As the new year rolls in, Bidisha Mahanta finds out about the books worth looking out for

The celebrations over, New Year resolutions pinned up and 2013 is no longer a distant dream marred by Mayan foretelling. While the city evokes mixed feelings stepping into a new year, some things fortunately, remain unchanged. Like a child awaiting a trip to the candy store, we wait with bated breath to stock up our shelves with the smell of books fresh off the printing press. But out of the hundreds that flood the markets, here is a pick of those few that we cannot wait to get our hands on.

Mohsin Hamid makes a comeback with How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, set to be released in March. Published by Penguin, it follows the life of a man from boyhood to old age, from poverty to wealth, all the while playing with the form of the how-to-get-rich self help manual. “The film adaptation of The Reluctant Fundamentalist releases in April and earlier in the year we have his most inventive and playful novel yet,” reveals Penguin Books India.

Simon and Schuster’s big title for the New Year is The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup, the author of Q&A, the book on which Slumdog Millionaire is based. The book tells the story of an ordinary girl who is presented with the opportunity of becoming the heir to one of India’s biggest business empires and the tests she has to undergo for the same.

One of Fingerprint Publishing’s key titles is The Other Side of the Table by Madhumita Mukherjee. The novel is set in the 1990s and is in the form of an epistolary romance between Uma, a young girl in Kolkata, just stepping into medical school, with ambitions to specialize in surgery, and Abhi, a young surgeon in London who eventually ends up with brain tumour.

Shadow Play by Shashi Deshpande is an exciting venture by Aleph Book Company. Expected in June, Deshpande explores, “in a style all her own, the many, often unacknowledged ways in which families stay together or fall apart”.

Rupa Publications is looking forward to the January release of Sunshine Lanes: A Poetic Journey by Prasoon Joshi. “As a lyricist writing a book, it gives an insight into his mind, the thought behind the songs. Also included songs originally in Devanagari script with English translations, this makes for an extremely interesting read,” says a Rupa official of Joshi’s lifetime work as a popular and influential poet, lyricist, screenwriter and ad-guru.

Helium by Jaspreet Singh has already started making waves. Published by Bloomsbury India and due in July, the book tells the story of “the massacre of thousands of innocent citizens organised, incited and enabled by the government of the land. The story of the anti-Sikh riots in India that may have been forgotten has left a scar on our lives,” reveals Bloomsbury.

The year of the political biography?

Harper Collins India’s most awaited book is a biography of Nitish Kumar by Sankarshan Thakur. Nitish Kumar: A Biography, to be released in October, as Sankarshan puts it, “leads towards memories of growing up in Bihar during Emergency and the shaping up of leaders like Nitish. It is a personalized account of Bihar politics and importance of an essential leader like Nitish Kumar, especially written for people outside Bihar.”

Another highly anticipated political biography is Narendra Modi: A Biography by Kingshuk Nag. Published by Roli Books, the book is fast becoming the talk around town due to Nag’s insider view expected to be revealed especially since he had been intrinsically involved in and acclaimed for his political analysis and reporting of the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Also forthcoming is a biography of Atal Behari Vajpayee from Macmillan. Written by Nirmala Sitharaman, the national spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, this is the authorized biography of India’s former prime minister.

This year will be a witness to numerous comebacks, politically significant literature, a mixture of the old and new, the spicy and the sombre. But whether patience bears fruit, sweet or otherwise, only time will tell.

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