Summer’s a time to catch up on missed readings, turn back to old favorites and discover new ones. Selecting the right book, however, always poses an irrefutable challenge, what with the sundry options available. Therefore, the ensemble of fond readers at MTTN have curated a catalog of some great reads featuring everything from historical fiction to contemporary thrillers. Here’s presenting our Summer Reading List 2017. Happy Reading!
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid:
This book is a narrative by a man who was born and brought up in Pakistan, his quest to achieve American Dream, and the aftermath of 9/11 on his life. A thrilling and as well as an eye-opening read. This one is highly recommended.
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw:
First written as a play and in reference to Greek mythological figure Pygmalion, the book deals with rigid aristocratic British structure also while trying to make us understand, underlying human emotions and actions.
Shaw manages to address social problems whilst maintaining a vein of comedy that makes the Stark themes more palatable. Here’s a tale that transcends both time and genre.
Godfather by Mario Puzo:
If Godfather is an absolute cinematic experience, it’s analogy in literature can only be found in its own book. Gripping and thrilling, Mario Puzo makes sure you don’t put down the book while reading about intricacies of an organized crime dynasty.
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick:
A beautiful story, which doesn’t seem that captivating at first. Heartwarming and saddening at the same time. This book deals with the concept of mental health and family in a very gentle way, without compromising the reality of it.
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy:
Both beautiful and crafty, this piece is extremely articulate and contains beautiful analogies to look forward to. Arundhati Roy successfully weaves a poignant story about the loss of innocence and a flimsy tutorial on how to cope with the profound devastation left in the aftermath of unfulfilled dreams, the definitive human tragedy.
Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni:
Relevant to today’s war-ridden and politics-infused world, this story takes us back to a time that is half fabricated, half historically based and entirely magical.
Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the Pandas, this book renders a whole new perspective on a legendary epic regarded only too well. The truth couldn’t have been spoken better.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:
When two resolute Afghan women are brought jarringly together by war, what ensues is an endearing sense of belonging and togetherness in the midst of escalating dangers all around.
This is a story to tug at your heartstrings. Featuring some quality imagery and refreshing life lessons, this is infused with a feel-good factor that’s bound to make you look upon the world with just a tad more admiration.
1984 by George Orwell:
Beneath the harsh portrayal of a lost future, this book is a compelling call for humanity. Beautiful writing combined with uninhibited honesty make it a book you’ll remember and reread.
Wise and Otherwise by Sudha Murty:
Mirroring various shades of human nature, this book is a perfect treat for the light reader. The best thing about this book is perhaps the highly simple language she uses to perfectly capture the essence of the theme. This book is not just an assortment of stories, but a journey through myriad emotions. It is remarkable how Sudha Murty stuns us with each story, none bearing any similarity to another. Be it a millionaire, a bride-to-be, or a sex worker, her portrayal of each of their lives effortlessly strums the chords of the heart. If you are looking for a book to read on your train or flight journey, this is the one.
Twilight in the Land of Nowhen by Nury Vittachi:
A sci-fi by genre, this story revolves around a young boy named Simon, who is 3 seconds ahead of time. Based on Einstein’s theory of relativity, this book takes you on a roller coaster ride through space and time. The story will not only melt your heart but also teach you the importance of self-worth and acceptance.
And no, this isn’t for only hardcore Science folks!
Dune by Frank Herbert
Perhaps one of the most exemplary novels in the science fiction canon, it’s a known fact that Star Wars wouldn’t have existed without Herbert’s politically relevant fantasy stemming from the Age of Aquarius.
A Byzantine political intrigue, a boy with a galactic destiny, a princess guarding a shipment of “aura spice”, a complex connect between a paradisiacal planet and a desert one, a ruthless emperor and two noble warring houses- all manner of borrowings of Dune litter the Star Wars universe.
A tale of altered states of consciousness and a courageous revolt against imperialism, this blend is an era-defining vision of cosmic and personal transformation. This paradigmatic fantasy is one for the ages.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:
A narrative through the perspective of an impressionable child, this book will make you ponder over things you’d otherwise consider trivial.
Lee handcrafts an unforgettable novel capable of invoking a sense of both humour and pathos, as a crisis of conscience strikes an otherwise sleepy Southern town. In the wake of reading this masterpiece, the reader may be visited by a bout of sensory memories: from smells of hot cider and rosewood to the sounds of crackling fireplaces and leaves crunching under your feet. This one brings you home.
Papillon by Henri Charrière:
This is the story of a man outcast from society, locked away for life. A unique chance to live his life, to journey with him, to feel his emotions and see the world through his eyes. A chance to feel thankful for our lives and to rejoice for the wonders of humanity. Papillon is not just another book, not ‘one’ of the best books ever written, it is an adventure, a path, maybe, to self-discovery and what I feel, is the best book ever written.
A born storyteller, Charriere narrates the story the way he would tell one. This makes the book all the more exciting, a breath of fresh air as opposed to the usual established ways of writing we are used to now.
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur Clarke:
A cult classic, this genre-defining book takes the reader on a mind-bending journey through space and a whole slew of human emotions. Crafted masterfully, this is one book you can’t help but fall in love with. But rejoice, because there are three more books in this series.
If you liked this book, you should check out the ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ series of books by the same author.
Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy:
A wonderful piece of writing, and a great introduction to the world of Tom Clancy. He writes stories of war and manages to weave conflict, human drama, and off-the-chart levels of detail in every story thread. Definitely worth a shot if the reader is interested in war time stories.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
A story woven up with the silky threads of magical realism, around the fictional town of Macondo, where our protagonist, the patriarch of Buendia family and his five future generations will thrive. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s landmark novel portrays his protagonist to be a curious soul who is obsessed with maps, compasses, and other ‘mystical’ inventions that the Gypsies bring to him, despite his ignorance about the geography of the town. Similarly, other males of the Buendia family end up leading Quixotic expeditions into the forests, or uncharted seas, or lead revolutions. It’s not the usual bed-time read for someone who will only spare a cursory thought to the novel. It demands involvement, and is thus one of my favourites.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig:
One of the most influential works of the past half-century, ZATAOMM is an effusively formidable and penetrating analysis of the art of living. In narrating a rather consequential journey undertaken by a fairly dysfunctional father-and-son duo, Pirsig triumphs in capturing the philosophical odyssey of transient existential pursuits, and delivers a fairly equitable answer to life’s fundamental questions.
These are but a few handpicked works in an endless treasure-house of merited books. Whether you’re a novice reader or a voracious one, get ready to be transported to a whole new dimension by each of these invigorating works, if only for those few magical moments. Be sure to bookmark your favourites.
Peeyush Chauhan, Naveesha Bhardwaj, Shravani Vyakarnam, Pranav Parashar, Vishnu Deva and Ananya Roy for MTTN
Photographers: Deva Suriya, Paul Nandadeep