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Books to watch out for in 2020: Jeet Thayil’s novel, Will Smith’s memoir, and more

Books on P.V. Sindhu, Narendra Modi and translated fiction titles from Manoranjan Byapari and Perumal Murugan are among those slotted for release this year

From novels by Jeet Thayil and Upamanyu Chatterjee to memoirs by actor Will Smith and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar and from several works related to economy to more stories by the indomitable Ruskin Bond, 2020 promises to be yet another busy year for bookworms.

While Thayil’s Low, a joyride through the darklands of grief towards obliteration and epiphany, is published by Faber & Faber, Speaking Tiger is bringing out Chatterjee’s The Hapless Prince.

A number of books related to economy will be published during the year. These include Backstage: The Story behind the India Story by Montek Singh Ahluwalia; Top 10 Game-changing Moments in the Indian Economy by Bibek Debroy; and India at 75: Then and Now by Bimal Jalan (all Rupa).

Among the works of foreign writers are The Mirror and the Light, the final book of Hilary Mantel’s The Wolf Hall Trilogy (HCI); Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy (PRH); Insha’ Allah Nation: Glorious Chaos of Pakistan by Declan Walsh; and Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists by Mikki Kendall (all Bloomsbury).

Aleph will come out with Ruskin Bond’s The Boy Who Refused to Grow Up: My Favourite Stories of Childhood while Westland will come out with his Happy Birthday, World!

There are also several books about films and entertainment slated to be published this year. These include: Deepti Naval’s candid memoir A Country Called Childhood; a biography of Rajinikanth by Vaasanthi; Manto and I by Nandita Das (all Aleph); The Three Khans (Kaveree Bamzai, Westland); The Longest Kiss, a biography of Devika Rani by Kishwar Desai (Westland) and Vinod Khanna’s biography by Gautam Chintamani (Bloomsbury).

A few other books in this category are Irrfan Khan: The man, the dreamer, the star by Aseem Chhabra; Longest Playing Record: Laxmikant-Pyarelal by Rajiv Vijayakar; Danny: Life of a Superstar by Priyanka Pereira and Interval by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Reeta Gupta (all Rupa); The Bachchans by SMM Ausaja; Tapan Sinha: The Authorised Biography by Amitava Nag; RIP: Bollywood Obituaries by Ziya Us Salam (all Om Books International) and Zoravar, book one in the Bollywood Saga by Maharrsh Shah (HarperCollins India).

Culinary books include those by Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Flavour, Ajay Chowdhury’s The Waiter (Penguin Random House); Lazzatnaama by Pushpesh Pant (Rupa), From the Table of My Friends by Sunita Kohli (Aleph), and The Legacy Kitchen: A Culinary Journey for the Ages by former head chef of Taj Mahal Hotel Satish Arora with Chandrima Pal.

Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen by Ravinder Bhogal (both Bloomsbury), The Parsi Kitchen by SodaBottleOpenerWala’s Anahita Dhondy (HCI); Cultures of Food in Mughal and Post Mughal India, a study of food cultures in Mughal and post-Mughal India between the 16th and mid-19th centuries by Divya Narayanan (Oxford); and two books by Vicky Ratnani — Urban Desi Non-Vegetarian and Urban Desi Vegetarian (Om) are some other books in this category.

HarperCollins will also publish Loss (Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi); 365: A Poem a Day selected and edited by Gulzar; Honour Bound: Adventures of an Indian Lawyer in the English Courts by Sarosh Zaiwalla; Poison on a Platter by Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Shuttling to the Top: The Story of PV Sindhu by V. Krishnaswamy.

Penguin Random House will bring out Rethinking India series by various authors over the year besides Jaipur Journals (Namita Gokhale); Happy for No Reason (Mandira Bedi with Satyadev Barman, PRH); Uncommon Sense: The Marico Story (Harsh Mariwala and Ram Charan); The Dry Fasting Miracle (Luke Coutinho); Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line(Deepa Anappara).

Its international titles include How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates; Will Smith’s memoir with Mark Mason; Home in the World by Amartya Sen; Ruchir Sharma’s The 10 Rules of Successful Nations and Virginity by Jennifer Niven.

Among Rupa’s books are Coaches of Indian Cricket (Abhishek Dubey and Sanjeeb Mukherjea); Bahubali of Indian Politics (Rajesh Singh); Evolution of RSS from an Organisation to a Movement: How Successive Sarsanghchalaks Shaped the Sangh (Ratan Sharda); Ayodhya and Beyond: National Hindutva Awakening” (Subramanian Swamy); India’s Foreign Policy Blunders (Yashwant Sinha and Satish Misra), Rajiv Dogra’s The Prime Minister; and TRAI boss R.S. Sharma’s Aadhaar: The Inside Story.

It will also publish Life as a PoW, in which Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa recounts his days as a prisoner of war in Pakistan besides the autobiography of Justice Rajinder Sachar.

Aleph’s list has JNU Stories by Neeladri Bhattacharya, Kunal Chakrabarti, S. Gunasekaran, Janaki Nair and Joy L.K. Pachuau; Plassey: The Battle That Changed the Course of Indian History by Sudeep Chakravarti; Bharatvarsh: The Idea of India through Pilgrim Spots by Devdutt Pattanaik; Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India by Ghazala Wahab, and Gazing Eastwards: Glimpses of China’s Pasts by Romila Thapar.

Aleph will also publish quite three Shashi Tharoor books — The New World Disorder and the Indian Imperative with Samir Saran; On Indian Nationalism and The Great Game: The Exhilarating World of Indian Cricket.

Pan Macmillan India will come out with titles like Kunal Basu’s novella The Endgame, Joy Ma and Dilip D’Souza’s The Deoliwallahs, Jerome Armstrong’s Calcutta Yoga, The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Karuna Ezara Parikh, Landscapes of Loss by Arati Kunar-Rao, and After I Was Raped: The Untold Lives of Five Rape Survivors and Their Emotional Journeys by Urmi Bhattacharya.

Westland’s other titles feature a biography of veritable giant of Hindi literature Nirmal Verma by Vineet Gill; poet and novelist Keki N Daruwalla’s memoir; Meghnad Desai’s autobiography; Sebastian & Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers by T.M. Krishna; Myntra founder Mukesh Bansal’s debut book No Limits: The Art and Science of High Performance; and Lift Off: The Story of Conzerv by former CEO Hema Hattangady and Ashish Sen.

Among other Westland books are The Greatest Ode to Lord Rama: Select Stanzas from Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas by Pavan K Varma; Our Hindu Rashtra: What Is It and How We Got Here by Aakar Patel; Soul Rivals: State, Militant and Pop Sufism in Pakistan by Nadeem Farooq Paracha; and Queeristan: LGBTQ Inclusion in Corporate India by Godrej India Culture Lab founder Parmesh Shahani.

In fiction

Some of its commercial fiction titles are The Vault of Vishnu by Ashwin Sanghi, Baahubali - Book 2: Before the Beginning by Anand Neelakantan, Shotz (a series) by Ravi Subramaniam, and Girls of Mumbaistan by Piyush Jha.

It will also come out with India’s Space Adventure by Biman Basu, billed as the first ever children’s encyclopedia that focuses on the triumphs and challenges of India’s space missions and explorations; Poonachi: Lost in the Jungle by Perumal Murugan, illustrated by Priya Kuriyan; Birds in Your Backyard and Beyond by Kaustubh Srikanth.

Other translation titles include Estuary by Perumal Murugan, translated from Tamil by Nandini Krishnan; The Rooster is the Culprit, Unni R, translated from Malayalam by J Devika; Hellfire, by Bangladesh-born British writer Leesa Gazi/Shabnam Nadia; Yugandhar (Marathi) by Shivaji Sawant; Chhera Chhera Jeebon (Tattered Life) by Manoranjan Byapari, translated by Arunava Sinha.

Niyogi Books print list has Flower Shower by Alka Pande; Phulkari (Shalina Mehta); a book on Sourav Ganguly by Debasish Datta; Kashmir: A Journey through History by Garry Weare; Nathdwara Paintings by Kalyan Krishna and Kay Talwar; Coconut: How the shy fruit shaped our world by Robin Laurance, Article 370 by Sumit Dutt Majumder; and Mountain of the Moon by Bibhutibhushan Bandopdhay.

Books to watch out from Bloomsbury in 2020 include Gandhi’s Hinduism: The Struggle against Jinnah’s Islam by M.J. Akbar; The Phoenix by columnist Rituparna Chatterjee, a memoir that details how she dealt with and overcame the trauma of being abused as a child; Who, Me, Feminist? by Gayatri Jayaraman; and Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker.

Its list also has The Tashkent Files: Who Killed Shastri by Vivek Agnihotri; Hindutva: A Critical Look by Aravindan Neelakandan; Crash Landing: The Inside Story of the Rise and Fall of Jet Airways by Kingshuk Nag; and The Big Book of Mutual Funds by Aashish Somaiyya and Vivek Law.

Oxford’s titles include Young and Dynamic? Gen-Next Leaders in Indian Politics (Pradeep Chhibber); Law, Justice, Society: The Selected Works of Upendra Baxi, B.R. Ambedkar: The Quest for Justice (Aakash Singh Rathore); Unravelling the Mind: The Selected Works of Sudhir Kakar; Walking to Dandi (Harmony Siganporia); Breakfast with Evil, a compilation of the complete works of Ashis Nandy; and The Diary of Manu Gandhi (Tridip Suhrud).

Hachette will publish John Grisham’s next novel in the bestselling Camino Island series Camino Winds, The Lost Homestead: My Family, Partition and the Punjab by Marina Wheeler; and If It Bleeds by Stephen King; besides several other titles.

Fingerprint will come out with actor-director Sanjay Khan’s Assalamualaikum Watan, which provides a unique perspective into the role the Muslims of India has played in nation building; Make Your Own Luck by Bob Miglani and Rehan Yar Khan; Sadguru Rameshji’s Soul Selfie; She — Screw Silence! by Reecha Agarwal Goyal; and Ghosts of the Silent Hills by Anita Krishan among other titles.

Speaking Tiger will publish fiction titles like Fern Road by Angshu Dasgupta; The Legend of Himal and Nagrai: Greatest Kashmiri Folktales Retold by Onaiza Drabu; and Murder in Shimla by Bulbul Sharma.

Its non-fiction titles include Exiles of the New Frontier by Ashwin Parulkar; The Demolition that Changed India - and the Verdict by Nilanajan Mukhopadhyay; Being Indian, Being Muslim, edited and with an introduction by Christophe Jaffrelot; and Contested Citizenship and The Indian Nation, edited and with an introduction by Harsh Mander and Navsharan Singh.

Speaking Tiger will also publish Shanta Gokhale’s Shivaji Park, Dadar, Mumbai 400 028 as part of its Local History series besides two translations by Jerry Pinto - Vishram Bedekar’s Ranaangan (Battlefield) and Swadesh Deepak’s autobiography Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha (I Haven’t Seen Mandu: Fractured Collage of a Broken Life).

Simon & Schuster will bring out Srilaaji: Diary of a Marwari Dowager by Shobhaa De; Samit Basu’s Chosen Spirits; The First Little King by Siddhartha Sarmah; The Mauryas by Devika Rangachari; Cat People by Devapriya Roy; Ashok Banker’s Upon A Burning Throne: 2; V.P. Menon: The Unsung Architect of Modern India by Narayani Basu.

Om Books International’s list includes In-Between: Love Poems by Maria Goretti, a biography of Narendra Modi Being The Change by Rahul Agarwal with Bharathi Pradhan; Shadows on the Wall: Pen-portraits, a collection of pen-portraits translated from Javed Siddiqi’s award-winning Urdu collections Raushandan and Langarkhana; Postcards From Islam by Ziya Us Salam; and Surface & Depth by Rohit Bal.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2020 1:27:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-to-watch-out-for-in-2020-jeet-thayils-novel-will-smiths-memoir-and-more/article30631104.ece

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