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Top 15 Holiday Reads You Need NOW!

Get ready for a fantastic literary adventure this holiday season! We’ve handpicked some amazing reads that will take you on journeys with interesting characters and spellbinding stories. Whether you love stories about families, historical adventures in India, or modern tales of love and strength, our holiday reading list has it all. So, grab a cozy spot, and a warm drink, and let these Holiday Reads add a touch of magic to your holiday season!

Common yet Uncommon
Common yet Uncommon || Sudha Murty

Written in Sudha Murty’s inimitable style, Common Yet Uncommon is a heartwarming picture of everyday life and the foibles and quirks of ordinary people. In the fourteen tales that make up the collection, Sudha Murty delves into memories of childhood, life in her hometown and the people she’s crossed paths with. These and the other characters who populate the pages of this book do not possess wealth or fame. They are unpolished and outspoken, transparent and magnanimous.
Their stories are tales of unvarnished humans, with faults and big hearts.

 

Roman Stories
Roman Stories || Jhumpa Lahiri

In ‘The Boundary’, one family vacations in the Roman countryside, though we see their lives through the eyes of the caretaker’s daughter, who nurses a wound from her family’s immigrant past. In ‘P’s Parties’, a Roman couple, now empty nesters, finds comfort and community with foreigners at their friend’s yearly birthday gathering-until the husband crosses a line.

These are splendid, searching stories, written in Jhumpa Lahiri’s adopted language of Italian and seamlessly translated by the author and by Knopf editor Todd Portnowitz.

 

Sakina's Kiss
Sakina’s Kiss || Vivek Shanbhag, Srinath Perur

Exquisitely translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Sakina’s Kiss is a delicate, precise meditation on the persistence of old biases—and a rattled masculinity—in India’s changing social and political landscape. Ingeniously crafted, Vivek Shanbhag interrogates the space between truth and perception in this unforgettable foray into the minefield of family life.

 

After Messiah
After Messiah || Aakar Patel

‘Everyone bowed to the Big Man. He was glorified, deified even, with temples raised to him, as the embodiment of the nation.’

Now the Big Man is gone, with nobody named as his successor. Into this void is pushed Mira, who is reluctant at first but increasingly interested in the position she finds herself in. Will she use her authority to further her agenda, or will she hold on to her principles? Watched by her political rivals, Jayeshbhai and Swamiji, and guided by well-wishers Ayesha, Prabhu and Du Bois, she marches on and discovers something about power-and about herself.

 

Filmi Stories
Filmi Stories || Kunal Basu

The eight stories of this collection are about unforeseen terrors and adventures, surreal comedies, the apocalypses and the sublime poetry of everyday life. A disgruntled trucker sets out to kill his rival, ending up as the saviour of migrant workers trapped by a pandemic. A novice jailor breaks the law only to learn that nothing in this world is beyond pardon. A corpse dressed immaculately in a suit is discovered on a beach, the trail of the suspects stretching across continents in casinos and cruise ships. The nude paintings of a dead artist set the stage for a murder in a gallery. Hunt for a terrorist leads to a dangerous game of luring a prey out of its lair using a human bait. A man finds himself as the sole passenger of an airplane flying from one deserted airport to another. An innocent shopkeeper learns the wisdom of the Mahabharata on the verge of losing his innocence.

 

Victory City
Victory City || Salman Rushdie

In the wake of an insignificant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for the Goddess, who begins to speak out of the girl’s mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana’s comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga – literally ‘victory city’ -the wonder of the world.

 

The Patient in Bed Number 12
The Patient in Bed Number 12 || Raj Kamal Jha

The Patient in Bed Number 12 is a remarkable novel framed as a confession from parent to child, from child to parent. In this profoundly moving exchange, secrets long buried tumble out, mysterious and dreamlike: a grieving mother finds solace in a newspaper photograph; a ghost comes to life in an abandoned fridge; children fill empty jars with the night’s darkness; a young couple plan how to seek permission for their love; and three men with a phone camera turn a family’s world upside down.

 

One Part Woman || Perumal Murugan
One Part Woman || Perumal Murugan

All of Kali and Ponna’s efforts to conceive a child-from prayers to penance, potions to pilgrimages-have been in vain. Despite being in a loving and sexually satisfying relationship, they are relentlessly hounded by the taunts and insinuations of the people around them. Ultimately, all their hopes and apprehensions come to converge on thechariot festival in the temple of the half-female god Ardhanareeswara and the revelry surrounding it. Everything hinges on the one night when rules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman is sanctioned. This night could end the couple’s suffering and humiliation.But it will also put their marriage to the ultimate test. Acutely observed, One Part Woman lays bare with unsparing clarity a relationship caught between the dictates of social convention and the tug of personal anxieties, vividly conjuring an intimate and unsettling portrait of marriage, love and sex.

 

The Gallery
The Gallery || Manju Kapur

HE GALLERY pursues the question of what it takes for a woman to stand up for herself, through the intertwined lives of Minal and Ellora Sahni, wife and daughter of a successful New Delhi lawyer, and Maitrye and Tashi, wife
and daughter of the office peon at the Sahni law practice. In her new novel, Manju Kapur brings together themes of independence, identity and womanhood by focusing on a set of principal characters who are connected through work and physical proximity, yet separated by class and power.

 

The Girl Who Kept Falling in Love
The Girl Who Kept Falling in Love || Rheea Mukherjee

When Kaya meets and falls deeply in love with a fellow activist from the very religious community the country is actively trying to erase, her twin purposes are miraculously aligned in an intoxicating combination that she becomes immediately fearful of losing. In the midst of spirited protests and rising violence, Kaya bears witness to vast human suffering while experiencing profound joy. It is time to make a choice. Kaya knows if she chooses love this time, she will betray everything she has claimed to believe in. If she is willing to do that, can Kaya truly be loved by the person she most desires?

 

Mansions of the Moon
Mansions of the Moon || Shyam Selvadurai

Drawing on ancient records and historical sources, and weaving it with fiction and mythology, Shyam Selvadurai creates a vivid portrait of Yasodhara, a remarkable woman on a remarkable journey. Mansions of the Moon is an evocative, thought-provoking novel and a must-read for anyone interested in spirituality, mythology and the power of the human spirit.

 

The Sea Elephants
The Sea Elephants || Shastri Akella

Welcomed by other storytellers, Shagun thrives-easily embodying mortals and gods, men and women-and embraces a life on the move, far from his father’s clutches. When Shagun meets Marc, a charming photographer, he seems to have found the love he always longed for. But not even Marc can save him from his lingering shame, nor his father’s ever-present threat to send him to a conversion center. As Shagun’s past begins to engulf him once again, he must decide if he is strong enough to face what he fears most, and to boldly claim his own happiness.

Set in 1990s India, The Sea Elephants is an utterly immersive and spellbinding novel, both dark and beautiful, harrowing and triumphant. An ode to the redemptive joys of storytelling, Shastri Akella’s soulful debut is a celebration of hard-won love-of others and for ourselves.

 

Soft Animal
Soft Animal || Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

Soft Animal unfolds in urgent present tense with illuminating flashbacks, whip-smart dialogue and conspiratorial footnotes. Bringing the deftness of deadpan humour and the precision of meticulous social observation to the self-delusions of India’s privileged urban middle class, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s latest channels an uncomfortably-and sometimes heartbreakingly-intimate experience of millennial marriage that is seldom portrayed but all too real.

 

The Laughter
The Laughter || Sonora Jha

Sonora Jha has created a complex character both in tune and out of step with our time, an erudite man who first inspires and then challenges our sympathies. As the novel reaches its shocking conclusion, Jha compels us to re-examine scenes in a new light, revealing a depth of loneliness in unlikely places, the subjectivity of innocence, and the looming peril of white rage in America.

An explosive and tense work of fiction, The Laughter is a fascinating portrait of privilege, radicalization, class, and modern academia that forces us to confront the assumptions we make, as both readers and as citizens.

 

Fear and Lovely
Fear and Lovely || Anjana Appachana

 

Mallika is a painfully shy young woman growing up in the heart of a close-knit, sometimes stifling New Delhi colony. Though she is surrounded by love, her life is complicated by secrets that she, her mother and her aunt work hard to keep.
After suffering a trauma aged nineteen, Mallika loses three days of her memory and slowly spirals into a deep depression. She must find a way out of this abyss, back to herself and those she cares about. But she must also hide her mental illness from her community.

 

Happy Holidays!

‘Tis the Season to Snuggle Up with December Reads!

Why brave the winter chill when you can craft your own perfect December day?

Imagine a sunny balcony, a comfy blanket, and, of course, a good book. These new releases are like warm hugs for the cold days ahead, making your December delightful. So, forget the plans, grab a book, and make your own perfect December day with these fantastic reads!

Breaking the Mould
Breaking the Mould || Raghuram Rajan, Rohit Lamba

In Breaking the Mould, the authors explain how we can accelerate economic development by investing in our people’s human capital, expanding opportunities in high-skilled services and manufacturing centred on innovative new products, and making India a ferment of ideas and creativity. India’s democratic traditions will support this path, helped further by governance reforms, including strengthening our democratic institutions and greater decentralization.

 

 

 

Getting Dressed and Parking Cars
Getting Dressed and Parking Cars || Alok Kejriwal

Getting Dressed and Parking Cars captures the minute-to-minute, event-by-event, nail-biting business adventure of Alok Kejriwal’s fourth entrepreneurial venture—Games2win. The Walt Disney Company acquired
Alok’s previous company.

Games2win has been creating car parking and dress-up games online with the aim of becoming India’s most successful casual gaming start-up in the global market.

 

The Velvet Hotline
The Velvet Hotline || Arsh Verma

Ayingbi Mayengbam, a well-meaning primary school teacher, wants to take on some part-time work over the summer, ideally a job through which she can help people. When her first day as a volunteer at a suicide hotline ends in her finding a dead body, she is done with this line of work. But soon, she is approached by the winsome Dr Rastogi, a man who runs another suicide hotline with a more altruistic approach, and she is unable to say no.

 

Becoming Goan
Becoming Goan || Michelle Mendonça Bambawale

Goa’s magnetism and its promise of a relaxed, almost bohemian lifestyle, have always attracted admirers and colonizers. Before the locals could make up their minds about such interlopers, Covid-19 brought hordes of them to town—Michelle Mendonça Bambawale was one of them. In June 2020, Michelle found herself moving to the 160-year-old house she had inherited in Siolim, a village in North Goa, with her human and canine family.

Becoming Goan is a heartfelt and charming story of Michelle’s love for this land that her grandparents left her. She cares deeply about Goa’s biodiversity and is distraught about the environmental impact of tourism, construction and mining. Her devotion to Mother Earth deepens as she learns more about her roots, steeped as they are in syncretic traditions.

 

Fabulous Feasts, Fables and Family
Fabulous Feasts, Fables and Family || Tabinda Jalil-Burney

Deeply personal and intimate, this absolutely magical culinary memoir by Tabinda Jalil-Burney combines recipes and memories from the idyllic summers of her childhood which she spent with her grandparents in Aligarh. There, presided over by Amma—her formidable grandmother—the extended clan gathered and as the women concocted delicious dishes, they exchanged family stories and lore, embroidered, knitted and crocheted, while the children played games free of distractions.

 

Teachings from the Ramayana on Family & Life
Teachings from the Ramayana on Family & Life || Shantanu Gupta

 

With the help of twenty-five stories from the Ramayana, this book offers essential life lessons for a happy family life. Throwing light on challenging real-life scenarios that often perplex us, Teachings from the Ramayana offers simple ways to negotiate those challenges. From how to effectively deal with negative company to the value of meaningful friendship and the importance of a good guide—this book is packed with ideas, drawn from the great epic, that you can put to use in your day-to-day life. Through this personal engagement with the Ramayana you can find solutions to life’s many problems.

 

The Man Who Avenged Bhagat Singh
The Man Who Avenged Bhagat Singh || Abhijeet Bhalerao

In 1929, Bhagat Singh surrenders after a daring bomb attack in the heart of Delhi’s assembly. Behind bars, he prepares for an ideological battle against the empire. However, a shocking betrayal shatters his world.

Phanindra Nath Ghosh, a trusted comrade, becomes a British approver, revealing every secret of the HSRA. His damning testimony leads to multiple arrests, and then the British hang Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo. Popularly known as the ‘king’s witness’, he had singlehandedly brought on an armed revolution.

But with their leaders gone and British oppression at its peak, surviving HSRA members rally around one burning desire: revenge. Their target is the man who dismantled their life’s work. But with limited resources, their hopes rest on a lone figure.

India’s journey to Independence was filled with deeds of forgotten heroes. This is one such story of sacrifice and revenge—of a patriot against a traitor, a common man against the empire.

 

The Grammar of My Body
The Grammar of My Body || Abhishek Anicca

Subverting an ableist India’s expectations from a disabled person to be ‘inspirational’ and an ‘underdog who made it’ despite their illness, Abhishek Anicca writes about everyday stories of living with disability and chronic illness in this memoir-in-essays.

Conversational and informal, truthful and unflinching, Anicca’s wry and urgent essays in The Grammar of My Body compel the reader to become at once distant from and proximate to their inner experiences.

 

Varanasi
Varanasi || Vertul Singh

A kaleidoscopic view of Banaras, Varanasi charts a narrative that spans from the city’s present day, to its origins as Kashi, and the fin de siècle of the eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, which witnessed Varanasi’s inclusionary development as a cultural and pilgrimage centre, an opulent trading hub, and a basilica of political power.

Weaving facts, interesting anecdotes and untold stories to make a rich tapestry, this book is an insider’s account and an unparalleled portrait of the city.

 

All He Left Me Was a Recipe
All He Left Me Was a Recipe || Shenaz Treasury

All He Left Me Was a Recipe is a book of part-fact, part-fiction essays by actor and travel vlogger Shenaz Treasury about all the men who have been a part of, or influenced, her life in some way. The men whose roles have morphed between her best friends, lovers, teachers, fathers, sons and boyfriends. From when she was 3 to this very moment. The men she’s laughed with, cried with, shared food with, had adventures with, travelled the world with. The men who made her laugh, the men who made her lunch, the men who took her to dinner, the men who later unfriended her on Facebook. Ranging from funny to heartbreaking to profound, the book is a candid and funny collection of pages out of her (very personal) diary, from her first kiss to her first breakup and all the awkward moments in-between.

 

 

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit || Manu Bhagavan

Madame Pandit, as she was widely known, moved easily in global aristocratic circles, even as she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of suffering millions. She traded barbs and quips with Winston Churchill, out-debated Jan Smuts and garnered more attention than James Cagney. She was arrested for the attempted assassination of Benito Mussolini and later told John F. Kennedy not to go to Dallas. At the end of her career, she came out of retirement to battle her own niece, Indira Gandhi, in an epic clash of democracy vs. authoritarianism.

Based on eight years of research and using material in five languages from seven countries and over forty archives, Manu Bhagavan has written the definitive biography of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

 

Move Better
Move Better || Shikha Puri Arora

Have you woken up one day and noticed that your knee is suddenly hurting? Do you go through days managing spasms and sprains that you can’t really explain? All of this, even though you exercise regularly and have a fitness schedule?

The problem might be in how you move or how you sit, says popular rehab and movement coach, Shikha Puri Arora. In this practical and timely book, the Mumbai-based expert argues that the way we move, sit, stand, walk and carry ourselves reveals a lot about the quality of our health.

 

All That Sizzles
All That Sizzles || Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

A spicy meet-cute that will delight your rom-com palate!

Wedding planner Tanvi Bedi is all fired up about her latest project, the $100 million wedding of a media heiress. The only hitch is her high-profile client’s wishlist chef, Nik Shankar. Weddings are a complete no-no for Nik, but there must be something—or someone—he can’t resist.

Nik Shankar’s lifelong dream of inheriting his ancestral home is in jeopardy due to his estranged grandfather’s absurd caveat—Nik must get married to claim the property. When Tanvi storms into his office, an inconceivable solution presents itself: Nik will craft the wedding if Tanvi pretends to be his fiancée.

What starts as a recipe for disaster whips up into a delectable feast of simmering chemistry and fiery passion. But as the line between fake and real blurs, Tanvi and Nik must confront their inner demons before their charade goes up in smoke.

Could love be the secret ingredient they need?

Festive reads for you and your family

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we bet you’re looking forward to the festivities! Spread the joy with some of our handpicked selection of books to choose from. Here is a list of books from Penguin and Puffin, perfect for your little one, yourself, or as a gift for friends and family!

The Thursday Murder Club

front cover of The Thursday Murder Club
The Thursday Murder Club || Richard Osman

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse || Charlie Mackesy

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons. The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos.

Uparwali Chai: The Indian Art of High Tea

front cover of Uparwali Chai
Uparwali Chai || Pamela Timms

From Saffron and Chocolate Macarons to Apricot and Jaggery Upside Down Cake to a Rooh Afza Layer Cake, Uparwali Chai is an original mix of classic and contemporary desserts and savouries, reinvented and infused throughout with an utterly Indian flavour. A beautifully curated set of recipes full of nostalgic flavours and stories, this is a book every home cook will be referring to for generations to come.

An Extreme Love of Coffee

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Extreme Love of Coffee || Harish Bhat

When they drink a cup of ‘magic’ coffee, Rahul and Neha are entrusted with a quest that promises to lead to great treasure. As they race from the plantations of Coorg to Japanese graveyards, they are trailed by the Yamamoto brothers-bearing grudges and carrying swords.
But will they manage to evade their Japanese assailants and find the treasure they first set out for?

Wish I Could Tell You

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Wish I could Tell You || Durjoy Datta

A disillusioned and heartbroken Anusha finds herself in the small world of WeDonate.com. Struggling to cope with her feelings and the job of raising money for charity, she reluctantly searches for a worthwhile cause to support. For Ananth, who has been on the opposite side, no life is less worthy, no cause too small to support.

They can’t escape each other. In this world of complicated relationships, should love be such a difficult ride?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid || Jeff Kinney

Greg Heffley and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip, ready for the adventure of a lifetime. But things take an unexpected turn, and they find themselves stranded at a campsite that’s not exactly a summertime paradise. When the skies open up and the water starts to rise, the Heffleys wonder if they can save their vacation – or if they’re already in too deep.

The Puffin Mahabharata

Front cover of The Puffin Mahabharata
The Puffin Mahabharata || Namita Gokhale

 Like a modern-day suta or storyteller, Namita Gokhale brings alive India’s richest literary treasure with disarming ease and simplicity. She retells this timeless tale of mortals and immortals and stories within stories, of valour, deceit, glory, and despair, for today’s young reader in a clear, contemporary style.

A brilliant series of evocative and thoughtful illustrations by painter and animator Suddhasattwa Basu brings the epic to life in a vibrant visual feast.

A Girl Like That

Front cover of a girl like that
A Girl Like That || Tanaz Bhathena

 Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. After a tragic encounter her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, and it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers; tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class and religion; and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

Tharoorosaurus

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Tharoorosaurus || Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor is the wizard of words. In Tharoorosaurus, he shares fifty-three examples from his vocabulary: unusual words from every letter of the alphabet. You don’t have to be a linguaphile to enjoy the fun facts and interesting anecdotes behind the words! Be ready to impress-and say goodbye to your hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia!

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