An abundance of books has received an excellent response amongst British Indian readers this year. Many of these authors are British Indians, some have made their debut, and some surprised us with their real-life stories. From autobiographies, thrillers, inspiring stories, nostalgic memoirs, and pearls of wisdom - these books have taken our breath away. While they have accompanied us on lonely, gloomy days, they have also been guilty pleasures while avoiding critical deadlines. But all in all, these unputdownable books have added more value and lessons to this year's learnings.
For a quick recap of the books that have made the front rows of iGlobal bookshelf this year, the list must begin with Indian author Geetanjali Shree's stereotype-busting Hindi novel 'Tomb Of Sand'. The New Delhi-based writer has made history with her novel being named the first Hindi novel to win the prestigious International Booker Prize. 'Tomb of Sand', originally 'Ret Samadhi', set in northern India, is translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.
The author of critically acclaimed biographies of Indian legends such as SD Burman, Guru Dutt and Jagjit Singh, Sathya Saran has yet again poured her finesse into her recently published titled 'Breath Of Gold' on the renowned flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia.
While discussing critically acclaimed books and authors, British Indian author Preti Taneja's 'Aftermath' cannot fall far behind. The book which the author reckons is the most challenging book she would ever write, is set in the wake of the 2019 London Bridge terror attack in the UK and has won her the Gordon Burn Prize 2022.
Timely published in the 75th year of India's Independence, two characteristically different books that capture a similar patriotic zeal are Ravindra Rathee's 'True To Their Salt' and Priyam Gandi-Mody's 'A Nation To Protect'. While 'True to their Salt' reveals and examines the pivotal contribution made by Indian soldiers in the expansion and downfall of the British Empire during the World Wars, 'A Nation To Protect' reflects India's recent battle against the Covid-19 Pandemic and emerging gloriously victorious.
However, Smriti Zubin Irani, the Indian Minister of Women and Child Development, has a unique and thrilling story of patriotism to tell in her debut novel, 'Lal Salaam'. This page-turner thriller is sure to captivate every reader with its lucid language, crisp storytelling, and realistic characters, and of course, its "belligerent nationalist" passion.
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Albeit from a seasoned and internationally renowned author Ashok Banker, who has around 80 bestsellers ranging from children's fiction to mythological epics under his belt, another debut thriller that has won many hearts is 'A Kiss After Dying'.
But for a change of platter in between downing these heavyweight classics and tensed thrillers, the must-pick book has to be the charming and nostalgic collection of modern poetry about the joyful city of Kolkata. Supriya Newar's 'Kolkata Classics – A Book of Verse' is the latest addition to the many literary gems on this magical city.
First-time author Dr Bhaskar Bora pens his grief and fight following a spinal cord injury and was subsequently being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in his book 'The Second Chance in Life'. "I want my book to be a voice for people with disabilities or who have fought cancer," said the Assam-born British Indian doctor about his debut book.
Another British Indian author Jaspreet Kaur's debut book 'Brown Girl Like Me' is an inspiring memoir, an empowering proclamation that every brown girl all over the world ought to give a read.
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Indeed, every girl is a role model of her own making; every woman is a superhero to reckon with. However, some just shine too brightly for the world to get swayed, rules to get broken, and new laws to be imbibed. And every little girl who reads the tale gets inspired. One such real-life story is that of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh's, the granddaughter of the Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh and goddaughter of Queen Victoria, was a tireless campaigner for women's right to vote. British Indian author Sufiya Ahmed has turned this inspiring story into a children's book to complement Britain's school curriculum for nine to 13-year-olds.
Columnist, actor and motivational speaker Sudha Menon's 'Recipes For Life' is about the passing of legacy and about life as it happens. "Food is part of our cultural identity. If we don't write them down, we stand a risk of losing centuries worth of recipes and experiences of eating together," she said at the launch of her book this year at the Nehru Centre London.
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Reading all these fabulous books has taught me one important thing – to leave the most crucial bit till the end. Hence, following precedence, here are two most significant books of this time. 'Can't We Just Print More Money? Economics in Ten Simple Questions' by two young and talented Bank of England economists Rupal Patel and Jack Meanings. Their intervention in spending and budgeting might just come in handy in dodging the UK recession after all. And the last heavyweight of this selection, author and Economist Sriram Balasubramanian's latest publishing 'Kautilyanomics For Modern Times' might have solutions to all our financial concerns, as the book is based on Chanakya's 'Arthashastra'.