100 books like Boats on Land

By Janice Pariat,

Here are 100 books that Boats on Land fans have personally recommended if you like Boats on Land. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Adivasi Will Not Dance

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Author Of The Origin Story of India's States

From my list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by maps all my life. The map of India has always held special interest. As I’ve lived in different parts of India, I’ve seen firsthand how India is one country, but its stories are multiple. I chronicled India’s varied stories through the origins of each of its states. Similarly, I’ve curated a diverse and inclusive reading list. It covers different parts of the country and contains different types of books—graphic novel, travelog, memoir, and short story collections. The authors also cut across religion, gender, and social strata. I hope you discover a whole new India!

Venkataraghavan's book list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Why did Venkataraghavan love this book?

This book of short stories drops us in the middle of Jharkhand in the center of India. Written by a government doctor who is also of the Santhal Adivasi community, it offers us insights into a community, a region, and an institution that are rarely found together in a book. Also, given that central India can tend to be seen as a large Hindi land mass, this book focuses sharply on the region’s original inhabitants living in today’s society.

By Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Adivasi Will Not Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Please Read Notes: Brand New, International Softcover Edition, Printed in black and white pages, minor self wear on the cover or pages, Sale restriction may be printed on the book, but Book name, contents, and author are exactly same as Hardcover Edition. Fast delivery through DHL/FedEx express.


Book cover of Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Author Of The Origin Story of India's States

From my list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by maps all my life. The map of India has always held special interest. As I’ve lived in different parts of India, I’ve seen firsthand how India is one country, but its stories are multiple. I chronicled India’s varied stories through the origins of each of its states. Similarly, I’ve curated a diverse and inclusive reading list. It covers different parts of the country and contains different types of books—graphic novel, travelog, memoir, and short story collections. The authors also cut across religion, gender, and social strata. I hope you discover a whole new India!

Venkataraghavan's book list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Why did Venkataraghavan love this book?

We learn about our family and our place in the world through the stories our older generations tell us. This is such a memoirnot about the author but about her (famous) uncle and mother. To me, it has the feel of numerous family gatherings where old stories are dredged up and the youngsters listen with wide eyes and keen ears of a time before their time. Situated deep in the Telugu hinterland in the south, this memoir presents an intimate personal narrative layered with the communist and caste politics of the first decades after Independence.

By Sujatha Gidla,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ants Among Elephants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2017
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2017

"Ants Among Elephants is an arresting, affecting and ultimately enlightening memoir. It is quite possibly the most striking work of non-fiction set in India since Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, and heralds the arrival of a formidable new writer." —The Economist

The stunning true story of an untouchable family who become teachers, and one, a poet and revolutionary

Like one in six people in India, Sujatha Gidla was born an untouchable. While most untouchables…


Book cover of Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Author Of The Origin Story of India's States

From my list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by maps all my life. The map of India has always held special interest. As I’ve lived in different parts of India, I’ve seen firsthand how India is one country, but its stories are multiple. I chronicled India’s varied stories through the origins of each of its states. Similarly, I’ve curated a diverse and inclusive reading list. It covers different parts of the country and contains different types of books—graphic novel, travelog, memoir, and short story collections. The authors also cut across religion, gender, and social strata. I hope you discover a whole new India!

Venkataraghavan's book list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Why did Venkataraghavan love this book?

India’s birth as an independent nation threw its borders into sharp focus due to Partition. Lines were hurriedly scribbled across a map to create multiple new nations and throw most of South Asia into ceaseless turmoil. What I appreciate about the author’s approach is that she travels the length of India’s land borders and captures oral stories of individuals living daily lives in these tense spaces that are highly contested but also largely forgotten. This book is a travelog unlike any other across a part of India that is nearly impossible to visit.

By Suchitra Vijayan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Midnight's Borders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Booklist "Top 10 History Book of 2022"

The first true people's history of modern India, told through a seven-year, 9,000-mile journey along its many contested borders

Sharing borders with six countries and spanning a geography that extends from Pakistan to Myanmar, India is the world's largest democracy and second most populous country. It is also the site of the world's biggest crisis of statelessness, as it strips citizenship from hundreds of thousands of its people--especially those living in disputed border regions.

Suchitra Vijayan traveled India's vast land border to explore how these populations live, and document how even places…


Book cover of Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Author Of The Origin Story of India's States

From my list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by maps all my life. The map of India has always held special interest. As I’ve lived in different parts of India, I’ve seen firsthand how India is one country, but its stories are multiple. I chronicled India’s varied stories through the origins of each of its states. Similarly, I’ve curated a diverse and inclusive reading list. It covers different parts of the country and contains different types of books—graphic novel, travelog, memoir, and short story collections. The authors also cut across religion, gender, and social strata. I hope you discover a whole new India!

Venkataraghavan's book list on discovering a modern India you’ve never seen

Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan Why did Venkataraghavan love this book?

With a Persepolis meets Maus approach, this graphic novel visually takes us into the daily life that locals live in Kashmir, the most militarized zone in the world. This ground-up storytelling is intimate and powerful, as it takes us behind the propaganda and gives us the insider’s view in explosive, insightful, and humorous ways. Images may be more powerful than words, and this book has haunting images that will linger long after you finish the last page.

By Malik Sajad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Munnu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautifully drawn graphic novel that illuminates the conflicted land of Kashmir, through a young boy's childhood.

Seven-year-old Munnu is growing up in Indian-administered Kashmir. Life revolves around his family: Mama, Papa, sister Shahnaz, brothers Adil and Akhtar and, his favourite, older brother Bilal. It also revolves around Munnu's two favourite things - sugar and drawing.

But Munnu's is a childhood experienced against the backdrop of conflict. Bilal's classmates are crossing over into the Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir to be trained to resist the 'occupation'; Papa and Bilal are regularly taken by the military to identification parades where informers will…


Book cover of Shadows on the Wall: Dark and Weird Stories

David Schembri Author Of Beneath the Ferny Tree

From my list on horror fiction providing the most fun being scared.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t a fan of reading when I was young. I was a lazy reader. Subjects and genres were always chosen for me during education, until I hunted for my own. I used to write a lot more than reading in early high school. I wrote a horror journal, submitted to my English teacher every week. He told me that my writing was good but advised me that reading the genre could help develop my ideas. Funny, a young teenager couldn’t work that out? So, off I went to the local bookstore and bought my first horror novel. I devoured it within a week. I've been a reader and writer of horror ever since.

David's book list on horror fiction providing the most fun being scared

David Schembri Why did David love this book?

I went to the book launch in support of this author and had the pleasure of meeting him in person. I had not known much of his work previously but that has never stopped me from accepting an invitation to attend. I got the book home and made a start and was hooked by his elegant writing style. This is a book of short horror stories, each beautifully crafted, and inspirational as well as enjoyable. Collected works are a hard thing to get right, and Paulsen makes it look easy. 

By Steven Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadows on the Wall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this collection, readers will enjoy the very best of Steven Paulsen’s dark and weird tales. Included are stories such as a future where population forces families into terrible choices, the awakening of an eldritch horror in colonial British India, the steaming jungles of Vietnam alongside the spirits of the forest, and more.


Book cover of Kim

Nicola Rose O'Hara Author Of Girl With Two Fingers

From my list on taking you where you can’t go.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve chosen these books because they take me to times and places I can’t go (although I did serendipitously get to Kerala, and am hoping to go to the West Coast of America one day). Girl with Two Fingers takes you into the studio, hopefully as if you could have been there yourself. I want readers to be able to share something of the experience I was so lucky to have. And to be able to see perhaps more questioningly when they look at art.

Nicola's book list on taking you where you can’t go

Nicola Rose O'Hara Why did Nicola love this book?

Another 13-year-old boy protagonist, Kimball O’Hara. No relation. 

I read parts of Kim to Lucian in the studio, he liked the epigraph at the beginning of chapter five: the prodigal son does not stay comfortably in his father’s forgiving embrace, but returns ‘to the styes afresh.’

Kim is a magnificent adventure: the orphan boy who belongs but does not belong to two nations, and a description of the peoples, the ways, the mountains, and the plains of India. 

A vicarious journey around a world of the past, and a particularly male world, which Kipling takes us to.

By Rudyard Kipling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kimball O’Hara grows up an orphan in the walled city of Lahore, India. Deeply devoted to an old Tibetan lama but involved in a secret mission for the British, Kim struggles to weave the strands of his life into a single pattern. Kim and the holy man roam about India. Kim’s intimate knowledge of India makes him a valuable asset to the English Secret Service, in which he wins renown while still a boy.

Charged with action and suspense, yet profoundly spiritual, Kim vividly expresses the sounds and smells, colors and characters, opulence and squalor of complex, contradictory India under…


Book cover of The Sun in the Morning

Annie Murray Author Of Letter from a Tea Garden

From my list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Abi Oliver is a pen name as my real name is Annie Murray—I write under both names. My first book, A New Map of Love, set in the 1960s, featured an older woman who had been born in India. She developed into such a character—a bit of an old trout to be truthful—that I wanted to tell her story. It also tapped into my family’s many connections with India and the fact that I have travelled a lot there. I finally got to travel, with my oldest daughter, and stay in one of the tea gardens in Assam—a wonderful experience.

Annie's book list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

M.M Kaye was best known for her blockbuster The Far Pavilions. This beautifully written book, however, is a first volume of memoir—another record of a European child in India. Having travelled there a lot myself and had a family relative close to me in age grew up in the tea gardens there, I have long wondered what that experience was like, quite apart from the politics of whether we should have been there or not. Kaye’s childhood eye describes her upbringing in Shimla in the Himalayan foothills as well as Delhi, before her inevitable banishment to cold England. The book has a sunlit feel to it and it full of vivid detail and fond memories of this childhood caught between two worlds. 

By M.M. Kaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sun in the Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sun in the Morning is the first volume of autobiography by the beloved British author M. M. Kaye. It traces the author's early life in India and later adolescence in England. As The Guardian wrote, "No romance in the novels of M.M. Kaye... could equal her love for India."

" … [Kaye's] kaleidoscopic story of a long-lost innocence just before and after World War I helps to explain Kaye's idealization of the British Raj and her love for Kipling's verse." - Publishers Weekly


Book cover of Bhowani Junction

Annie Murray Author Of Letter from a Tea Garden

From my list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Abi Oliver is a pen name as my real name is Annie Murray—I write under both names. My first book, A New Map of Love, set in the 1960s, featured an older woman who had been born in India. She developed into such a character—a bit of an old trout to be truthful—that I wanted to tell her story. It also tapped into my family’s many connections with India and the fact that I have travelled a lot there. I finally got to travel, with my oldest daughter, and stay in one of the tea gardens in Assam—a wonderful experience.

Annie's book list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

"India will sing like a bird out of its cage when she is free," says one of the characters in this wonderfully engaging book. Times of transition interest me and this book is set during the early part of Indian Independence, when everyone was trying to find a new identity and way of living, especially Victoria, one of the three main characters who is Eurasian, or as we would now say, mixed race. She is torn between the two sides of her heritage. Some of the language is shocking in our times but it is a fascinating story of people caught up in a country’s re-birth. It is also a tender love story. It’s a great way to get a feel of that period of upheaval.

By John Masters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bhowani Junction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bhowani Junction is set in the wake of the partition of India, as the British prepare to withdraw from the newly independent country. Evoking the tensions and conflicts that accompanied the birth of modern India, the characters struggle to find their place in the new India that is emerging. In the last hectic days of the British Raj, Victoria has to choose between marrying a British Army officer or a Sikh, Ranjit, as she struggles to find her place in the new, independent India.

One of John Masters' seven novels which followed several generations of the Savage family serving in…


Book cover of Zemindar

Caroline Newark Author Of The Making of a Tudor

From my list on historical fiction that don't disappoint in romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of history began at the age of 9 with a book given to my older brother: Our Island Story. My history teacher at school introduced me to serious historical biography and studying for a Law degree taught me the value of accuracy. The chance discovery of a notebook detailing one strand of my mother's family tree led to my current project of writing about the imagined lives of my female ancestors beginning in 1299  with my 19 times-great-grandmother Marguerite of France and ending in 1942 with my mother. Twenty-one books mean a lot of history and a mountain of research. A very pleasant way to spend my retirement.

Caroline's book list on historical fiction that don't disappoint in romance

Caroline Newark Why did Caroline love this book?

An exciting, richly layered adventure story of the "long learning of love" set against the backdrop of the rule of the British Raj and the first rumblings of the 1857 Indian Mutiny. I lent the book to a friend and thought I'd lost it forever until I discovered it in her spare bedroom! Our narrator, Laura, has to watch as her cousin marries Charles, the man Laura loves, and is then forced to accompany the young couple on their honeymoon. Not something to be recommended! Their destination is the Kingdom of Oudh and the vast Zemindari estate of Charles's unknown brother, Oliver Erskine. I don't recommend Zemindar because it has won a host of prestigious prizes but because it is a great read. 

By Valerie Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zemindar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An international bestseller and winner of the 1981 Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize, Zemindar is a magnificent, twisting love story, all unfolding against the tempestuous backdrop of the Indian Rebellion.

Englishwoman Laura Hewitt accompanies her newly engaged cousin to India, first to Calcutta and then to the fabled fiefdom of Oliver Erskine, Zemindar - or hereditary ruler - of a private kingdom with its own army. But India is on the verge of the Mutiny, which will sweep them all up in its chaos...

Praise for Zemindar:
'If you loved The Far Pavilions - and who didn't - this will…


Book cover of The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta

Tom Vater Author Of Kolkata Noir

From my list on Kolkata (Calcutta India).

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and journalist with an eye on South and Southeast Asia. I first visited Kolkata, or Calcutta as the city was known back then, in 1995 and fell in love with its spirit, culture, architecture, politics, and decrepitude. I have been back regularly reporting on the city’s cultural life for media like CNN and Nikkei Asia. In 2019, I was selected as artist-in-residence for the Indo-European Art Residency by the Goethe Institute and spent 10 weeks writing a crime fiction set in the Bengali capital. Kolkata is, hands down, my favorite city in the world – despite its poverty, systemic injustice, and political cruelty, there is an energy in the place that is hard to beat.

Tom's book list on Kolkata (Calcutta India)

Tom Vater Why did Tom love this book?

A cracking, thorough portrait of contemporary Kolkata as the Bengali capital is now known, by an Indian author who grew up in New Jersey (very much the flipside to Calcutta) and who returns to the city of his ancestors to work for a newspaper. The book is well-written, crammed with interesting anecdotes and historic trivia. Past and present are held against the light and the results are often funny. It’s as good as a book by a privileged outsider who speaks the language is likely to be. Perhaps in another decade, a non-fiction chronicle will be written by a resident non-Brahmin writer. I have a feeling the city is waiting for it. In the meantime, Choudhury’s book serves as an excellent introduction to first-time visitors.

By Kushanava Choudhury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Epic City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Witty, polished, honest and insightful, The Epic City is likely to become for Calcutta what Suketu Mehta's classic Maximum City is for Mumbai' William Dalrymple, Observer When Kushanava Choudhury arrived in New Jersey at the age of twelve, he had already migrated halfway around the world four times. After graduating from Princeton, he moved back to Calcutta, the city which his immigrant parents had abandoned. Taking a job at a newspaper, he found the streets of his childhood unchanged. Shouting hawkers still overran the footpaths, fish sellers squatted on bazaar floors; and politics still meant barricades and bus burnings. The…


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