As part of the initiative, Penguin India has curated a list of 12 international titles to be read over 12 months that promise to transform your outlook on life. On the journey that you undertake with these 12 books, you would find characters from works of fiction who would resonate with you, who would make you laugh and cry but would also teach you valuable lessons along the way about the different definitions of love and friendship, what it means to be independent and free and to live in a world that is ever changing.
Along with fiction, there are also widely recognised non-fiction titles that will make your mind reel with new information and your heart soar with new knowledge. At the end of the journey, you are sure to meet a better version of yourself — #MeetTheNewYouIn2022.
“As humans and members of our society, we are changing every moment. Living our lives means facing uncertain experiences every now and then like this pandemic, but there are things in life that can be controlled and those are really the things that end up defining us. With this thought in mind, we at Penguin decided to initiate Penguin Transform with the help of our employees/colleagues in India to identify 12 books to go with 12 months of the year that would change a reader’s perspective about life and perhaps even be transformative and make them better people,” said Richard Rowlands, Regional Sales Director, India & Asia, Penguin Random House UK.
“This campaign materialised as a result of a conversation I had with my team about what Penguin as a brand owes to its readers. A ubiquitous response was to introduce people to books that would move them, that would make them rethink one or another aspect of their life and would become a memorable and transformational experience for them,” said Manoj Satti, Vice President, International Product & Marketing, Penguin Random House India.
“A lot of thought and discussion has gone behind choosing these 12 international titles out of the innumerable books we end up publishing every year. We hope the readers are able to benefit from these titles the way our colleagues have,” he added.
1. Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafaq
Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home — everything that should make her confident and fulfilled. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella’s life — an emptiness once filled by love. So when Ella reads a manuscript about the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his 40 rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work. It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored.
2. Zen and the Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
Zen is the perfect antidote to the stress and uncertainty of modern life…In clear, practical and easy to follow lessons — one a day for 100 days — renowned Buddhist monk Shunmyo Masuno draws on centuries of wisdom to show you how to apply the essence of Zen to modern life. You will learn how to exhale deeply to eliminate negative emotions, to arrange your house simply to clear your thinking, to line up your shoes at night to bring order to your mind, to plant a single flower and watch it grow, to worry less about what you cannot control, and so much more. You will even make time to think about nothing at all.
3. Think Again by Adam Grant
Discover how rethinking can lead to excellence at work and wisdom in life. Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world it might matter more that we can rethink and unlearn. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people’s minds-and our own. As Wharton’s top-rated professor and the bestselling author of ‘Originals’ and ‘Give and Take’, he tries to argue like he’s right but listen like he’s wrong. ‘Think Again’ invites us to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility, humility, and curiosity over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.
4. Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Between life and death there is a library. When Nora seed finds herself in the midnight library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: What is the best way to live?
5. Breath by James Nestor
There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. ‘In Breath’, journalist James Nestor travels the world to discover the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments, for instance, jump-start athletic performance and rejuvenate internal organs.
6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This classic sci-fi adventure for children by bestselling US author Madeleine L’Engle is now a major new motion picture from Disney. When Charles Wallace Murry goes searching through a ‘wrinkle in time’ for his lost father, he finds himself on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as ‘It’. How Charles, his sister Meg and friend Calvin find and free his father makes this a very special and exciting mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which all the way through is dominated by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels known as Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.
7. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation — awkward but electrifying — something life-changing begins. ‘Normal People’ is a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find they can’t.
8. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
This is Britain as you’ve never read it — Britain as it has never been told. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the 20th century to the teens of the 21st, ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ follows a cast of 12 characters on their personal journeys through the country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something – a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope
9. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Why is there more chance we’ll believe something if it’s in a bold typeface? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable you to make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do.
10. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson
How should we live properly in a world of chaos and uncertainty? Jordan Peterson has helped millions of people, young and old, men and women, aim at a life of responsibility and meaning. Now he can help you. Drawing on his own work as a clinical psychologist and on lessons from humanity’s oldest myths and stories, Peterson offers 12 profound and realistic principles to live by. After all, as he reminds us, we each have a vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. Deep, rewarding and enlightening, ’12 Rules for Life’ is a lifeboat built solidly for stormy seas: ancient wisdom applied to our contemporary problems.
11. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live. ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity, what makes life worth living in the face of death, what do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted, what does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away? Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all.
12. Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals. As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.
So, there you have it. Dig in and start reading!