Top 10 books every Indian should read

Choosing ten books amongst the ocean of literary works is definitely not easy given the rich and abundant literary culture in India. There is a wide mix of literature from poetry to politics, history to classics. 

India’s literary culture dates back to centuries ago. India is an incubator of authors, poets, thinkers, writers and visionaries. There are 22 official languages in India so we can only imagine the amount of literary work being produced. 

However tough it was, we have listed down 10 must read books, in no order, by every Indian.

  1. A suitable boy – Vikram Seth

Even though the book has over 1400 pages to be read  it doesn’t feel so because of it’s simple language. The story revolves around four families post partition. A suitable boy is one of the first books of it’s time to deal extensively with the issue of arranged marriage. The book talks about a family searching for a suitable boy, as the title suggests, for all their four daughters. It also shows the conflict of the girls with their family. All along the book, issues like race and caste have been discussed.

  1. Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramhansa  Yogananda

A spiritual read and the extraordinary mystical encounters and experiences of swami Paramhansa Yogananda

It is the story of a boy from an upper caste family who wants to follow the path of spirituality. The book talks about the relationship of a disciple and a guru something which we as Indians find sacred.

The book speaks of the awakening of a young boy and his journey on the path of spiritualism. 

Even Steve Jobs mentioned in his biography that he read this book every year.

This book is great to draw inspiration so make sure it is marked as next to read on your list.

  1. Wings of Fire – APJ Abdul Kalam

Another moving and inspiring book but from another era. Wings of fire is the autobiography of honourable former President of India Dr Kalam. The entire book is a walk down his personal and professional life. This book is highly inspiring and influential. If you are looking for some motivation and inspiration this book is a must. It portrays the difficulties surrounding a young boy who is determined to achieve his dreams against all odds. It also awakens your inner patriot as we read about the success and progress of India. 

  1. Gitanjali – Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his collection of poetries in Gitanjali. If translated, ‘Git means songs and’anjalu’ means offerings. Gitanjali is a book which comprises of songs or poems which are offerings to God. The works of Tagore, represent our rich culture and tradition and this is a masterpiece and a must read for every Indian once in a lifetime. 

  1. Train to Pakistan – Kushwant Singh

The partition of India and Pakistan is not only part of our history, but a time period that is etched into the life of every Indian, young or old. Train to Pakistan revisits the partition and the dangers faced by the Hindus and Muslims alone. It also mentions the plight of the refugees who were caught stranded. The plight of the people during this cataclysmic period is unveiled through the writing of Kushwant Singh. Written so truthfully, you can actually visualize the passengers on the train who were migrating. As an Indian, this is one of the books you must read.

  1. A fine balance – Rohinton Mistry

This story is about four characters who’s lives intercept each other during the course of the book. The backdrop of the story is during the time the Prime Minister declared emergency in 1975. Each character is intense and the author has shown how each of them fight their own evils. Three of the characters are male who leave their homes and move to Mumbai, then Bombay, where they meet Dina, the only female protagonist. This book gives us an insight to the India that was during the 70s. To know better pick up a copy and find out yourself.

  1. Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight. – Rujuta Diwekar.

Rujuta Diwekar, a nutritionist and fitness expert from Mumbai changed the face of fitness and diet in India. She has highlighted the misconception created around dieting, depriving oneself of eating. This path breaking, revolutionary boom has changed the way Indians look at losing weight while eating right. Rujuta explained through her book how one should embrace one’s own food habits and not imitate that of foreigners. To be proud of our cuisines and food cultures one must read this book.

  1. Shiva Trilogy – Amish Tripathi

This series had to be included as it was the fastest selling book series in the history of Indian book publishing. No this is not a mythological read. This trilogy consists of The Immortals of Meluha, The secret of the Nagas, and The Oath of the Vayuputras. 

The Immortals of Meluha – the most enticing thing about this book is the ability of the author to depict the Lord Shiva as a human and that he can make mistakes and learn from his mistakes. This book brings about a curiosity to get to know our actual Gods. The book is about a land called Meluha and how a man named Shiva saves his people. For the youth of our country this book will be enjoyable and relatable. Not revealing anything further, this is one book you can’t afford to miss.

The secret of the Nagas – this is a continuation of the Immortals of Meluha. Shiva heads to save Sati from Naga. This is a beautiful depiction of the journey of Shiva in search of his wife and son who he doesn’t Know of. This work of fiction is clearly unmatched. From characters like Kali, to Ganesh and Kartik, you will enjoy their human depiction. 

The Oath of the Vayuputras – this is the last and final book of the trilogy. At 575 pages long, this book is a welcoming end to the first two parts. Each twist and turn is worth and every page turned brings something new . Assasination of Shiva, Somras being termed as evil and Shiva’s wish to destroy it and the end of it all the death of Sati. Grab your copy now.

  1. The Glass Palace – Amitav Ghosh

This work of fiction takes us to different lands and different time zones too. The British send the king of Burma and his family from their palace, the glass palace, in exile to India in 1885. From then the story revolves around numerous characters. Eventually Burma wins independence in 1948 but is taken over by dictatorship rule in 1962. The lives of the characters affected by this setting is the story about the Glass Palace. An adventure to tour on. 

  1. Malgudi Days – R K Narayan

A collection of short stories, light hearted and simple and easy to read. Thirty two short stories are comprised in this book in a fictitious town called Malgudi. The stories revolve around the lives of common men and women and the issues they deal with on a daily basis. R K Narayan has filled this book with wit and humour. This book gets one in touch with real life issues. 

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.


More Stories
Top 20 places to visit in summers in 2024