During the recent weeks of lockdown, these five books—ranging from historical fiction to memoirs to fantasy to romance—allowed me to disappear into stories, to live many lives, and they reminded me how vast the world was and will soon again be.
Muhammad Zafar Iqbal (Anupam Prakashany, 2021)
Revolving around the lives of indigenous communities inhabiting the hill tracts of Chattogram, this book subtly addresses the oppression faced by them. The story revolves around the adventures of a boy who visits the hill tracts and stumbles upon a group of civilians who are trying to make a hotel in the lands of tribal people. He and his friends step into action by tackling the problem and despite being a YA novel, this book discusses how developmental projects endanger the lives and cultures of indigenous communities.
THE LOST APOTHECARY
Sarah Penner (HarperCollins, 2021)
Penner's debut novel is a captivating tale of mystery, murder, and betrayal. The story follows the lives of three women, and is closely intertwined with the history of an apothecary—a secret shop that sells poisons to women in order to liberate themselves from toxic relationships. Narrated in dual timelines, the book traces a modern day woman who stumbles upon a clue related to the apothecary and decides to solve the murders committed two centuries ago.
THE FOUR WINDS
Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2021)
Set in Great Depression-hit America, The Four Winds shares a story of courage, sacrifice, and hope. The emotion-packed novel explores the efforts of organising migrant workers in California during the Depression. Featuring a strong female protagonist, the story also highlights the resilience displayed by a woman as she fights for her livelihood and family, while having to make some tough choices.
Priyanka Chopra (Penguin Random House, 2021)
In her memoir, global icon Priyanka Chopra talks about her struggles, lessons, and journey across two continents. The book provides a different angle to the otherwise glamorous life of a filmstar, as the author navigates through her mistakes, personal losses, and grief in the rawest of forms, moving through her childhood in India to her teen years in the United States and finally coming back to India and winning the 2000 Miss World pageant.
Sarah Hogle (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2021)
After the success of You Deserve Each Other (GP Putnam's Sons, 2020), Sarah Hogle comes back with another light and airy romance for young adult readers. Adhering to the classic "opposites attract" trope, the book follows protagonists Maybell and Wesley, two strangers who inherit a property together and are forced into one another's orbit. Apart from talking about love and hate, the book also sheds light on social anxiety through wo extremely relatable characters. The slow progression of their romance, coupled with banter and humour, makes it an ideal read for fans of the romance genre.
Maisha Islam Monamee is a freelance journalist who likes reading, planning and scribbling. Write to her at email@example.com.