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Home > How To Lounge> Books > The book that got me through the lockdown

The book that got me through the lockdown

Speculative fiction, pickle recipes, crime and catharsis—the Lounge team on their lockdown reading

Ant among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla
Ant among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla

BEYOND THE VIRUS

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The most recent books I read were for research for this week’s cover story. Both Ant Among Elephants and Along The Red River aren’t the breeziest lockdown reads but they are a stark reminder that historical and social injustice is not mellowed by a virus.—Asmita Bakshi

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10 minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
10 minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

SIMPLE EVERYDAY PLEASURES

Apart from returning to Ruskin Bond’s Landour Days, I picked up this Elif Shafak book I had read haltingly the first time around. Reading it at leisure, the stories of “women who continue to sing songs of freedom under moonlight” touched a chord. —Avantika Bhuyan

The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin
The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin

THE ANGER OF THE ENSLAVED

Since mid-March, I have read two trilogies and three short story collections. Of these, N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth books have haunted me. What if you could control earthquakes and volcanoes? What if you were enslaved for it? Would you tear the world apart? Powerful stuff, and proof that speculative fiction is about so much more than just the magic. —Bibek Bhattacharya

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Usha’s Pickle Digest by Usha Prabhakaran
Usha’s Pickle Digest by Usha Prabhakaran

ALL BOOKS LEAD TO DINNER

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I never had the time or inclination to preserve food. This book, which records 1,000 heirloom pickle recipes, introduced me to the craft of buying, washing and peeling vegetables and fruits to preserve taste and nutrition—prelude to a top-notch dinner. —Jahnabee Borah

The Greatest: The Quest for Sporting Perfection’ by Matthew Syed
The Greatest: The Quest for Sporting Perfection’ by Matthew Syed

THE BEST WE CAN BE

This collection of Matthew Syed’s brilliant columns offers a ringside view into the minds of great athletes like Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher and Muhammad Ali, and taught me about sport’s staying power, and why it grips our imagination. —Nitin Sreedhar

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup
Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

A SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

With new anxieties and concerns, the lockdown hasn’t been very conducive to reading. The book that I am reading on a slow-burn is Shubhangi Swarup’s Latitudes Of Longing—something I had saved up for a “free window of time”, which is a mythical concept. The book demands a suspension of disbelief. I find it right for these times not as a form of escapism but as evidence that other realities, and other worlds, are possible. —Anindita Ghose

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Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall
Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall

FOUR FLYING HOOVES

Christopher McDougall brings Sherman home from an animal hoarder and trains him for burro racing, where humans and donkeys run together. It’s about man-animal bonding, about testing your limits—how far you can go. —Nipa Charagi

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

AN ESCAPE AND A RELEASE

The lockdown and its demand for a cautious, sedentary lifestyle presented a bit of a challenge. The Far Field came to the rescue. It’s a fiercely political book that doesn’t sacrifice storytelling. I rationed it out for weeks, and still live off its memories. —Omkar Khandekar

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A CATHARTIC EXPERIENCE

The size of this 800-page book is no match for the emotional weight that it carries as it passes through the lives of four men living in New York. With its themes of sexuality, loneliness and trauma, it also offers glimpses of hope and relief. —Shubham Ladha

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H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

ON THE WINGS OF GRIEF

Five years ago, a dear friend gifted me Helen Macdonald’s H Is For Hawk, but I got to this masterpiece only recently. A memoir of losing a parent, spliced with the history of falconry and a first-hand account of training a goshawk in contemporary England, this unique book held me together as the days got heavier with grief, uncertainty and anxiety. —Somak Ghoshal

The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan
The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan

THERE BE DRAGONS

Set in an alternate version of our 19th century, this series about a naturalist who travels around the world is more than an adventure story; the memoirist’s comments on her society and the role of women in it make it funny, piquant and unputdownable. —Shrabonti Bagchi

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The Big Book of Reel Murders by Otto Penzler
The Big Book of Reel Murders by Otto Penzler

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

This collection of crime stories that inspired films has been the antidote for my wandering concentration. The selections, from pulp and mystery stalwarts like Cornell Woolrich and Agatha Christie, have formed the basis for films like Psycho and Freaks.—Uday Bhatia

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    14.06.2020 | 10:29 AM IST
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