We love the #readwomen2014 project for its straight-forward approach to the gender imbalance in the literary world. We asked friends, family and eminenences which new books by female authors they are waiting to read this year. And the answers were splendid!
Writer Vikram Chandra is looking forward to the last book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy by Hilary Mantel. Chandra knows that The Mirror and the Light is only due in 2015 but clearly can’t help wishing hard. (Aside: Chandra’s latest book Mirrored Mind has some fascinating bits about the hidden history of women in computing.)
Bangalore-based writer and English professor Arul Mani and Karthika VK, Publisher (HarperCollins India) both instantly mention Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. But Karthika VK is an unstoppable enthusiast. Her must-read-in-2014 list includes Meena Kandaswamy‘s The Gypsy Goddess. Radhika Jha‘s novel My Beautiful Shadow, set in Japan, about a young woman who becomes a shopaholic-brandaholic. Chitra Viraraghavan‘s The Americans, told through eleven characters/voices. Two books on Sri Lanka from very different perspectives: Rohini Mohan and Padma Rao. Phew! Are we done yet, Karthika? Nope. She also wants to read a new collection of Arundhati Subramaniam’s poetry this year.
On to Karthika’s colleague at HarperCollins, editor Ajitha GS says she is looking forward to Gulab, a book of short stories by Annie Zaidi.
Over in Oxford, AK Ramanujan lover Nakul Krishna says he is looking forward to reading Marilynne Robinson’s big new novel Lila. Nakul also snuck in a book translated by a woman — 9th century Azhwar poet Nammalvar’s Tiruviruttam translated from Tamil by Archana Venkatesan (due in May/June from Penguin Classics)
Srinath Perur, king of the group travel and author of the wonderful, If It Is Monday It Must Be Madurai is waiting to read Things We Found During the Autopsy, Kuzhali Manickavel’s second collection of short fiction. And of course the imaginary sequel, Things We Found During the Autopsy on Monday in Madurai.
Lalita Iyer, author of the awesome 2013 title I Am Pregnant Not Terminally Ill You Idiot says she is really looking forward to her friend and television star Maria Goretti‘s From My Kitchen To Yours: Food, Love and Other Ingredients. “It’s her first book, but going by her blog. I think it will be a food book with real soul,” says Lalita.
Amsterdam-based documentary filmmaker Nina Subramani has a formidable list too. Like Vikram Chandra she is waiting impatiently for Hilary Mantel’s third in the Cromwell series. She is also waiting for heaps of other books. Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraight aka JK Rowling, Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, Amy Tan’s Valley of Amazement, China Dolls by Lisa See, Karna’s wife: The Outcast Queen by Kavita Kane. And Why I Read by Wendy Lesser. She says, “I love books about book clubs and readers – like The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Uncommon Reader and The End of Your Life Book Club.
Artist/Graphic Novelist Vishwajyothi Ghosh is waiting to get his hands on Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur. Though it’s a late 2013 release we squeezed the book into the list because it looks awesome.
Film critic Trisha Gupta was swift with her list. She is looking forward to 3 novels: Parvati Sharma’s Aurangzeb, Ratika Kapur’s second novel, and Faiza Sultan Khan’s debut novel. And Anuja Chauhan‘s The House that BJ Built, of course. Of course!
UPDATE (24/02/14): Here are some more books to slobber over, compiled with suggestions from our generous readers:
- An Untamed State, Roxane Gay
- The Last Illusion, Porochista Khakpour
- Idris: Keeper of the Night, Anita Nair
- American Innovations: Stories, Rivka Galchen
- Karachi, You’re Killing Me! Saba Imtiaz
- Bark: Stories, Lorrie Moore
- Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
- The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Mantel
- California, Edan Lepucki
- Europe in Sepia, Dubravka Ugresic
- Friendship: A Novel, Emily Gould
- Five Days Left, Julie Lawson Timmer
- Cutting Teeth, Julia Fierro
- Can’t and Won’t: Stories, Lydia Davis
- Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi
- Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill
- The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters
- Love and Treasure, Ayelet Waldman
- Real Happy Family, Caeli Wolfson Widger
- The Vacationers, Emma Straub
- Shirley: A Novel, Susan Merrell
- Life Drawing, Robin Black
- The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol
- 2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas, Marie-Helene Bertino
- Chasing the Sun, Natalia Sylvester
- Bittersweet, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
- The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, Mira Jacob
- Now I See You, Nicole C. Kear
- The Empathy Exams: Essays, Leslie Jamison
- Thunderstruck and Other Stories, Elizabeth McCracken
- A God in Every Stone, Kamila Shamsie
- How to be Both, Ali Smith
- Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
- Kilmoon, Lisa Alber
- Vintage: A Novel, Susan Gloss
- The Black Hour, Lori Rader-Day
- Becoming Josephine, Heather Webb
- Orion’s Daughters, Courtney Mauk
- The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
- The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez
- A Life in Men, Gina Frangello
- The Fever, Megan Abbott
- The Informed Air: Essays, Muriel Spark
- Nobody is Ever Missing, Catherine Lacey
- The Illiterate, Agota Kristof (translated by Nina Bogin)
- The Bully Pulpit, Doris K Goodwin
- I Shall Be Near To You, Erin Lindsay McCabe
- The Visionist, Rachel Urquhart
- Low Expectations, Elizabeth Aaron
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
- Binary, Stephanie Saulter
- The Mother in Law: The Other Woman in Your Marriage, Veena Venugopal
- Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
- The Underground Girls of Kabul, Jenny Nordberg
- Mrs Hemingway, Naomi Wood
- And finally, a memoir by Radhika Vaz, a book from Kiran Manral and more to look forward to from Doris Lessing’s backlist.
To all those who wrote in recommending these books, a big thank you:
Are you looking forward to reading any particular book by a woman author this year? Mail us at fingerzine AT gmail DOT com. Or let us know on Facebook or Twitter.