February 20, 2020
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This shifting loyalties in the publishing world, holy books and characters falling from grace in sequels


Print Runs

AMISH is their star. Anuja Chauhan recently defected to them from HarperCollins with all her pricey Tha­kur girls. Chennai-based Westland Books is on a roll. Now another biggie from Penguin is said to be shifting his loyalties. Banker-turned ‘financial thriller’ writer Ravi Subramanian (If God Was A Banker, Bank­erupt) is all set to publish his next with Westland, which seems to be on the prowl. Others better watch out.


How do you react to a sequel to a holy book? Well, it’s not exactly a sequel. Harper Lee wrote Go Set A Watchman before To Kill A Mockingbird, which quickly became the conscience-keeper of a whole generation. Pre­d­i­ctably, the reaction to her second book, publi­s­hed this week, has been mixed, and some critics are sca­thing. The main bone of contention appears to be how Atticus Finch, the lawyer with high ideals, has cha­n­ged over time, showing racist tendenc­ies in his later years. Jean Louise ‘Scout’ too seems to have lost some of her sting. But it may be best to make up our own minds after reading the book.

Pressing Ideas

While on holy books, Gita Press, which has sold close to 72 million copies of the Bhagawad Gita, 70 million copies of Tulsidas’s works and about 20 million copies of Puranas and Upanish­ads, is the subject of a forthcoming book, Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India by Akshaya Mukul (Harper­Collins). It was set up by two businessmen in the 1920s and its magazine Kal­yan became a voice for militant Hindu­ism during the freedom struggle and later. The book is significant in the current climate when most of the issues Gita Press took up are back in news.

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