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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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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)

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5 Must Read Books For This October

Here are the five books that we can't wait to read this October:

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International titled book by acclaimed authors will once again rule the roost in October, along with a biography of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and a splendid story for children, woven around the life of late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

There will be other significant releases during the month, primarily “The Girl in Room 105” by Chetan Bhagat; an “Intimate Portrait of Jahangir” by Parvati Sharma; the final book from the late Professor Stephen Hawking; and John Grisham’s “The Reckoning”.

Here are the five books that we can’t wait to read this October:

1. Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami (Penguin)

In “Killing Commendatore”, a 30-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a strange painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a strange ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious 13-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home, and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors.

Billed as a “tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art — as well as a loving homage to “The Great Gatsby” — this book, the publisher said, is a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.

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The Book Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami.

2. Every Breath, by Nicholas Sparks (Hachette)

From the No.1 bestselling author of “The Notebook” comes an unforgettable tale of enduring love this October.

“Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future. Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable… but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.”

The publisher said that the novel illuminates life’s heart-breaking regrets and enduring hope, and explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question: How long can a dream survive?

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The Book Every Breathh, by Nicholas Spark

3. Bridge of Clay, by Markus Zusak (Penguin)

This is a story told inside-out and back-to-front by the author of the popular “The Book Thief”.

“The five Dunbar brothers are living — fighting, dreaming, loving — in the perfect squalor of a house without grown-ups. Today, the father who walked out on them long ago is about to walk right back in.” But why has he returned and who have the boys become in the meantime? At the helm, the publisher informed IANS, is Matthew, cynical, poetic; Rory, forever truanting; Henry, the money-spinner; and Tommy, the pet collector who has populated the house with dysfunctional pets, including Achilles the mule and Rosy the border collie. “And then there’s Clay, the quiet one, his whole young life haunted by an unspeakable act.”

From a grandfather, whose passion for the ancient Greeks still colours their lives, to a mother and father who fell in love over a mislaid piano, to the present day, where five sons dwell in a house with no rules, “Bridge of Clay” is said to be an epic portrait of how a ramshackle family, held together by stories and by love, come to unbury one boy’s tragic secret.

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The promotional picture of the book ‘The bridge of clay’ by Mark Zusak

4. Mohan Bhagwat: Influencer-in-Chief, by Kingshuk Nag (Rupa)

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power at the Centre since 2014, there is growing interest in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is perceived as the power behind the throne. Is this true? How much does RSS influence the government of the day? How does it use this influence? Is policymaking in the government dependent on the diktats of the RSS or is the reverse correct? More importantly, what role did RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat play in bringing the BJP and Narendra Modi to power? With the 2019 election not too far away, what is the critical thinking in the upper echelons of the Sangh? How does it propose to forge an alliance that will propel the saffron party to power again?

“Mohan Bhagwat: Influencer-in-Chief”, the publisher said, looks incisively at the Sangh and its world view, its inner workings, and how it has moulded the Indian mind-set. It also focuses on Mohan Bhagwat and examines what propels him to spread the influence of the Sangh across the nation.

Also Read: Ten Inspirational Quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam on His Second Death Anniversary

5. The Adventures of Young Kalam, by Stuti Agarwal (Juggernaut)

And finally, why should adults have all the fun? Meet Kalam, perhaps you know him well already! He is the cleverest little boy in his school, perhaps even in his town, Rameswaram. He is annoyingly curious, full of crazy ideas and up to mad innovations. Everyone around him thinks he is bonkers and best avoided — all except his dad, two best friends and Professor Ramachandran, the science teacher in whose little laboratory he tests all his inventions. But when the school’s most horrid teacher, Punnakai, spreads lies about the professor’s experiments and plots to throw Kalam out for his latest creation, the two have to find a way to fight back.

The book casts an iconic new character like Chhota Bheem by weaving a fictional narrative for children around India’s late President A.P.J. Kalam. (VOA)