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The best coffee-table book I own: 5 collectors have their pick

Discerning celebs from various walks of life choose their favourite collectable books

brunch Updated: Sep 30, 2017 21:27 IST
Veenu Singh
Some books are more like keepsakes - to be passed on from one generation to another
Some books are more like keepsakes - to be passed on from one generation to another(Shutterstock)

Royal connect
Picked by Madhu Jain - fashion designer

The Ranas of Nepal was gifted to Madhu Jain by her Godmother 10 years ago

The Rana family is one of the most important royal families in Nepal. The Ranas of Nepal, a coffee-table book on the history, culture, lifestyle and even cuisine of the Ranas gives you an insight into their fascinating world. The author of the book, Gautam Rana, is a personal friend of mine. I have had this book with me for ten years, it was gifted to me by my Godmother Rani Odette Singh of Bansi, Uttar Pradesh. I was introduced to the Rana culture, cuisine and architecture through her and have an emotional connect with the book.

The Bible for lensmen
Picked by Raghu Rai – photographer

Raghu Rai was introduced to The Family of Man for the first time in the late 60s

Edward Stichen’s biggest photography exhibition was compiled into a book called The Family of Man.There were great images of who the mankind is, how the family of mankind lives in various countries and cultures with their value system and tradition. What was very heartwarming was that the work of one man from India was published and that was Dadu -the great Satyajit Ray. The book is a Bible for documentary as well as street photography that shall live for its time and beyond. I was introduced to this book in the late 60s when I started taking pictures and have owned one since then.

A walk through history
Picked by Arvind Gaur - theatre director

With 100 Headlines That Changed The World, Arvind Gaur can easily relive some of the greatest events of history

James Maloney’s 100 Headlines That Changed the World is my favourite. With just the turn of a few pages, one can easily be transported into the realms of history and recall some of the most talked about events. History is not what is happening around you at the moment, it is what has happened several years ago. Going back into time not just refreshes you but also makes you relive those events again. Headlines right from Titanic’s sinking to Obama’s victory as President of the United States are all here. Even the news about Oscar Wilde’s (my favourite author) going to jail is recorded in this.

Look back in time
Picked by William Dalrymple – author

Alchi gives William Dalrymple a glimpse into the golden age of Kashmir

My favourite is the fabulous book on the oldest frescoes of the Himalayas – Alchi by Jaroslav Poncar. The last glimpse we have of the gorgeous lifestyle, art, buildings and clothing of pre-Islamic 11th Century Golden Age of Kashmir.

The magic of films
Picked by Palash Sen – lead Singer Euphoria

Indiana Jones - the Ultimate Guide gives Palash Sen an insight into one of the most iconic films ever made

Indiana Jones - The Ultimate Guide talks about all the Indiana Jones series and the behind-the-scenes stories that happened. I feel that it is one of the greatest films ever made and one of the greatest stories ever told. Every generation should try and read it. I have owned this for almost ten years now and I would definitely want my kids to go through it to understand how such iconic films were made. Reading about them gives you a great pleasure.

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From HT Brunch, October 1, 2017

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