Books come as life savers in every situation. A long journey, a sleepless night or a lazy day, a book can be your companion in every mood. Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” And we couldn’t agree more. There is nothing stronger than the power of words.
The world is celebrating Book Day or International Day of the books today i.e 23rd April. Every year, The World Book Day is observed on April 23. It is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading.
There’s a saying books can take you anywhere in the world or better outside it. In this lockdown season, where everyone wants to go out, enjoy the weather, feel the breeze, smell the essence, books are the perfect way to make you experience all that and much more. And if you are a bibliophile, well then nothing can go wrong, just dive in the magical world of books and you will never feel bored or lonely again.
Presenting you a list of 10 of the best novels by Indian authors that everyone should read at least once in lifetime.
1. The autobiography of unknown Indian by Nirad c. Choudri
This book made Chaudhari one of India’s greatest writers. Published in 1951, the book describes the life of the writer from the time he was born in 1897 in Bangladesh to his youth in Calcutta. The book is considered as Nirad’s masterpiece, beautifully capturing every minute detail of his surroundings and of modern India. It has received global acclaim over a period of time. Winston Churchill considered it one of the best books he had ever read. In 1998, it was included as one of the few Indian contributions in The New Oxford Book of English Prose.
2. The collected poems by A.K. Ramanujan
The book is a collection of poems that includes poems out of the three books he published during his lifetime. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1999 for this compilation. Ramanujan’s various books of Kannada poetry have been translated in English. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1976.
3. The story of my experiments with the truth by Mahatma gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has always been a very prominent figure in Indian history. From his unbeatable spirit to inspiring courage, from various controversies to his life as the father of the nation, Gandhi has always been an interesting, inspiring and impressive personality to read about.
If you want to know all about Gandhi and his journey, you cannot miss out on reading ‘My Experiments with the Truth’, his autobiography that covers his life from early childhood till 1921. The introduction mentions how Gandhi resumed writing at the insistence of a fellow prisoner at Yerwada Central jail. The autobiography was written as weekly journals and then compiled and published as a book. From his childhood memories, his experiments with eating meat, smoking, drinking and stealing to the demise of his father, the book captures many unknown instances of Gandhi’s life.
4. The guide by R.K Narayan
R.K Narayan is best known for stories based in and around the fictional village of Malgudi. The Guide is yet another story set up in Malgudi. R.K. Narayan won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the book in 1960. The Guide is the story of a tour guide who transforms himself into a spiritual Guru and then the greatest holy man of India. The book was also adapted as a film which starred the legendary actor Dev Anand.
5.A suitable boy by Vikram seth
Published in 1993, this 1349-pages-long-book is one of the longest novels ever published in a single volume in the English Language. The story focuses on India post-partition as a family looks for a suitable boy to marry their daughter. Seth’s follow up book A Suitable Girl is released in 2016.
6. Maximum city by Suketu mehta
This New York based writer was born in India and was raised in Mumbai in his early years. He penned down his experiences in Mumbai in his incredible work Maximum City, published in 2004, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005. The book is a mix of travel writing, a journal, a socio-political analysis of people and wonders of Mumbai. It won the 2005 Vodafone Crossword Book Award. The Economist named Maximum City as one of its books of the year for 2004. It was also shortlisted for the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize.
7. Gitanjali by Rabindra nath tagore
This collection of poems by Tagore was originally published in Bengali in August 1910 and had 157 poems. The English version has 103 poems. The collection includes Tagore’s translation of 53 original Bengali poems and 50 other poems from his drama Achalayatan. The poems are mostly of a spiritual bent, though some of the pieces also have a hint of nature. This collection won the Nobel prize for Tagore in 1913.
8. The collector’s wife by mitra phukan
This book is set up against Assam’s insurgencies and is the first English novel to be published by a writer from North-East India. The story talks about the changes brought into the lives of people living in a small town of Assam by the militants. The plot revolves around the life of a girl who is married to a district collector. The natural surroundings and characters are described very well and give a great insight into the life of a small town in Assam.
9. Train to pakistan by khushwant singh
Train To Pakistan is a compelling portrayal of the partition of India. The book touches upon the human angle and brings out the sense of reality and horror. The way Singh has described a village where a peaceful and loving community transforms into one driven by hatred and fear is remarkable. The description of the characters gives a lift to the book and makes it all the more interesting to read. Published in 1956, the book has also been translated into Tamil and has been adapted into a film with the same name.
10. In Custody by Anita desai
Anita Desai’s novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, revolves around Deven Sharma, an Urdu scholar in small town India who is caught in an ordinary, mundane life teaching the language to indifferent college students. When he is given a chance to interview Nur, one of the country’s finest Urdu poets, he sees it as a way to channel his love for the language in a more meaningful way.