5 Fiction Recommendations for Broke Book Buds on a Budget

Are you broke? So are we:)

Here are 5 vetted good reads that are short, quick and cheap. With all titles clocking well under ₹300, this is your guide to reading good literature from across the world under a budget!

From classics like The Old Man and The Sea to relatively unknown gems from beloved authors, like Marquez’s The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, as well as the brilliance of the new in Ernaux’s Nobel-winning A Woman’s Story, this list is just as expansive as it is affordable. Happy Reading:)

Idol, Burning by Rin Usami

Rin Usami’s short but powerful novel Idol, Burning takes us into the dark side of idolisation and the fatal frenzy of fan culture. Following Akari, a young woman whose life revolves around her devotion to Masaki, a popular singer and actor, the novel traces the emotional toll of fanaticism as well as the dangers of social media. Praised for its sharp writing, capturing the alienation of youth and the complex relationship between fans and idols, Idol, Burning is a thought-provoking read that transcends genre, offering a glimpse into the dark corners of our hyper-connected world.

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella, The Old Man and the Sea, captures the epic struggle between an ageing, unlucky fisherman, Santiago, and a magnificent marlin. For eighty-four days, Santiago has returned empty-handed, deemed “salao” (unlucky) by the village. Determined, he ventures out far into the Gulf Stream, where a brutal battle of wills ensues as the marlin drags him out to sea. A truly beautiful and timeless tale, written in elegant simple prose that perfectly conveys the power and majesty of nature as well as human resilience, Hemingway’s is a narrative on the cost of certain ‘victories’. 

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

More than your typical shipwreck tale, this is a true story based on a newspaper account of Luis Alejandro Velasco, the sole survivor of a Colombian destroyer. This is a story of a scandal. Where the official account explains the shipwreck as a consequence of the storm, Velasco discovers the real reason behind its catastrophic sinking:  the overloaded contraband aboard the ship. Exposing not just the sailor’s harrowing ordeal, but also the government’s corruption and the fleeting nature of fame, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor is an unflinching expose that blends real-life drama with social commentary. 

A Woman’s Story by Annie Ernaux

From the brilliant literary documentarian of the female and intimate, comes a certified classic, the Nobel-winning A Woman’s Story.  After her mother succumbs to Alzheimer’s, Ernaux embarks on a poignant journey to reconstruct her mother’s life. Transcending the personal, attempting to excavate her mother as opposed to eulogising her, A Woman’s Story weaves the unearthed sum of her mother’s experiences– from a working-class childhood to the challenges of motherhood– into a tapestry of social change in 20th century France. As with all her narratives, the beauty of Ernaux’s book lies in its exploration of universals: the complex bond between mothers and daughters, the bittersweet passage of time, and grappling with loss. It’s a powerful reminder that in remembering someone’s life, we can find not just sorrow, but a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

The Legends of Pensam by Mamang Dai

The Legends of Pensam is a tapestry of interwoven stories that explores life in the remote village of Pensam, nestled in the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Written by Mamang Dai, an insider to the Adi tribe’s culture, the narrative weaves myth and history to offer a riveting and misty portrayal of Arunanchal’s culture. Featuring a mysterious boy from the sky, a determined mother searching for her lost son, and a community grappling with the clash between tradition and the modern world, Dai, in an evocative language that is truly her own, paints a vivid portrait of this unique place, its people, and their enduring spirit in the face of change.

Pick up any of these 5 Fiction Recommendations for Broke Book Buds on a Budget from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

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