Sometimes heavy literary fiction is a little too much to read, sometimes we want something a little lighter, more fun and more casual. You probably felt this way a lot of times but still wanted to read something that would tick off reading challenge boxes. So, for those that aren’t Indian, here are Ten Indian Books for casual reading.
1. The Sari of Surya Vilas : This is the story of a house, Surya Vilas (literally translates to Surya – Sun, Vilas – House) and a sari that belongs to the lady of the household. Alarmelu, her daughter, is on the hunt for the iconic saree that her mother cherished so much and after her mother passes, the sari becomes that much more important to her. This is Historical Fiction at its casual best. We learn a bit about the society then and about the household. It is divided into two parts, one in present day in the book and the second in the past with the story of how the Saree came to be. While there are a few things here and that that felt inaccurate, the book itself makes for a smooth, casual read that will put a tick in any Asian Historical Fiction/Independent publisher boxes your reading challenge might have. The story is set in Chennai so it went straight into my Indian reading challenge.
2. Inferno : The Untold Chronicles : This is from a friend so my opinion isn’t completely unbiased. BUT it does highlight a few legends from the North East, a region so terribly ignored in a lot of Indian stories. AND it is a graphic novel so it’s perfectly casual reading. It is described as “A post-apocalyptic comic book series that chronicles the adventures of the members of the last tribe on Earth.”
3. Immortal : This is from an author who is absolutely famous for her brilliant retelling of the Mahabaratha series. But this story is just a little more casual, more action packed and requires you to have zero knowledge of the legends in question. Immortal follows a professor (Baradhwaj) who is, you guessed it, immortal. He is basically Asvatthama who has adapted himself to the time as he lives through decade after decade waiting for his redemption. One day, he hears from a young lady, Maya Jervois, about a Vajra that he was sure he would never find. And here begins the chase and the story, the quest to find the other pieces and make it whole. The story is fast paced, the writing feels alive and overall, you’ll finish this in one shot. With reading this you will be ticking off a female author who is Asian and a mythology/epic thriller.
4. Ranga Half Pants : It doesn’t get more casual than this. The story has everything, a first love, a gigantic bully, a don, a forbidden romance and a kickass climax, literally. And all that wrapped up in a lovely little package of a young boy whose parent’s can’t afford to buy him full pants when all the other boys in his class are wearing them. Ergo, Ranga : Half Pants. This is going to be made into a movie I believe so this definitely ticks off the Read A Book then watch the movie box.
5. Dark Things : This is fantasy done right with Indian legends meeting western fairy tales. The author won an author search and her book was consecutively published by Hachette India and I believe she is writing her second. Ardra is a Yakshi and goes about the day, in the avatar of various beautiful women, seducing men and stealing their secrets for her boss woman, Hera. One day, a mortal survives an attack he shouldn’t and a bond is born that’ll reveal to her who she really is and what her purpose is in the three worlds. Another one for read women, indian fantasy and fairytale retelling checkboxes.
I’ve included a bit of everything here, Historical fiction, mythology, fantasy, an Apocalyptic graphic novel and a fairytale retelling. You will definitely enjoy atleast one from the selection above. if you pick up any of them, let me know what you think of it.