With World Book Day upon us, let’s put aside our kids’ costume requirements for a moment - of rifling through the dressing-up box to recreate the mouse from the Gruffalo or the Hermione from Harry Potter (a perennial favourite in our house)... Instead I invite you to escape for a moment, as I’ve put together an edit of my five favourite books featuring India.
I hope I’ve picked something for every bookworm - whether you’re a coffee table book collector, travel addict, fiction fan or culture vulture, these should satisfy anyone interested in the heritage and beauty of India…
My favourite ever book – a hauntingly beautiful story. It’s tragic but equally life-affirming and talks of family bonds, relationships and heritage in such an evocative way. If you start anywhere, start here.
Shantaram – by Gregory David Roberts
This captures the heart and soul of India, the real India. It’s just an amazing piece of story-telling adventure, which will stay with you for a long time. As someone who travels to India a lot this book, for me, talks about the dirtier, grittier, underbelly of India. It’s not the romantic, colonial, idealised backdrop that so often gets depicted. It’s a true page turner and has the pace of a thriller; it will keep you awake until 3am in the morning – be warned!
Midnight's Children – by Salman Rushdie
When discussing ‘books about India’, this beautiful classic has to be in the mix. It will help anyone understand the history of the partition in India and to truly grasp this pivotal moment in Indian culture.
BEST TRAVEL GUIDE
Printed in India on hand-made paper – these insider travel guides are so passionately curated by Fiona, even as a seasoned India traveller myself, they inspire me every trip. They are 180 pages of authentic experiences and savvy, insider tips for the ‘luxury vagabond’ – including the best places to eat, drink, shop, stay, be pampered, get fit and explore. Each recommendation is a 'love story', personally sourced from in-the-know locals including chefs and chaiwallahs, artists and architects, photographers and princesses – to curate a real, true experience of this magic region.
BEST COFFEE TABLE BOOK
Hard to track down, but with stunning photography and a poetic intro, this coffee-table tome will have your digits ready to book flights…
Whether you are a seasoned India-phile and just want something to flick through, that will transport you back there in an instant, or you simply love the aesthetic, architecture or interiors inspiration – this is a beautiful buy.
If you have any recommendations to add I'd love to hear them!