The time has finally come. Our trip to India is right around the corner. I can’t believe it! I suspect the time will really fly, and before I know it, I will be getting on that airplane.
But before I go, I have a lot of reading to get through. When I traveled to Europe, I did some preparatory reading (see my Italy Recommendation here), but I didn’t feel as urgent about it as I do now. India is so far away from my own life experience that to really get the most out of the trip I want to be prepared as much as possible. Luckily, since I am going with a faculty group from a University, we will be meeting several times a month to discuss assigned readings. In addition to the assigned readings, I have put together a book list for myself. Here is the end result. I hope to make it through this list by the time we go this Spring. I hope I can do it!
1. India: a History, by John Keay: a narrative history known for its readability.
2. The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions, by Huston Smith: beautifully written, mystical, respectful approach to religion.
3. The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna’s Counsel in Time of War, translated by Barbara Stoler Miller: classic Indian Epic poem.
4. The Ramayana: a Shortened Modern Prose Version of the India Epic, by R.K. Narayan: most famous and most influential ancient text of all time.
5. Partitions, by Amit Majmudar: novel told from the perspective of one already passed on about India’s traumatic partition.
6. Sister India, by Peggy Payne: murder mystery novel told from the perspective of an English Innkeeper in Varanasi.
7. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie: classic “fairy tale, political satire, and meditation” set in the time of Indian independence from British rule.
8. Sister of My Heart, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: the story of two cousins and their lives of growth and heartbreak.
I also recently read a biography about Ghandi, and followed that up by watching the epic movie that swept the Oscars many years back. Both were amazing.
We just ordered Lagaan; we have heard this is one of the best Bollywood movies.
I will let you know how these all turn out. Please–I would love to hear from you. Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And more importantly, is there anything I should add to this list?
Well, gotta go. You know, I have reading to do!