Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 26 - Books from different cultures

I have spoken before about the connection I feel with books written in Kannada.  The culture, the language, the societal norms, the people - all are familiar, and strike a chord with me.  This holds good for books about India written by Indians too.  No matter which Indian state the story is based in, I can feel the book when I am reading it.

Though most of the books I have read are probably British and American, I find myself increasingly going back to Indian writing.  But lately, I have realized that books from a few other countries give me that connect  as well - maybe not to the extent that Indian writing does, but still.

Stories from Africa (Chimamanda Adichie, the Mma Ramotswe series), Afghanistan (Khaled Hosseini), and to a small extent, South America (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende.) to name a few.  And of course, books based in Japan and China, though its been a while since I read those.  Though the culture of these places is very different from ours, the sentiment is the same, if you know what I mean.  I can see why a character reacts in a certain way.  I can sense the weight of history of the culture and country in the stories. I can see and understand why this history matters, and how it influences the behaviour of the characters.  And the more I read such books, the more I want to read.

Any inputs from  you?  Any recommendations?  (As if my to-read list is not long enough already!)


Anonymous said...

Though I feel I am over my Murakami phase, I used to feel that connect with his descriptions of city life in Japan, being a student, a struggling single person etc.. Have you read Murakami? He sometimes takes his absurdist style to an extreme, but Kafka on the Shore, After the Quake, South of the Border West of the Sun are some of my most favourite Murakami books..

I also find myself drawn to Indian writing for the same reasons. Most recently I thoroughly enjoyed Those Pricey Thakur Girls, though a light chiclit read, it was so familiar and easy to relate to, I just couldnt put it down!

austere said...

Jhumpa Lahiri?
Anita Nair? I particularly like Anita Nair.

Plus Hindi authors like Shivani and my all time fav Amrita Pritam...

Anonymous said...

Anita Ruo Badami (Tamarind Mem; The Hero's Walk - especially those Kannada speakers will like these novels...lot of Kannada sayings in English)

Radhika said...

I'm now reading Chinese stories translated to Kannada and they seem so familiar. I'm into reading stories from other Indian languages translated to Kannada too. They have distinct touch of the land and culture in them though they are all from India.

rajk said...

I think maybe now we have a lot more Indian authors writing in English than when we were kids and that's why I too feel drawn towards Indian authors.
Among other cultures, one book I haven't written about on my blog is Keigo Higashino's "The Devotion of Suspect X". It's a fantastic book that you shouldn't miss...though the ending saddened me a bit.
More later...

Shruthi said...

hAAthi, I tried some of Murakami's short stories - but I couldn't get past two or three of them. Will give his novels a chance.
I've heard a lot about Those Pricey... will try it next. I need a light read. Been reading too many heavy books lately.

Austere, yes, I like both of them. Hindi authors - have to depend on the translation, for though I can read Hindi, it'll take me ages to wade through a book.

Anon, thanks! will try Anita Rau Badami.

Radhika, exactly!

RajK, that's the second reco I received for this book within a week. Goes on my to-read list.

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