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1. Dharavi, [multiple authors], HarperCollins2. Voices of Dissent, Soli Sorabjee, Roli
Dharavi is arguably Mumbai’s largest problem and its greatest opportunity. This collection demands attention as much for its topic as its contributors, who include Jerry Pinto, Sonia Faleiro, Hussain Zaidi and Anne Zaidi.
Soli Sorabjee has been a regular voice of sanity, of humaneness. In this intolerant age, the ex-attorney general will cover a dozen landmark dissenting judgements.3. Of Mothers and Others, Jaishree Misra (ed), Zubaan
A collection that includes essays, stories and poems that ask “searching questions about the nature of the self, identity and one’s place in society”. A sterling list of contributors, guarantees readability and variety.
4. The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India, James Astill, Bloomsbury
Bloomsbury has recently set up India operations, and will be trying to make its presence felt early. This book promises to examine the amazing rise of the IPL and, through it, the changing heart of India. Astill is South Asia Bureau Chief for The Economist
, so you can count on sound reportage.5. On Hinduism, Wendy Doniger, Aleph
Doniger is probably the most authoritative scholarly voice in the world on Hinduism. And this book promises to be a must-have for any serious student of India.6. Fallen Angel: The Rise and Fall of Rajat Gupta, Sandipan Deb, Rupa
Rajat Gupta’s epic fall from grace made headlines all over the world, and will probably see more than one book seeking to document it. Sandipan Deb is well equipped to tell this story, with his many years of journalistic experience and fine writing.7. Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life, Khushwant Singh, Penguin
Anyone who has lived for almost a century and offers you the wisdom gleaned along the way is worth listening to. When the person in question is Khushwant Singh, and the book promises his take on “old age and the fear of death; the joy of sex and the pleasures of poetry; the importance of laughter and the perils of politics; and how to live a long, happy and healthy life”, you add it to your shopping list, no questions asked.8. Mofussil Junction: Indian Encounters 1977–2011, Ian Jack, Penguin
The title smells of white-person-exoticising-India. But Jack’s credentials, which include 12 years as Granta editor
, indicate you should consider adding this to your reading list.9. The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, Will Storr, Pan Macmillan
If the title hadn’t grabbed our attention, the publishers note carried this sentence which won our hearts: “Includes a chapter on Baba Ramdev.” Storr journeys around the world, seeking answers to the question that rises in most rational heads at some point: Why do people believe things that science so easily disproves?
10. The New Digital Age, Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen, Hachette
Another handbook for the new world of ones and zeroes, this one by Schmidt, ex-CEO of Google, and Cohen, a foreign policy expert. It promises a “comprehensive look at the intersection of technology, geopolitics and world events”.11. The Alchemists: Inside the secret world of central bankers, Neil Irwin, Hachette
This could almost be a novel about those shadowy figures who control our world, but it’s not. It tells the story of the struggles and individual dilemmas of Jean Claude Trichet (European Central Bank), Mervyn King (Bank of England) and Ben Bernanke (US Federal Reserve), from August 2007, when it all began to come apart. It “shows us where money comes from—and where it may well be going”. We’re buying it.12. Big Data, Viktor Mayer Schonberger & Kenneth Cukier Hachette
We live in an age of overwhelming amounts of data, no question about that; seemingly every third startup promises to help us understand ourselves and our world. This book claims it will “equip the reader with the tools needed for this next phase of human evolution”. Worth a buy.
13. Our Moon Has Blood Clots, Rahul Pandita, Random House
Pandita is a gifted writer and a good reporter. With this book, he will be writing about something even more personally-felt than his previous book or his journalistic work: it’s about the Kashmiri Pandits, and look at Kashmir through their eyes.Bonus title, which is not aimed at enhancing our increments, no siree: Business Titans, Charles Assisi & Indrajit Gupta, Aleph
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(This story appears in the 11 January, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)