Talking of bestseller lists, status-conscious authors are no longer satisfied with figuring on the dozen or more bestseller lists published in the Indian media. Everyone knows how easy it is to make it into the Indian bestseller lists, especially when they're not forced to reveal how many copies are actually sold: 50 or 5. One can understand the temptation to lie under these trying circumstances, as Pakistani novelist Feryal Ali Gauhar did at the Neemrana litfest. She bragged to anyone who'd listen that she made it to the NYT bestseller list. Exactly how her book, The Scent of Wet Earth in August, published in India by Penguin to lukewarm response, had found its way to the American bestseller list she couldn't explain.
We've had book launches for readers who refuse to read, but this must be the first time a book has been launched by a person who confessed he's never read a book in his life. Actor Akshay Kumar did the honours for Ritu Beri's self-published book Firefly: A Fairytale. According to Beri, the book's about everything from architecture to women to her stint in Paris. But we'll have to take her word for it because the book is beyond most readers' budget: Rs 1 lakh.