Of love, romance, friends and mythology ( Books this Weekend)

December 01 2017

Read the story of a widow who is unable to move on from her husband till the time her new neighbour Charlie moves in next door; flick through a romantic tragedy that will stay in your heart forever; wade through a novel about identity, sexuality, gender, emotional pain, and the complicated world of social media; know about the rich heritage of Tibetan-Buddhist mythology to immerse yourself in a story that is as magical and evocative as its precursor.


IANS bookshelf has a good variety of fiction for this weekend.


1. Book: Charlie Next Door; Author: Debashish Irengbam; Publisher: HarperCollins: Pages: 326; Price: Rs 350

Anupama Arora, 42, struggles every day with the memory of her late husband even as she battles the two hormonal time-bombs that are her children.


But it's been two years and her nosey neighbours just don't seem to understand that it's time she moved on. While her friends are desperately trying to hook her up with suitable men and keep her from drowning her sorrows in cough syrup, Anupama can't seem to kick her addiction to surfing a certain adult friendship website -- until, that is, Charlie moves in.


Her new neighbour is 24, single, annoyingly effervescent and fiercely commitment-phobic. In other words: Trouble. But Anupama is only looking to satisfy her curiosity -- after all, nothing could possibly happen between them. Or could it?


2. Book: Undying Affinity; Author: Sara Naveed; Publisher: Penguin: Pages: 304; Price: Rs 225

Twenty-two-year-old Zarish Munawwar has everything in life she could ever ask for; an elite family, high-profile status, a bunch of good friends and a childhood sweetheart.


For her, life is a bed of roses. It is only when she meets Ahmar Muraad, her mentor and finance professor at university, that her perspective towards life completely changes.


He looks quite young for his age and every girl at the university thinks he is attractive, seductive, intellectual and rather intimidating. This charming man is every girl's fantasy and Zarish also finds it hard to resist him. But is he fascinated by her? Little does Zarish know how one little interaction could bring about so many twists and turns in her life. After continuous, unsuccessful attempts to avoid him, she feels that she is gradually falling for his charm.


Before their love blossoms, there is minor tragedy. Zia Munawwar, her father, has other plans for his daughter. Will Ahmar fight against the world for his lady love or step back?


3. Book: Mirror Mirror; Author: Cara Delevingne; Publisher: Orion: Pages: 358; Price: Rs 499

Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits. Red has an alcoholic mother and a father who's never around. Leo's brother is in prison. Rose uses sex and alcohol to numb the pain of a brutal attack. Naomi's punk rock princess persona gives her the freedom to be her true self.


When Naomi mysteriously vanishes and then is found unconscious, her friends are shaken and confused. Could it have been an accident -- or did someone deliberately try to hurt Naomi? If she was in trouble, why didn't she turn to them? How well do they really know their bandmate -- and each other? If Naomi wakes up from her coma, will she ever be the same?


To understand what happened to Naomi, Red, Leo, and Rose must ultimately face their own dark secrets and fears, and reconcile the difference between what they feel inside and what they show to the world.


4. Book: The Golden Dakini; Author: Charu Singh; Publisher: Hachette: Pages: 315; Price: Rs 499

Thus have the ancients of the divine kingdom of Shambala prophesised the birth of a new age and its saviour -- the Maitreya. Destined to be the mother of the Maitreya, the golden dakini Yeshe Nam Lha has descended to Earth in the guise of a mortal. Accompanied by her celestial guardians -- Prince A-KarO and Prince Narasimha -- she must now journey to the hidden Mount Meru in order to choose a suitor, and fulfill the prophecy.


As her quest takes her through the sleepy towns of Sikkim and Assam to the snowy mountains of Jammu and Leh, Yeshe and her companions encounter a host of magical creatures -- the tsen deities who reside in the caves in the Himalayas, the fey warriors of the celestial city of Ney, and the yakshas, gatekeepers of the hidden tunnels on the way to Mount Meru.


But not everyone they meet is benevolent. Prince Arden, leader of the dark Asur forces, is on Yeshe's trail, hoping to bewitch her with his magnetic charm and Yeshe must overcome her earthly mortality if she is to make the right choice.

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