner of Pakistan at an event. But he is being called to solve a jailbreak by terrorists and ends up on a hijacked cruise liner. Laced with suspense and superb pace, Eleventh Hour is an edge-of-the-thriller of our times. A must read if you are a lover of Indian thrillers.

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The Begums of Peshawar – Najma Yusufi

A story of four sisters in the alleys of Peshawar’s old town – Maagul, Bibigul, Chan and Firasat. They are as different as chalk and cheese, from shy to vain, quiet to elaborate. Descendants of the Afghan royal Durrani family, these sisters and their maid Bano live a life of their own. The story traverses from Peshawar to Lahore to London and chronicles the rebels of these extraordinary women.

Najma Yusufi is a lecturer and filmmaker and a descendant of the Durrani family from her mother’s side. She worked in a number of fashion houses in London. But after her mother passed away, she wanted to pay tribute to her in some way. The best idea that came to her was to write on the Durrani family, so she chose the premise and wonderful characters like the four sisters. I think this is going to be a very interesting read.

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India Moving: A History of Migration – Chinmay Tumbe

From adventure to indenture, martyrs to merchants, Partition to plantation, from Kashmir to Kerala, Japan to Jamaica and beyond, the many facets of the great migrations of India and the world are mapped in India Moving, the first book of its kind. Indians are all over the world and have been migrating since hundreds of years. Chronicling the history and geography of movements in a unique book that is not only documentation but much more than that.

Chinmay Tumbe is passionate about cities, history and migration. He is currently a faculty at IIM, Ahmedabad and has been published and awarded widely. He has published widely on migration for a decade and has served on policymaking groups. India Moving is his first book.

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Hungry Gods – Richa Lakhera

Richa Lakhera has written two novels previously, but this third one has propelled her to the limelight because of its content and presentation. She is a Deputy Editor at NDTV and has won awards for journalism.  Richa divides her time between New Delhi and Mumbai and is currently working on her next crime fiction novel.

Hungry Gods is about a lot of things. To start with, it’s about a brutal rape and a missing victim. But the killers leave a witness and the events are churned in a complex maze of characters and premises. It’s a thriller that also sheds light on a lot of other issues. There’s also Police Inspector Dorab Silva’s story and whether he is able to prevent another crime. Is is a serial killer on loose? You have to read the book to find out.

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The Mulberry Courtesan – Sikeena Karmali

It’s 1857, the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, is a broken, bitter man in his eighties who has retreated into religion and poetry. There are a lot of people in his empire and inside the red fort – his relatives, wives, children, servants, the British, etc. There comes a young Afghan woman as a courtesan, named Laale, who is abducted from her home in the mountains. She is beautiful, young, and a skilled courtesan, The Mulberry Courtesan. What’s unique is that she has been able to enamour the dyeing emperor and win his heart in troubled times. Set in the backdrop of the last Mughal empire, The Mulberry Courtesan is an epic tale of romance, tragedy, courage and adventure.

Sikeena Karmali has written a book of poetry, Places to Remember and a novel, A House by the Sea, which was shortlisted for the Amazon/Books in Canada Best First Novel Award. She lives in Canada and has served in the Canada Council for the Arts peer jury for literature.

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Job be Damned – Rishi Pipariya

Rishi Piparaiya spent over fifteen years as a flunky, middle manager and senior executive in multinational corporations. He has worked in New York, Spain and won awards and accolades in the corporate world. With designations such as AVP, VP, SVP and CXO he realized that there must be more to life than accumulating letters of the alphabet. So he safely evacuated from his C-suite office to a journey where he does what he likes. His first book ‘Aisle Be Damned’ was a bestseller.

‘Job Be Damned is the kick in the backside that you so desperately need.’ – With that tagline in the blurb, this surely is a quirky book that probably all corporate employees need to survive. The book is a humorous take on the inside-office politics and situations that might get tricky if you are an average employee. Give this one a go as I have read Rishi’s previous book and loved it.

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The Globetrotters – Arefa Tehsin

Hudhud is horrible to everyone. His History teacher teaches him a lesson –  A curse! Now Hudhud must roam the vast earth…with-and as-the greatest migratory animals. Follow Hudhud on this surreal trip, through the Arctic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, among fragrant flowers and tall grass, and find out all about the inner lives of some majestic animals and the wonders of the wild. This is a lovely book for young adults about a miscreant and his misadventures.

Arefa Tehsin is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, and writes columns and articles for various dailies and magazines. She spent her childhood amidst nature and even catch a snake or two! She is also a serial traveller and I think that’s what inspires her to write an adventure story like this.

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Aspiring author, frequent blogger, freelance editor, book critic, movie buff, mihidana fanatic. Lives in Pune. Before the above titles, I was a PhD dropout in Soil Science from the US of A, which rather coerced me into switching gears and professions. I work in both English and my mother tongue Bengali.

One thought on “Editor’s Pick : 8 Books To Read This July

  1. Just finished Arefa Tehsin’s ‘ The Globetrotters.’ Must say I’m truly impressed with the author’s style of writing and creative bend of mind. Loved the book. Look out for my review of the same on my blog ‘Fabric of Life’ as well as on Goodreads and Amazon, in a day or two.

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