It’s that time of the year: when we’re filled with the promise of what the new year can hold. After the garbage fire that was 2016 for so many of us, it’s so nice to start fresh (despite the fact that yes, we all know that the year changeover is arbitrary, but let us try and make ourselves feel better and have some hope for the future.) Judging by what’s already happened so far, this year is going to be another doozy. That’s why I’ve become even more invested in reading, because not only is it an escape from the world around us, but reading about others expands our world view. It helps us to understand other cultures, races, religions, sexual orientation — the list goes on and on. This year, reading is going to be more important than it’s ever been before.
And with a new year comes a whole new slate of amazing books to read. And it just so happens that there are some great books by Indian authors coming out in 2017, and I’m excited to share them with you. Keep an eye out for these awesome novels, and make sure you pick them up when they’re released!
'When Dimple Met Rishi' by Sandhya Menon (May 30, Simon Pulse)
Too often, books featuring Indian people are utterly depressing. Yes, there are populations in India that experience gut-wrenching misery on a daily basis, and their stories deserve to be told. But that shouldn’t have to be every Indian story, and it’s only recently that other kinds of stories featuring Indian people have started to crop up. This is why I’m so excited about When Dimple Met Rishi, an adorable YA romantic comedy about two teenagers whose parents have arranged their marriage.
2'No Other World' by Rahul Mehta (February 28, Harper)
If you haven’t read Rahul Mehta’s excellent short story collection Quarantine, about being gay in India, you have a month to catch up on it before his novel releases. His new novel features an Indian American boy, Kiran, growing up in rural New York. As Kiran learns what it is to be a gay Indian boy — later, man — in the United States, his parents navigate their own marital discord, while also struggling to adjust to life in a new country.
3'Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows' by Balli Kaur Jaswal (June 13, William Morrow)
Nikki is a 20-something Sikh Punjabi, born and raised in the UK, and she spends her time tending bar and trying to forget about her heritage. But when her father’s unexpected death means Nikki needs to help her family financially — and fast — she decides to teach a creative writing course at a local community college. It’s Sikh widows who show up at her course, expecting to learn English, but Nikki realizes these women have hopes and dreams of their own that she can help them achieve. The idea of a bunch of widows reading erotic fiction in a community college course sounds excellent, and the cross-generational and cultural scope of this book is definitely intriguing.
4'Pashmina' by Nidhi Chanani (October 3, First Second)
Pashmina is a YA graphic novel featuring Indian American teenager Priyanka. Her skin color sets her apart from those around her, but if that wasn’t bad enough, she’s a complete nerd living in a single-parent household. She doesn’t have the money her classmates in Orange County do; she feels ostracized for so many reasons. Priyanka’s mother, an immigrant from India, is struggling to teach her daughter about her culture. It’s a story about culture, about women, and about a mother and daughter trying to connect — all in what promises to be a gorgeous graphic novel form.
5'The Windfall' by Diksha Basu (June 27, Crown)
Set in modern-day Delhi, Mr. and Mrs. Jha have just moved from their small apartment to a large house in the upper-class area of Gurgaon. They don’t know what to expect in this new community, and they’re shocked to discover they don’t quite fit in within this extremely wealthy community. This novel has been compared positively to Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, and I’m eager to delve into this story of one family and the questions of where they belong.
6'The Library of Fates' by Aditi Khorana (July 18, Razorbill)
The gorgeous cover is enough to convince me to read this book; the fact that it’s a retelling of an Indian folk tale is just icing on the cake. Amrita, a princess, makes a sacrifice to save her people, but things go awry. She’s left completely alone, but is determined to warn her people of impending danger. But when she’s told that she has the power to reverse her fate, to change what has happened, will Amrita do her duty as a princess or test her hand at changing her destiny?
7'No One Can Pronounce My Name' by Rakesh Satyal (May 2, Picador)
Being an immigrant, or a child of immigrants, can provide a lifetime’s worth of confusion and identity clashes. What is it to be Indian American? That’s what Rakesh Satyal examines in his latest novel, focusing on a group of Indian Americans living outside Cleveland. Not only are they struggling to figure out who they are and what their relationship is with their adopted country, but they are also trying to discern how exactly they fit within their cultural community, and even within their families. Can Indian and American cultural traditions be reconciled, or must one always be sacrificed for the other?
8'A Crown of Wishes' by Roshani Chokshi (March 28, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Roshani Chokshi’s continues the gorgeous, rich world she spun in The Star-Touched Queen with an all new YA novel. A Crown of Wishes is a standalone fantasy about a young princess, Gauri, who’s been taken prisoner. But when her sworn enemy, Vikram, offers her the chance to win back her kingdom, she must take it, even if it means working with a man she hates. As they are tried and tested, will they be able to put aside their differences and work towards a common good?
9'A Life of Adventure and Delight' by Akhil Sharma (July 11, W. W. Norton & Company)
It can sometimes be difficult to get into the writers who write deep, beautiful novels that are too heartbreaking to bear. That’s why short stories are so wonderful — they provide an entry point into a great writer’s work, so readers can judge for themselves without it being too hard. Akhil Sharma is one such writer, author of critically acclaimed novels An Obedient Father and Family Life, and now he’s back with a short story collection dealing with questions of morality, self-interest, and relationships.
10'Selection Day' by Aravind Adiga (January 3, Scribner)
Aravind Adiga excels at depicting the absurdity and humor of everyday life in urban India, as he demonstrated in The White Tiger. In his latest novel, which is already in stores, he focuses on young Manjunath Kumar, a cricket-playing 14-year-old who lives in the Mumbai slums. When Manju meets a young privileged Muslim boy, it forces him to question his place in the world and changes him irrevocably forever.