On World Book Day, here’s what’s on your favourite Indian author’s reading list | books$author-interview | Hindustan Times
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On World Book Day, here’s what’s on your favourite Indian author’s reading list

On the day, which celebrates books, some of the best-selling Indian authors talk about their reading list, what’s on their bookshelf and what inspires them. Get inspired!

books Updated: Apr 23, 2017 09:20 IST
Etti Bali
Some of the country’s best-selling authors tell us what inspires them to write.
Some of the country’s best-selling authors tell us what inspires them to write.

Hello, fellow bookworms! April 23 is celebrated as the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. So, we sneak in to take a peek into what’s on the reading list of your favourite author. Some of India’s best-selling authors Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Amish Tripathi, Anuja Chauhan and Mahendra Jakhar, provide us an insight into what inspires them to write and the books that they keep going back to. Happy reading!

Made in India

“I like Sanjiv Sanyal’s Ocean of Churn and Shashi Tharoor’s An Era of Darkness,” says Amish Tripathi.

Amish Tripathi:

His Shiva trilogy presented the God in as human a form as it comes. His next is a book titled Sita-Warrior Of Mithila.

On his favourite book

Tripathi, author of The Immortals of Meluha, says he cannot choose just one favourite. “Difficult to give an all-time favourite, because I read a lot, I read at least 5-6 books a month. Among the recent books I have read, I like Sanjiv Sanyal’s Ocean of Churn and Shashi Tharoor’s An Era of Darkness.

Currently reading

He is currently reading Sati by Mira Jain. “It’s a non-fiction, and it’s a scholarly exploration into the British colonial interpretation of Sati and its impact, and how we perceive it today. I am also reading Urnabhih by Sumedha Ojha, that’s actually a fiction set in the Mauryan age.”

On what inspires him to write

“What inspires me to write, that’s an easy question: Lord Shiva and my love for India and Indian culture,” he says.

Inspired by ancient Indian history

“I’ve learned more about human nature reading and re-reading it (Mahabharat) than in any other book, ever,” says Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. (Photo: Krishna Giri)

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni:

After having penned best-selling novels such as Sister Of My Heart and Palace of Illusions, Chitra’s last book is Before We Visit The Goddess. Her works mostly explore Indian mythology through the eyes of female protagonists.

On her favourite book

“My favourite book is the Mahabharat — I have learned more about human nature, re-reading it than in any other book,” she says.

Currently reading

“Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, which is a poetic and heartbreaking collection on the costs of war— it is something that we all must think about at this time.”

On what inspires her to write

Divakaruni says her inspirations keep changing. Her current inspirations are: Tagore, because of his sensitive portrayals of women, centuries ahead of his time; Margaret Atwood, for her imagination and powerful language and Mahasweta Devi, because of her compassion.

Believing in magic

Anuja Chauhan keeps re-reading the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling and A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.

Anuja Chauhan:

Born in an army family, the author brought a freshness to the Indian chick lit. Her debut novel, The Zoya Factor, was a hit. Her next, Baaz, is her tribute to the Indian Air Force.

On her favourite book

Chauhan, writer of books such as Battle For Bittora, Those Pricey Thakur Girls and others, says: “I don’t think anyone has just one favourite author.” She names authors Vikram Seth, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer as some of her favourite authors.

Currently reading

Chauhan, writer of books such as Battle For Bittora, Those Pricey Thakur Girls and others, says: “I don’t think anyone has just one favourite author.” She names authors Vikram Seth, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer as some of her favourite authors.

On what inspires her to write

“Conflicts, relationships, attractions between individuals, hypocrisy and double standards are the kind of things that excites me,” she says.

A thrilling account

“My all-time favourite book is Animal Farm by George Orwell. My view is that it should be made compulsory study in schools,” says Mahendra Jakhar. (HT Photo)

Mahendra Jakhar:
He wrote the script for Bollywood film, Manjhi the Mountain Man. His latest book, The Swastika Killer, is another crime mystery.

On his favourite book
Mahendra Jakhar, writer of The Butcher of Benaras, says, “My all-time favourite book is Animal Farm by George Orwell. My view is that it should be made compulsory in schools. I read spiritual books too. In thrillers, I like a lot of writers from Norway and Sweden. Joe Nesbo is one of my favourites, also Henning Mankell, Ed McBain. Eckhart Tolle’s two books — The Power of Now and the New Earth.

Currently reading

“I’m reading The Kind Worth Killing For by Peter Swanson,” he says.

On what inspires him to write

I believe all inspiration leads to plagiarism. So, the more I am inspired by a book or a particular writer, I’ll start writing like them. Yes, I read a lot, but when I am writing, I make sure that I am not inspired or influenced.”

Did you know?
  • The first World Book Day was celebrated in 1995
  • While the rest of the world celebrates it on April 23, in the UK, it is celebrated on the first Thursday in March
  • The date was chosen as it is the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors
  • It is celebrated in different forms in different countries. In Spain, a two-day readathon is organised in which Miguel de Cervante’s Don Quixote is read. In Sweden, writing competitions are organised in schools and colleges to mark the day. Other traditions include book exchanges, book nights and street festivals.
  • Every year, there is a different theme with which the day is celebrated. This year, the focus is on the blind and the visually impaired for whom accessing books and other printed materials is difficult.