Summer—and to top it, polls—is usually the silly season for books. Conventional publishing wisdom demanded that all big books wait for the high season between October and February. Because that's when India's largest book-buyers—the expats and tourists—visit India. But this summer publishers seem to have given the slip to the old tradition. Book-buyers and book launch-goers (yes, two distinct species) are being besieged with new titles as the mercury soars. Pavan Varma flew in for the launch of his magnum opus, Being Indian
; his MEA colleague Nirupama Rao also chose the hottest week in April for the launch of her book of poems, Rain Rising
; and Roli celebrated the silly season with two lavish book parties: one for a book in their Family Pride series, Rajmata Gayatri Devi
by Dharmendar Kanwar and another for a memoir-cum-cookbook-cum-album on one of Delhi's abiding institutions, Moti Mahal's Tandoori Trail
. Written by Monish Gujral, grandson of the man from Peshawar who invented butter chicken.
There used to be a time, too, when authors took umbrage if a publisher put them in a summer release slot. No longer. June, that no-no month for all publishers, is going to see another wave of high-profile books. Starting with former CEC J.M. Lyngdoh's Chronicle of an Impossible Election
Campaigning and reading don't usually go together. But preserved in the Indira Gandhi museum on Delhi's Safdarjung Road is the airbag Rajiv was carrying on his fatal journey to Sriperumbudur. An improbable travel accessory for a political candidate on a whistle-stop tour: a book. The book, a hefty pilot's manual, doesn't compare with his mother's impressive library (including a well-thumbed copy of Salim Ali's Book of Indian Birds). But still. Wonder what Sonia carries in her campaign bag. Norman Vincent Peale's classic, Think Positive, perhaps? And Atalji? How about My Best Friend Moved Away?