Popular writers recommend books to read during summer holidays
We invited five leading writers to pick a recently published book they would recommend to have your head buried in as holiday mode sets in
Ruskin Bond: For a glimpse into the life of czars
The Romanovs (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Simon Sebag Montefiore goes intimately into the lives of the czars from the 17th century right up to the Russian Revolution and World War I. A very well-researched work of 600 pages, it is not too academic and makes for an engaging book, telling you all about life in Russia and Eastern Europe at the time.
Another book that I found interesting recently is River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and India's Future (Oxford University Press). Written by Victor Mallet, it traces the Ganga from source to mouth, through its history up to its present-day problems, pollution being one of them. Another well-researched work, it is quite readable.
Ravinder Singh: For a bestseller high
I read Danielle Steel for the first time in The Right Time (Random House). The book is about what happens when a writer cannot tell the world that she is the author of many bestselling novels. The author, who started writing crime thrillers as a young adult, is advised by her father to use a pen name because he feels the world wouldn't accept a woman writer when it comes to that genre. The book turns out to be a super bestseller. But while she is enjoying the success, she can't go out and tell the world it's hers. She skips all award shows, and remains disguised even as one of her books gets made into a movie. I loved the book because as an author, I could relate to it. I could put myself in her shoes and fathom what I would go through if my novels are out there and I was recommended to read my own writing.
Shabnam Minwalla: For a detective spin
In case you haven't met Los Angeles-based detective Harry Bosch, this summer is the perfect time to make his acquaintance. The sometimes abrasive, always determined LAPD homicide cop solved his first fictional crime all the way back in 1992. Along the way he acquired a daughter, a bunch of powerful enemies and a reputation for being pig-headed and fearless.
In the 2016 novel, The Wrong Side of Goodbye (Little, Brown and Company) by Michael Connelly, Bosch has finally retired from the police force and is working as a private investigator. That is when a California billionaire employs him to find out what happened to his pregnant Mexican sweetheart, many decades ago. Bosch does what he does best — untangle a skein of lies and complications. While Connelly does what he does best — conjure up the crazy, golden City of Angels.
Roopa Rai: For aâÂÂÂÂÂÂtrip down south
As a writer, I have learnt to question historical "facts" the way they are presented to us. For, history is only one version of the truth, which is often that of the victor's. The Indian history taught in our schools is so skewed towards the north — where one chapter wraps up all South Indian kingdoms — that it was a refreshing change to lay my hands on Charles Allen's Coromandel: A Personal History of South India (Little, Brown). A scholarly and well-researched account of the south, right from pre-historic times and up until the present, Allen makes it his business to present the latest studies on, for instance, where the Aryans came from and in what ways they may have impacted the south. Despite the serious nature of the book, he has written it in such an engaging manner that you get sucked into the story
instantly. Far from being a cultural and political backwater, the south is presented as the vibrant and intellectual society that it has always been.
Jerry Pinto: For time travel
Smritichitre: the memoirs of a spirited wife by Lakshmibai Tilak, translated by Shanta Gokhale (Speaking Tiger) is a wonderful read, evoking another time and another era; but most of all for the character of Lakshmibai who comes across as strong and feisty and trying desperately to love and understand her husband, Mr Tilak, as he searches for his own version of truth.
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