Saturday, August 14, 2010

India - Book Recommendations (Updated- May 2012)


On August 15, India celebrates 63 years of freedom.

Those who've followed my blog for a while would know that I read a lot of books about India and several books written by Indian authors. Here's my list of India-related books, fiction, poetry and non-fiction, recommended for you. Most of these are books I've read and some are books that have been recommended to me. This is by no means a complete list, but a compilation of books that I remember right now.

Epics:

1. The Mahabharata - C.Rajagopalachari's abridged version and P.Lal's English translation are ones I've been recommended.
2. The Ramayana - English translation by Romesh C Dutt is available online

Poetry:

3. Gitanjali - Rabindranath Tagore
4. The Golden Threshold - Sarojini Naidu
5.  I Won't Let You Go: Selected Poems - Rabindranath Tagore


Memoirs/Letters:

7. Prison and Chocolate Cake - Nayantara Sahgal
9. Freedom's Daughter - Letters Between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru
10. The Music Room: A Memoir - Namita Devidayal
11. Begums, Thugs and White Mughals - Fanny Parkes
12. In the Shadow of Freedom - Anis Kidwai


Non-fiction:

13. India After Gandhi - Ramachandra Guha
14. Freedom At Midnight - Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
16. City of Djinns - William Dalrymple
17. The Discovery of India - Jawaharlal Nehru
20. The Men Who Ruled India - Philip Mason
22. The Last Mughal - William Dalrymple
23. Curfewed Night - Basharat Peer
24. Nine Lives : In Search of the Sacred in Modern India - William Dalrymple **
25. Nationalism - Rabindranath Tagore
26. The Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen
27. Mumbai Fables - Gyan Prakash
28. India: A Wounded Civilization - V.S Naipaul
29. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan - Yasmin Khan
30. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India - Urvashi Butalia
31. The Idea of India - Sunil Khilnani 
32. Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism - Srirupa Roy
33. The Romance of the State: And the Fate of Dissent in the Tropics - Ashis Nandy
34. Beyond Appearances? Visual Practices and Ideologies in Modern India - Sumathi Ramaswamy (ed)
35. Remembering Partition - Gyanendra Pandey
36. Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World - Partha Chatterjee
37. Pleasure and the Nation: The History, Politics and Consumption of Public Culture in India - Rachel Dwyer, Christopher Pinney (eds)
38. Makers of Modern India - Ramachandra Guha
39. White Mughals - William Dalrymple
40. War and Peace in Modern India - Srinath Raghavan


Autobiographies:

42. The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian - Nirad C Chaudhari
43. An Autobiography - Jawaharlal Nehru

Biographies:

45. Nehru: The Making of India - M.J.Akbar
46. Nehru - Benjamin Zachariah
47. Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi - Katherine Frank

Fiction:


48. The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor
49. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People - Farahad Zama  
50. Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
51. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
52. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
53. The Twentieth Wife - Indu Sundaresan
54. A Passage to India - E.M.Forster
55. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
56. The Siege of Krishnapur - J.G.Farrell
57. The Far Pavilions - M.M.Kaye
58. Train to Pakistan - Khushwant Singh
59. Malgudi Days - R.K.Narayan
60. A Bend In The Ganges - Manohar Malgonkar
61. Two Leaves and A Bud - Mulk Raj Anand
62. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
63. Swami and Friends - R.K.Narayan
64. Cracking India - Bapsi Sidhwa *
65. Q & A - Vikas Swarup *
66. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts **
67. Rich Like Us - Nayantara Sahgal
68. Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh
69. Serious Men - Manu Joseph
70. Fasting, Feasting - Anita Desai

If you have any India-related books to recommend, please leave a comment. I'd love to add them in here! Happy Independence Day in advance to all Indians living across the world.


* Recommended by Tanu 
** Recommended by Priya Iyer


UPDATE: I have updated the list with some of the books I've been reading recently (the new books are marked in green). I've found them all fascinating and thought-provoking and hope you will too.

15 comments:

Tanu said...

This is a great list.

Have you had a chance to read anything by Chitra Divakaruni? I have heard her books are good.

What about Q&A by Vikas Swarup? I enjoyed the book much more than the movie.

Happy Independence to you too!!!

Wait...there is one more :D

Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa. According to my little brother, this one is a good book.

Booksnyc said...

Thanks for this great list! I am in the middle of Rushdie's Midnight's Children which is centered around the day India gained independence - it is excellent!

Veens said...

LOVE this list :)I shared it on FB as well.
I have to read a LOT more books now!

Kals said...

Tanu - Thanks :) I read Chitra Divakaruni's Palace of Illusions and I didn't like it, I'm afraid. I thought it was too simplistic a take on the Mahabharat. I'll probably give her another try though :)

Will add both your recos! I've not read Q &A because I disliked Slumdog and didn't want to spend more time on it. But I'll add it to my To-be read list now :) Thanks to your little brother for the reco too!

Booksync - Thanks! That is a great book and I'm glad you're liking it. You've picked the right time to read the book =)

Veens - Aww...thanks a lot! Oh yes I know. So many books, so little time for all of us!

Priya Parmar said...

what a brilliant list! am sending it straight to my dad so we can read through it together! thank you!

Priya Iyer said...

Lovely list. Thanks so much for creating it. :)

I would also recommend Nine Lives by William Dalyrymple.

BTW there's a book giveaway on at my blog. Do come over if you are intersted. :)

Priya Iyer said...

Also, Shantaram :)

Happy Independence Day (Belated)

Kals said...

Priya Parmar - Thanks so much. I'm glad you like it and find it useful! Hope your Dad likes it as well :)

Priya Iyer - I'm adding these books :) Dalrymple is an amazing writer, isn't he? I've already included two of his books and he just gets awesomer :)

Vaishnavi said...

This is a truly awesome list and I am ashamed to admit that I have only read a handful. Still, this is a great point of reference fo beginners like me. Thank you so much!

Kals said...

Thanks so much Vaishnavi! There are quite some books in this list that I've not read either and I'm looking forward to getting to them. Feel free to recommend any India-related books you enjoyed as well :)

Claire said...

Hi Kals,

Great list! Have you seen this new book about Mumbai by Gyan Prakash?

Mumbai Fables

:)

mel u said...

I enjoyed One Night at a Call Center by Chetan Bhagat-funny and insight full look at the call center industry and Amir Ghosh's great historical novel, Sea of Poppies-

Carol Morgan said...

I've just published a historical fiction novel entitled Of Tapestry, Time and Tears. It is the story of the 1947 Partition of India through the eyes of an American female journalist from Texas.
You can read more about it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Tapestry-Time-Tears-Carol-Morgan/dp/145642792X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294636072&sr=1-1&tag=533633855-20
It is available in print or on Kindle and Google e-books.
I also have a book trailer for my novel at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FjUXSLUCpw
I would love to have more reviews!
Thanks so much,
Carol Morgan

mel u said...

Great to see you back and thanks for the update reading list-while you were on hiatus I wrote a guide to getting started in the Indian story

http://rereadinglives.blogspot.com/2012/01/reading-life-guide-to-getting-started.html

From July 1 to August 31 I will be focusing on short stories from the subcontinent. Mostly Indian by default but will try feature writers from all countries

Kals said...

Mel, thank you so much. Great to hear from you after a long time! And that is such an excellent post. Thank you for letting me know. I have commented on it :)

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