During this trip we enjoy the privilege of having plenty of time to read. In addition to reading far too many Lonely Planets, some of our picks are stories about the countries we visit, books we always wanted to read and some recommendations.
The following are some of the ones we have read so far. Suggestions are welcome!
- The year of living dangerously. Christopher J. Koch
The story of the few remaining western journalists in the Indonesia of dictator Soekarno.
- Revolt in Paradise. K’tut Tantri
The thrilling story of an American woman, starting up a new life in Bali and fighting for Indonesia independence after world war II. Too many adventures to be all true.
- I am Muslim. Dina Zaman
Collection of articles about being a divorced Muslim woman in today’s Malaysia. Interesting reflection from a woman who wants to believe but also live a modern life.
- Shantaram. Gregory David Roberts
Claudia’s absolute favourite. An Australian escaped from prison living in India. Great descriptions of the Indian culture and psyche and good reflections on good and bad. If you don’t want to go through 900 pages you can wait for the film version.
- A fine balance. Rohinton Mistry
Amazing story of two tailors in India, in the 70s. Portrays the poverty and injustices of life. Sadly I recognized the 2 characters and their plight many times in today’s India.
- Riot. Shashi Tharoor
Story of an American girl who gets murdered during a Hindu/Muslim riot in a small village in India. Interesting method of narrating, through letters, interviews, diary entries.
- The hulabaloo in the guava orchard. Kiran Desai
Funny fable about a normal person becoming a holy hermit, in the India of miracles.
- Midnight’s children. Salman Rushdie.
Story of a boy who was born when India reached Independence, his life mirrors the Indian history post-Independence. A lot of magic, fantasy and reality.
- Der Sadhu an der Teufelswand. Ilija Trojanow
Collection of articles on India previously published in German newspapers. Some great insights and background information.
- Dalai Lama: An open heart
A brief introduction to the figure of the 14th Dalai Lama, followed by
a guide to Buddhism and meditation practice for non Buddhists. The
intro is worthwhile, the rest is probably too detailed.
- Freedom’s Battle. Mahatma Ghandi
Good insight into Ghandi’s peaceful movement of no-cooperation to achieve India’s independence.
- Beyond the sky and the earth. A journey into Bhutan. Jamie Zeppa
A young Canadian teaching English in a remote Bhutanese village. First chapters are a good historical and cultural introduction to the country, while the second part gets lost into too many autobiographical details.
- Lost Horizon. James Hilton.
The story of Shangri-la and the hidden valley in Tibet. Interesting read.
- Sightseeing. Rattawut Lapcharoens.
Short stories about Thailand by a young Thai author. Well written.
- The geography of Bliss. Eric Weiner
Nice trip around different countries trying to untap the reasons that make people happy. How happy do you consider yourself from 1 to 100?
Easy and entertaining read that has given us a lot of food for thought.