10 Indian Books To Gift Book Lovers This Holiday Season
December is here to bring a (hopefully) cheerful end to a tumultuous year. So why not indulge in some fun holiday traditions?
This year, Bound has decided to participate in the cheerful and literary Icelandic tradition of gifting books to each other on Christmas. It’s called ‘Jolabokaflod’, which loosely translates to ‘Christmas book flood’. Don’t believe us? Look it up!
So whether you are playing Secret Santa this year, looking for a meaningful gift for a loved one or simply want to spread some holiday cheer, here are some great Indian books to gift to book lovers.
For Binge-watchers and Re-readers: ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth
There is nothing more comforting than revisiting our favourite books and movies. If your friend has been binge-watching Mira Nair’s adaptation of ‘A Suitable Boy’ on Netflix, it’s time to gift them the original. Vikram Seth’s novel takes us back to newly independent India and shows everyday people navigating their new reality. You can never go wrong with an Indian classic!
For Poets: ‘Out of Syllabus: Poems’ by Sumana Roy
Published in 2019, Sumana Roy’s debut poetry collection stands out in the sea of contemporary Indian poetry for its intriguing take on relationships. The book divides and analyses relationships based on school subjects like chemistry, biology, history, geography, and, of course, art! With her personal and philosophical take on love, loss and violence, this book will make you feel and think.
For Romantics: ‘A Year Of Wednesdays’ by Sonia Bahl
Two unnamed strangers, a chance meeting on a flight, and a conversation that transforms the way they live their lives. Gift your romance-loving friend some well-deserved holiday indulgence with a book that shows how lifelong connections can be made in a single moment. Additional bonus: This book is a great way to revive your fond memories of international travel!
For Thinkers: ‘Muscular India: Masculinity, Mobility & the New Middle Class’ by Michel Baas
Anthropologist Michel Baas has written this book based on his years of research on the growing obsession with bodybuilding among Indian men and its significance in our society. An insightful book that dissects the middle class and what it means to have an ‘ideal’ male body – perfect for readers who love thoroughly researched non-fiction books!
For Children: ‘The Very, Extremely, Most Naughty Asura Tales for Kids’ by Anand Neelakantan
Aren’t we chubby, aren’t we cute?
Aren’t we lovely, as sweet as fruit?
So begins Anand Neelakantan’s illustrated book, giving a fascinating and humorous twist to age-old Indian myths. Neelkantan says he is often mistaken as an asura since he also has curly hair! With adorable asuras and mischievous pranks, his book is a great introduction to mythology and an entertaining read for children over 8.
For Short Story Lovers: ‘Essential Items: And Other Tales From A Land In Lockdown’ by Udayan Mukherjee
There are people who want to escape the pandemic, and there are people who want to know everything about it. This poignant collection of short stories is perfect for the second type. It shows how the pandemic and the lockdown has affected regions and communities across India – an insightful read for lovers of realism, representation of marginalized experiences and short stories.
For Millennial Readers: ‘The Women Who Forgot to Invent Facebook & Other Stories’ by Nisha Susan
From ‘Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai’ marches to anti-valentine’s day parties, the last few years have shown us that we Indian millennials love to hate love. What can be a better holiday read than a collection of ‘anti-romantic’ short stories of young women across different Indian cities navigating love, hate and the internet? Perfect for people who love badass women, dating disasters, and edgy humour.
For Self-improvement Readers: ‘Anxiety: Overcome It and Live Without Fear’ by Sonali Gupta
2020 has been a tough year – whether you are looking for a job, working from home, forced to stay away from your family or stuck with your family – we all need a little help to make it to 2021. Clinical psychologist Sonali Gupta’s timely book shows how anxiety can manifest in our bodies, and how we can identify and deal with it. This relatable mental health book can be a thoughtful gift for a self-help reader, an anxiety-prone friend, or self-care gift for yourself!
For Comic book Lovers: ‘Kari’ by Amruta Patil
Published 12 years ago, ‘Kari’ remains on every comic book and graphic novel lover’s must-read list, with a hard-hitting story of a young woman struggling with her identity in a recession-struck Mumbai. This book is acclaimed for its realistic representation of lesbianism and its hard-hitting commentary on love, friendship and loneliness in our modern Indian society.
For Mothers And Daughters: ‘What We Carry’ by Maya Shanbhag Lang
‘What We Carry’ is an emotionally charged memoir that explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and questions what motherhood is all about. Lang divulges intimate details about her life and makes us reflect on society’s and our own expectations about family, memories, and ‘perfect’ relationships. A reflective read for mothers, daughters, women, and really anyone thinking about the meaning of family.
About the author
Aishwarya Javalgekar is a writer, poet and researcher. She has a Masters in English (Public Texts) and a Certificate in Book Publishing. She loves reading genre-bending fiction and poetry. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of ang(st). Sometimes she finds time to colour her hair and update her closet.