Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh (1988)
Ghosh brilliantly intertwines the lives of an English and a Bengali family in this intricate and gripping story that constantly moves around in time. In the backdrop are major historical events such as India’s fight for independence, the Second World War and the India-Pakistan partition, but it all comes tragically together against the backdrop of the Bengal riots in 1963-64.
Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto (2009)
Known for his gripping, graphic and explicit short stories inspired by brutality of the India-Pakistan partition, Manto presented the truth in all its ugly glory in this one. They are not true stories, instead inspired by events, and offer a peek into the horrific consequences of the divide.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)
It took a few readings of this story for me to understand and link the multitude of characters of the Buendia family of Macondo. This isn’t a regular page-turner, and you may have to go back and forth to catch up, but immersing yourself in Marquez’s fantastical world is an experience in itself.
Making Faces Kevyn Aucoin (1997)
I trained to be a make-up artist last year, and am constantly looking to enhance my knowledge with a little help from established make-up artists. A respected industry guru, Aucoin has painted the faces of celebs such as Cher, Whitney Houston and Gwyneth Paltrow, and offers great tips on everything from the basics to trends, in this manual.
Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (2001)
Chick-lit is my guilty pleasure when I want an escape from reality. Sophie Kinsella wins for me over other authors in the genre with her funny and fast-paced stories. As a bit of a shopaholic, I find certain situations relatable. Some of my favourite books in the series are Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan and Shopaholic to the Stars.