My favourite reads: Rajesh Korde

Growing up without television, I developed a habit of reading all sorts of books, in several languages

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Courtesy HarperCollins
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Growing up without TV, I developed a habit of reading all sorts of books, in several languages. It’s a habit that cannot be easily given up. I lapped up whatever was in our town’s library, from classics to short stories and crime fiction. Given I read in four languages, it was difficult to choose just five favourites.

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee (1960) 

Books such as this should be treated like well-brewed coffee – relish the flavour with slow sips. One of the many reasons to love this book is its simple language. Lee manages to evoke so much love and emotion while dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. One starts seeing the main character Atticus Finch as the model of a great human being.

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

This political satire makes you think more about the society we live in and how our thoughts are controlled. Orwell “predicted” the totalitarian nation, which is very relevant today. As technology evolves, we find our privacy shrinking. “Orwellian” is today often used to describe a situation, idea or societal condition by people who may not even have read the novel.

Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey (2009)

I was always fascinated to read about history and political systems of different countries, and I read this book after coming to the Gulf. Lacey’s is considered one of the most accurate and balanced works on Saudi Arabia. His style is different, writing a history with a literary flavour. Many events are presented in a pleasant narrative based on real stories.

It Takes All Sorts by Peter Roebuck (2005)

One of my favourite pastimes is cricket, and I covered many matches in India. In this book, Roebuck meanders through his long career reporting cricket, to reveal the people and personalities who touched his life. No one else combined such intricate knowledge of the game with prose both lean and erudite. With his death in 2011, we lost a master wordsmith.

Aavarana: The Veil by SL Bhyrappa (2014) (original book in Kannada in 2007; translated by Sandeep Balakrishna)

History and religion are sensitive and controversial topics, but Bhyrappa seamlessly knits both together to narrate 1,000 years of Indian history in this classic fiction. I found it more relevant after visiting the Unesco World Heritage Site Hampi. Bhyrappa raises pertinent questions about religion, liberalism and identity.

Rajesh Korde is a page editor for The National


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