20 Books to Read Before Visiting India

I had so much fun compiling April’s post about Russia (thank you for your feedback!), that I thought I’d create a reading list for my upcoming trip to India as well. In October, Simon and I are headed to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Udaipur and though it’s six months away, I already have a countdown (love the Dreamdays app!). Below are the books I’m hoping to read before our autumn India adventure.

A Passage to India by E.M.Forster (remember loving it in high school, must reread!)

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex Von Tunzelmann

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple

Love Jaipur, Rajasthan by Fiona Cauflield
(just ordered this beautiful guidebook on a friend’s recommendation! find more cities in the series here!)

A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

East of the Sun: A Novel by Julia Gregson

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks

Midnight’s Children: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald

A Suitable Boy: A Novel by Vikram Seth

White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India by William Dalrymple

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

The Palace of Illusions: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj, $3

The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga

Women of the Raj: The Mothers, Wives, and Daughters of the British Empire in India by Margaret MacMillan

The God of Small Things: A Novel by Arundhati Roy

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7 comments on “20 Books to Read Before Visiting India

  1. Abby

    Two more to add on

    Sophia Duleep Singh by Anita Anand fabulous! India/UK connection

    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. A long one with a cult following.

  2. Jessie Buckmaster

    India has been on my list for ages! One of my best friends grew up there, maybe someday I can visit with her. I’m reading Padma Lakshmi’s “Love, Loss, and What We Ate” right now. There is a significant section about her early childhood and later summers growing up in India. Her descriptions of the food and cooking with her family are beautiful.

    There’s also a mini series based on the Indian Summers book, you can find it on PBS passport and Amazon. I haven’t watched yet, but heard great things!

  3. Noelle

    A Suitable Boy was amazing. Because it is thousands of pages long you may want you give up at parts it drags on, don’t. It was very well done and rewarding.

    The author was supposed to write a follow-up called “A Suitable Girl”

  4. Katie Armour Post author

    Jessie – I have so much trouble watching PBS/Amazon things from Denmark. Must remedy this! And will order the Padma Lakshmi book–thanks so much for the tip!

    Noelle – So good to know. I better get started!

  5. Katherine

    I’m reading the Lowland right now and loving it! Can’t wait to follow along xx

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