What Should I Be Reading In South Indian Fiction?

Do you read books in written in Indian languages? If yes, then let’s be friends!

I’ve always been interested in reading regional Indian fiction in translation. First it was contemporary writing, then Indian fiction in English and now I am on the lookout for South Indian fiction. With The News Minute review, this obsession has also found validation.

What does contemporary writing in Andhra and Telegana look like? I have no foothold in Telugu fiction to even begin reading. I intend to remedy this by reading Gogu Shyamala.

For Malayalam reading I just go by instinct. I’ve read very little in Malayalam so I pick up books indiscriminately at the Mathrubhumi Pustaka Mela (book fest). Routinely, they suspect I’ll buy too many books and send a sales staff to follow me around. Must admit though that I’ve not read all the books I’ve bought.

Thanks to the Marriage Act of 1955 I have a minion who reads in Kannada tasked with introducing me to Kannada literature. My first brush with Kannada literature was when we visited Poornachandra Tejaswi‘s wife Rajeshwari at their beautiful home near Chikmagalur. Though we arrived unannounced, she was extremely nice to us, offering us tea and taking time out of her afternoon to chat with us.

For Tamil, I have a supplier in Chennai. She and I have had a live gtalk window to discuss this among other things since 2008. She introduced me to books by Ambai, Salma and Ashokamitran.

I have always read been based on recommendations by friends. Mainly because in college I didn’t have enough money to buy all the books I wanted. I used to read whatever was available in our hostel’s library that was a really pretty name for a shelf of books. Once I could afford books I had phases. If I liked a book, I would read another book by the same author and then another till I got bored. When time started slipping away and reading time had to be pulled out from a magician’s hat, I became very conscious of what I read.

Finally, today I have the time to read and the money to buy books but now, I have a new problem. With South Indian fiction, I have few pointers to lead me. I am basing my reading entirely on my intuition and the jacket. But I’d really appreciate any direction you could offer. Below are a few books that I plan to read this year.

What else do you think should I be reading? Let me know in comments below.

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