Welcome to our curated list of must-read books for the month of July 2023! As the literary world continues to flourish with captivating narratives and compelling ideas, we have carefully selected ten outstanding books that deserve a spot on your reading list this month. From gripping thrillers to thought-provoking non-fiction, this diverse collection encompasses a range of genres and perspectives to cater to every reader’s taste. Whether you’re seeking escapism, enlightenment, or simply an engaging page-turner, our recommendations are sure to ignite your imagination and provide hours of literary delight. Join us as we delve into these captivating tales and discover the literary treasures that await you this July.
1. The Swaraj Spy by Vijay Balan
Experience the gripping odyssey of Kumar Nair, a former British paramilitary member who relocates to Singapore following his dismissal for refusing to disperse unarmed women advocating for India’s independence. Amidst the outbreak of war and the collapse of his fledgling business during the Great Depression, Kumar finds himself enrolling in a clandestine espionage school established by Japanese Intelligence and the rebel Indian National Army in Penang, Malaya. Tasked with a dangerous rescue mission after a double agent’s betrayal decimates his fellow cadets, Kumar faces a pivotal choice: to continue with surviving agents as the Japanese desire or heed the pleas of Indian leaders to save as many lives as possible and wait for the war’s end. Inspired by true events, “The Swaraj Spy” weaves an enthralling narrative that transcends time, delivering a thrilling adventure set against the backdrop of history.
2. The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi
In 1974 Paris, Radha, now a thirty-two-year-old mother of two, lives with her husband Pierre. While grieving the loss of her baby boy given up years ago, Radha discovers her talent for scent as she works in a parfumerie. Progressing to become a perfumer, she faces the challenge of her first major project in India, enlisting her sister and the courtesans of Agra. However, her carefully constructed life is upended when her long-hidden son arrives in Paris, jeopardizing her marriage and unveiling her past secrets. Alka Joshi’s concluding installment of the Jaipur trilogy, set in 1970s Paris, delves into Radha’s intricate balancing act between her burgeoning perfumer career and the complexities of family and personal history.
3. The Peace Makers by Ghazala Wahab
In a nation known for its historical figures of non-violence, India’s tumultuous history has been plagued by conflicts and violence, hindering peace and unity. However, amidst this backdrop, courageous individuals have emerged to stand against power and protect the vulnerable. This book profiles remarkable peacemakers including Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts to quell violence in Bihar and Bengal, the challenges faced by activists fostering peace in Nagaland, accounts of both perpetrators and saviors during the Sikh massacre in Delhi, and stories of individuals who defied communal madness after the Babri Masjid demolition. These narratives also encompass peacekeeping during the Gujarat conflagration, dedicated individuals striving for justice in Chhattisgarh, women’s empowerment initiatives in Assam, efforts for a peaceful Kashmir, and those who rose above hatred in Muzzaffarnagar. With examples spanning from 1984 to 2020, these stories inspire hope and reveal the possibility of transcending violence in India’s independent journey.
4. The Indian Book of Big Ideas by Mukunda Rao
Embark on a journey through the winding path of philosophy as we explore the wisdom of 45 influential thinkers, philosophers, and reformers from India. From Mahavira to Mahatma Gandhi, delve into the teachings of luminaries like Buddha, Kabir, Vivekananda, and Guru Nanak, along with Rammohan Roy, Tagore, and Sri Aurobindo. These great minds, though often in disagreement, left behind a powerful legacy of courage and compassion, addressing life’s profound questions about our identity, interconnectedness, truth, and spirituality. Uncover the origins of the most brilliant Indian ideas that continue to resonate even today.
5. The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha
“The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told” is a collection of outstanding short fiction by Indian writers from the late nineteenth century to the present day. This anthology showcases the diverse literary talents of India, featuring early masters, contemporary stars, and brilliant authors who emerged in the twenty-first century. These esteemed writers have been honored with prestigious awards such as the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Jnanpith Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and numerous other state, national, and international accolades.
6. Smoke and Ashes by Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh was surprised to discover that the opium trade had a profound impact on the world, including his own family history. In his book Smoke and Ashes, Ghosh traces the trade’s history, from its origins in India to its current status as a global problem. He argues that the opium poppy is a powerful plant that has shaped the world in ways both good and bad. Only by recognizing the poppy’s power can we begin to make peace with it.
7. Kitne Ghazi Aaye Kitne Ghazi Gaye by Lt Gen KJS ‘Tiny’ Dhillon
Lieutenant General K.J.S. “Tiny” Dhillon, an Infantry veteran with over four decades of military service, has served multiple tenures in Kashmir. In his book, Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye, he recounts his personal and professional experiences in Kashmir, from his childhood to his time as the Commander of the Chinar Corps. He shares stories of the challenges he faced, both on the battlefield and in his personal life, and how he overcame them. He also discusses the political and social situation in Kashmir, and his views on the future of the region. The book is a candid and evocative account of a soldier’s life in Kashmir. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the challenges and complexities of the Kashmir conflict.
8. Nation First by Shikha Akhilesh Saxena
Twenty years after India’s victory at Kargil, the stories and accounts of the war continue to be told with great pride. However, one important perspective has been largely overlooked: that of the army wives. In her remarkable book, “Nation First,” Shikha Akhilesh Saxena, wife of artillery officer Captain Akhilesh Saxena, recounts the turmoil endured by the families of military officers in the face of conflict. Shikha and Akhilesh were a young couple when they found themselves unexpectedly in the midst of war. Shikha deftly depicts her own experiences as well as those of Akhilesh, who took part in missions at Tololing, the Hump, and Three Pimples. What does a soldier go through when marching off to a near-suicidal mission? And what does it take to survive, even thrive, after having sustained serious injuries in battle? This detailed memoir reveals the boundless bravery of the Indian troops, as well as the emotional turmoil experienced by their families both during and after the war. “Nation First” is a story of grit, determination, and heroic patriotism shown by the people who give their all to safeguard their country.
9. AI Rising by Jayanth N Kolla and Leslie D’Monte
Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a distant dream. It is already here, and it is changing the world in profound ways. One of the most significant developments in AI has been the rise of conversational AI chatbots. These chatbots are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they are raising a number of important questions about the future of AI. This book, AI Rising, provides a comprehensive overview of the state of AI today, and it explores the potential benefits and risks of AI. Whether you are an aspiring student of AI, an entrepreneur, a policymaker, a senior executive, an investor, or a decision-maker, this book is for you. It will provide you with the information and perspective you need to form your own opinion about AI and its implications for the future.
10. Ela’s Unfinished Business by Gayatri
Beri Shola is a quiet, charming hill town with a hodgepodge of locals from across India. It is steeped in history and eccentric traditions, like many such remnants of the colonial Raj across India. Piu, a forty-something therapist with a penchant for magazine quizzes, has set up practice here. Sure, business isn’t booming, but she has a variety of patients and an ‘it’s complicated’ love life that keep her suitably busy. But life in Beri Shola is about to unravel. A week before the much-anticipated annual flower show, beautiful and well-connected Rose is murdered. Then, a new patient, Ela, stumbles into Piu’s office, certain that she’s murdered someone. Piu is drawn into the mystery of Rose’s murder, and as she gets closer to the truth, she begins to realize that Beri Shola is not as quiet and charming as it seems. There are dark secrets lurking beneath the surface, and Piu may be in danger herself.
Which of the above books you plan to read? Share with us in the comments below!