In Spite of the Gods: The strange rise of Modern India by Edward Luce
The near impossible task for any author attempting to ‘explain India’ is how to cover the complexity of the political and historical situation while keeping the reader entertained. ‘In Spite of the Gods’ uses interesting chapter topics, personal stories and anecdotes to balance the weight of the content. The author has worked for the Financial Times since 1995 and writes for a contemporary audience.
Uppinder and I love this book. It is an entertaining and at times hilarious account of the shock of India and trials and tribulations of cultural immersion. Uppinder says that many of his Indian friends comment the book is ‘not serious’, and his response is to say “but it IS factual, and it IS funny”. The author, Sarah has consulted with Beasley Intercultural and was a popular presenter for the Youth Ambassadors. Her book has sold over a quarter of a million copies and has been published in six countries.
Maximum City Bombay by Suketu Mehta
This book was given to me by Ramona for Christmas with the comment ‘you must read this!’. Uppinder also says it is a ‘must read’. I must admit, due to the busyness of life, I’ve only read the first chapter so far, so I’ll give you Ramona’s account. Ramona tells me the book is an essential read for people wanting to understand the tougher realities beneath the surface of Mumbai today. It is a story told by a returnee, one of the many Indians who have grown up as International citizens of London, New York and the other major cities of the world who return ‘home’ to seek to understand both themselves and the place they feel they should know best. Uppinder says a ‘must read’.
Inhaling the Mahatma by Christopher Kremmer
Emily our Office Manager recommended this book as a solid introduction to the context of India. At times dense with information, Kremmer manages to use his personal experience of working in India, and being married into a Hindu family of Old Delhi to keep the reader engaged. His personal access to significant political figures of the past 15 years provides valuable insights and ensures his book is a first-hand account.