Book now to avoid disappointment, as they say. (But please note that dates may shift, as you’ll notice if you look at the last #60Books preview we did.)
Age Of Anger: A History Of The Present: Pankaj Mishra has answers – backed up with his deep understanding of modern history – for everyone asking themselves where the world went wrong in the last few years. Juggernaut, January.
The Afghan Cookbook: Taking off from last year’s (extremely delicious) Persian cookbook trend, this book feeds the world’s growing interest in Central Asian cooking and hospitality. Writer Freshta Mayar delves into Afghan traditions of mehmaan-nawazi -- and provides recipes mant-u make your heart sing. Roli Books, April.
Autoplay: Short stories from one of India’s most thoughtful columnists, G Sampath, set in a “futuristic, semi-dystopian” India. Harper Collins, January.
Baaz: New Anuja Chauhan! This one features brave Ishaan Faujdaar and spirited Tehmima Dadyseth rattling sabres in 1971, as India topples over the brink of war with Pakistan. Wings and heartbeats prepare to flutter. Harper Collins, April.
Beyond Bollywood: The Cinemas Of South India: MK Raghavendra edits an anthology that “attempts to make sense” of the industries that actually produce India’s biggest movies. (And movie stars, obviously.) Harper Collins, June.
Boy: Pakistani debutant Sami Shah’s debut novel sounds like old-fashioned fun: it’s a page-turner urban fantasy in which djinns roam the streets of Karachi alongside cops, criminals and unimaginable mythical creatures. (Karachi friends tell us they just call this ‘Tuesday.’) Pan Macmillan, May.
The Book Of Chocolate Saints: Poet, lover and Still Dirty frontman Jeet Thayil returns to the novel form with his long-promised book about the fictional artist Newton Francis Xavier (an Easter egg in his previous novel Narcopolis), poet, lover and still/always dirty. Aleph, monsoon.
The Book Of Indian Dogs: A retired Postmaster General of Tamil Nadu, S Theodore Baskaran is also a film historian, wildlife conservationist, and author of the first major book about the subcontinent’s doggos to be published in at least fifty years. What a pup star. Aleph, spring.
Brer Rabbit Retold: Jagdish Chitara, ritual textile painter from Gujarat, illustrates a retelling of these famous stories. African-American writer and griot Arthur Flowers takes the tales back to their trickster roots in Africa and the black American South. Tara Books, January.
The CEO Who Lost His Head: We’re promised that Aditya Sinha’s novel, full of tabloids, sex and scandal, will be the most stylish crime fiction India will read all year. Pan Macmillan, January.
The China Sketchbook: A new book contains the memories, sketches -- over a 100 line drawings -- and adventures of I. Allan Sealy as he travels along the railroads of northern China, in search of a place reminiscent of his Himalayan hometown. (He's back in Dehradun now.) Seagull Books, January.
Poet, lover and Still Dirty frontman Jeet Thayil returns to the novel form with his long-promised book about the fictional artist Newton Francis Xavier (an Easter egg in his previous novel Narcopolis), poet, lover and still/always dirty.
The Decline Of Civilisation: Philosopher Ramin Jehanbegloo has ideas about how to Make Humanity Great Again, and they involve Gandhi, Tagore and our favourite Romila Thapar, who writes a foreword. Aleph, spring.
Dining With The Nawabs: Writer Meera Ali and photographer Karam Puri put together a humdinger about the kitchens and dining rooms of South Asia’s former nawabs and what they ate in them. (Psst: this is the book release to watch out for at Jaipur Lit Fest this year, since it’s the focus of the publisher’s now-annual and utterly fab Amber Fort dinner). Roli Books, January.
Don’t Disturb The Dead: The Story Of The Ramsay Brothers. The wonderful sports journalist Shamya Dasgupta chases down the B-movie makers whose patently fake skeletons and witches still haunt your nightmares. Harper Collins, April.
Empire: Devi Yashodharan’s debut novel is about a child soldier. Aremis, age 12, is a Greek girl trained to be a warrior in the army of the great Tamil monarch Rajendra Chola. She becomes his personal guard, and gets a ringside seat to the emperor’s pursuit of his greatest ambition, the conquest of Srivijaya, or modern-day Sumatra. Is it 1025 yet? Juggernaut, May.
The Epic City: The World On The Streets Of Calcutta: We’re as disgruntled as you that India’s most wonderful city has been colonised by the self-important imaginations of literary Bengali men. Publishing buzz about Kushanava Choudhury's debut work of non-fiction assures us, however, that this is going to be a book to rival the best writing about urban India we’ve seen so far. #Ballygrunge? Bloomsbury India, June.
Exit West: Mohsin Hamid returns with the romance of Saeed and Nadia, “a love story for modern times,” taking place in the ruins of a civil war and refugee crisis. (We don’t know which one.) Penguin Random House, March.
The Face Book: With a name like that, how can anyone resist Cory Wallia’s book of make-up tips? We’re promised a wide array of looks, “from sexy seductress to blushing bride.” Harper Collins, May.
Framed: Another novel from Hindi’s pulp king Surender Mohan Pathak finds its way into the hands of English readers. His protean hero Sardar Surender Singh Sohal, aka Vimal, must battle a nemesis whose only ambition in life is to go down in history as the man who ended Vimal. Harper Collins, January.
Girls Of The Mahabharata 1: The One Who Swam With The Fishes: The gorgeous story of Satyavati is re-imagined in the first of a series of young adult novels by bpb’s former Delhi editor, the sparkling Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan. Harper Collins, April.
Good As Gold: If there was ever a better time to read the memoirs of an RBI governor, we don’t know of it. (No counting Manmohan Singh.) Dr YV Reddy, who ran the bank from 2003 to 2008, spills the beans. Harper Collins, January.
The Golden Legend: Nadeem Aslam’s new novel is almost as beautiful to look at as he is, and is said to unfold in his characteristically poetic prose, as he immerses us in hard-bitten contemporary Pakistan. Penguin Random House, January.
Greenlight: Kalpana Swaminathan’s beloved detective Lalli returns, this time to tackle a horrifically gory mystery surrounding the missing children of Kandewadi, Bombay. Bloomsbury India, May.
How I Became A Tree: Poet and Siliguri resident Sumana Roy mixes literary history and botanical research to write about the desire -- her own and that of others -- to slow down and out of the march of humanity, and live like a tree. However, she has no branches. Aleph, winter.
Kalpana Swaminathan’s beloved detective Lalli returns, this time to tackle a horrifically gory mystery surrounding the missing children of Kandewadi, Bombay.
I Love XXX & Other Plays: Chinese writer Meng Jinghui’s plays challenge revolutionary nostalgia and toy with Shakespeare and Genet -- they’re available in English, edited by Claire Conceison, for the first time thanks to Seagull. Seagull Books, March.
Incredible India: Slated to publish at the end of the Biennale, this book by V Sunil will make a good gift for the departing traveller in your life: it traces the sumptuous Incredible India tourism initiative, and features about 60 pull-out posters of stills from the campaign. Roli Books, February.
An Indian Beach -- By Day And Night: Joelle Jolivet writes and illustrates this pretty children’s story-slash-art-activity book about a day in the life of a South Indian beach. Tara Books, February.
Indira Gandhi: Her Life And Afterlife: Sagarika Ghose takes up one of the most fraught challenges in Indian publishing, the Mrs Gandhi biography, and promises an in-depth look at her “many avatars.” Juggernaut, June.
ISRO: A Personal History: Start your engines, space tragics. This memoir comes courtesy former ISRO director R Aravamudan, and veteran journalist Gita Aravamudan. Harper Collins, February.
Jasmine and Jinns: Memories and Recipes: Delhi’s own Sadia Dehlvi writes a cookbook that’s also a personal history of life in India’s eternal city. Harper Collins, April.
Karimayi: English readers get a rare glimpse into the world of Shivapura, the creation of Kannada maestro Chandrashekhar Kambar, in this novel, translated by Krishna Manavalli. Seagull Books, January.
Kingfizzer: The Mallya Story: For those who like bitter head, journalist Kingshuk Nag writes about the extraordinary life and catastrophic fall of the former King Of Good Times. Harper Collins, June.
Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor, allegedly “uncensored.” For everyone who’s ever wanted to know the full blood, sweaters and tears story of Hindi cinema’s true-blue sweetheart. Harper Collins, January.
Last Of The Tattooed Headhunters: Phejin Konyak traces the history and meanings of the body art of the Konyak people of Nagaland. Her fascinating material includes oral histories from some of the last living members of the tribe, now in their 90s. (She also got tattooed with the traditional implement -- a sharpened bamboo -- herself.) The book comes with photographs by Peter Bos, and a foreword by William Dalrymple. Roli Books, April.
The Lovers: Amitava Kumar’s new novel is said to remind early readers of the style of John Berger and Teju Cole, which sounds a bit like gilding the lily. As his readers know, the style of Amitava Kumar is plenty to be going on with. Aleph, monsoon.
Loyal Stalkers: Talented and witty British-Tibetan writer Chhimi Tenduf-La returns with a book of "provocative" Sri Lanka stories. Pan Macmillan, April.
Maid In India: Publishers have been commissioning books about upper-class India’s dysfunctional relationship with domestic workers for years, but journalist Tripti Lahiri’s clever, compassionate work will be the first and probably the best to come out: do not miss. Aleph, winter.
The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness: “Utmost happiness” is, of course, the state of mind of every Arundhati Roy fan awaiting this, her second novel in twenty years. The bpb office is divided between those in anticipatory rapture and those feeling mildly suspicious of this heavy-handed comedy-Soviet title. All of us will, of course, dive for the book the minute it’s out. Penguin Random House, June.
“Utmost happiness” is, of course, the state of mind of every Arundhati Roy fan awaiting this, her second novel in twenty years.
Mishti The Mirzapuri Labrador: Cute name aside, Gillian Wright’s novel about how Mishti the dog finds a family, told through the dog’s eyes, sounds adorable. Speaking Tiger, TBD.
Murder In Seven Acts: The Lalli Stories: When Kalpana Swaminathan sends out two Lalli books into the world in the same year, you have to list both. Speaking Tiger, TBD.
Murder In Mahim: Jerry Pinto’s Inspector Zende crime novel was on our last preview list, but we’re putting it back on this one because we want to read it so badly. (Publishers assure us it will see the light of day anon.) Speaking Tiger, January.
The Nanavati Case: Retold once every few years, India’s most scandalous murder trial -- involving a dashing naval commander, his beauteous wife and a rich, brash young lover -- gets an encore, this time in a book by editor and professional punster Bachi Karkaria. Juggernaut, May.
Nobody Killed Her: Who killed Rani Shah -- Nazo, her personal assistant; Balgodi, her scheming husband; or Major Q of the ISI? Crimes that cannot be solved in real-life find a dark echo in Pakistani debutante Sabyn Jhaveri’s thriller. Harper Collins, January
The Parrots Of Desire: 3,000 Years Of Indian Erotica: Editor Amrita Narayanan wrote the super-sexy A Pleasant Kind Of Heavy And Other Stories a couple of years ago. She now does a bang-up job – excuse us – of surveying the landscape of subcontinental desire, from Muddupalani to Manto. Aleph, summer.
Phantom Africa: A “towering classic” of modern French literature, composed by Michel Leiris, “secretary-archivist” of an anthropological tour of western Africa, arrives in English for the first time. Seagull Books, April.
Portrait Of An Artist: Painter Ila Pal was sent off on a sketching trip with MF Husain at the tender age of 22. Her biography of him claims to be an attempt at unravelling the enigma of the great man. (Pal also wrote another, now-obscure biography of MF Husain in the 1990s -- we wonder how many of the anecdotes are reprinted?) Harper Collins, April.
Pukka Indian: This history of India in 100 objects is curated and written by product designer and perfumer Jahnavi Dameron Nandan, with photographs by Shivani Singh, and the directorial eye of Aradhana Seth, who’s consulting with the project. The objects are meant to tell us the story of India via design, and will include everything from the lota to the Jaipur foot. Roli Books, June.
The Ring Of Truth And Other Myths Of Sex And Jewelry: A whip-smart scholarly history of rings and what you put them on is the work of no less an intellectual than Wendy Doniger, much loved (and reviled) for her monumental work on Hindu history and intellectual thought. Speaking Tiger, May.
Seven Sixes Are Forty-Three: The novel that made angry young Kiran Nagarkar a (Marathi-speaking) household name is a slippery modernist work that delighted and/or enraged everyone who read it back in the 1970s. Shubha Slee’s translation, long considered lost to the 21st century, finally gets a new edition. Harper Collins, April.
Shadow Armies: Journalist Dhirendra K Jha promises to answer all the questions, and unveil all the secrets, behind the inner workings of the RSS and the Sangh Parivar. Knicker-boxers. Juggernaut, April.
Songs For Siva: Scholar Vinaya Chaitanya translates the path-breaking Kannada poetry of twelfth-century mystic and feminist avant la lettre Akka Mahadevi. Harper Collins, March.
South Haven: Hirsh Sawhney, the editor of Delhi Noir, makes his debut with a disquieting story about a young man in the thrall of violence in a New England suburb, and his father, a depressive who finds refuge in Hindu fundamentalism. Pankaj Mishra hails his “power of insight.” Harper Collins, February.
Suspected Poems: Gulzar sa’ab’s political poems are collected in an English translation – some of them for the first time – by Pavan K Varma. Penguin Random House, January.
A new Arun Shourie book is like a gift from an eccentric scientist. You’ll never know if you’re getting something nice or nasty, but at least it will never be less than interesting.
Two Saints: Speculation Around and About Them: A new Arun Shourie book is like a gift from an eccentric scientist. You’ll never know if you’re getting something nice or nasty, but at least it will never be less than interesting. In this book, Shourie links neuroscience and medicine with the visions of two influential Hindu saints, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi. Harper Collins, April.
The Wall: Tradition, subversion, the slow creep of modernity and forbidden fruit: many exciting things come together in journalist Sowmya Aji’s debut work of fiction set in rural Karnataka. Harper Collins, March.
What It Means To Be Indian: It doesn’t even matter that this book is the work of one of the country’s best-known sociologists, Veena Das – so many people are now dying for an answer to this question that any attempt at a response deserves to be read. Aleph, monsoon.
When Crime Pays: Money And Muscle In Indian Politics: High nerdiness from political scientist Milan Vaishnav, who studies the links between crime and politics in Indian democracy and comes up with what is being called an “eye-opening” argument. Harper Collins, June.
When I Hit You: Meena Kandasamy returns with another novel, this one a searing story about the abusive marriage of a young woman to a leftwing college teacher who is determined to break her. Juggernaut, June.
Who Me, Poor?: Journalist Gayatri Jayaraman’s viral Buzzfeed article, origin of a thousand Twitter jokes and the hashtag #UrbanPoor, gets the longform treatment. Jayaraman takes a hard look at why so many young, upwardly mobile Indians are also broke. Bloomsbury India, June.
An Unsuitable Boy: Popular personal columnist Karan Johar gets together with noted journalist and translator Poonam Saxena to write a memoir that they say will be honest, and we think will be tongue-in-cheek. Will we get basketball-Anjali or chiffon-sari-Anjali? Penguin Random House, January.
Zelaldinus: Emperor Akbar’s giant chessboard at Fatehpur Sikri stages a glittering historical pageant, controlled by Akbar himself -- and by the tourist and narrator “Irv.” Basically, if you asked yourself what I Allan Sealy was up to all these years, this list is the answer. Aleph, summer.
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city