Favourite reads of 2015

Favourite reads of 2015

Shashi Tharoor

  Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh
  Until the Lions by Karthika Nair
  Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
  Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad
  The Election That Changed
India by Rajdeep Sardesai

Shinie Antony

  Karnakavitha - Hindi poetry collection edited by Sourav Roy
  Literally Yours by Asha Francis and  Chetaan Joshi
  Meer by Humra Quraishi
  Shadow and Soul by Nandita Bose
  Why We Love the Way We Do by Preeti Shenoy

Jerry Pinto

  Until the Lions by Karthika Nair
  Nine by Anupama Raju
  Two years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
  The Syrian Jihad by Charles Lister
  The Light of his Clan by Chetan Raj Shreshtha

Amish Tripathi

  Indian Science & Technology by Dharampal
  The Beautiful Tree by Dharampal
  Shiva : The Great Lord of Yoga by Dr David Frawley
  The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer
  Masterpieces of Urdu Ghazals by K C Kanda

Rakshanda Jalil

  Rest in Peace: Ravan and Eddie by Kiran Nagarkar
  Khirman, Urdu poetry by Muztar Khairabadi
  Firaq Gorakhpuri: The Poet of Painand Ecstasy, a biography by Ajai Mansingh
  My Name is Radha: the Essential Manto, translated and introduced by Muhammad Umar Memon
  Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philospher and Politician by Zafar Anjum
The one I enjoyed most was Khirman, a collection of poetry in five volumes by Muztar Khairabadi, published over 80 years after the poet’s death. A collection of great beauty and immense variety, it represents the many moods of Urdu poetry.

Shashi Deshpande

  The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin: This is about the last few days of Jesus’s life and his crucifixion, seen through the eyes of his mother Mary. Brings home what familiarity has almost made us forget: what a terrible story it is, what a wonderful story it is.
  This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett: After reading Patchett’s Bel Canto, I can’t resist any book of hers. This oddly-titled book is a collection of essays. It has much to interest a writer and a reader. Witty, yet serious.

  A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler:

One of my favourite writers, her last few books were disappointing. In this story of all humans, a story of old age and how the children and parents cope, she is back in form.
  Lila by Marilynne Robinson:  Follows on her earlier novels, Gilead and Home. It’s an amazing feat of telling almost the same story  through three different points of view. Lila has the same austere beauty as the earlier two books, but, perhaps, is less powerful.

  Room 000 by Kalpish Ratna: A medical mystery set in late 19th century Mumbai, the time of the great Bombay Plague, it is about the hunt for a terrible and elusive killer, the plague bacillus. Scrupulously true to the facts, it still reads like a fascinating story.

    Raghu Karnad

  Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
  The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  The Orphan
Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
  The Cosmopolitans by Anjum Hasan
They’re all great books, but Until the Lions was a revelation about the kind of power that can be held within lines of words. The book is a verse sequence that visits the perspectives of different female characters in the Mahabharata, each through a different poetic format. I don’t read enough poetry, but I read this because I know the author, and remarkably for a book of poems, it won the Best Fiction prize at the Tata Lit Live awards this year. And it deserved it: The lines of Amba, for instance, are so intense it felt like they were faintly vibrating before my eye.

Ashwin Sanghi

  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: This one is simply unputdownable. Rachel takes the very same train into London each day, wondering about those who occupy the homes that she observes. But then she sees something disquieting one day and it results in a horrifying series of events.

  Mecca: The Sacred City by Ziauddin Sardar: Compelling and fascinating reading with incredible research. Tracing the history of Mecca from its origins as a ‘barren valley’ in the desert to its evolution as a trading town and sudden emergence as the religious centre of a world empire.

  The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz: I was worried about reading this one. I wondered whether it would be possible for David Lagercrantz to maintain the Stieg Larsson DNA. He does, and brilliantly.

  The Wright Brothers by David McCollough: This account of the lives of pioneering aviators Wilbur and Orville Wright starts with their childhood and their exhaustive trial-and-error quest to enable man to achieve flight. Unputdownable.

  Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future by Ashlee Vance: The personal story of Musk has all the trappings one associates with a great drama.

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