A new year has started and with that await more stories some from old storytellers and some new. There are several books out this month for you to sift through and set aside the ones want to read.
Like every month, here’s a list of books to keep an eye out for in February.
Like Blood on the Bitten Tongue by Akhil Katyal
For those who have read Katyal’s poems would know that Delhi both delights and distresses him, depending on the day. The city has been his muse and he has spun many a poem on its decrepit walls and their illegible scribblings. Unsurprisingly then, he has come up with a new collection of ‘Delhi poems’.
With his latest, he goes back to the old heart of the city, which has witnessed much and suffered even more. In his true characteristic style, he departs from our rigid understanding of form and style by combining the Urdu and Hindi traditions of composing poems with Western forms. The result is an elaborate love letter reeking of petulance in the garb of bitterness. It will be published by Westland.
Soul Rivals, State, Militant and Pop Sufism in Pakistan by Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Sufism has occupied a rather strange space in Pakistan’s aesthetics. It has been weaponised and even dismissed by the changing face of power. Cultural critic and historian, Nadeem Farooq Paracha in this book probes into this inexplicable and constantly evolving space the genre has become synonymous with and dissects the many different forms of Sufism that has emerged. It will be published by Westland.
Yugandhar by Shivaji Sawant (translated from the Marathi into English by Kadambini Dharap)
One of the most renowned Marathi writers, Shivaji Sawant in this humanises the myth of Krishna. Here he is not an incarnation of Vishnu but a man who has walked many roads, met many people. Wounded by Jara’s arrow, he looks back at his life with the most human of emotions: nostalgia. People he had encountered before come forth and tell their and his story.
A Talib’s Tale by John Butt
John Butt had come to Swat in 1970 trying to look for an education he did not get in England, the place he was born. Years passed and he found himself being more invested in the place, befriending the locals, learning their ways of life. In this book, Butt gives a lived-in view of his life in Afghanistan, filled with anecdotes. It is published by Random Penguin House.
The Other Side of The Divide by Sameer Arshad Khatlani
Based on veteran journalist Sameer Arshad Khatlani’s visit to Pakistan, the book details things about the country which are not very well-known. Consisting of profiles of poets, musicians and lawyers, the book is filled with stories not heard before, drawing a portrait of a country situated somewhere between tradition and modernity. It is published by Random Penguin House.
Hijab by Guruprasad Kaginele
First published in Kannada, the novel examines identity, obedience to culture and asks what being a migrant really means. It is published by Simon & Schuster, India.
The Real Wani—Kashmir’s True Hero: A Definitive Biography of Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani by Sonal Chaturvedi
Shaheed Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani was the first person from Kashmir to be conferred with the Ashok Chakra. In this book, Sonal Chaturvedi looks at his journey from a peace-loving Kashmiri to a militant, soldier and martyr. It will be published by Bloomsbury, India.
Don’t Let Him Know by Sandip Roy
Roy, who writes for various publications, weaves his tale around a family. And embedded deep are the secrets which bind a family in the same way it threatens to dismantle it.
National Anthem and Other Poems by R Raj Rao
Much like his previous work, Rao uses the medium of poetry to explore the world of homosexuality with no trace of apology. He pushes the known borders of gay literature giving us a dazzling book.
(Bookmarked is a monthly guide to help you decide which books to keep a lookout for.)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines