By Rahul Maganti:
There’s one thing in common for books and travel, both of them act as windows to the world. They help you learn new languages, understand new perspectives, teach you about diverse places and cultures. They help you change for the better and you get more liberal in action and thinking. Here are 10 books which would make a good read in the summer vacations. The books are spread over the genres of Inspirational, Non-Fiction, Fiction, Political from Indian Context, Classics and Philosophy.
1) The Diary of the Young Girl — Anne Frank: Sheer indomitable courage is all this book is about. I am sure this is also one book you have postponed for long. Do give it a read, worth every second you give to it.
2) Gabriel Garcia Marquez Works – Love in the time of Cholera & One Hundred Years in Solitude: Marquez, famous as Gabo amongst his followers for his ‘Magical Realism’ idea, was an outstanding author and tried to answer many questions regarding love and relationships. Love in the Time of Cholera is a stark amalgam of the two contrasting faces of love, purity and practicality. One Hundred Years of Solitude also chronicles the political and economic developments of the 19th century Colombia, such as corruption and capitalism with a touch of fiction. In a deeply touching and thought provoking non-linear narrative, Marquez paints a hundred years of history on the canvas of time. He uses his prerogative of having witnessed the wave of the Colombian revolution to graphically depict its lasting influence. He arrests in prose, the magical realism surrounding life, death, peace and the truth of mankind.
3) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: An Intelligent and enthralling read that tugs at your heart. This book is the story of five aristocratic Russian families during the time of the Napoleonic invasion. The book moves through Russian family life, the headquarters of Napoleon, the court of Tsar Alexander, and the battlefields of Austerlitz and Borodino. Known for its extensive historical detail and accuracy, its innovative literary devices and, above all, its sheer grandeur and scope, War and Peace is widely regarded as one of the most important works in world literature. You are missing out on one of the greatest literary classics if you haven’t yet read it.
4) Siddhartha by Herman Hesse: For all those college stoners who think that they have attained enlightenment, this book is a must. It explains the very concepts of enlightenment like no other book I have read till date. A must for every bookshelf.
5) The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Frerie: This book finds its inspiration from Marxism and makes exploratory analysis between the oppressed and the oppressor through the same analogies. The revolutionary text opens with a complete dissection of oppression which engages both the structure and the oppression that is rife but unattended. This, according to Freire, stems from the relationship the oppressor and the oppressed share. There is a certain balance and stability in this skewed scheme of power sharing. Here, Freire expounds upon the theory that freedom is threatening to the oppressed whose lethargy and ignorance is fueled through domination.
6) Everybody Loves a Good Drought by Palagummi Sainath: This book will give you the minute details of exploitation of the poor, especially the marginalized and disadvantaged sections like the tribals and the adivasis by the government, middlemen, landlords and money lenders. We need more of such books which depict the ground reality by journalists in this age where stories are killed by the business minded media. This book establishes poverty as a process but not as a one-off bad luck event.
7) Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru: Gives a fantastic perspective of the idea of India. It traces the evolution of India through the ages and presents a vision of India that inspired millions of men to fight for Independence. Nehru is uniquely positioned to give a perspective on the times surrounding the Independence movement and the ideals that shaped it.
8) India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha: If there is any single book which will help you understand the history of the world’s largest democracy, it is this one. Fairly informational, Guha is careful all the while not to mix his opinions with facts and to make this book look objective. Guha touches upon everything that happened since the death of Gandhi with the finest of details. This is a page turner and is definitely a must read for people interested in the politics and history of India.
9) The fiction of Fact finding: Modi and Godhra by Manoj Mitta: Scrupulously researched, The Fiction of Fact-finding exposes a range of unasked questions which helped Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi procure a clean chit. This book demolishes the arguments behind the SIT Clean Chit which is often the defense of Modi and his followers. Manoj, who has previously written about 1984 riots specializes in public policy, legal and Human Rights issues.
10) The Motorcycle Diaries — Ernesto Che Guevera: Road trips and travelogues are always interesting. They contain interesting encounters, adventures and misadventures of the protagonists on their travels. The Motorcycle Diaries has the added attraction of being the road trip of a charismatic revolutionary who altered the course of history in his region. While you are reading the book, you feel taken back to that time and feel that you have been travelling all along with Che and Alberto. The book captures the human life of the continent of Latin America and how it has helped Che become a revolutionary and fight for the oppressed and the poor.