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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lockdown reading: What’s the good word

Wondering what to read? Here are a few suggestions you will thoroughly enjoy!

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: April 10, 2020 6:27:18 pm
I had a copy of another book on Safdar, and I’m currently reading it again after around 20 years says Yashwant Sinha. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

When the world shuts down and all roads to the outside are blocked, time to catch up on all the books bought and never read or rediscover old favourites. Here is what is on the quarantine reading list’ of some authors, artists and others that PTI reached out to:

Jerry Pinto, author of Sahitya Akademi award-winning novel “Em and the Big Hoom”

As a special treat to myself, I am reading Chris Ware’s “Building Stories” which comes in a box. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

I generally read several books at the same time. And following John Ruskin’s dictum that ‘No book is worth reading that isn’t worth rereading’ I am also re-reading a couple. As a special treat to myself, I am reading Chris Ware’s “Building Stories” which comes in a box. I am reading Adil Jussawalla’s “Shorelines” because it is beautiful and sad. And Eka Kurniawan’s “Man Tiger”. I have several novels sent to me to blurb so I am trying to catch up with those too.

Yashwant Sinha, Politician and author, the former finance minister last year came out with his autobiography “Relentless”

Relentless: An Autobiography, Yashwant Sinha, Yashwant Sinha Autobiography, General pervez Musharraf, Musharraf in india 2001, india pakistan agra meet, Relentless: An Autobiography by Yashwant Sinha (Photo: File)

I was looking forward to getting Sudhanva Deshpande’s “Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi”, but the lockdown happened and I couldn’t. Luckily, I had a copy of another book on Safdar, and I’m currently reading it again after around 20 years. It’s called “Paanchvan Chiraagh” and is written in Urdu by his mother Qamar Azad Hashmi. Apart from providing a detailed account of Safdar’s life, the book also offers a fascinating chronicle of the times she lived in. Very interesting read.

Olivia Fraser, a Delhi-based Scottish artist

“Americanah” by Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie (Photo: Flickr)

I am currently reading “Americanah” by Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie — a wonderful novel about identity, migration and otherness’ and what it is to be American. Next on the list: “Boccaccio’s The Decameron”, a novel consisting of a 100 tales told by C14th Italians during lockdown due to the Plague in C14th Florence. Finally, there’s a lovely book called “Elegant Simplicity: The Art of Living Well” by the amazing former Jain monk, Satish Kumar, who in the early 70s set off on foot from India with not a single penny in his pocket and walked to all four nuclear capitals of the world bringing peace tea and relying solely on the care of strangers. This book is an elegantly simple’ guide to the philosophy that he lives by — the ecological and spiritual principles behind living simply.

Namita Gokhale: Author and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF)

Namita Gokhale, Namita Gokhale books, Namita Gokhale latest books, The Himalayan Arc: Journeys East of Southeast, indian express, indian express news I have been able to centre myself differently and cherish this period of solitude says the author. (Source: File Photo)

Her latest book is “Jaipur Journals” Many writers, including myself, seem to be spending their time in quarantine writing about how they are spending their time in quarantine! On a more serious note, I think we are collectively renegotiating the space between the written and the spoken word, between voice and text, as we attempt to make sense of the narrative of our times. I have been working with Teamwork on the concept and themes of our digital platform JLF Brave New World’, and it’s been a fascinating learning curve. I have been able to centre myself differently and cherish this period of solitude. I’m not reading much, but writing at a consistent pace, and watching the world change and transform.

Martand Khosla, Architect

Photo of Eric Hobsbawm. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

I just finished “Dead Souls” by Nikolai Gogol. Now reading, the first volume of plays by Harold Pinter, and also dipping into “How to change the world: Reflections on Marx and Marxism”by Eric Hobsbawm.

Varunika Saraf, Artist and historian

Everyone loves a Good Drought by P. Sainath. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Honestly, the lockdown has added so much to my work routine that my reading has come down. But I am reading P. Sainath’s “Everyone loves a Good Drought”. It’s a heartbreaking book, and I am totally mad to read it at this time but that’s what I am reading.


Devapriya Roy, writer, her latest book is “Friends from College”

Devapriya Roy spends most of her days reading books that were never read before. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The truth about the lives of writers is that a large part of it, the actual writing of books, is spent in a quarantine of sorts. Certainly, there’s a lot of social distancing. So, for the writer I live with (my partner, Saurav Jha), who is finishing his magnum opus, very little has changed in this period of corona-induced isolation. He reads and writes and does his share of household chores … I spend most of the time reading one of the books from our bookshelves, that had been bought with great love and never read. I feel grateful that we have enough books like this, brilliant worthy books, funny books, travel books and fat novels, that we would have read of course, if only there had been time. It is as though in all these years of buying so many books, books we couldn’t possibly have read, Saurav and I had planned for this exact eventuality after all.

Suhasini Kejriwal, Contemporary painter

Photo of Kevin Kwan. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

I am currently reading “Good Economics for Hard Times” by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Beside, the small list of books that I have with me at this time include titles like “The Golden Thread : How Fabric Changed History” by Kassia St Clair, “City of Djinns” by William Dalrymple, “The Future of the Image” by Jacques Ranciere and “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan.

Basist Kumar, Contemporary artist

I just finished a book called “The only life” by Rashid Maxwell. The other book I have just started is called “Encounters with an inexplicable Man” by Savita Brandt.


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