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India is the world’s sixth-largest book market: 5 Books to look forward to in May 2017

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A book store, Pixabay

New Delhi, Apr 29 (IANS): On an average, at least 40-50 books from leading publishers hit the stands every month. Add to this the vast number of self-published books and you will get an absolutely staggering total. How many books are you going to read in a month?

India is the world’s sixth-largest book market, and currently the second-largest for books in English, behind the United States. India’s print book market is estimated to be worth Rs 26,060 crore ($4 billion).

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While these stunning figures offer a sense of optimism to bibliophiles, it also paves the way for relentless hype as many a reader falls prey to the marketing honchos behind these book covers, only to be left with a regret later.

Many of these books are never reprinted or reviewed and fade away as quickly as they gain prominence. One thing that will never fade though is literary excellence or for that matter, creative excellence. Unfortunately, this happens but rarely in any given year, but if there is a great book, it is guaranteed that it will be widely read and will establish itself in due course of time.

Here are the five books across genres that we can’t wait to read in May:

“Why Gandhi Still Matters” by Rajmohan Gandhi (Aleph)

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In “Why Gandhi Still Matters”, the Mahatma’s grandson and award-winning writer and scholar Rajmohan Gandhi, appraises Gandhi and his legacy by examining some of his most famous (and often most controversial) ideas, beliefs, actions, successes and failures. He analyses Gandhi’s commitment to democracy, secularism, pluralism, equality and non-violence, his gift to the world of satyagraha, the key strategies in his fight for India’s freedom, his opposition to caste discrimination, and his equations with Churchill, Jinnah and Ambedkar, as also his failings as a human being and family man.

Taken together, the author’s insights present an unsentimental view of aspects of Gandhi’s legacy that have endured and those that have been cast aside by power-hungry politicians, hate groups, casteist organisations, venal industrialists, terrorists, and other enemies of India’s promise.

“Looking for the Rainbow: My years with Daddy” by Ruskin Bond (Puffin India)

Among the most anticipated books in May, it is a tribute from India’s most loved author to his father. In Ruskin Bond’s first ever memoir for children, we find him extensively reminiscing about the time he spent with his father. Gorgeously illustrated, the charming and poignant prose makes “Looking for the Rainbow” a collector’s item for anybody touched by Ruskin Bond’s illuminating writing. In the book, Bond travels to his past, recalling his favourite adventures (and misadventures) with extraordinary charm, sprinklings of wit, a pinch of poignance and not a trace of bitterness.

It is scheduled to release countrywide on the author’s birthday, May 19. It will be formally launched by the author himself at Mussorie’s Cambridge Book Depot.

“The Retreat of Western Liberalism” by Edward Luce (Hachette)

In “The Retreat of Western Liberalism,” Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism — of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society’s losers, and complacency about our system’s durability — attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East.

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Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the vast literature already available, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.

“Behold, I Shine” by Freny Manecksha (Rupa)

Set in the once-fabled land of Kashmir, “Behold, I Shine” moves beyond male voices and focuses, instead, on what the struggle means for the Valley’s women and children — those whose husbands remain untraceable; whose mothers are half-widows; those who have confronted the wrath of “Ikhwanis”, or the scrutiny of men in uniform, and what it means to stand up to it all.

Stitching together their narratives, “Behold, I Shine” not only memorialises women’s voices — thus far forgotten, unwritten, suppressed or sidelined — but also celebrates the mighty spirit of the Valley.

“Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins (Penguin)

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely 15-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran away from — a place to which she vowed she’d never return. (IANS)

Happy Reading!

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Checkout Ten Must-Read Books For Women

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Must reads for a woman.
Must reads for a woman. Pixabay

Nothing in this world can give you the feeling which books do. Some stories, some word just touch your heart and end up giving you the greatest lessons of life. Books can be inspiring at times, and help you make the toughest decisions of life. Below are ten must-read books for women:

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns

The book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, who has also authored ‘Kite Runner’ revolves around the lives of two women, Mariam and Laila. The beautiful friendship of these two and the things they go through is mesmerizing. The book’s subtlety puts it under the category of must-read books for women.

2. Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson

The Millennium series has three books- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and “The Girl who Played with Fire”. The lead character of the series, Lisabeth Salander, is a confident and bold woman who never follows the old norms of the society and leads her life differently. Her rebellious nature can inspire the girls out there to stand for themselves.

3.  Pride And Prejudice

Must-Reads for women
Pride and Prejudice. Wikimedia.

The classic by Jane Austen teaches you to distinguish between the essential and the superficial. It makes you come across a way of looking at women, which is not judgmental. It teaches you to stand up for righteousness. It is definitely ones of the must-read books for women.

4. The Book Thief

Th novel, “The Book Thief” by the Australian author Markus Zusak gives out the inspiring message that no matter what the situation is, women can come out of it strongly on their own.

5. How To Be A Bawse

The Book, “How to be a Bawse”, by the Canadian YouTuber Lily Singh is a beautiful guide on tackling tough situations in life, supported by the examples of real-life situations. Lily’s classy and sassy video style has already been loved by a lot of women out there.

6. The Hunger Games Trilogy

Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy is one of the must-read books for women out there as the book’s lead character Katniss, makes you feel proud of being a girl. Her character motivates you to be your own hero.

7. Daughter By Court Order

“Daughter By Court Order”, by Ratna revolves around the story of a woman who has been disowned by her own family. The woman is fighting against money, power, deceit, and for her right to be recognized as a daughter. She has to handle everything on her own.

8. To Kill A Mocking Bird

The book is written by Harper Lee and is an all-time classic. The book revolves around a six-year-old protagonist who is a feminist and refuses to accept the societal norms and always challenges them.

9. The Diary Of A Young Girl

Must-Read Books For Women
The Diary Of A Young Girl. Wikimedia.

The novel by Anne Frank is set during the time of Nazi invading Netherlands. Anne Frank shares her feelings with her diary while she was in hiding for two years. The emotions and struggles make it one of the must-read books for women.

10. The Palace of Illusions

The book Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni shows the epic Mahabharata, through Draupadi’s eyes. Her problems and shortcomings are shown, along with the fact that how ego can lead to a battle.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Gear Up Indian Women Writers! Time to Call for Celebration on August 24

The festival is likely to call attention to gender issues, creativity, issues revolving around feminism

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women writers
Woman opening a sheet. Pixabay

Bengaluru, Aug 22, 2017: In today’s era, it would be wrong to say that there is a dearth of female writers or no female writers at all. From illustrated novels to mythology and humorous copies to science fiction — it would be a mistake to pigeonhole these writing styles as the male-centric. Definitely not when there are a plethora of women writers existent in this domain.

Here is a chance to all the women authors out there to showcase their talent to the city with an initiative called “SheThePeople”. It is a storytelling platform that invigorates women to swap ideas and work in a well-accorded manner.

The Women Writers’ Fest is being organised primarily for the first time in Bengaluru on August 24. Click To Tweet

Also Read: Women Writers’ Festival will discuss issues that shape Women Professionals in the 21st Century 

Pronouncing it as a  celebration of the Indian women writers, publishers, storytellers, editors and novelist, the communications consultant Rupali Mehra, also associated with the event, stated: “We have conducted two events in Delhi and Mumbai. Bengaluru was chosen this time as it has produced talented women authors and poets and has a vibrant reading culture,” mentioned The Hindu report.

The event will witness the participation of writers including Sowmya Aji, Shinie Antony, Jahnavi Barua, Jane De Suza, Priyanka Pathak Narain and Gita Aravamudan.

The founder of SheThePeople, Shaili Chopra said: “The idea was to give rise to a platform where we give women voices the majority. That said, our programmes are not restricted to just women. We encourage men to be part of this dialogue”.

The event is reported to have panel discussions on women writing humour, women bloggers, short stories, children’s literature, and mythology among others. The festival will put the spotlight on gender issues, feminism, creativity, and narratives created by women to define their space.

The festival is likely to call attention to gender issues, creativity, issues revolving around feminism, anecdotes devised by women to mark their space.

Author and blogger Kiran Manral on the need for an event focussing only women said: “Women writers need a space where they can discuss issues that inform their writing which can be different from what male writers face. A festival like this provides a warm nurturing space to have these conversations.”


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