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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Express editors recommend: Books to look out for in 2022

Historian Ramachandra Guha’s new book looks at the lives and legacy of seven foreigners who joined India’s struggle for freedom, Arun Shourie goes back in time to recall his encounters with those in power, Amitav Ghosh returns with a pandemic fable with The Living Mountain... and this list is just getting started

December 25, 2021 10:30:29 am
book trendsHere are top books to look forward in 2022

Rebels Against the Raj | Ramachandra Guha |  (PenguinRandom House, Non-fiction):  

Ram Chandra Guha Ramchandra Guha’s new book (Source:

Historian Ramachandra Guha’s new book looks at the lives and legacy of seven foreigners who joined India’s struggle for freedom. To be published in January, Rebels Against the Raj tells the story of four men and three women — of them, four British, two American and one Irish — each drawn to Mahatma Gandhi, either as disciple or in opposition, who became involved with the Independence movement and left indelible marks on their chosen fields.

The Immortal King Rao |  Vauhini Vara |  (HarperCollins, Fiction)

One of 2022’s most anticipated literary-fiction releases, writer Vauhini Vara’s The Immortal King Rao will be published in May by WW Norton in the US and with Grove Atlantic in the UK. Through the story of King Rao, a visionary Dalit man who realises his technological wizardry, and that of his daughter Athena, the ambitious novel explores the arc between an agrarian past to a techno-corporate totalitarian future and throws up questions about the future of the digital age and where it might lead us.

Commissioner for Lost Causes |  Arun Shourie |  (PenguinRandom House, Non-fiction)

Journalist and former minister of Communications and Information Technology in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Arun Shourie goes back in time to recall his encounters with those in power — administrators, members of the judiciary and the fourth estate — and the pioneering work that his colleagues and he did during his tenure as a journalist.

The Living Mountain |  Amitav Ghosh |  (HarperCollins, Fiction)

Amitav Ghosh returns with a pandemic fable with The Living Mountain. To be published in January under HarperCollins’ Fourth Estate imprint, it tells the story of Mahaparbat — the Living Mountain — and the indigenous valley dwellers it nurtures and the destruction and havoc created by the assault of the Anthropois — humans interested in exploiting natural resources for commercial benefits. One of the first writers to recognise and reflect on the climate crisis, the abuse of natural resources for financial gains and the consequent environmental collapse it has led to has been a running theme in Ghosh’s recent work. The book will be simultaneously available in translation in Hindi and also as an ebook and an audiobook.

The Penguin Book of Modern Indian Poets |  Jeet Thayil | (Penguin RandomHouse, Poetry)

penguin Modern Indian poets book (Source:

Covering Indian poetry since the time of Independence, this anthology, to be published in January, includes 94 of India’s finest poets writing in English — from Nissim Ezekiel, Dom Moraes and Arun Kolatkar to little-known ones such as Gopal Honnalgere and Srinivas Rayaprol and a range of contemporary poets, based not just in India but across the world. One of the standout features of the book is the inclusion of 49 women poets.

Soli Sorabjee biography |  Abhinav Chandrachud |  (PenguinRandom House, Non-fiction)

The astonishing life and career of former Attorney General of India, Soli Sorabjee, who passed away in April at the age of 91, is the subject matter of advocate Abhinav Chandrachud’s new book. The book captures Sorabjee’s various influences — his fascination with Roman Catholicism, his admiration for India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, his criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party, despite being chosen by the party to represent their government in court, and his repeated defence of the fundamental right to free speech and expression throughout his long, eventful career.

What’s Left of the Jungle: A Conservation Story |  Nitin Sekar |  (Bloomsbury, Non-fiction)

What's Left of the Jungle What’s Left of the Jungle book from Nitin Sekar

Conservation scientist and WWF India’s national lead for elephant conservation, Nitin Sekar, disentangles the complicated relationship between rural India and the wild through the story of Akshu Atri, who lives in West Bengal’s Buxa Tiger Reserve. Atri is among the half a million families who lose their crops and livelihood to wild elephant rampages every year. Yet, through his story of struggle and
survival and eventual prosperity, Sekar shows the symbiotic relationship that Atri and people like him share with wildlife.

The Birth of a Nation |  Josy Joseph | (Context, Non-fiction)

New Delhi-based journalist Josy Joseph’s new book is a first in an investigative series that presents the findings of an eight-year research project by a team of historians who have accessed historic documents, including archival letters, files, reports and telegrams from different government departments, to put together an account of how India came to be a democratic republic. This volume looks at the period between 1947 and 1956, examining erstwhile princely states and the role of government officials working directly under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to bring them under the aegis of the newly-independent country.

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