The Newlyweds: Fighting for Love in the New India, Mansi Choksi
Twenty-first century India is a culture on fast forward, a society which is changing at breakneck speed, where two out of every three people are under the age of 35. These young men and women grew up with the internet, smartphones, and social media. But when it comes to love, the weight of thousands of years of tradition cannot so easily be set aside.
The Newlyweds is a portrait of modern India told through the stories of three young couples who defy their families to pursue love. A lesbian couple forced to flee for a chance at a life together. A Hindu woman and Muslim man who must escape under the cover of night after being harassed by a violent mob. And a couple from different castes who know the terrible risk they run by marrying.
Mansi Choksi examines the true cost of modern love in an ancient culture. The Newlyweds challenges the way we think about love, freedom, and hope.
Honor, Thrity Umrigar
Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly. Many years ago, she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena – a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man – Smita confronts a society where tradition carries more weight than one’s own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita’s own past.
While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita tries in every way she can to right the scales. She also finds herself increasingly drawn to Mohan, an Indian man she meets while on assignment. But the dual love stories of Honor are as different as the cultures of Meena and Smita themselves.
Honor is a novel about love, hope, familial devotion, betrayal, and the complicated ties to our homelands.
The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life, Simran Jeet Singh
As a boy growing up in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh and his brothers confronted racism daily: at school, in their neighbourhood, playing sports, and later in college and beyond. Despite the prejudice and hate he faced, this self-described “turban-wearing, brown-skinned, beard-loving Sikh” refused to give in to negativity.
Instead, Singh delved deep into the Sikh teachings that he grew up with and embraced the lessons to seek the good in every person and situation and to find positive ways to direct his energy. These Sikh tenets of love and service to others have empowered him to forge a life of connection and a commitment to justice that have made him a national figure in the areas of equity, inclusion, and social justice.
Part memoir and part spiritual journey, The Light We Give lays out how we can learn to integrate ethical living to achieve personal happiness and a happier life.
Sisters of Mokama: The Pioneering Women Who Brought Hope and Healing to India, Jyoti Thottam
Jyoti Thottam’s mother was part of an extraordinary group of Indian women. Born in 1946, she left home by herself at just fifteen years old and traveled to Bihar in order to train to be a nurse under the tutelage of the determined and resourceful Appalachian nuns who ran Nazareth Hospital. Like Thottam’s mother’s journey, the hospital was a radical undertaking: it was run almost entirely by women, who insisted on giving the highest possible standard of care to every patient who walked through its doors.
Fascinated by her mother’s story, Thottam set out to discover the full story of Nazareth Hospital, which had been established in 1947 by six nuns from Kentucky. With no knowledge of Hindi, and the awareness that they would likely never see their families again, the sisters had travelled to the small town of Mokama determined to live up to the pioneer spirit of their order, founded in the rough hills of the Kentucky frontier.
A year later, they opened the doors of the hospital; soon they began taking in young Indian women as nursing students, offering them an opportunity that would change their lives. One of those women, of course, was Thottam’s mother.
In Sisters of Mokama, Thottam draws upon 20 years’ worth of research to tell this inspiring story for the first time. She brings to life the hopes, struggles, and accomplishments of these ordinary women, both American and Indian, who succeeded against the odds during the tumult and trauma of the years after the Second World War and the Partition.
At Least You Have Your Health, Madi Sinha
In Madi Sinha’s novel, Dr Maya Rao is a gynaecologist trying to balance a busy life. With three young children, a career, and a happy marriage, she should be grateful. After all, she has it all. But after a disastrous encounter with an entitled patient, Maya is forced to walk away from the city hospital where she’s spent her entire career.
An opportunity arises when Maya crosses paths with Amelia DeGilles at a school meeting. Amelia is the owner and entrepreneur behind Eunoia Women’s Health, a concierge wellness clinic that specialises in house calls for its clientele of wealthy women for whom no vitamin infusion or healing crystal is too expensive. All Eunoia needs is a gynaecologist to join its ranks.
Amid visits to her clients’ homes, Maya comes to idolise the beautiful, successful Amelia. But Amelia’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems. When Amelia’s teenaged daughter is struck with a mysterious ailment, Maya must race to uncover the reason before it’s too late. In the process, she risks losing what’s most important to her and bringing to light a secret of her own that she’s been desperately trying to keep hidden.
Masala: Recipes from India, the Land of Spices, Anita Jaisinghani
Chef Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri restaurant in Houston, US, shows just how easy, delicious, and healthy Indian food can be in this accessible cookbook. Jaisinghani’s approach to cooking is simple: Following the tenets of ancient Ayurveda, food is seasonal, texture and colour are celebrated, and spices are used to enhance, not overwhelm.
Masala will teach you to think like an Indian chef, revealing the wisdom and techniques to cooking with fresh whole spices: identifying warming versus cooling, what order they should be used, how to temper in hot oil, and much more. Drawing inspiration from every corner of India, Masala shows how joyful Indian cuisine is.
Be a Triangle: How I Went from Being Lost to Getting My Life into Shape, Lilly Singh
Everyone has tough days and sometimes you are convinced that life just sucks. In this book, Singh provides a safe space where readers can learn how to create a sense of peace within themselves. Without sugarcoating what it’s like to face adversity, including acknowledging her own intensely personal struggles with identity, success, and self-doubt, Singh teaches readers to “unsubscribe” from conforming to “ideals”.
With her signature blend of vulnerability, insight, and humour, Singh instructs readers to “be a triangle,” creating a solid foundation for your life, one that can be built upon, but never fundamentally changed or destroyed. As she puts it, we must always find a way to come home to ourselves: “We must create a place, a system of beliefs, a simple set of priorities to come back to should life lead us astray, which it definitely will.”
30 Things I Love About Myself, Radhika Sanghani
Nina didn’t plan to spend her 30th birthday in jail, yet here she is in her pyjamas, locked in a holding cell. There’s no wifi, no wine, no carbs – and no one to celebrate with.
Unfortunately, it gives Nina plenty of time to reflect on how undesirable her life is. She’s just broken up with her fiancé, and now has to move back into her childhood home to live with her depressed older brother and their uptight, conservative mother. Her career as a freelance journalist isn’t going in the direction she wants, and all her friends are too busy being successful to hang out with her.
Just as Nina falls into despair, a book lands in her cell: How to Fix Your Shitty Life by Loving Yourself. It must be destiny. With nothing left to lose, Nina makes a life-changing decision to embark on a self-love journey. By her next birthday, she’s going to find 30 things she loves about herself.
The Reading List, Sara Nisha Adams
Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to the temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.
Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper inside a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.
When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.
The Second First Chance, Mona Shroff
Riya Desai and Dhillon Vora grew up together. Sharing secrets, hiding in their tree house, they were playmates, best friends and later – as teenagers – almost something more. Until the devastating house fire that ripped them apart, claiming the life of Dhillon’s father and Riya’s brother, Samir. Riya and Dhillon have barely spoken since that terrible night, but they both made big decisions based on that fire.
Riya has chosen to fight fire with everything she’s got, but it’s not easy. As the only female firefighter and one of the only people of colour at her fire hall, she has to prove herself over and over. Plus, she’s hidden her career from her family.
Dhillon wanted to heal things, so he became a veterinarian. When a chance encounter with a rescue dog throws Riya and Dhillon together again, he’s furious at her career choice. After what happened to them, how can she run into fires on purpose? For Riya, Dhillon’s anger is unacceptable: How can he not see that she’s protecting others from the very losses they both experienced?
Mother Ocean Father Nation, Nishant Batsha
On a small Pacific island, a brother and sister tune in to a breaking news radio bulletin. It is 1985, and an Indian grocer has just been attacked by nativists aligned with the recent military coup. Now, fear and shock are rippling through the island’s deeply-rooted Indian community as racial tensions rise to the brink.
Bhumi hears this news from her locked-down dorm room in the capital city. She is the ambitious, intellectual standout of the family. But when her friendship with the daughter of a prominent government official becomes a liability, she must flee her unstable home for California.
Jaipal feels like the unnoticed, unremarkable sibling, always left to fend for himself. He is stuck working in the family store, avoiding their father’s wrath, with nothing but his hidden desires to distract him. Desperate for money and connection, he seizes a sudden opportunity to take his life into his own hands for the first time. But his decision may leave him vulnerable to the island’s escalating volatility.
Mother Ocean Father Nation follows how one family, at the mercy of a nation broken by legacies of power and oppression, forges a path to find a home once again.
Circa, Devi S Laskar
On the cusp of her 18th birthday, Heera and her best friends, siblings Marie and Marco, tease the fun out of life in Raleigh, North Carolina, with acts of rebellion and delinquency. They paint the town’s water towers with red anarchy symbols and hang out at the local bus station to pickpocket money for their Great Escape to New York.
But no matter how much Heera defies her strict upbringing, she’s always avoided any real danger – until one devastating night changes everything.
In its wake, Marco reinvents himself as Crash and spends his days womanising and burning through a string of jobs. Meanwhile, Heera’s dream to go to college in New York is suddenly upended. Over the years, Heera’s and Crash’s paths cross and recross on a journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, and betrayals.
Circa is a portrait of a young woman torn between duty and her own survival, between obligation and freedom.
The Dying Day, Vaseem Khan
For over a century, one of the world’s great treasures, a 600-year-old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, has been safely housed at Bombay’s Asiatic Society. But when it vanishes, together with the man charged with its care, British scholar and war hero, John Healy, the case lands on Inspector Persis Wadia’s desk.
Uncovering a series of complex riddles written in verse, Persis – together with English forensic scientist Archie Blackfinch – is soon on the trail. But then they discover the first body. As the death toll mounts it becomes evident that someone else is also pursuing this priceless artefact and will stop at nothing to possess it.
The Taste of Ginger, Mansi Shah
After her parents moved her and her brother to America, Preeti Desai never meant to tear her family apart. All she did was fall in love with a white meat-eating Christian instead of a conventional Indian boy. Years later, with her parents not speaking to her and her controversial relationship in tatters, all Preeti has left is her career at a prestigious Los Angeles law firm.
But when Preeti receives word of a terrible accident in the city where she was born, she returns to India, where she’ll have to face her estranged parents and the complicated past they left behind. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of her heritage, Preeti catches a startling glimpse of her family’s battles with class, tradition, and sacrifice. Torn between two cultures, Preeti must now untangle what ‘home’ truly means to her.
Murder in Old Bombay, Nev March
In 1892, Bombay is the center of British India. Nearby, Captain Jim Agnihotri lies in Poona military hospital recovering from a skirmish on the wild northern frontier, with little to do but re-read the tales of his idol, Sherlock Holmes, and browse the daily papers.
The case that catches Captain Jim’s attention is being called the crime of the century: Two women fell from the busy university’s clock tower in broad daylight. Moved by Adi, the widower of one of the victims – his certainty that his wife and sister did not die by suicide – Captain Jim approaches the Parsee family and is hired to investigate what happened that terrible afternoon.
But in a land of divided loyalties, asking questions is dangerous. Captain Jim’s investigation disturbs the shadows that seem to follow the Framji family and triggers an ominous chain of events. And when lively Lady Diana Framji joins the hunt for her sisters’ attackers, Captain Jim’s heart isn’t safe, either.
Based on a true story, and set against the vibrant backdrop of colonial India, Murder in Old Bombay brings this tumultuous historical age to life.