We asked some of our authors to tell us what were their favourite reads of the year 2017. Here’s the list they shared with us!
Novelist, short-story writer and poet Perumal Murugan shares with us his 2017 favourites:
Thahamkonda Meenondru (A Thirsty Fish), Jalaluddin Rumi, Translated into Tamil by N Satyamurti
I felt quakes in my being reading these poems of Rumi in their Tamil translation. They were composed many hundreds of years ago but are incredibly affecting even now. This selection is living proof that poems are not captives of time.
Eluha, Nee Pulavan! (Arise, Poet!) A R Venkatachalapathy
I hugely enjoyed these essays on the great Tamil poet Subramania Bharati by Venkatachalapathy, a dedicated scholar of the subject. Each essay provides fresh insight, has critical depth and is a delight to read.
I am a big fan of dystopias, and in 2017 I read two marvellous ones, Omar El Akkad’s American War and Prayaag Akbar’s Leila. Of the two, I found Leila extraordinary, because the dystopia Akbar paints feels terrifyingly familiar in how Indian it is. My daily commute in Bangalore includes a drive past several gated communities, which have become ubiquitous in our cities, and every once in a while when travelling to Electronic City, I take the elevated flyover. In Akbar’s book the future is a place of wealthy enclaves and “flyroads” accessible only to a few, and where prosperity, education, healthcare, and even breathable air are accessible only to the richest.
The most frightening thing in Leila is that this world, where caste and class distinctions are cemented, doesn’t feel like a stretch to me considering how much we ignore the unfairness and exclusions of our present.
Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters is written as an illustrated diary, authored by Karen, a ten-year-old girl who is attempting to solve the murder of her neighbor. The narrator is a horror movie fan, and she draws herself with the features of a werewolf: the book’s pages are filled with monsters, good and bad. It’s not just the mesmerizing illustration style that works so well – set in 1960s Chicago, it’s also the political commentary, the personal relationships, and the everyday story of a girl growing up in difficult circumstances, that made this a hard book for me to put down.
Are any of these on your list of best reads for the year? Tell us!