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India’s Book-Buying Habits Say A Lot About The Country’s Economy

By Iain Marlow

Controversial politicians. Celebrity cricket players. Spiritual gurus. India’s publishing industry, like the country’s broader economic story, has a lot to work with.

So it’s perhaps no surprise India’s GDP growth of 7.1 percent — the fastest among major economies — is fueling a boom in book sales. Indian publishing successes, in return, can help provide insights into the country’s growth and consumer confidence. It is a land where the travails of a saucy, soon-to-be-married Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker — in Chetan Bhagat’s fictional One Indian Girl — is a runaway best-seller.

Nielsen estimates the sector is now worth $6.76 billion. Led by educational books, the sector is set to grow at an average compound annual growth rate of 19.3 percent until 2020.  That compares to compounded growth of less than 2 percent for global book publishing over the next five years, according to PwC.   Read more

Source: Bloomberg

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New Release: None Other by Krishna Baldev Vaid

none otherNone Other conjures a vivid portrait of a man who is old, alone and dying. Trapped in his house, consumed with lust, shame and loathing, he scribbles his frenzied ramblings in his notebooks. But what begins as a bitter tirade transforms into an anguished meditation on loneliness and the quest for solace. In Here I Am if I Am, translated into English for the first time, a hunchback at a desolate roadside contemplates the precariousness of his own existence even as his tormented mind unravels. Hypnotic and unsettling, Krishna Baldev Vaid’s highly innovative novellas expertly explore some of our biggest anxieties: the fear of abandonment, the treachery of memory and the imminence of death.

 

About the Author 

Krishna Baldev Vaid, born in 1927 in Dinga, now in Pakistan, is a major Hindi writer known for his iconoclastic and innovative work. He survived the horrifying carnage that accompanied the partition of the Indian subcontinent, and regards his involuntary transplantation to the Indian side of the border as his most traumatic existential experience. Vaid was educated at Punjab and Harvard universities, and has taught at Indian and American universities. He has published novels, novellas, short stories, plays, diaries, literary criticism and translations. Among the many great books that comprise his prolific literary career, perhaps his best-known and most-loved work is the extraordinary coming-of-age novel Uska Bachpan (published in Penguin Classics as Steps in Darkness). His work has been translated into and published in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Japanese and several Indian languages.

 


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Penguin celebrates its 30th year of publishing in India

Leading publisher Penguin completes 30 years in India and to commemorate its journey, Penguin said it will unveil ‘Penguin30’, a selection of India’s most brilliant and visionary writing in the English language published over the years.

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Some of the thirty books include timeless classics like Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhavam and Nehru’s An Autobiography as well as much-loved fiction like Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate, Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth among others. “The beauty of these titles lie not just in the text but the distinctive cover design done up in a sumptuous colour palette to brighten up any bookshelf, and which will be a delight to possess and recommend,” the press note said.

Started in 1985, Penguin is currently the largest English language trade publisher in the subcontinent. It ban publishing in 1987 with the first six books. The company publishes over 250 new titles every year and has an active backlist of 3000 titles.

The anniversary festivities will kick-start at the Jaipur Literature Festival with the Keep Reading campaign – an idea to promote reading anywhere, anytime, and provide a variety of reading content across genres to reading enthusiasts. Being introduced in India as part of Penguin’s Keep Reading initiative, the Pop-up Cart will be a hub of 30th anniversary activities throughout the year, starting with the Jaipur Literature Festival. The 30th anniversary logo will be unveiled at the festival.

The publisher will launch a whole new range of Penguin collectibles and quirky merchandise – bookends, tea coasters, magnets, passport holders, mugs, and bags among others.

To keep updated on the year-long events visit: www.penguin30.com

 


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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Rabi Thapa

By Aminah Sheikh

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

It’s tempting to blame it on inner impulses that would devour me if I didn’t, but that wouldn’t be the whole story, especially with non-fiction. Simply put, I’m better at writing than I am at most other things I’ve tried my hand at (though not necessarily better at writing than most other people), and the act gives me pleasure of a laboured kind. That’s more than what you can say for most kinds of work, and believe me, the complete act of writing – from conception to execution to almost-perfection – is work.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

Speaking Tiger has just published my second book, Thamel:Dark Star of Kathmandu, a biography of the tourist quarter that grew out of a medieval Buddhist settlement in Kathmandu. Writing about a place like Thamel is not, on the face of it, an urgently necessary task. At least not as obviously so as a book on our relationships with Nature (my next writing project). Nonetheless, I feel it’s useful to obtain an understanding of the totality of the environments we have spent significant time in – past, present and future. This is what Thamel means to achieve, as much as the book on Nature: to deepen our understanding of our built and natural environments, and thereby of ourselves, so we can reconsider and improve on our interactions with them.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

I’m no fan of bald writing that means to drive home a social message, nor lazy writing dragged along by a pacy, racy narrative. With both fiction and non-fiction, I hope to provide serious reading pleasure, without being carried away by either the message or the medium.

Who are your favorite authors?

Those I haven’t read – names I know, names I don’t know, names that haven’t seen the light of day. They represent the titillating totality of my ignorance.

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New Release: Death Under The Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean by Ruskin Bond

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In a brand-new collection of stories set in the 1960s -70s Mussoorie of a bygone era, renowned author Ruskin Bond brings to life a mystery and murder featuring the elderly Miss Ripley-Bean and her friends. The book titled, Death Under The Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean is published by Penguin India.

The eight stories in the book are classic Ruskin style – full of wit and memorable characters, and will enthrall and delight children as well as adults. As the elderly Miss Ripley-Bean, her Tibetan terrier Fluff, her good friend Mr Lobo, the hotel pianist, and Nandu, the owner of the Royal, mull over the curious murders, the reader will be enthralled and delighted – until the murderer is finally revealed.

About the Author 

Ruskin Bond’s first novel The Room on the Roof was written when he was seventeen. He received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has published a number of novellas, short story collections, books of essays and articles, poems and children’s books. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014. Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, Delhi and Shimla. As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He returned to India in 1955.

He currently resides in Landour, Mussoorie with his adopted family.

 

 

 


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New Release: Six Minutes of Terror – The Untold Story Of The 7/11 Mumbai Train Blasts by Nazia Sayed and Sharmeen Hakim

In October, Penguin India will release ‘Six Minutes of Terror’, a first detailed investigative account of the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts that occurred in 2006. The book which marks ten years of the horrifying incident has been co-authored by journalists – Nazia Sayed and Sharmeen Hakim.

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The attacks orchestrated by the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (the ISI) were aimed to cripple the city by attacking its lifeline—the local train. A series of seven blasts in a span of only six minutes rocked the city at seven railway stations, killing 189 and injuring over 700. ‘Six Minutes of Terror’ gives an account of the events that led to the terrorist attack, it profiles the people involved and how the plot was unearthed by the police.

Presented by leading crime writer Hussain S Zaidi, the book also talks about boggling connection between the three attacks that happened that year – the 2006 Aurangabad Arms Hauls Case May, 7/11 train blast of July and Malegaon Blast case of September.

About the Authors:

Nazia Sayed is a crime reporter for over a decade now, with experience in television and print journalism. Currently working as a special correspondent with Mumbai Mirror, she is easily rated among the top crime journalists in the city.

Sharmeen Hakim is a legal correspondent with Mumbai Mirror, known for her impeccable court reporting and her law background.


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Arundhati Roy’s ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ will be published by Hamish Hamilton UK and Penguin India

Hamish Hamilton UK and Penguin India are proud to announce that they will publish ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ by Arundhati Roy in June 2017.

“I am glad to report that the mad souls (even the wicked ones) in  ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ have found a way into the world, and that I have found my publishers,” says Arundhati Roy.

It is her first work of fiction since ‘The God of Small Things’, which won the Booker prize nineteen years ago in 1997.

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Photo credit: Mayank Austen Soofi

Simon Prosser, Publishing Director of Hamish Hamilton & Penguin Books UK,  and Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Publishing, Penguin Random House India share, “To publish this book is both a pleasure and an honour.  What an incredible book it is—on multiple levels; one of the finest we have read in recent times. The writing is extraordinary, and so too are the characters – brought to life with such generosity and empathy, in language of the utmost freshness, joyfully reminding us that words are alive too, that they can wake us up and lend us new ways of seeing, feeling, hearing, engaging. It makes the novel new – in the original meaning of novel.”

According to Arundhati Roy’s literary agent David Godwin, the book has been in the making for 20 years and is worth the wait.


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‘The Hindus’: Pulped, though not fiction

An ancient law that criminalises opinion has been used to suppress a scholarly work on Hinduism. G Vishnu deconstructs the Wendy Doniger controversy in Tehelka

The HindusSome are calling it the silencing of liberal India. After a four-year court battle, Penguin India that had published the The Hindus: An Alternative Historyin 2009, succumbed to pressure and agreed to settle out-of-court with Dinanath Batra, the Delhi-based petitioner who had sought to get the book withdrawn. The 683-page tome of scholarly and allegedly revisionist observations on evolution of by , a US-based scholar on religions, now stands withdrawn (though it’s available on the Internet). Continue reading


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Wendy Doniger’s book: ‘You must tell us what terrified you’, Arundhati Roy writes to Penguin India

A letter to Penguin India (Roy’s publishers)

arundhati_roy“Everybody is shocked at what you have gone and done—at your out-of-court settlement with an unknown Hindu fanatic outfit—in which you seem to have agreed to take Wendy Donniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History off the bookshelves of ‘Bharat’ and pulp it. There will soon no doubt be protestors gathered outside your office, expressing their dismay. Continue reading


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Penguin to destroy copies of Wendy Doniger’s book ‘The Hindus’

The HindusAll copies of American scholar Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindus: An Alternative History”, published by Penguin, will be recalled within six months and destroyed as part of a court-backed settlement with a group that called the 2009 book “insulting to Hindus.” Continue reading