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2014 Reading Challenge: 10 New Books To Read

Your Spring Reading List

Ten different books – from fantasy to crime, comics and business – to savour this spring.

books reading list 2014

By this time, you have either finished The Goldfinch (bravo!) or, like us, paused for breath somewhere between the 300 to the 500th page for a brief respite (possibly in the warm embrace of Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer). You have also skipped your way through Tenth Of December, Gone Girl & The Casual Vacancy, and also managed to sneak in the Harry Hole series & The Ocean At The End Of  The Lane. And oh, you also took a week off to plod through Game Of  Thrones, and have already pre-booked Book 6. In which case, we salute you and humbly beseech the Gods for a fraction of your bibliomania.

But for most of us, the list of Well-Begun-But-Never-Finished, Read-Ten-Pages and Never-Begun books is infinitely longer than that of Books-Fully-Read. So if you have committed to the #2014ReadingChallenge and are searching for some freshly minted suggestions,  just stick to our list of 10 spanking new books to read this spring.  We’ve even classified it by genre to make it easy for you to pick and choose. Happy reading!

Children & Young Adult

1.  Something Fishy by Pavithra Sankaran; Illustrated by Vandana Singh:  We love Duckbill’s books for our kids (author Anushka Ravishankar was one of the first awesome women to grace our website) and regular readers will know that we worship crime fiction and have a soft spot for female detectives. So we can’t wait to take Baby Baguette on young Mira’s expedition as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of her favourite watch from her mother’s antiques shop. Tick Tock Tick Tock…till April 2014.

Graphic Novel

2. Obliterary Journal Vol 2 (Non-Veg) by Rakesh Khanna & Rashmi Ruth DevadasanLet us begin with a disclaimer : we sometimes judge a book entirely by its cover, or, to be more precise, by its title. Names such as Seven Ways To Kill A Cat & The Sly Company Of People Who Care have had an overpowering pull for us. Let us follow up with another disclaimer : we loved Prabha Mallya’s illustrations for The Wildings, and she’s also done the cover for this book. But seriously, in the land of the Holy Cow, it’s impossible to resist purchasing a book that features “talking chicken legs, giant man-eating serpents, plenty of aliens, a few mind-blowing statistics, and some excellent kebabs”. What is the book trying to obliterate? The supremacy of the “boring” written word. Amen.


3. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente:  Whether you are suffering from Game Of  Thrones scarcity pangs or simply looking to discover a new fantasy author, you have to give Catherynne M. Valente a read. Her Silently And Very Fast is one of the best Kindle singles we’ve read, and her Prester John & Fairyland series has taken Fantasy fans by storm. Which is not a surprise – it’s difficult putting down a book that begins with:

Once upon a time, a girl named September told a great number of lies.

You could sample Silently And Very Fast or pre-order her re-imagination of Snow White in Six-Gun Snow White on the Kindle, but her illustrated books are best enjoyed on ye old paper. Luckily, her Fairyland series is available on Amazon India – so begin your fantastic flight into imaginary worlds with her first book in the Fairyland series – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. We’re quite certain you’d have made your way to #Book 3 The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (there is also a prequel named 0.5, so there are 4 books in the series) in a jiffy.


4. The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir: Had your fill of Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson & Lars Kepler? We suggest you progress to Nordic crime fiction. An unmanned luxury yacht crashes into the harbour wall in Reykjavík, Iceland – and our heroine Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is hired to ascertain the fate of the crew and the young family who were on board. Mercilessly desolate, this is the kind of book that will make you reach for Mankell for a dose of cheerfulness! Certainly rule out a happy ending. Just the right counterpoint for the excessive  buoyancy of spring.

General Fiction

5. A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World: A Novel by Rachael Cantor:  We’ve warned you already about our fetish for titles, but that’s not the only reason for recommending Cantor’s debut novel. Yes the thought of giant food chains ruling the world helped, but what really tilted the scales is a reviewer’s claim that Cantor has the voice of “Terry Pratchett crossed with Douglas Adams.”. From what we’ve read so far, Jasper Fforde would be impressed with Ms. Cantor.

6. Frog Music by Emma DonoghueLike Hilary Mantel, Emma Donoghue is a master of historical fiction, though it is Room that brought her widespread acclaim. In Frog Music, Donoghue seeks inspiration in an 1870’s murder in San Francisco that is still unsolved – a young woman is shot through the window of a railroad saloon, and it is left to the survivor – a burlesque dancer, a prostitute – to bring out the truth behind her friend’s murder. One of the most anticipated books of 2014.

Non Fiction

7. Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart: A sickly pale child is born to a sturdy and good looking Russian Jewish couple in Leningrad, earning the moniker of “Failurchka” or “Little Failure” from his bemused mother. A few years later, the family emigrates to America, and the sickly child not only lives to tell the tale, but also builds a formidable reputation as a writer. Little Failure is Shteyngart’s tender and funny memoir of displacement and dejection.

8. Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis: From the author of Liar’s Poker & Moneyball comes another inside peek into Wall Street. Need we say more? Arguably the most awaited non fiction book of 2014.

Indian Writing

9. A Life Less Ordinary by Baby Halder, Translated by Urvashi Butalia: Baby Halder’s life as a domestic help is no different from thousands of other Indian women – she was born and raised in poverty and abuse, married off at the age of 12 to a man over twice her age, became a mother at the age of 13 and continued to be subjected to violence at the hands of her husband. There is one vital difference though – not only did Baby Halder have the courage to walk out on her abusive husband despite the solitary responsibility of three young children, she also penned her memoir in her native language (Bengali) between chores. Since its first publication in 2002, her book has been translated into 21 languages and recognized as an inspiration to women across the world.

10. Family Life by Akhil Sharma: Applauded by no less a persona than David Sedaris as “Outstanding”, Family Life traces the journey of 2 young boys – Birju and Ajay Mishra – from their childhood in Delhi to their emigration to – where else but – America. Thanks to Jhumpa Lahiri, American Born (Confused) Desi tales have come to occupy a space of their own. So we are keen to hear what a relatively new voice such as Sharma, who wrote a short story for the New Yorker in 2013, has to offer.

What’s on your #2014SpringReading list? Share your suggestions and recommendations in the comments below!

Image courtesy: boltron- via Compfight cc


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