Call it a snow day: With some of the most promising recent books by Indian American authors

Curl up with these cozy new reads by Indian American authors that deal with everything from politics, migration, feminism and sex.

As the blockbuster storm looks all set to put things to a standstill over the next few days in the Midwest and on the East Coast, there can be no better reason to stay home and curl up with a book. So, as you look into a weekend that can have you staring at mounds of snow (40 inches by some weather estimates) how about digging into some of the most promising recent reads by Indian American authors? Go grab a blanket, a hot chocolate and one of these books and spend the snowy weekend reading!

The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris’ new book is being talked about as much for its insight into the journey of one the most promising political leaders in the nation, as it is for its timing. Widely being discussed also as the California senator’s soft launch before she formally announces her presidential run, the book gives the readers a glimpse into her political life. As a daughter of immigrants who was raised in California, Harris’ second book is a memoir where she talks about how justice was ingrained in her life from the very beginning. You may want to pick up this book to know how Harris dealt with several challenging moments in her career in her own words.

The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Anyone who is interested in Indian literature may have read or seen more than one version or presentation of Ramayana – the great epic tale in Hindu mythology. What sets Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Divakaruni’s work apart is that it is a retelling through Sita’s eyes. In many ways, the book is even different from other feminist retellings of the epic that have been done in the past. What really may catch you as a happy surprise is the fact that you get to listen to voices of other women in the tale, too – such as Kaikeyi and Manthara. Once you read it, you realize the importance of giving every character its due. But above all the story rises beyond the tale of a demi God and grows on you like a love story — I don’t remember any other version of Ramayana having that effect on me! Award-winning  Indian American author Divakaruni realsed her book earlier this month in India.

Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar

Immigrant, Montana tells a relatable story of an Indian student who arrives in the United States and tries to understand his new world through the women he meets. Laced with a lot of wit and sex, it is an unusually bold take on the immigrant stories we have been reading so far.

RELATED STORY: Amitava Kumar’s ‘Immigrant, Montana’: An unvarnished personal narrative (September 25, 2018)

Author Amitava Kumar, who grew up in Bihar, India, and now is a professor of English at Vassar College, tells this part-memoir in an effortless and refreshing style. Listed as one of the best books of 2018 by the New Yorker magazine, Immigrant Montana will force you to follow your own migration trajectory with Kailash, the protagonist of the novel.           

Not Quite Not White by Sharmila Sen

The novel is about losing and finding race in America, as its book cover says. But as you read through, you will find that the book is also an important account of how people come to America and carve a space for themselves in a new place. The author, Sharmila Sen, who is a first-generation immigrant herself, delightfully describes how coming to America made her also discover race — a term she had never identified with back in India. Sen, who taught at Harvard, is currently the executive editor-at-large at Harvard University Press. Through her honest account, she puts the spotlight on the very American problem in a heartfelt way.

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

The 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist, Girls Burn Brighter is a brilliant story of two women who try to fight their odds – poverty and patriarchy. The story starts in an Indian village and travels to Seattle, Washington. Through the journey of two girls, we learn a lot about ambition and feminism. San Francisco-based author Shobha Rao has been getting a lot of praise for her second book including getting listed in Washington Post’s Best Books of The Year and’ Best Books of the Year

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

In a promising debut novel released last year, author Samira Ahmed tells the story of a Muslim teenager caught between two worlds. Her story of family expectations and her dreams is bound to strike a chord with almost every South Asian American. Lost between her dreams of going to a film school or getting married to a family-approved suitable boy, the protagonist Maya Aziz suddenly finds her life turn upside down and thus begins a journey of self-discovery. Ahmed who was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, keeps the readers engaged in this New York Times bestseller.


Indian American author Amitava Kumar announces India launch of his new novel ‘The Lovers’ (July 31, 2017)

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni to promote new book in India (January 9, 2017)

Indian American writer Nina McConigley wins PEN Open Book Award for her collection of short stories “Cowboys and East Indians” (August 22, 2004)

English indispensable in India, difficult to imagine country functioning without it: Sharmila Sen (November 26, 2013)

Ghosts of the past stalk ‘The Lowland’

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