Finding George Orwell in Burma – Emma Larkin - Retracing George Orwell’s time as an Imperial policeman in Burma in the 1920s. Larkin relates the current struggles of the Burmese people under a military regime to the writings of Orwell- 1984 and Animal Farm most prominently.
The Raj at War – Yasim Khan - A bottom up type history of the sometimes reluctant Indian participation in the second world war along-side the rest of the British Empire.
The Consolations of the Forest – Sylvain Tesson - A crazy Frenchman spends six months, more or less alone, in a cabin on the shore of Lake Baikal in Siberia. He reads a lot and drinks more while tramping around in the snow exploring the Taiga surrounding the world’s largest and oldest fresh body of water.
The Guide- A Novel – R.K. Narayan - An Indian Storekeeper/Guide falls in love with another man’s wife, goes to prison and likes it (!) and finally becomes a swami beside the river in which he ultimately dies after reluctantly fasting for 10 days. Though it doesn’t sound it, an often funny read about a more or less directionless man through his life.
1984 – George Orwell - The crushing of the individual by a parasitic state. A warning to a low information society.
Darkness at Noon – Arthur Koestler - A snap shot of the Show Trials in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Ideology triumphing over individuality. Highlighting weaknesses of intellectuals when confronted with simple brute force.
The Last Lion: Winston Spenser Churchill - William Manchester - Churchill certainly had failings, Indian policy for one, but a great leader/orator. Indicative of the heights to which a person can ascend when intelligence, perseverance and history align.
Mythology – Edith Hamilton
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain - The only book I read more than twice as a child. I would often fall asleep imagining Jim and Huck rafting down the river, wishing I could do the same.
I Claudius – Robert Graves - Introduced me to adult literature at age 11.
Yertle the Turtle – Dr. Seuss - My first and only business management book.