I read like a fiend – Adam’s picking up, when time allows him to. I’ve taken a fair chunk of my usual “fluff” reading to make sure to read books on India, history and culture, fiction and non-fiction, all of it. Tour books, too… so here’s my “top” list of books I’ve read and found useful/enjoyed:
- Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russel Rich; a woman’s trip to India to learn the language as part of an article/experiment. Interesting combination autobiography, travelogue, and linguistics book.
- Culture Shock India by Gitanjali Kolanad; one of the better top culture-info books on India.
- City of Djinns by William Dalrymple; a good look at Delhi’s history and present by a man who’s written a lot about India and her history, and knows how to wind a tale.
- In Spite of the Gods by Edward Luce; a look at India’s rise in the modern world and its interactions with some of the other “big hitters”.
- The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger; an alternative look at the history of Hinduism and its effects on India, including the way myths are structured, the roles of women, etc.
- Ramayana & Mahabharata; two major classical historical texts, the Bhagavad Gita being extracted from the Mahabharata. Regardless of which edition you read… they’re definitely worth reading.
I’m trying to get ahold of a series called the “Raj Quartet” by Paul Scott; the individual books are _The Jewel in the Crown_, _The Day of the Scorpion_, _The Towers of Silence_ and _A Division of the Spoils_. They’re supposedly a well-wrought depiction of colonial-era India; I’m reticent to find them in any format but an e-book, since I don’t wish to have more paper editions than necessary with the problems monsoon will bring us.