The Bound team loves reading contemporary books. We read some really good genre-bending books that came out this year, and we really want to recommend them to you!

Fiction

-The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee

The Body Myth is set in an imaginary place, Suryam. It is an exploration of a complicated love triangle between three characters- Mira, Sara and Rahil. We loved the way Mukherjee brings these three characters’ lives together. We were hooked to the lines, all the time wondering what’s wrong with Sara? Why is Rahil putting up with her? Why is Mira getting dangerously involved with this couple? We found Mukherjee’s exploration of mental health and relationships through fiction quite interesting. Relationships that stood out apart from the love triangle were Mira’s relationship with her father and Mira’s relationship with her student. Read this book if you want to read well-written literary fiction that will make you savour its lines.

-My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

We love thrillers and My Sister, The Serial Killer is a literary thriller that we would recommend to everyone. This darkly comic novel made us sit on the edge of our seats while it also made us question ourselves. What would we do if we were in the place of the narrator, Korede, who is a nurse and has taken an oath to save lives but has a dangerous sister? This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys a thrilling, thought-provoking story and a very quick read.

-Girl in White Cotton by Avni Doshi

We love reading contemporary Indian fiction and we enjoyed ‘Girl in White Cotton’. This book is a product of years of hard work and it shows. Avni Doshi won the 2013 Tibor Prize for her manuscript, but she worked on it for years before it came out in the form that it is currently published in. Antara, the narrator finds it difficult to deal with her mother’s deteriorating mental health and the reader is taken on roller-coaster ride of memories from Antara’s life. Doshi’s careful plotting leaves us rooting for the narrator for the most part of the book, even though the narrator is unreliable. This book is a must read for anyone who loves reading about complicated relationships especially that between a parent and child.

-The Scent of God by Saikat Majumdar

This novel is written really well and has quite a bold story. The tale is set in a boys’ boarding school. We get to see the story unfold through the eyes of Anirvan, a young student who is drawn towards the spiritual life of the monks at the school. The only female character throughout the book that has a strong hold on the narrator is his grandmother and she has always told him that to be a monk is to be everything. Anirvan faces an internal conflict when he is attracted to a boy from the school. Majumdar has written a tale that will make you think about sexuality, spirituality, exposure, upbringing and a lot more. Do not miss this bold literary fiction by a veteran writer.

Non-Fiction


-The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin by Manu Pillai

We enjoy historical fiction and couldn’t wait to read Manu Pillai’s latest book. His books bring alive fascinating characters from Indian history. His style of writing is so simple that it makes history accessible to those readers who don’t usually read historical texts. As females, what we loved about The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin are the interesting and inspiring female characters that shone through his prose. There are beautiful illustrations in the book that accompany the text and they make the reading experience all the more vivid. We spoke to Manu Pillai in our podcast to find out more about his journey of writing 3 books under 30!

-Truck De India by Rajat Ubhaykar

Truck De India is an extraordinary book that chronicles the journey of how Ubhaykar hitchhiked with truck drivers all over India. It is one of those books that will make you want to abandon your routine and set out on your own wild journey. Ubhaykar’s prose is simple; his language doesn’t draw attention to itself. As the narrator of the book, Ubhaykar has managed to be the spectator and he has given so much space to every character (truck drivers) that they are unforgettable. We especially liked the bonds he created with the truck drivers that he talks about in the book. We also caught up with Rajat Ubhaykar to find out about his creative process and his experience writing the book. The podcast will be out soon.

Poetry

-The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell

Jen Campbell’s poetry collection explores gender, body and fairytales among other subjects. Her poems draw in the reader as they are very welcoming. Her poems make you think about all the confines we set ourselves in this world and our limited frames of reference. Her poems are experimental and bold. If you’re looking to explore poetry that shatters your way of looking at the world and urges you to look closer with an open mind and be more empathetic, then you should read her book.

-How We Measured Time by Sivakami Velliangiri

The poems in this collection will remind you of domestic spaces that crowd your memory. Velliangiri walks us down her memory lane through her poems. The poems feature people, childhood games, destinations visited and more. Her poems include Tamil words that make them feel authentic. Her collection is a great addition to Indian poetry in English. Young writers will get a sense of her mastery of the craft from the book.

Tara Khandelwal and Michelle D'costa

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