Hope you all had a well-read 2017! Wish you an even better 2018. Here let me share with you the Best Books of 2017 that I read.
Every year I try to discover better books to read. It is a constant struggle and joy to sift through hundreds of books to find a few to read. Like everything else in life, you have to experiment with books. Read a few from known authors, who you know will never disappoint you. Read some new books by debut authors – at times you discover a star. And read on subjects you have not read earlier – you may find a new interest. This is how I choose my books to read.
Having said that with hundreds of ‘To Be Read’ books in my library, it is sometimes books that chose when I read them. Sometimes they tumble out of bookshelves indicating it is time to read them. Sometimes, before a travel, I pull out a relevant book to read.
Best Books of 2017 – You may like to read
From the books I read in 2017, here are the best reads in fiction and non-fiction.
Disclaimer – These are not all books published in 2017, but books I read in 2017.
Best Books of 2017 – Fiction
Karmayogini – Life of Ahilyabai Holkar by Vijaya Jahagirdhar – a fictionalized biography of the queen of Malwa whose exemplary life is not much written about. Her story shatters so many myths about women in India 200-300 years back, besides introducing you to her extraordinary life. I also learned how the feudal system worked in the Indian Princely States.
Volga Se Ganga
Volga Se Ganga – Rahul Sankrityayan – a fictionalized journey of human evolution through the eyes of a common man. This year I read Rahul Sankriyayan for the first time but am trying to read more of his books. Another of his books that I read this year was the journey of a wandering Swami called Ghummakkar Swami.
The Glory of Patan
The Glory of Patan by K M Munshi – First part of the Gujarati classic is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Gujarat or even historical fiction. Extremely well translated – it does not lose itsGujaratii flavor and keeps you gripped in a political drama of Solankis of Patan. I am keenly looking forward to the next volumes of this work.
The Boy from Pataliputra
The Boy from Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra – In this first of author’s trilogy based in the time just before the Mauryas came to power, the author takes us to Taxila. I have never read any other account that tries to re-create the university environment of Taxila and that of journeys that used to take place between cities like Pataliputra and Taxila. Look forward to the next book in the series in 2018.
Aghori – A Biographical Novel by Manoj Thakkar – This fictionalized biography of an Aghori Baba gives you a sneak peek into the practices of Aghori Panth. It tells you about their journey and their destination. This is something again not widely written about.
Battle for Bittora
Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan – She is one contemporary author who entertains you and makes you smile. Love her sense of humor. Have read most of her works and would continue to do so.
Best Books of 2017 – Non-Fiction
How I Became a Tree
How I Became a Tree by Sumana Roy – The Best book I read in 2017 – it is all about the relationship that the author shared with trees. A lovely piece of literature. Sumana is an author I discovered this year and I would read every work she publishes henceforth. I got an opportunity to meet her at Goa Lit Fest this year & I could not have been happier.
The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly – How Technology Will Shape Future – After a long time I read a book on technology trends that was not peddling anyone’s agenda. It is acknowledging the place of technology in our lives as of today and prepares us for the technology-driven lives in the next few years. Everything will be transparent, everything will be recorded in a non-erasable way, and how it will impact human behavior.
Chasing the Monk’s Shadow
Chasing the Monk’s Shadow by Mishi Saran – a traveler’s account of walking in the footsteps of Huan Tsang or Xuan Zang – the ancient Chinese traveler to whom we owe a lot for documenting India of 8th CE. It is an extraordinary journey and one that would leave you in total awe.
Banaras – The City of Light
Banaras – The City of Light by Diana L Eck – This is the most comprehensive account of the city of Varanasi. Dr. Eck tells us the city as mentioned in Puranic literature and as it exists today. I traveled to Varanasi with this book but got to read it in its entirety now. You can also look at her other book – India – A Sacred Geography which will help you see India as a spiritual space.
Inferior – A Look at Women in Science
Inferior – A look at Women in Science by Angela Saini – Not so easy book to read, but an important one that looks at the history of modern science from the perspective of women and how they have been treated by the scientists.
Brahma Gyan – Science behind Shiva by Ravikumar Kakde – an interesting inquiry into the Hindu Universe as a replica of the Universe as our ancestors knew. If you have studied Physics or Astronomy, you would really think hard after reading this book.
I read about 52 books this year which is a little less than what I usually read – about 60 books. Above is my recommendation of the Best Books of 2017 you may read. My travel blog is consuming a lot more time, leaving me less time to read. I am also getting conscious of what I read. I hope this year I will be able to start working on at least one of the many books I have in mind to write. Which one, only time will tell.
Please recommend some great books to read. Avoid the western classics that do not interest me as much.
Tell me which were the best books you read in 2017 and what is on your reading desk for 2018?