British Pakistani Best-seller Book List 2008-09

Posted on December 17, 2008
Filed Under >Bradistan Calling, Books
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Bradistan Calling

A nation’s power and might is not in its tanks and missiles but is known by its intellectual capability, knowledge, innovation, creativity and through its respect of human rights and freedom of expression.

The talk of doom and gloom in Pakistan, after a flurry of bad news on economic front the terrorist attacks, has created doubts in the minds of even the hardest of incorrigible optimists and patriots about the future of Pakistani governance and state.

As the poet philosopher Iqbal said in his poems, “This soil is very fertile”, (translated verse). It is as true today as on the day of creation of Pakistan. I met a Bearded University Professor teaching primary school kids for charity in Northern Areas whose research thesis was “Sir Francis Bacon”.

In the field of scientific innovation we can hold our heads high on names like Dr Abdus Salam, Dr parvez hoodbhoy and professor Atta ur Rehman. Our creative genius in arts and literature has been recognised world over in people Faiz, Sadqain, Guljee, Bapsi Sidhwa, Tariq Ali and Hanif Kureishi.

Today on ATP we want to talk about literary Prowse of Pakistani authors and writers of Pakistani origin, the list is endless. In 2007 and 2008 bestseller lists worldwide Pakistanis authors have been in more Bestseller lists than any other English speaking nationality out side UK and USA with the notable exceptions of Arvind Adiga booker prize winner “The White Tiger” and Khaled Husseini the Afghan American author.

In man booker prize, Mohsin Hamid was short listed in 2007 for his novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” which is currently in Top 50 of book sales charts in UK and Europe, Mohammed Hanif was long listed in 2008 for his debut novel “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” and is short listed for the first book award from one of the biggest English language newspapers in the world “The Guardian”.

Yasmin Hai‘s book was serialised for BBC radio4, Mohammed Hanif‘s book has been reviewed by BBC Asian Network, James Caan is a celebrity business tycoon on BBC shows, Tariq Ali is on a major Book tour of North America, Hanif Kureishi keeps appearing on European channels from time to time. Bollywood director Rahul Bose is making a movie on Moth Smoke, many of Bapsi Sidhwa works have been adopted for movies like Earth and Water.

Currently busy in a project in central library, I cannot help but notice Benazir Bhutto’s autobiography “Daughter of the East” is in very high demand and so is Mukhtara Mai‘s “In the Name of Honour”, new borrowers have to go on a waiting list for Mohammed Hanif and Mohsin Hamid Books and library had to order the audio version of their books to cope with demand.

In urdu/Hindi/Punjabi/Arabic section my favourite Mustansar Hussain Tarar is still the front runner, closely followed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto’s multiple biographies even oxford freshman Bilawal Zardari is popular, General Ayub Khan is back on book shelves in the urdu reincarnation of his biography “Friends, not Masters”.

Local book store selling discount books for Christmas has a high stack of General Musharraf’s “In the Line of Fire” and Saira Ahmed‘s “Disgraced” , right next to Cherie Blair’s( wife of ex british prime minister Tony Blair) “speaking for my self” (reduced price to clear stock).

My local oxfam’s charity bookstore has books by Tehmina Durrani, Abdus Sattar Edhi, Tariq Ali , Hanif kureshi, Sara Sulehri (daughter of journalist ZA Sulehri) and Pakistan tourist Guide books co-authored by Cricketer Imran Khan)

Pakistanis, no matter where they are, love to write and enjoy great books, it would be wonderful idea to give friends and family Pakistani bestsellers this holiday season.

The Best Seller List For Holiday Season 2008/09

1. Mohsin Hamid’s The reluctant Fundamentalist

2. Mohammed Hanif “A Case of Exploding Mangoes”

3. Tariq Ali’ s The leopard and the Fox –a Pakistani tragedy
and The Duel

4. James Caan’s “The real deal- out side the dragon’s den”

5. Yasmin Hai’s “Making of Mr Hai’s Daughter”

6. Zia Uddin Sardar’s “Balti Britain”

7. Nadeem Aslam’s “The Wasted Vigil”

8. Hanif Kureishi’s “Something to tell You”

9. Bapsi Sidhwa’s “Pakistani bride”

10. Amir Khan’s “Boy from Bolton: My story”

And finally

11. Tahir Shah (The Caliph’s House) and sibling Saira Shah “Story Teller’s Daughter” who are authors of dual Pak-Afghan heritage.

Bradistan Calling is a proud Pakistani in Bradford, West yorkshire (Little Pakistan).

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22 responses to “British Pakistani Best-seller Book List 2008-09”

  1. wasiq says:

    Wanted to provide everyone with a little more on the path breaking Pakistani novelist Zulfiqar Ghose who now makes his home at UT Austin

    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uthrc/00384/hrc-003 84.html 0-

    I see Ghose’s conribution as providing us — very early on even before Naipaul — a conception of our own internationalism — by marrying a Brazilian woman and writing books like Dos Buenos or the Incredible Brazilian and then writing books so firmly rooted in the South Asian experience — post partition — they could have been produced by Khushwant Singh

  2. Hina says:

    Forgive me for going slightly out of topic here but based on quite a few responses it seems that a lot of us like to read fiction which has the ‘experience of an immigrant in a foreign’ land as its main theme.

    The writers below are not Pakistani but they are brilliant in weaving tales around the immigrant experience:

    Ha Jin: A free life

    Jhumpa Lahiri: I am unable to select only one so I’ll name all three of her books:
    Pulitzer winning Interpreter of Maladies
    The Namesake
    Unaccustomed Earth

    And finally allow me to indulge in one more remark: Ms. Lahriri not only write as a goddess, she looks like one too.

  3. wasiq says:

    ATP has missed the boat on the most important Pakistani cultural achievement of the last 2 years, the publication in the esteemed New Yorker Magazine of stories by Daniyal Mueenuddin who hails from Khanpur in the Rahim Yar Khan district of the Southern Punjab region in Pakistan. Check out the leads below to see what I mean

    http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2008/12/ 01/081201fi_fiction_mueenuddin

    http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2007/08/ 27/070827fi_fiction_mueenuddin

    And here is evidence that other blogs were more prescient about Muenuddin:

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004686.h tml

    http://wardsix.blogspot.com/2007/08/daniyal-mueenu ddins-nawabdin.html

    In my opinion, readers will rate him far higher than the really run of the mill Mohsin Hamid

  4. dilsenomad says:

    Apart from authors who have written in English I would strongly recommend Udaas Naslain by Abdullah Hussain, and Awaaz-e-Dost by Mukhtar Masood. The first one has been translated as the weary nations, I have not read it in English, therefore can only recommend the original. The second book is actually my favorite book in the Urdu language, a must read!

  5. I will also advise reader to read Lahore originated and San Francisco based writer Moazzam Sheikh.

    His new book “The Idol Lover and Other Stories from Pakistan”

    It is sexually charged but an exteremely intelligent read. You may find link at

    http://www.amazon.com/Idol-Lover-Other-Stories-Pak istan/dp/0979339014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1229567 551&sr=1-1

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