Like It Happened Yesterday, Ravinder Singh: He is the kingpin of romance. Girls and boys both swoon over what he writes. They relate to it. Singh’s third book is different from his first two romantic tragedies, though. This one’s about childhood and growing-up. Something that every reader of popular literature can compare to their own past.
Bankerupt, Ravi Subramanian: Six characters and the collision of technology, investment banking, and even emu-breeding. A thriller in every sense of the word, the book moves fast enough to hold the reader’s attention till the end.
The Mahabharata Secret, Christopher Doyle: A suspense thriller served with large helpings of history makes for a good in-flight read. Think shades of The Da Vinci Code, throw in Emperor Ashoka and a modern-day murder, set the book in India, and there you have it.
The Accidental Prime Minister, Sanjay Baru: The right book at the right time, it created havoc when published at a time when outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s stock was at an all-time low. Baru offers damnding details on all that was wrong with the UPA government and Singh’s leadership.
Private India, Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson: Sanghi and Patterson came together to write this thriller about an international crime-busting agency’s case in Mumbai, involving a serial killer and the threat of a terrorist attack. Gripping, if not quite rivetting.
My Journey, by Abdul Kalam: The journey of a lifetime and so many lessons to learn. The former President’s books always focus on what needs to be done to achieve your dreams. This one is no different, and offers elements of hope and lessons to learn.
Sita, Devdutt Pattanaik: A beautiful illustrated retelling of the Ramayana, offering different versions and getting to the story of Ram by speculating about Sita. Rich with versions, and a clear-eyed examination of Ram’s strange behaviour and choices regarding his wife.
Byculla to Bangkok, S. Hussain Zaidi: The sequel to Dongri to Dubai, this books also explores the underbelly of Mumbai, focussing on Chota Rajan, Arun Gawli and Ashwin Naik, Dawood Ibrahim’s local lieutenants. As tight-paced and authentic as the first one in the series.
Ajaya: Roll of the Dice, Anand Neelkantan: The Mahabharata is told from the Kauravas’ perspective, with the writer on their side and ready to point out the flaws of the Pandavas. A refreshing change, starting with the (in)famous game of dice.
Dilip Kumar – The Substance and the Shadow, Dilip Kumar: A legend’s life told in his own words is always to be cherished. Added bonus: if it is about showbiz. Dilip Kumar chronicles his own life and, to a very large extent, that of Bollywood, through this heartfelt autobiography.
House of Cards, Sudha Murty: A couple struggling with their relationship amidst all the success- and materialism-driven structure of society. Sudha Murty’s simple style of writing is what makes the book so charming, profound and emotionally accessible.
Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership, Radhakrishnan Pillai and D. Sivanandhan: Lessons to be learnt from one of the original thinkers from the subcontinent: Chanakya himself. Lessons of war and leadership haven’t gone hand-in-hand since Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. This one’s an exception, judging by the number of people reading it.
Gandhi before India, Ramachandra Guha: To write about Gandhi can never be easy. To write about his life before he shot into the limelight in India is an even more daunting task. Guha’s research is both extensive and painstaking, bringing out aspects of Gandhi’s life not known to many. For slow, intense reading.
When Only Love Remains, Durjoy Datta: Young romance is synonymous with a couple of male writers in the country, of whom Datta is one. A young singer. A flight attendant. A love story laced with music, passion and twists that will apparently break the reader’s heart and mend it all over again.
This is the complete list of nominations for the “Popular Choice Award”. You might want to read all these books before deciding which one is your favourite. Mine definitely has to be “Sita” by Devdutt Pattanaik. However, that is just my choice. You can vote for your favourite here.
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