April 03, 2020
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What India Is Reading

Pankaj Mishra, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Konkona Sen Sharma and Rina Dhaka on the books they are reading...

What India Is Reading

Pankaj Mishra

Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler
I have read much good non-fiction while judging the Samuel Johnson prize this year. But Hessler’s Oracle Bones (John Murray), a personal account of contemporary China, is an exceptionally insightful book. I am also reading Spectrum: From Right to Left in the World of Ideas (Verso), Perry Anderson’s new collection of penetrating essays about political thinkers and literary magazines.

Mani Shankar Aiyar

Negotiating For India: Resolving Problems Through Diplomacy by Jagat S. Mehta
Former foreign secretary Mehta’s book is a riveting account of his negotiations for India with various foreign governments. I have also recently read and enjoyed Inder Malhotra’s lucid, balanced and eminently readable short biography of Indira Gandhi; Tariq Ali’s Bush in Babylon which can be summed up by the slogan: "If you have an ugly occupation, you can’t have a beautiful resistance"; and Narendra Singh Sarila’s In the Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India’s Partition, a fascinating, unusual take on Britain’s decision to divide the country.

Konkona Sen Sharma

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
It’s a very well-paced book and I like the thriller genre in which it is written but unfortunately it is not good consistently. Still, I was feeling a little lost after I finished it, so I have just started reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway that’s been lying around in the house for ever.

Rina Dhaka

The Gosho by Nichiren Daishonin
I love reading novels but haven’t dared to read any in the last few years because I can’t do anything else until I finish reading it. But I read a page or two every night from The Gosho which is like my Bible, carrying an answer to most of my problems, creative and personal.

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