For all those who are eagerly looking forward to making the most of summer by indulging in reading something afresh, April is- for all intents and purposes- the month of joy. With an ever expanding list of books releasing during the month, bookworms are going to encounter a platter that is as diverse as it can get.
Narrowing down the list and picking up that one perfect book, which not only meets your choice and genre but also keeps you apace with changing times, is always a challenge. And alas! What a regret it is to read a book after seeing rave reviews and praise, when you had overlooked it in the first place.
As marketing and hype gain prominence in the publishing industry, it is perhaps the worst of times to judge a book by its cover, or author or publisher, for that matter. More books hit stands today than ever earlier and many-a-reader falls prey to the marketing honchos behind these book covers, only to be left with a sense of regret later. Here are the five books across genres which you wouldn't want to miss:
Maid in India - Tripti Lahiri
This is a pioneering book in many ways that attempts to capture the complex and troubling relations between the maids and their masters in India. The author travelled widely to the villages from where women make their way to work in upper class homes in cities and metropolitans. The author points out in the book that life largely depends on maids as more and more urban women work in the mainstream.
What is also interesting is that Lahiri provides a historical layer to her offering by reminding the readers that for much of India's independence, only a handful could afford to have servants.
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet - sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors - doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
"Exit West" follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.
A History Of Indian Sports Through 100 Artefacts' - Boria Mazumdar
This book brings together rare objects-tickets, scorecards, telegrams, letters, newspaper reports - and facts from the annals of Indian sporting history. There is a wealth of tales and nuggets within these pages: Mohun Bagan defeating the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1911 to lift the IFA Shield, Ranji's love poems for Mary Holmes, the 1932 cricket tour of England, India's hockey exploits at the Olympics, Lata Mangeshkar's special disc in honour of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team and more.
Contemporary history and legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza and Viswanathan Anand also claim their space in this archive. Profusely illustrated and beautifully designed, this seems like a collector's edition that no sports lover can resist.
A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him 'the bitter neighbor from hell'. But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.
So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.
Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation: The Relentless Invention of Modern India - Adam Roberts
As India stands on the threshold of global dominance and as it seeks to control its relationships with China and Pakistan, to revitalize its economy and improve the health and education prospects of its citizens, the key to understanding its future may lie in understanding its leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In this book, Adam Roberts, formerly South Asia bureau chief for the Economist, builds up an unflinching portrayal of the man at India's helm, the country's enormous potential - and its equally vast challenges.
Drawing on years of on-the-ground research, and interviews with everyone from wayside fortune-tellers to Modi himself, 'Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation' is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what the future holds for the world's greatest nation.