Whether leafing through the rustling pages of a dog-eared paperback or the virtual ones of a kindle, there is no denying our love for stories, or even going to the bookstore to buy that particular new title you had been eyeing for some time, books have been around for a long time.
August 9 is celebrated as Book Lovers Day every year, and while its origin maybe shrouded in mystery, books themselves are very much around and read across all sections of society and by all types of book lovers.
For book lovers, manuscripts act as a much needed source of escape from the monotony of daily life.
As author Gaurav Sharma somewhat cheekily says, "Books give us the ability to see things from different perspectives. They educate us, entertain us, force us to think upon certain issues. And reading a book or reading, in general, is an excuse for those who are less sociable like me for not socialising much. And guess what, it works most of the times."
In conversation with this correspondent, 7 authors share more about their favourite books as they celebrate true love for manuscripts and the written word.
Shatrujeet Nath, author of The Guardians of the Halahala
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville: This is one of my favourite dark fantasies. I love it for Mieville’s sheer inventiveness, and his ability to build a fascinating world steeped in history and lore. Though gift-wrapped in magic and surreality, the story is touching and deeply human. Speculative fiction at its giddy best.
Saranya Rai, author of Love, Take Two
I first read the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery when I was eleven years old and confined to one room with chicken pox. It sounds awfully corny but the Anne books made me want to be a kinder, braver and more empathetic person. Now that I'm older, I see the racist settler colonial views of Montgomery's writing more plainly and look askance at the prescriptive ideals of womanhood. Yet, the warmth, affection and comfort of home that I associate with the books remain unchanged. Anne Shirley and Co are old friends I come back to often.
Rajat Pillai, author of Yoddha: The Dynasty of Samudragupta
My favourite book is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
“Only that once again they broke the love laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.”
This line represents the eternal conflict on how human beings really are internally; fragile and vulnerable creatures driven by emotions and how the social framework constantly put an invisible cage around them.
Ramesh Dorairaj, author of Games Customers Play
The Lord of the Rings is my favourite book. A brave bunch of hobbits get tangled with the most powerful weapon that can destroy Middle Earth, if it falls in the hands of Sauron, the evil wizard. The responsibility to carry the ring across perilous lands falls on Frodo, the hero of this tale. How he does it is the story.
Tolkien choreographs an elaborate, intricate and complex dance between good and evil., but in the end, friendship triumphs over fiefdoms, and the size of one's heart overpowers the size of one's arms.
A book of this breathtaking scale has very few rivals. Many things are now called epic, and that has diminished its meaning. If you want to truly understand what 'epic' means, read this book.
Gaurav Sharma, author of Gone are the Days
Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki is my favourite book. “The purpose of this book is to enable you to rock social media,” says the first page of the book. This book is a complete guide for young adults or everyone for that matter who want their social media influence amplified. Social media plays an important role in this age of technology and Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick, being social media evangelists themselves, bring ample expertise to it. Follow their guidelines and you will rule the virtual world in all likelihood.
Preetha K. Kannan author of Son of Shiva, Navgraha Purana, Hounds of Shiva and others.
My favourite book, while it is difficult to choose, is Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat.’ The book was my prescribed reading for Advanced English in school in the early 80’s and it remains the funniest book I’ve had the good fortune to read. Not just merely funny, but laugh-aloud-hilariously funny.
Clean humour, sparkling wit and endearingly bumbling, large-hearted protagonists. What more could you ask for in a book?
Happy reading, all you book lovers out there!
Mita Kapur, Festival Producer, Mountain Echoes Literary Festival
A book I always hold close to my heart is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Kurt Vonnegut's A Man Without A Country — his voice is so relevant to today's times. Since food writing is my thing, my current favorites are Delicious by Ruth Reichl and White Truffles in Winter by N M Kelby. Reading and collecting books is how I grew up, its linked with simply existing.
Author Manoj Jain who says he is a big fan of Mma Ramotswe, the character from Alexander McCall Smiths No 1 Ladies detective concludes that one loves different authors at different stages in ones life and during different circumstances, books, he says are there to stay.