Stuck Indoors Due To Covid-19? Check Out These Book Recommendations

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If the Covid-19 pandemic is keeping you home, fret not! You've got plenty of time to read, pick a new hobby, watch a TV show, or learn a new language. Remember you always wanted to do something hatke and never found the time? Now you can! 

In this post, I'm recommending you a list of books to read. Yup, as a voracious reader myself, these are some of the most engaging books that I've read (or re-read) in the past few months. Happy reading, fam!

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi - Neel Patel

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If you're someone who thinks brevity is beautiful, Neel Patel's If You See Me, Don't Say Hi is ridiculously good. This collection of short stories is based on Indian-Americans. His characters are so real, broken, and the writing is so lucid. Grappling with issues ranging from family feuds and heartbreaks to societal notions and common stereotypes — this short read will keep you wrapped in its stories for a really long time.

City Of Girls - Elizabeth Gilbert

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Elizabeth Gilbert's work is genius! Her latest book — City of Girls is all about Vivian, a 19-year-old who moves to Manhattan to live with her aunt. Kicked out of college, watching this feisty young girl explore the city and the realms of friendships, heartbreak, and her relationship with her parents is quite a ride! I was instantly transported to New York City in its 1940s and I wish I could go back in time and read it again, to experience it like it's the first time.

Dopehri - Pankaj Kapur

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Surely we all love Pankaj Kapur as an actor but have you ever read his work? Dopehri — his much-acclaimed play is translated by Rahul Soni. In other words: you've got to read it! A master storyteller, Kapur's story is set in an ancient Lucknowi haveli.  Amma Bi is a 65-year-old widow who lives alone in the haveli, and when a kind stranger makes an appearance in her life, things change for good. This is a heartwarming store of friendship, of time – all of it glazed with humour.

Born A Crime - Trevor Noah

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Witty, disturbing, and every bit worth a ride — Trevor Noah's Born A Crime is a gem. Trevor's writing obviously has a voice! This book takes its readers through his childhood, and while some stories are heartwarming, some are painful. Born out of a union that was considered a crime (hence the name) in those days, Trevor talks about his tenacious mother, apartheid, politics, and poverty. So, I'm saying....please pick this book! 

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz - Heather Morris

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a really underrated book. This lesser-known literature is based on World War II as the name suggests. The protagonist is a tattooist at Auschwitz concentration camp and while there are several books based on WW II, I recommend this book because of two things — the writing style and the impact it leaves on you. Sure it hits you like a ton of bricks, but you'll also find a happy ending. No, that's not a spoiler! 

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats - Jan-Philipp Sendker

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Reading some books is serendipity. When I picked The Art of Hearing Heartbeats at a nondescript bookstore, I never imagined I'd recommend it to every person I come across. The protagonist — Julia and her family cannot quite fathom her father's sudden disappearance. What remains as a mystery for a few years unfolds when they find an unsent love letter from her father to a Burmese woman. Thus begins Julia's journey to Burma and what follows is a sequence of events that is pure joy to read.

Killing Commendatore - Haruki Murakami

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Haruki Murakami's writing is magic. Repeat after me — it's magic! Now go get a copy of Killing Commendatore. Hauntingly good and immersive, this REALLY big book (some 700 plus pages) will keep you hooked. This book is based on a celebrated painter from Tokyo who moves to the mountains after a divorce. There he stumbles upon a mysterious painting, an odd yet charming businessman, and an adventure. Don't hesitate to pick this 'cause it's huge — you'll lose track of time when you start reading it.

Hit Refresh - Satya Nadella

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Satya Nadella's Hit Refresh is a force to reckon with. Sorry if it sounds like a cliche, but this book is a gentle reminder that a powerful leader can be empathetic too. And that it's a supremely important quality. Nadella's narration of his personal life, his inspiration, and the school of thought he comes from is rich. Naturally, he talks about his work at Microsoft which gives you a fine glimpse of how he transformed the organisation. 

A Taste Of The Sun - Elizabeth David

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Whether you love food or not (oh hello, how do you exist?) — Elizabeth David's A Taste Of The Sun is a fantastic quick read. Barely 128 pages, if you're someone who enjoys anecdotes on food and recipes, this book is for you. Her words will leave you hankering for a delicious spaghetti, so keep your favourite restaurant on speed dial, fo sho!

Notes From The Hinterland - Shashi Tharoor, Ruskin Bond & More

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What do you think happens when writers like Shashi Tharoor, Ruskin Bond, R.K. Narayan (and more) come together? A book of classics! And that's what Notes From The Hinterland is all about. Set in rural India, this collection of stories is something you should devour on a balmy afternoon with a glass of lemonade. Barely 150 pages, if you're looking for a quick read, you might want to get this.

Mr Salary - Sally Rooney

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When Faber Stories came up with Sally Rooney's short story, I was the first to queue up for it. Mr Salary is a story of Sukie and Nathan. Two cuckoo characters in love, you cannot stop loving them. With so many layers, these two show us what holds them together! By the time you wrap up this 50-page-book, you'll only want more.


Former Editor, LBB, Hyderabad.