Suggestions for India?

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Suggestions for India?

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marraskuu 12, 2008, 10:06am

I will be in Delhi, India in mid December. I picked up Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts on someone's recommendation, does anyone else have any other suggestions for me?


marraskuu 12, 2008, 10:10am

I'll think about it, but in the meantime, enjoy this bit of cultural incorrectness from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band:

marraskuu 12, 2008, 2:25pm

As for novels, I would suggest Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. This book is somewhat geared towards children, but it is a WONDERFUL book about the nature of storytelling and the love that a young boy has for his father. I love it.

I would also suggest Samskara by UR Ananatha Murthy. It's about a small community in India dealing with the ramifications of their religion in respect to a dead man that no one really liked very much.

For non-fiction or religious books, I would suggest the Bhagavad Gita. I'm sure you know about it already, but it really is worth reading if you haven't. Also, the Ramayana is really important reading. For something more academic, check out Darsan by Diana L Eck, and Literature and Nation by Richard Allan.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

marraskuu 12, 2008, 5:38pm

I you can find a copy of Delhi and its Neighbourhood you'll have enough to fill a month of sight-seeing!


marraskuu 12, 2008, 7:08pm

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions, that should keep me more then busy!

marraskuu 13, 2008, 12:26pm

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple

marraskuu 13, 2008, 12:34pm

Thanks #6, that really looks like the perfect book to read before I go.

marraskuu 13, 2008, 12:42pm

The Great Hedge Of India by Roy Moxham is a great read.

marraskuu 13, 2008, 12:46pm

Wow, that sounds good too...I should have asked this question 6 months ago so I would have time to read everything!

marraskuu 20, 2008, 8:26pm

Here are a couple that should be easy enough to find:

Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald

All the Fishes Come Home to Roost by Rachel Manija Brown

marraskuu 21, 2008, 12:44am

Yes, I have read Holy Cow thanks for reminding me. And thanks for another good suggestion. I wish I had time to read everything before my trip but some of these will probably have to serve as 'flashbacks' after I get home.

Thanks Seajack and everyone, I really appreciate your input!

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 22, 2008, 6:39pm

I'll second 'The City of Djinns' by William Dalrymple, he has others as well. Also from a fiction point of view try some Rumer Godden, she lived in India for a long time and most of her novels are set there. Try 'Peacock Spring', or if you can find it there is a paperback omnibus with three of her Indian Novels, 'Rumer Godden Treble'. Most of her stuff is out of print in the USA but probably available from the UK.

(Sorry Touchstone Didn't work for the omnibus)


marraskuu 21, 2008, 7:02am

I am utterly loving Shantaram. It's a much bigger book (in all ways) than it looks and I suspect it might keep you busy for quite a while. If you end up enjoying it as much as I am you will be guaranteed a wonderful trip - regardless of anything else that happens. I'm not sure which I envy you most - the trip to India or discovering this wonderful book!

joulukuu 6, 2008, 3:42pm

I agree on William Dalrymple.

I think that Gita Mehta's books on Indian culture, though not specifically on Delhi, are also highly readable and provide a lot of insight, particularly as she addresses a lot of the conflict between tradition and modernity which makes travel in India fascinating and challenging at the same time.

joulukuu 7, 2008, 1:04pm

Thanks again everyone!

I finiished Shantaram and really enjoyed it but hope MY trip is nothing like this book - I would like to avoid murder and mayhem. However, it was very timely reading about Leopold's and the Taj Mahal Hotel and other references that have been in the news lately.

I am currently reading The City of Djinns and enjoying it also in a completely different way. I haven't even seen Delhi yet and already I am mourning the loss of the beautiful buildings. I hope to finish this book before I leave.

I plan on taking The White Tiger with me to read while I am there.

Unfortunately, the rest of the great suggestions will have to wait until I return but that is OK - it will just extend my vacation!

joulukuu 11, 2008, 4:08am

I would suggest Holy Cow as already mentioned and one cracking book The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times by Tristam Stuart
More a Cultural history of Indian influence on global culinary habits.

joulukuu 23, 2008, 5:45am

I have just ordered a few new books which I hope to eat over the holidays...

Kim, The Raj Quartet and Midnight's Children

joulukuu 23, 2008, 2:13pm

Thanks SD18888! I thought you might find it interesting that I ate at a 'True Vegetarian' restaurant located in a Hare Krishna meat, no onion, and no garlic. Great food!

I'm back from India and I had a wonderful time. It was amazing how much my visit echoed my reading, it was great preparation!

joulukuu 23, 2008, 2:26pm

and also you should watch the film "The Darjeeling Express", available on DVD.

joulukuu 23, 2008, 2:57pm

Mmmm. There used to be a fantastic Hare Krishna restaurant in Austin, Texas, which, for the impecunious college student, had the double advantage of being cheap.

I haven't had such delicious, unique food since.

joulukuu 23, 2008, 4:23pm

Ah! Brilliant. I have so many dreams of going to India and not feeling like a freak for being a vegan! - like you do here in Australia. Vegan? What's that - is it like being a Treckie or a Doctor Who fan or something? ;-)

Mumbai is where I want to head to first with my family (with a good guide)

Sri Lanka is on the phantom itinerary as well.

joulukuu 24, 2008, 6:02am

I have to ask (as a veggie only) what's the problem with garlic? I've checked mine. Doesn't seem to be alive. I'm just interested.

joulukuu 24, 2008, 6:08am

Hi Booksloth, I believe it's a Hindu thing rather than a veggie thing that onions and garlic raise the passions

joulukuu 24, 2008, 6:13am

Thanks SD! Yes, I've noticed that.

joulukuu 24, 2008, 7:47am

Yes, I'm always wary of what's in store for me when my wife makes an onion curry and sends the kids off to bed at 7:30 pm. ;-)

joulukuu 24, 2008, 10:24am

As I recall, Pythagoras forbade the eating of beans, for which Mrs. Pythagoras was eternally grateful.

joulukuu 24, 2008, 4:05pm

I think the garlic/onion thing is a Jain thing rather than all Hindus?

joulukuu 24, 2008, 4:18pm

As like many other religions, Hindus are a diverse bunch. Many eat meat, ven cows (which are deemed scared), so the garlic and onion thing isnt a big thing to many of them.

Very much like christains and muslims etc who follow their religions in a number of ways...some closely to texts, some through interpretations and some who call themselves 'x' or 'y' but act completely polar.

All I can say is....Onions have layers. :-)

joulukuu 24, 2008, 6:09pm

On a different track, Tim Mackintosh-Smith has been writing a series of books describing his travels in the wake of the 14th century traveller Ibn Battuta. M-S's book The Hall of a Thousand Columns describes his visits to a number of locales visited by Battuta, starting in Delhi, and continuing on down the coast of Kerala. The book is not a travelogue, but his comments on 14th century India and how it reflects in the India of today are fascinating.

joulukuu 25, 2008, 11:25am

Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God by Jonah Blank is about Hinduism, but a good book on Indian society as well.

joulukuu 25, 2008, 3:22pm

I asked at the restaurant why no onion or garlic, they told me that it is detrimental to mental functions, especially memory...

...sorry I FORGOT to mention that in my earlier post, I must have been eating onions and garlic!

joulukuu 25, 2008, 4:02pm

joulukuu 27, 2008, 3:07am

CarolO - Did you take White Tiger with you and if so, was it worth it?

joulukuu 27, 2008, 5:41am

Yes, I took The White Tiger with me and I bought Between the Assassinations while I was there but haven't read it yet. It was definately worth it, it was the most current book that I read and it had a nice sense of humor even though it dealt with some dark topics.

joulukuu 28, 2008, 6:18am

I've just ordered white tiger

Hopefully will finish off Notes from the Underground either tonight or tomorrow and can start and finish Kim by Hogmanay.

joulukuu 29, 2008, 2:43am

I skimmed the posts and quite amazed no one has mentioned 'The Age of Kali' by William Dalrymple.

joulukuu 30, 2008, 12:33am

Just changed my username to LesMiserables

The Age of Kali - until now I hadn't heard of that until now
and him being a fellow Scot too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

joulukuu 30, 2008, 6:16am

Who were you before you became LesMiserables?

joulukuu 30, 2008, 6:45am

Ah! Good point. - sd18888 ( a usid I created to join the site, not thinking I would stay and gave no thought to it - but have become part of the furniture and voila..... new usid) ;-)

joulukuu 30, 2008, 6:48am

Yes, LibraryThing does tend to grow on you like that.

joulukuu 30, 2008, 10:15pm

I'm almost through Kim which I started on Monday. I should have it finished this year ;-) lol (that means I have just under 11 hours left)

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2008, 7:30pm

Well I finished Kim last night (last year)...a really nice book actually.

So continuing into 2009 नये साल की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें :-) remaining of the Indian theme, I am starting on my first book of the year......

Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

I hope this lives up to all the hype, Winning the Booker (and Booker of Bookers)

Bliadhna mhath ùr!

joulukuu 31, 2008, 11:09pm

If you are looking for novels set around the time after partition/ independence, Shashi Thuroor's "The great Indian novel" is quite good but it relies heavily on knowledge of Mahabharata and its characters.
I remember liking Manohar Malgaonkar's "Bend in the ganges" when I read it maybe two decades ago. Is any one familiar with this and Malgaonkar's other books?
Opinions on 'Freedom at Midnight' are very welcome... also other books around that period.
I am not sure if this post is ideal for this message-board. I may decide to move it later or cross-post it.
Happy New Year everyone!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 2, 2009, 5:37am

The Great Indian Novel is not one I'd heard of before. Just one review on amazon I can see, albeit a good one.

tammikuu 2, 2009, 4:51am

I found 21 reviews on Amazon (maybe Amazon takes you to a different site in different countries?)

Although after scanning the reviews my suspicion is confirmed that only those who know Mahabharata characters intimately are excited by the book.

Umm... how can I make my book titles 'click-able'?

tammikuu 2, 2009, 5:20am

Put square brackets around it - read the bit in grey to the right (entitled Touchstones). Sometimes it comes up with the wrong book and you have to click others to get a list to choose from, oh and for some works and authors it doesn't work right either.

tammikuu 2, 2009, 5:35am

oh yeah. amazon uk is my one

tammikuu 2, 2009, 12:22pm

I loved The Great Indian Novel and I think you can read it on different levels although I am somewhat au fait with what it was based on...

tammikuu 3, 2009, 12:54am

Staying on all things Indian and Mumbai so it seems: my good wife is currently reading The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

By all accounts very good.

tammikuu 9, 2009, 5:49pm

Well, that's that! Finished Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

So glad I read this one. Really good. A contemporary classic.

tammikuu 11, 2009, 9:18am

Kim, Midnights' Children and now just finished The White Tiger

I really need to change sub continents, I think :-)

tammikuu 30, 2009, 4:42pm

Kim, Hindoo Holiday, The Deceivers, The Siege of Krishnapur. The English are interesting fools in India, never as subtle as the Indians, heroic but venal, outrun and outnumbered.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 6, 2009, 11:54am

#1 If you can get to India abit earlier, you'll get to see the 'top' festival - Diwali, the harvest-time celebration and also the New Year in most regions.

This is the piece I did on it for the local paper: