Want to know what books Vishakha Desai recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Vishakha Desai's favorite book recommendations of all time.
Volume I: 600 B.C. to the Early Twentieth Century includes songs by Buddhist nuns, testimonies of medieval rebel poets and court historians, and the voices of more than 60 other writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Among the diverse selections are a rare early essay by an untouchable woman; an account by the first feminist historian; and a selection from the first novel written in English by an Indian woman.
Vishakha DesaiThe reason I consider this a really important book is that, first of all, until this anthology, we’ve never had anything like it. Secondly, there are just amazing pieces of writing – poetry, narratives, fiction – in it. It’s important just to recover that female voice that none of us ever studies in school. We were given a couple of names [of female writers], but that was about it. I think it’s a... (Source)
Vishakha DesaiThis, again, is a book written from the inside about a family, in this case the Bhutto family. Fatima is Benazir Bhutto’s niece. Both her father and her uncle were killed. What I like about the book is that, again, it’s very well written. It is unflinching in terms of exploring the family dynamic. At the same time, it really gives you an insider’s perspective on, in this case, a very feudal... (Source)
Vishakha DesaiDear to Behold is a book I read long ago, but I still think about it. It’s a small book. It was written by Indira’s aunt, Krishna Hutheesing [Nehru’s sister]. What’s interesting to me is that it really gets at the psychology of Indira Gandhi. For example, when she’s young – the loneliness, the shyness, how that then plays out. The book was written before the [state of] emergency she declared in... (Source)
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
In a chronicle rich in diversity, detail, and empathy, Elisabeth Bumiller illuminates the many women's lives she shared--from wealthy sophisticates in New Delhi, to villagers in the dusty northern plains, to movie stars in Bombay, intellectuals in Calcutta, and health workers in the south--and the contradictions she encountered, during her three and a half years in India as a reporter for THE WASHINGTON POST. In their fascinating,... more
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
In a chronicle rich in diversity, detail, and empathy, Elisabeth Bumiller illuminates the many women's lives she shared--from wealthy sophisticates in New Delhi, to villagers in the dusty northern plains, to movie stars in Bombay, intellectuals in Calcutta, and health workers in the south--and the contradictions she encountered, during her three and a half years in India as a reporter for THE WASHINGTON POST. In their fascinating, and often tragic stories, Bumiller found a strength even in powerlessness, and a universality that raises questions for women around the world. less
Vishakha DesaiWhat I find so compelling about it is the way Elisabeth Bumiller creates these personal stories. It’s about women and how they get caught up in being seen as mothers, and especially mothers of sons. This made a big impression on me when I first read it, and I still feel that it’s a very important issue. Even when you’re looking at corporate India today, there’s a huge number of educated women who... (Source)
Vishakha DesaiTo me Wild Swans is one of those iconic books for understanding the generations of Chinese women. She is from this amazing intellectual family and it’s about what happens to them. The book just has this tremendous power. It’s an amazing journey. It’s about what women do to survive and also how they suffer. (Source)
Harry WuWild Swans is talking about people who are living at the highest level of society but they are still suffering persecution and live in fear. And the peasants in the village became slaves, they became nothing. So what the book does brilliantly is give a real insight into what life was like for ordinary people against the backdrop of the ever-changing China. (Source)
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