Quaratnine days can be boring for many around and it is surely one of those times when we can be productive enough. When the world shuts down and all roads to the outside are blocked, time to catch up on all the books bought and never read or rediscover old favourites.
Author of Sahitya Akademi award-winning novel Em and the Big Hoom
I generally read several books at the same time. And following John Ruskin’s dictum that ‘No book is worth reading that isn’t worth rereading’ I am also rereading a couple. As a special treat to myself, I am reading Chris Ware’s “Building Stories” which comes in a box. I am reading Adil Jussawalla’s “Shorelines” because it is beautiful and sad. And Eka Kurniawan’s “Man Tiger”. I have several novels sent to me to blurb so I am trying to catch up with those too.
Politician and author, the former finance minister last year came out with his autobiography “Relentless”
I was looking forward to getting Sudhanva Deshpande’s “Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi”, but the lockdown happened and I couldn’t. Luckily, I had a copy of another book on Safdar, and I’m currently reading it again after around 20 years. It’s called “Paanchvan Chiraagh” and is written in Urdu by his mother Qamar Azad Hashmi. Apart from providing a detailed account of Safdar’s life, the book also offers a fascinating chronicle of the times she lived in. Very interesting read.
Delhi-based Scottish artist
I am currently reading “Americanah” by Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie — a wonderful novel about identity, migration and otherness’ and what it is to be American. Next on the list: “Boccaccio’s The Decameron”, a novel consisting of a 100 tales told by C14th Italians during lockdown due to the Plague in C14th Florence. Finally, there’s a lovely book called “Elegant Simplicity: The Art of Living Well” by the amazing former Jain monk, Satish Kumar, who in the early 70s set off on foot from India with not a single penny in his pocket and walked to all four nuclear capitals of the world bringing peace tea and relying solely on the care of strangers. This book is an elegantly simple’ guide to the philosophy that he lives by — the ecological and spiritual principles behind living simply.
Author and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). Her latest book is “Jaipur Journals”
Many writers, including myself, seem to be spending their time in quarantine writing about how they are spending their time in quarantine! On a more serious note, I think we are collectively renegotiating the space between the written and the spoken word, between voice and text, as we attempt to make sense of the narrative of our times. I have been working with Teamwork on the concept and themes of our digital platform JLF Brave New World’, and it’s been a fascinating learning curve. I have been able to centre myself differently and cherish this period of solitude. I’m not reading much, but writing at a consistent pace, and watching the world change and transform.
Cinematographer and author of “Yeh Un Dino Ki Baat Hai: Urdu Memoirs of Cinema Legends”
I have used the lockdown to catch up with my reading. What have I read? “Legitimacy of Power: The Permanence of Five in the Security Council” by Dilip Sinha; “Backstage: The Story Behind India’s High Growth Years” by Montek Singh Ahluwalia; “In The Service of the Republic: The Art and Science of Economic Policy by Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah; “Kashmir: Land of Regrets” by Moosa Raza and “Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle” by Saifuddin Soz.
I just finished “Dead Souls” by Nikolai Gogol. Now reading the first volume of plays by Harold Pinter, and also dipping into “How to change the world: Reflections on Marx and Marxism” by Eric Hobsbawm.
I just finished a book called “The only life” by Rashid Maxwell. The other book I have just started is called “Encounters with an inexplicable Man” by Savita Brandt.
Artist and historian
Honestly, the lockdown has added so much to my work routine that my reading has come down. But I am reading P. Sainath’s “Everyone loves a Good Drought”. It’s a heartbreaking book, and I am totally mad to read it at this time but that’s what I am reading.
Writer, her latest book is “Friends from College”
The truth about the lives of writers is that a large part of it, the actual writing of books, is spent in a quarantine of sorts. Certainly, there’s a lot of social distancing. So, for the writer I live with (my partner, Saurav Jha), who is finishing his magnum opus, very little has changed in this period of corona-induced isolation. He reads and writes and does his share of household chores … I spend most of the time reading one of the books from our bookshelves, that had been bought with great love and never read. I feel grateful that we have enough books like this, brilliant worthy books, funny books, travel books and fat novels, that we would have read of course, if only there had been time. It is as though in all these years of buying so many books, books we couldn’t possibly have read, Saurav and I had planned for this exact eventuality after all.
I am currently reading “Good Economics for Hard Times” by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Beside, the small list of books that I have with me at this time include titles like “The Golden Thread : How Fabric Changed History” by Kassia St Clair, “City of Djinns” by William Dalrymple, “The Future of the Image” by Jacques Ranciere and “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan.