Book reading

March 2020. Jennifer Shah, a publishing employee, decided to finally fulfil a long-held dream of visiting a quaint resort nestled in Ghoom, Darjeeling.

She'd fantasised about trekking her way up to the hills through the picturesque towns ever since she was a teenager growing up in North Kolkata, pouring over travel brochures and books and daydreaming about her future adventures.

She wanted a week-long vacation where she could relax, but also get to read the whole pile of hand-picked books that she was building up with the hope that one day she would slump on the sofa and devour them, one by one.

Jennifer traversed her way to the hills and to her favourite resort, hoping to return to Kolkata and back to work not less than a week later. Then, of course, the pandemic happened. The doors around her had to be shuttered, but she was unfazed. Though silenced within the four walls, Jennifer’s love for books kept her going during the lockdown - oblivious of the pandemic-stricken world that was failing to resuscitate outside.

This World Book Day on Friday 23 April, Jennifer celebrates with a slice from her life as she recounts her top 10 breathless page-turners that offered companionship during her extended stay in Darjeeling. 

  1. Rain in the mountains by Ruskin Bond – A brilliant read, the book brings together a collection of anecdotes, snippets, poems, and essays from Ruskin Bond’s life spent in the various hamlets nestled in the serene foothills of the Himalayas.
  2. The truth about me: A hijra life story by A Revathi - An unflinchingly courageous and moving autobiography of a eunuch who fought ridicule, persecution and violence both within her home and outside to find a life of dignity.
  3. Alex Ferguson: My autobiography: The book is a celebratory, revealing, inspiring, and an entertaining autobiography of the greatest manager in the history of British soccer. Read Alex reflect on highlights from his extraordinary career as it unfolded from his early days in the tough shipyard areas of Govan to his retirement as manager of Manchester United after 27 years in the role.
  4. Be careful what you wish for by Jeffrey Archer - Jeffrey spins a wonderful tale that will keep you engrossed throughout. The book takes you through the lives of the Barrington and Clifton families, with a plethora of suspense, love and conspiracies in store. Jeffrey ends at a very crucial juncture, leaving you wondering what happens next.
  5.  I Am Malala: The story of the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb - The award-winning book details the early life of Malala, the assassination attempt made against her when she was 15, and her relentless activism for female education.
  6.  Three weeks to say goodbye by C J Box – A gripping story of Jack and Melissa who have spent years trying to have a baby. Their dream comes true with the adoption of Angelina. But nine months after, they receive a devastating call from Angelina's birth father, a teenager, who wants her back. Worse, his father, a powerful judge, will use every trick in the book to make sure it happens.
  7. The fellowship of the ring by J R R Tolkien – This is Tolkien’s first novel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, later made into a billion dollar movie. The Fellowship of an elf, a dwarf, two men, and four hobbits is an incredibly beautiful tale of adventure and friendship.
  8. A day like any other by Isla Dewar - A heart-warming story of two friends remembering the highs and lows of their life. The embarrassing moments, the guilt and shared lives all merge into a wonderful tale which encourages the reader to examine their own story.
  9.  My brilliant friend by Elena Ferrante - A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila.
  10. Friends in small places by Ruskin Bond - This collection brings together the best of Ruskin Bond's cameos, all beautifully imagined and crafted, inspired by people who have left a lasting impression on him. In addition, there are a host of characters culled from Bond's numerous short stories.

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