“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” ― John Green
Like every year 2018 saw some stellar debuts which were loved by readers across age groups. We have hand-picked 5 such debuts by some amazing women writers in different genres which we thing are ‘MUST READS’ for any book lover. Needless to mention, keeping in mind our current theme all these books are by women writers and if we were asked to describe them in one word, it would be UN-PUT-DOWN-ABLE!
1) Ravana Leela by Radha Vishwanath (Mythology)
Ravana, perhaps the most popular Rakshasa in Indian mythology, is known as the villain in the Ramayana and the epic would not have been what it is without this great Rakshasa. Yet Ravana is much more than a mere abductor. Born out of the union of a Rishi and Rakshasi, a devout Shiv-bhakt and a mighty king, Ravana is no ordinary Rakshasa.
This book attempts to bring out a comprehensive and well-rounded character of Ravana. The various little dots of information about the Rakshasa king as given in Valmiki Ramayana have been picked with care, collated and compared with presentations in several other versions of the Ramayana and the long, hoary lineage of the demon king painstakingly put together to present this villain of villains as a legend worthy of greater attention.
2) Combat Skirts by Sahana Ahmed (Young Adult)
Enrolled in an Army hostel to study Law, Saba is torn between her duty towards her parents and her newfound freedom. To complicate matters, she has more suitors than she can handle. Who will she choose? The old crush? The college hotshot? Or the mysterious Lieutenant?
3) Left from the Nameless Shop by Adithi Rao (Contemporary Fiction)
A boy communes with the gods by talking to a pillar. The ‘hibiscus girl’ has her head in the clouds and feet gently planted in her husband’s home. Two women, married to the same man, find a strange camaraderie binding them together. The whole town gathers to save the friendly neighbourhood shopkeeper’s ice cream from spoiling in the heat. Short-tempered Seshadri hides a terrible shame in his outbursts. A grandfather passes on the magic of self-belief to his grandson.
Reminiscent of Malgudi Days, Adithi Rao’s debut Left from the Nameless Shop is a charming collection of interconnected stories set in the 1980s featuring the residents of Rudrapura, a small, fictitious town in Karnataka. This is a place bubbling with energy and the sense of community – one you probably lived in and loved while growing up. These are stories of the life you have left behind. One that you hope to return to!
4) Hush a bye Baby by Deepanjana Pal (Crime Thriller)
Dr. Nandita Rai is the gynecologist for the stars. She is on TV and radio every other week talking about women’s issues. She is a South Mumbai feminist. Every woman wants her to be their doctor. Until the Mumbai Police raid her clinic when they get a complaint that she does sex selective abortions. Is the celebrity doctor aborting female foetuses?
If she is, then the police need to build a watertight case. Dr. Rai has friends in high places, her patients clam up and her paperwork is clean. The case seems to be going nowhere until Sub-inspector Reshma Gabuji begins to dig up Dr Rai’s secret online presence and uncovers a ruthless vigilante group.
On 19 May 2014, as seventeen-year-old Reshma Qureshi left home for the examination center, everything happened in a flash. The men rushed towards her. Grabbed her. Tugged at her hair. Poured acid on her face. Soon she started to burn like a living corpse. The acid ate through her skin and aimed for her bones, but it could not quell the fire in her heart. Rising from from tragedy and suffering, Reshma soon made global headlines by becoming the first acid-attack survivor to walk the runway at the New York Fashion Week.
Now an international anti-acid-sale activist, vlogger, model, and the face of Make Love Not Scars, Reshma works tirelessly towards empowering other acid-attack survivors like herself and has become a beacon of hope for millions. Inspiring and life-affirming, Being Reshma is the extraordinary story of this young girl from the slums of Mumbai, who overcame insurmountable odds in an unjust world and dared to change it.
How many of these have you read? Is there a debut you loved and we missed in this list? Do let us know in comments below.
(P.S: All images used are sourced from Amazon)