Books I Grew Up Reading

I was watching BoTCast - Books On Toast videos - I am loving those bookish conversations. I keep listening to them day in and day out - well, it's been just two days since I discovered their vlogs on Youtube. 

Audio contents are awesome. I warmed up to podcasts on Spotify sometime in 2020 when the concept of lockdown was getting introduced slowly in various states. But I have forever loved listening. Radio storytimes with Neelesh Misra was a regular for me every evening 9 pm during college. With Clubhouse doing the rounds around every corner of the internet, though all of it feels like noise - or may be I am not introduced to the right content or 'hall'/'room' yet, audio is here to stay. Reading was time taking, so medium of video became popular - YouTube, now even video takes one to focus on the screen, so audio is back. The days of radio are perhaps back. We can multitask as audio content entertaining us. 

I liked an episode of Books on Toast where they discussed books that they grew up reading and that made me revisit so many memories of school, childhood times, zero-periods, libraries, and book exchanges among classmates, scholastic book fairs, confiscation of teen romance novels, and monthly trips to second-hand book stores. Such a fun time it was.

What introduced me to novel reading was 'Molly Moon and Her Incredible book of Hypnotism' and Harry Potter books. Then I read authors of whom I heard in our literature class - R.K Narayan, Ruskin Bond, Anita Desai, and Charles Dickens. I remember reading 'The Guide' and 'A Vendor of Sweets' - R.K.Narayan's works were beginner's friendly. Charles Dickens - I could only read the abridged versions. Ruskin Bond introduced me to the hilly landscape of Dehradun and Mussorie and the simple, idyllic  mountain life. In between more serious literary readings, I would sneak in a Nancy Drew, or a Famous Five or any of Enid Blytons - Malory Towers etc. Monthly magazines like Chandamama and  Amar Chitra Katha made sure I developed a love for Indian mythology - Mahabharata, Ramayana, Krishna's tale, Vishnu's ten incarnations,  and humorous tales of court zesters like Tenali Rama, Birbal, etc. 

Then during college came in Agatha Christie and Preeti Shenoy, and a lot of young adult lit. Twilight, Divergent, Hunger Games to name a few  - dystopian genre, mythical, mystery, detective fiction, historical fiction - I lapped up books in days, rapidly moving on to the next. More sensitive and thoughtful reading came in the later part of college, where I would read a few pages a day and reflect on my thoughts - Haruki Murakami, Paulo Coelho, Susan Cain. 

Coming to think of it, books are a language in themselves. When you hear people talking about books, you can either relate to parts of their conversations or all solely thanks to your reading diet or the news around books that you are interested in. And this language would differ generation to generation - it truly depends on the era - what kind of literature in popular among readers. A few decades ago memoirs were not that many in the publishing world and now-a-days every celebrity is coming out with one. Again, mythology and dystopian were a selected few a few years ago- we had a lot of scientific fiction but 'dystopian' was a new term then- or may be the genre became accessible thanks to the internet. Our next generation is going to have a totally different experience of growing up with books than what we had. 

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.  


  1. Books by Charles Dickens and R K Narayan were something I really enjoyed. I find mythology and fantasy a little hard to read.


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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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