Secret Projects' Book Review
The Secret Projects team loves books about or related to our beloved India. Here is an ever-growing list of some of our favourites...
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
We love this book and its sequel The Mountain Shadow! It is inspired by the author's experience of living in a Mumbai slum, and it really captures the multi-sensory experience of India.
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
This book is set in the Southern State of Kerala, where two of our Secret Project Maker Networks are based. It is not only a story of childhood and human relations, but also an important commentary on Indian politics, religion and the caste system.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
This book of Roy's is a patchwork of characters and narratives predicated on the idea that the personal is political. The front cover of the book was shot by Delhi-based photographer Mayank Austen Soofi (aka The Delhi Walla). His pictures are so simple yet tell intricate stories of ordinary people.
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
This love story is set against the backdrop of a newly independent post-partition India, perfectly melding personal lives and a great national event. It is at once funny and tragic.
Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh
This epic trilogy deals with the Opium trade between India and China. We love this series as it provides a snapshot of all the different cultures, religions and traditions that make up the Indian subcontinent.
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
This is the story of the children born at midnight in the first hour of India's independence from British rule. It is richly interwoven with magical realism, creating a real labyrinth of individual and collective histories.
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Adiga's debut novel is narrated by the complex Balram Halwai: an entrepreneur, a philosopher and...a murderer. Balram tells a terrifying and transfixing story of how he grew to be a success in life. Through this protagonist, Adiga explores the less attractive face of modern India. Adiga's second novel, Last Man in Tower, is perhaps more forgiving than The White Tiger, with a gentler tone!
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
When a father falls into a coma, three Indian-American sisters reunite with their mother at his bedside. This story sees family ties unravel as they grapple to come to terms with their bruised souls. This is a convoluted story of harboured dark secrets tucked away forever plaguing a family and all of its individual members.
The Elephant Chaser's Daughter by Shilpa Raj
This is not just Raj's own memoirs, but a story that gives volume to the voiceless. As a Dalit, or untouchable, woman, Raj explores her own family roots and in doing so unearths and criticises entrenched social problems and inequalities in Indian society. Her memoir is a landmark in Dalit writing!
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
This book is an odyssey through Africa and Asia, along which we meet extraordinary women fighting back against oppression. Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. We love this book, as it shows how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls. This is what Secret Projects is all about: turning oppression into opportunity.