Editor’s note: We feature the brilliant recommendations of our partner, the Champaca Bookstore, in the Read section twice a month. FYI: Champaca is an independent women-run and -founded bookstore and children's library in Bangalore.
Pick up a book by indie publisher Blaft Publications!
At Champaca, we’re always encouraging readers to pick up books by indie publishers. Across India, there is exceptional and diverse work that various indie publishers are putting out there. Today, we give you a glimpse of this by recommending books by Blaft Publications—a publishing house with a distinct style, known for bringing us whacky, out of the box stories.
Kumari Loves A Monster
‘Kumari Loves A Monster’ is an unusual, but fascinating picture book featuring girls whose boyfriends are gruesome monsters. Each page has a poem, written in both Tamil and English, and a quirky, illustrated fantasy scene.
Conversations Regarding The Fatalistic Outlook Of The Common Man
Collecting 37 dialogues with children, this book blends philosophy and humour. In it, author Kuzhali Manickavel interviews children and adults, attempting to understand their thoughts on various subjects like gender-neutral pronouns, hipster racism, ghosts, shoe racks, and more.
Killer Echinoderms In Indian History
First in the Blaft Monographs on Crypto diversity and Decoherence chapbook series, this is a zine by Virendar Murkblob. In it, Murkblob cleverly blends biology and storytelling to tell us about malevolent marine invertebrates, and their various attempts to infiltrate or attack the Indian civilization.
The Obliterary Journal Vol: 2
‘The Obliterary Journal Vol: 2’ collects short comics by various Indian artists that explore the common theme of consumption of animal flesh by members of the human species. The collection includes stories by Appupen, Meena Kandasamy & Samita Chatterjee, Michelle & Musharraf Ali Farooqi, and more.
Sin Is A Puppy That Follows You Home
Written by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu, and translated by Aliyu Kamal, this is the first full-length novel to be translated from Hausa to English. Unlike anything you’ve read before, ‘Sin Is A Puppy That Follows You Home’ is a soaring soap opera full of drama, mystery, and even black magic!
Insects Are Just Like You And Me Except Some Of Them Have Wings
Another masterpiece from the stables of Kuzhali Manickavel, this book is a collection of 35 unique short stories. From a centipede stuck in a shoe, to exploding women, and even a dead mouse named Miraculous, this collection is full of unlikely protagonists.
The Class V Robotics Notebooks of J Kokila
This illustrated chapbook is about J Kokila, the famous Chennai-born polymath. From the age of 10, Kokila filled sketchbook after sketchbook with drawings of robots—some of them hinting at the inventions that would take shape later in the life of the polymath.
The Blaft Anthology Of Tamil Pulp Fiction Vol:1
Pulp magazines across India have some of the most interesting stories and themes. ‘Tamil Pulp Fiction’ by Rakesh Khanna and Pritham K Chakravarthy collects stories from old Tamil pulp magazines—ranging from mystery, to romance, to noir and even science fiction—along with illustrations. The book also features some interviews with the authors of these stories.
Life at Champaca: At Champaca, we’ve entered 2023 armed with wonderful books. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, our year-end listicle is perfect to choose from. In it, each staff member picked a book that made them laugh. You can read it here, and don’t forget—there’s always more staff recommendations on our website. This January, our stacks are bursting with new books. If you’re in Bangalore, we invite you to visit our store, have a cup of hot coffee, and go home with a bag full of books. For folks who can’t visit our store, why not browse our virtual shelves? We have a range of new titles for you to choose from.
And as always, you can find us and our book recommendations, and keep up with our upcoming events, on our website, Instagram, and Twitter!