Kiran Manral, author of the short story Switcheroo, chooses her favourite books of the year:
Own It: Leadership Lessons from Women Who Do
This is a book that needed to be written, and a book that needs to be read. Distilling the experiences of the over 200 women she spoke with for her research for this book, all women leaders across industries, Aparna Jain puts down a must read treatise on the challenges that women in the Indian corporate workplace tackle. And tackle head on.
I must confess it was the cover that first reeled me in, a dried tea stain on a saucer and ants crawling across it. A short read, more a novella than a novel, this work in Kannada translated into English is an exquisite piece of writing, its prose graceful and precise, and its story a claustrophobic mirror to stories we already know because we live them out.
1984: In Memory and Imagination- Personal Essays
and Stories on the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots
Edited by Vikram Kapur
A very important read for the single reason that it talks about the stories we haven’t even begun exorcising by talking about them, namely the horror of 1984. Thirty years later, after the horror of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, this collection of superlative writing by the likes of Hartosh Singh Bal, Humra Quraishi, Ajeet Caur and Mridula Garg, amongst others, reminds us that we must first retell our stories in order to mourn.
The Gene: An Intimate History
An exploration of the basic material that makes us what we are, The Gene is an interesting mix of personal history and science. Written so that even a lay person can understand it, without too much technicalities, The Gene takes a complex medical topic and makes it real, immediate and tangible.
Unladylike: A Memoir
Painstakingly honest, hilarious and even belligerent in parts, Unladylike is all you would expect from Radhika Vaz and more. It is also unapologetically feminist. It reels you in, nodding and laughing, and delivers its big punches when you’re all comatose with so much light-headedness from the laughing. A must read.