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Indian Books Published in 2016 to Add to Your Diverse-A-Thon TBR

21st January, 2017

Diverseathon_The Book Satchel

What do we have here? The second round of Diverse-a-thon! And why do we have it? The goal is to  celebrate diversity in literature by reading diverse books all week long. You can participate by reading own voices books, books by marginalized authors and diverse books.

This year Diverse-a-thon is hosted by Joce (check her video for more info), Christina Marie, Monica and Simon. This Diverse-a-thon has included bloggers from other social media as leaders for a wider reach – Mara (Instagram) and Naz (Read Diverse Books blog). The readathon runs from 22nd to 29th January, 2016. Discussions will be held on Twitter under #Diverseathon hashtag. Follow the official Twitter account (Diverseathon) for all details.

Here is a list of twelve books published in 2016 that you might want to add to your reading list. This is by no means an exhaustive list of Indian fiction in English published in 2016. I have included a few that I have enjoyed and others that I have high hopes for and want to read in the future. I have put together fiction, short story collections, non-fiction and light reads. This list does not include poetry. Feel free to add your recommendations on poetry (or otherwise) in the comments below.

The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan

1. The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan

A collection of 26 short stories about women who define their destiny and command their choices. Manivannan’s women are passionate, consequence seekers and often curl up into solitude.

Check Review | Goodreads

Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor

2. Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor

An interview with the last speaker of a language. A chronicle of the final seven days of a town that is about to be razed to the ground by an invading army. The lonely voyage of an elephant from Kerala to a princess’s palace in Morocco. A fabled cook who flavours his food with precious stones. A coterie of international diplomats trapped in near-earth orbit. Swimming Among the Stars is a collection of surreal, magical stories. (from Goodreads synopsis)

Death under the Deodars by Ruskin Bond

3. Death under the Deodars by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond recounts the deliciously sinister cases of a murdered priest, an adulterous couple, a man who is born evil, and the body in the box bed; not to forget the strange happenings involving the arsenic in the post, the strychnine in the cognac, a mysterious black dog, and the Daryaganj strangler. As the elderly Miss Ripley-Bean, her Tibetan terrier Fluff, her good friend Mr Lobo, the hotel pianist, and Nandu, the owner of the Royal, mull over the curious murders, the reader will be enthralled and delighted – until the murderer is finally revealed. (from Penguin India blurb)

The Greatest Bengali stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha

4. The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha

These are stories of anger, loss, grief, disillusionment, magic, politics, trickery, humour and the darkness of mind and heart. The collection contains twenty one stories including Rabindranath Tagore’s The Kabuliwallah in a new translation and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Mahesh. (from Goodreads synopsis)

Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan

5. Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan

A story of love, loss and betrayal in a world where yakshis feed on secrets, gandharvas are banished from the sky and apsaras are believed to be a myth. A fantasy tale with elements of Hindu mythology set in a modern world.

Check Review | Goodreads

Things to Leave Behind by Namita Gokhale

6. Things to Leave Behind by Namita Gokhale

Set in the days of Upper Mall Road (for Europeans and their horses) and Lower Mall Road (‘for dogs, servants and other Indians’) in Naineetal, this is the story of feisty young Tilottama Dutt, whose uncle hangs when he protests the reigning order—and her daughter, Deoki, who will confront change as Indians and as women. (from Goodreads)

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

7. The Association of  Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb—one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world—detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb. Woven among the story of the Khuranas and the Ahmeds is the tale of Shockie, a Kashmiri bomb maker who has forsaken his own life for the independence of his homeland. (from Goodreads synopsis)

The Gospel of Yudas by K. R. Meera

8. The Gospel of Yudas by K. R. Meera

Prema, daughter of a former policeman who tortured Naxalites during the Emergency is attracted to Yudas, an ex-Naxalite. Like his namesake, Judas sees himself as a traitor who betrayed his friends to the State. He is driven mad by this guilt and finds solace in alcohol. Prema tries to free him from the burden of guilt that he carries and in doing so attempts to find for herself what freedom is.

Check Review | Goodreads

Mornings After by Tharun James Jimani

9. Mornings After by Tharun James Jimani

Sonya gives up the security of corporate life and starts a feminist webzine after being disturbed by the Nirbhaya assault case. When a Bollywood matinee idol expresses interest in promoting the launch of Sonya’s publication in exchange for a little whitewashing of his latest misogynist transgression, she is faced with the age-old question of just how far can one go till the end stops justifying the means? Thomas, her lover of a mere couple of months, is suddenly burdened with contributing to food and lodging. Sonya, unable to apply her political stand to their abusive relationship, negotiates the fluidity and chaos of contemporary urban relationships in ways both familiar and unique. (from Goodreads synopsis)

Ranga Half pants by Suman Kumar

10. Ranga Half Pants by Suman Kumar

How horribly wrong can a boy’s dream of owning a pair of full pants go? Set in 1986, in a small town in Andhra Pradesh, Ranga Half-Pants is a breathtaking, coming-of-age tale of love, courage and friendship. (from Goodreads synopsis)

Check Review | Goodreads

Mr Iyer goes to War by Ryan Lobo

10. Mr. Iyer goes to War by Ryan Lobo

When an accident leaves Mr. Iyer with concussion, he receives a vision of his past incarnation – he was the mythological warrior Bhima, sent from the heavens to destroy evil.An inventive, ambitious interpretation of Don Quixote for our times, Mr Iyer Goes to War is a playful, profound adventure. (from Goodreads synopsis)

An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor

11. A Long Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor reveals with acuity, impeccable research, and trademark wit, just how disastrous British rule was for India. Besides examining the many ways in which the colonizers exploited India, ranging from the drain of national resources to Britain, the destruction of the Indian textile, steel-making and shipping industries, and the negative transformation of agriculture, he demolishes the arguments of Western and Indian apologists for Empire on the supposed benefits of British rule, including democracy and political freedom, the rule of law, and the railways. This book will serve to correct many misconceptions about one of the most contested periods of Indian history. (from Goodreads synopsis)

The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh

12. The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh

In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. (from Goodreads synopsis)

Let's discuss

Have you read any of these or are they on your TBR? Will you be participating in Diverseathon this week?

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This Post Has 45 Comments
  1. Great list! I really like the sound of High Priesters, need to look it up. Also I still haven’t read Association of Small Bombs.Hopefully this year Happy readathoning, hope you have a great time!

    1. Thanks Bina. I will be reading just one book or so because of time issues. But I hope this list helps many. I had fun putting it together. The High priestess has beautiful prose. Some of the stories are surreal in nature. I hope you will read Association of small bombs soon. It is a book on my TBR

    1. Thanks Vicky. I am very eager about all the books in this list that I haven’t read. I remember your review on Swimmer Among Stars. I must say that book makes it to the top of my anticipated list.

  2. Hey Resh,

    I read a lot of contemporary Indian fiction.

    IMHO, the best reads of Indian fiction in 2016 were:

    1. Savithri’s Special Room and Other Stories by Manu Bhattathiri (Harper Collins, India)

    2. Neon Noon by Tanuj Solanki (Harper Collins, India)

    3. Transit for Beginners- a short story collection by Rheea Mukherjee (Kitaab, Singapore)


    1. No Direction Rome by Kaushik Barua (Harper Collins, India)

    1. That is okay. Time is always a scarce commodity. I can read just one book this week. So mine is not an ambitious TBR. I hope you will get many book recommendations for your future TBR, Lauren

  3. I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard about any of these books but I am now very interested in reading The High Priestess and The Association of Small Bombs, they look like great reads 🙂

    I want to take part in Diverseathon but I am not sure I will have much time next week, and also I am totally unprepared (I wasn’t aware of Diverseathon happening next week until I read your post, thank you for posting about that by the way!). If I can’t make it this time, I’ll make sure to take part in the next one because I think it is a great initiative.

    1. That is okay. You can always take part some other time. I am planning to read just one book this week because that is the only time I’ve got. I hope you will be able to read High Priestess and Association of small bombs

    1. That’s great Melissa. I remember your post (or was it tweet?) on Chemmeen. Chemmen is one of my favourite novels. I read it in the original language (Malayalam) and I am glad there is a good translation for it. I will look forward to your thoughts on Goat Days. It is a powerful and touching novel. I will wait for your thoughts on the translation because I read the original version.

      Some Tamil classics are Ponniyin Selvan and Silappathikaaram. I have not read both. Just letting you know. I hope to pick up an English translation of both these books some day:)

  4. So many good books on this list! I hope to get to Dark Things in February 🙂
    Karan Mahajan actually lives in my city and I have met him! He’s very smart and handsome. haha
    I remember your review for The Gospel of Yudas. Such a stunning cover. Woah. I think it’s my favorite cover on this list!

  5. Great list! The Association of Small Bombs was on my list for last year but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Death under the Deodars looks really interesting. I love a good mystery!

  6. I’m saving this post. I read it shortly after you published it but I was on my phone so I was unable to comment or quickly mark the book that caught my eye and now I forgot which it was, but I suspect it was either Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan because it touches on Hindu mythology, or A Long Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor.

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