The Year That Was - 2018

Another year comes to an end and I look back at the fabulous literary journey we had at Readomania. The past year was like a multi-genre bouquet that we presented to book lovers.

Kailash Manasarovar—Cycle Rides to Soul Journeys, a peppy travelogue by Anita Karwal and Anurita Rathore, narrated the story of their cycling expedition to Lake Manasarovar in Tibet that ended with a parikrama of Mount Kailash. The enchanting journey, complete with trekking and trials of the mystical kind, transport you to a wonderland you never knew existed.

Mona Verma’s Lost and Found in Banaras spun a tale of life, death and the living dead in the world’s most ancient city. Banaras has infinite etymologies surrounding it—the myths, the tryst for redemption and expiation from the cycle of life and death, but what sense does it make to the common man of today? This novel attempts to answer these questions.

Sutapa Basu, who gave us the bestselling Padmavati—The Queen Tells Her Own Story in 2017, continued to weave her magic in the historical fiction genre with The Legend of Genghis Khan. She demystifies the mighty and almost hated conqueror and gives a humane side to him.

The effervescent Anupama Jain cracked up everyone with When Padma Bani Paula, one of our biggest bestsellers. Her wit and satire made everyone laugh and ponder at the same time.

Anurag Anand gave us two gems in 2018: the fast-paced crime thriller To Hell and Back and the gripping political thriller The Assassination of Rajat Gandy. His edgy writing kept the readers hooked cover to cover. Another engaging psychological thriller was Maitrayee Sanyal De’s Who Stole My Memories?, which explored the dark underbelly of the shining city of Johannesburg and the darker shades of grey that hide behind innocent faces.

Deepak Sapra’s The Boy Who Loved Trains chugged into our hearts with its wonderful, nostalgia-filled train ride. This extremely well-written book made us all fall in love with the Indian Railways all over again.

Bestselling author Manjiri Prabhu, rightly acknowledged as the Dan Brown of India by none other than Dr Shashi Tharoor, wrote the wonderful sci-fi novel Revolt of the Lamebren (Book 1 of the Super Dome Chronicles). This story with dystopian elements although set in an alternative world, seemingly reflects the society we live in. It really won’t be long when we, like the characters in this story, will have unique numbers instead of names as our identity.

Do you know what porn does to you? We all know what it does to our body, but what about our mind? The young and talented writer Aditya Gautam attempted to answer these hard-hitting questions with his pioneering book, Pornistan, which tells us everything we must absolutely know in today's porn-induced sexual culture. Pornistan will entertain you, shock you, inform you and leave you with a deeper understanding of how human sexuality works.    

Eminent gynaecologist and obstetrician, Dr Tripti Sharan traces the arduous yet exciting journey of medical students, as they move on from practising on cadavers to dealing with real people and diseases, from unrealistic pressures and conflicting situations that test their grit to putting aside their own emotions and make tough decisions. House of Doctors took us inside a medical college and told us what goes into making a doctor.

How did Kanha the Gop become Krishna the Lord? We explored this question in Pranab Mullick’s mythological fiction Kanha to Krishna—The Journey to Divinity, a unique retelling of the story of Krishna with an intensely realistic and political narrative. The journey to divinity from Kanha to Krishna is not without its costs. A saga of treachery and betrayals unfolds as Kanha’s personal life is sacrificed at the altar of a predetermined strategy. This is a book I am immensely proud of.

Harhsali Singh came up with The Anatomy of Choice, which is the second book in the Haveli series. Harshali’s narrative style is languid and full of imagery. I was almost sucked into the world she created with her words. As she narrates the tale of Bhavya, the second daughter of Delhi’s Sharma family, she asks a universal question: is choice really a possibility for women?

Tanushree Ghosh’s From An-Other Land asked a very pertinent question: given the chance, would you be ready to immigrate? She gives a first-hand account of how immigrants are looked at with either contempt or segregation, and rarely compassion, in their motherland and abroad. From An-Other Land is a reality check and an emotional guide for anyone who wants to understand modern-day immigration to USA.

Award-winning teenaged writer Hiya Chowdhury’s Braybucks Goes to Sniffer Academy was the first book under the Readmania Kids category. This book starring a brave Middlepaw dog called Braybucks who gets selected in the Sniffer Academy is a rollercoaster ride and teaches us the value of friendship, loyalty and standing up for what is right.

Readomania offered two titles under the Young Adult genre. First was Archana Sarat’s The History of Mathematics, which brings to life the journey of Mathematics both in India and the western world, with a fascinating blend of fact and anecdote. Then we had prolific children’s writer Ramendra Kumar’s The Siege of Cricket, which narrates the antics of the Fundu Four—a team of teen sleuths who are passionate about cricket and what happens when this obsession leads them to a murder. As they go about picking up clues, they stumble upon a heinous plot to annihilate the very spirit and soul of cricket.

In this day and age of lightning-fast lives, to make sure that reading does not become a casualty, we had, in 2017, launched Readomania Shots—an e-book imprint of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. In 2018, we published three gripping and much-appreciated titles under this label: Piyusha Vir’s Just Another Day, Lakshana Palat’s The Final Word and Asha Iyer Kumar’s How Do I Do?

I am super stoked by the enthusiastic reception and representation that Readomania got in the Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) and the Kolkata and Delhi editions of the Times Litfest. Our authors were part of many important debates, discussions and workshops and the Readomania mast was flying high.

So many super-talented authors, such different narratives and styles. Every author uniquely enriched me and my team with their knowledge and perspectives. This creative osmosis not only made us a great author-editorial team but also forged great friendships.

I am proud to say that Team Readomania is known for their quality and professional ethics. The goal has always been to make reading popular again and give a platform for talented authors to showcase their work to the world. We shall continue to work hard to accomplish this literary mission in 2019 also.

The coming year will open with a bang as we debut at the World Book Fair in New Delhi. And the acquisitions list for 2019 has me excited like a kid in a candy store!

I on behalf of Team Readomania wish everyone a fulfilling and successful year ahead. May good literature continue to make us introspect and change our attitude for the better!

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