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There’s nothing quite like curling up with a book on a cold and rainy day. Snuggle up with your blanket, have a good old cuppa or steaming mug of hot chocolate, and be transported to India with one of these good reads. You’ll be surrounded by spices and feeling the sand between your toes in no time.
India by David Gentleman
I came across this book in central London, nestled in an Oxfam shop, and it is definitely one to keep. This book provides a great introduction to India’s regions, focusing on cities, people, and monuments. Travelling around India, the author has written informative pieces combined with travel writing. Every page is blessed with his detailed artwork, bringing life and colour to each topic.
Heart of India by Mark Tully
A collection of short stories, focusing on different fictional characters. This book, set in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India, is gripping and features people’s different perspectives and lives. It is hard not to connect with the characters and feel as if you’re observing them from the next room.
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta
A gritty and honest read about the most populous city in India. It mixes memoir with travel writing with sociology, to produce a whirlwind of stories and activity. I found this book really fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyed burrowing under the surface of Mumbai.
Tales from India by J. E. B. Gray
This charming little book features short folktales similar to Aesop’s Fables and A Thousand and One Nights, making a delightful read. In the pages you will find princesses, monkeys, earthquakes, wise men, fools, battles, and love. A recipe for great storytelling.
India : The Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant
Bought for me as a gift from Pakistan, this chunky treasure is beautifully presented with a delicate touch. Packed with information, sumptuous photographs, and regional Indian recipes from restaurants to street food, this book is a feast for both the eyes and stomach.
...And there’s always one book on the shelf which belongs to a different genre. Yet sometimes it turns out to be the best find. This one deserves mentioning.
Small is Beautiful by E F Schumacher
Whenever I see or hear the word ‘economics’, my eyes glaze over and my brain shuts down. However, this book does not study it conventionally, and I found it hard to put down at times. Its angle on economics is very refreshing and has a highly valid point – society should prioritise human needs. There is a section on the third world, and I believe this book should be compulsory reading. Jeevika Trust, a charity supported by TransIndus, follows Schumacher’s principles with their work, in helping Indian villages tackle poverty. www.jeevika.org.uk