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.
Champaca’s Book of the Month
‘Lonely Castle In The Mirror’, written by Mizuki Tsujimura and translated from Japanese by Phillip Gabriel, is the story of seven lonely children, who each discover a portal within their mirrors. Through the portal, they emerge into a beautiful castle and are welcomed by a strange wolf-girl. The castle contains a hidden key that can grant any wish and they have a year to find it.
The story is told through the eyes of Kokoro, a young girl, who finds herself unable to go to school after a troubling altercation with a classmate. She soon realises that all the other children have stopped going to school too, for reasons of their own. For these children, the portal and the castle offer more than just an opportunity to explore a magical new place—it also forms an escape from the difficulties of their real lives.
We’re reading ‘Lonely Castle In The Mirror’ as part of the Champaca Book Subscription this May. Read with us and join our book club!
A fine collection from our shelves
Are you reading with us in the Champaca Reading Challenge? We’ve put together a list of prompts designed to help us, and you read widely and more diversely. This month, we’re reading science fiction by women authors! Science fiction is a genre that’s often associated with male writers. But there are tons of inventive, ground-breaking SF books written by women. Read on for our recommendations.
Station Eleven: by Emily St John Mandel. After bingeing on ‘The Last Of Us’, if post-apocalyptic fiction is your latest jam, ‘Station Eleven’ may be just the pick for you. It’s a snowy evening in Toronto. A famous actor falls dead while performing a play. Hours later a deadly virus rips through North America changing the world forever. Twenty years later, Kirsten, a young girl, grapples with the post-apocalyptic society while performing Shakespeare plays with a travelling company. ‘Station Eleven’ is a story about struggle, survival and finally hope in a broken world.
Contingency Plans For The Apocalypse And Other Possible Situations: by SB Divya. India’s own data scientist and science fiction writer SB Divya spins a world about past and present, through this action-packed collection of 14 short stories that span across an unbelievable Bangalore to dystopian Arizona. We meet cyborgs, magic beetles, a sickly biologist, and a couple that performs abortions in a post-apocalyptic world.
Parable Of The Sower: by Damian Duffy and John Jennings. It’s the year 2024. America is reeling from the aftermath of climate change and an economic crisis. Lauren Olamina—a preacher’s young daughter—is held behind a gated community, oblivious to the raging inequality and suffering in the outside world. In this graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E Butler’s widely popular speculative fiction of the same name, we follow the journey of Lauren and her new religious faith Earthseed. For more recommendations, browse our collection of SF novels by women and discover more titles.
Life at champaca
At Champaca, this month has been a time for reflection and stock-taking. After hosting action-packed events with authors, and poetry workshops, we spent time planning for the future at our annual Champaca planning meet. These meets give us the much-needed space to reflect and chart our journey ahead. Through a combination of meetings, and freewheeling, fun exercises we revisited our values and chalked up our goals for the upcoming year, and we are very excited. If you’re in Bangalore, we invite you to come to our lush, leafy store and browse through our shelves with cold tender coconut water.
And as always, you can find us, our book recommendations, and keep up with our upcoming events, on our website, Instagram, and Twitter!