100 books like Everybody Loves a Good Drought

By P. Sainath,

Here are 100 books that Everybody Loves a Good Drought fans have personally recommended if you like Everybody Loves a Good Drought. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Gift of a Cow: A Translation of the Classic Hindi Novel Godaan

Jeremy Seabrook Author Of People Without History: India's Muslim Ghettos

From my list on the daily lives of poor people in India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child of a worker in the boot and shoe industry of the English Midlands, I have written for more than half a century about poverty in its many guises – from the want and misery of early industrialism in Britain to the modernised poverty of a form of affluence which mimics prosperity without providing either satisfaction or sufficiency. Writing about the landscapes of poverty in the 1980s, I went to India and Bangladesh, and saw there in patterns of urbanization familiar echoes of what we in Britain had experienced. It seems to me that poor people are always poor in the same way, although this may be hidden behind differences in culture, tradition, ethnicity, and faith.

Jeremy's book list on the daily lives of poor people in India

Jeremy Seabrook Why did Jeremy love this book?

This great Hindi novel evokes the vast placid plains of North India, and the social and psychological violence that lies so close to the surface in the lives of the poor. It is the story of Hori Ram, to whom a neighbour gifts a cow, which his estranged brother poisons, thereby deepening the already impoverished family’s misery beneath the humiliations of caste and poverty, and it provided me with insights into the lives of poor people in India which volumes of academic work on poverty failed to do.

By Premchand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Premchand is the most famous Hindi novelist, and Godaan is Premchand's most celebrated novel. Economic and social conflict in a north Indian village are brilliantly captured in the story of Hori, a poor farmer, and his family's struggle for survival and self-respect. Hori does everything he can to fulfill his life's desire: to own a cow, the peasant's measure of wealth and well-being. An engaging introduction to India before Independence, Godaan is at once village ethnography, moving human document, and insightful colonial history. Out of print for many years, this translation is regarded as a classic in itself.


Book cover of The White Tiger

Brian Klingborg Author Of Thief of Souls

From my list on international crime both fiction and nonfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small town in the days before the internet and cable television, so books were my escape, and through them, I traveled to faraway places and learned about different customs and cultures. Later, I studied Chinese cultural anthropology and lived and worked in Asia for many years. Now, I write a series about a Chinese police inspector in the brutally cold far north province of Heilongjiang and use mystery stories to unpack some of the more fascinating and essential aspects of Chinese society, politics, and religion.

Brian's book list on international crime both fiction and nonfiction

Brian Klingborg Why did Brian love this book?

The White Tiger is a witty and searing portrayal of a “self-made” man who has risen from the depths of abject poverty to a position of wealth and influence. 

The India portrayed is far from the glitz and romantic notions of Bollywood. It is a desperately poor place where the “haves” live like kings and the “have-nots" live like slaves.

In addition to shedding light on some of the harsh realities of class, economics, and corruption in India, The White Tiger somehow manages to subvert expectations and coax the reader into rooting for a murderer and thief who justifies his actions, not entirely convincingly, by describing himself as a sort of working-class hero.

In reality, he is more of a cautionary tale.

By Aravind Adiga,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The White Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2008

Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor for him to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. As he drives his master to shopping malls and call centres, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he…


Book cover of Coolie

Jeremy Seabrook Author Of People Without History: India's Muslim Ghettos

From my list on the daily lives of poor people in India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child of a worker in the boot and shoe industry of the English Midlands, I have written for more than half a century about poverty in its many guises – from the want and misery of early industrialism in Britain to the modernised poverty of a form of affluence which mimics prosperity without providing either satisfaction or sufficiency. Writing about the landscapes of poverty in the 1980s, I went to India and Bangladesh, and saw there in patterns of urbanization familiar echoes of what we in Britain had experienced. It seems to me that poor people are always poor in the same way, although this may be hidden behind differences in culture, tradition, ethnicity, and faith.

Jeremy's book list on the daily lives of poor people in India

Jeremy Seabrook Why did Jeremy love this book?

This story of an orphan, brought up by an uncle and aunt and sent out to work as a house servant, moved me so much because, although written in the early years of the Independence struggle, nevertheless prefigures the fate of countless young Indians, little more than children who, beaten and mistreated, run away to the closest city and later, to the unforgiving metropolis of Mumbai or Delhi. His life of innocence destroyed and youth blighted, ends at the age of sixteen when he dies of TB. It is harrowing but uplifting.

By Mulk Raj Anand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Coolie portrays the picaresque adventures of Munoo, a young boy forced to leave his hill village to fend for himself and discover the world. His journey takes him far from home to towns and cities, to Bomboy and Simla, sweating as servant, factory-worker and rickshaw driver. It is a fight for survival that illuminates, with raw immediacy, the grim fate of the masses in pre-Partition India. Together with Untouchable, Coolie places Mulk Raj Anand among the twentieth century's finest Indian novelists writing in English.


Book cover of Walking with the Comrades

Jeremy Seabrook Author Of People Without History: India's Muslim Ghettos

From my list on the daily lives of poor people in India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child of a worker in the boot and shoe industry of the English Midlands, I have written for more than half a century about poverty in its many guises – from the want and misery of early industrialism in Britain to the modernised poverty of a form of affluence which mimics prosperity without providing either satisfaction or sufficiency. Writing about the landscapes of poverty in the 1980s, I went to India and Bangladesh, and saw there in patterns of urbanization familiar echoes of what we in Britain had experienced. It seems to me that poor people are always poor in the same way, although this may be hidden behind differences in culture, tradition, ethnicity, and faith.

Jeremy's book list on the daily lives of poor people in India

Jeremy Seabrook Why did Jeremy love this book?

This book, part polemic, part reportage, is an account of Arundhati Roy’s journey into the forests of Chattisgarh, where groups of ‘Naxalites’ or Maoists have taken up arms against the Indian state, in defence of Adivasis, the indigenous inhabitants of India, for whom the forests, rivers, and hills are sacred. Unhappily these are cover vast deposits of minerals and precious resources required as ‘raw materials’ by a rapidly industrializing India. As a result, the State, which throughout the colonial period and in the early years of Independence, had, in turn, neglected and cheated the forest-dwellers, has now turned upon them with militaristic intensity to wrest resources from them. I found this narrative so powerful because Arundhati Roy makes us understand the violence of the despairing, without overtly supporting it.

By Arundhati Roy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walking with the Comrades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and The God of Small Things comes a searing frontline exposé of brutal repression in India

In this fiercely reported work of nonfiction, internationally renowned author Arundhati Roy draws on her unprecedented access to a little-known rebel movement in India to pen a work full of earth-shattering revelations. Deep in the forests, under the pretense of battling Maoist guerillas, the Indian government is waging a vicious total war against its own citizens-a war undocumented by a weak domestic press and fostered by corporations eager to exploit the rare minerals buried…


Book cover of Border Politics: Social Movements, Collective Identities, and Globalization

Leela Fernandes Author Of Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

From my list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent close to thirty years researching and teaching about questions of inequality and change. Most of my focus has been on the Global South, with a particular focus on India. I've written about intersecting class, gender, and caste inequalities. I've pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization, and the politics of economic reform in India. My interest stems from my background. I am originally from India and have lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I'm an author, public speaker, and consultant and have been a professor for three decades at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, The University of Washington, and Oberlin College.

Leela's book list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis

Leela Fernandes Why did Leela love this book?

This book provides an excellent overview of the inequities produced by globalization. It covers a broad set of countries and regions and helps us to understand the complex processes that lead to fears about immigrant and border security. It gives us an understanding of history, people’s lives as they migrate in difficult circumstances, and the possibility for change.

By Nancy A. Naples (editor), Jennifer Bickham Mendez (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the current historical moment borders have taken on heightened material and symbolic significance, shaping identities and the social and political landscape. "Borders"-defined broadly to include territorial dividing lines as well as sociocultural boundaries-have become increasingly salient sites of struggle over social belonging and cultural and material resources. How do contemporary activists navigate and challenge these borders? What meanings do they ascribe to different social, cultural and political boundaries, and how do these meanings shape the strategies in which they engage? Moreover, how do these social movements confront internal borders based on the differences that emerge within social change initiatives?…


Book cover of Re-Imagining Black Women: A Critique of Post-Feminist and Post-Racial Melodrama in Culture and Politics

Leela Fernandes Author Of Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

From my list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent close to thirty years researching and teaching about questions of inequality and change. Most of my focus has been on the Global South, with a particular focus on India. I've written about intersecting class, gender, and caste inequalities. I've pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization, and the politics of economic reform in India. My interest stems from my background. I am originally from India and have lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I'm an author, public speaker, and consultant and have been a professor for three decades at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, The University of Washington, and Oberlin College.

Leela's book list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis

Leela Fernandes Why did Leela love this book?

This is a brilliant book about race, gender, and politics in the United States. While there is a lot of work on racial inequality this book stands out in its focus on the ways in which culture shapes our politics and responses to inequality. It does so by centering Black women. It is also very timely and analyzes the way in which public figures like Michelle Obama and Condoleeza Rice have shaped the American political imagination.  

By Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Re-Imagining Black Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE W.E.B. DUBOIS DISTINGUISHED BOOK AWARD, GIVEN BY THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BLACK POLITICAL SCIENTISTS
A wide-ranging Black feminist interrogation, reaching from the #MeToo movement to the legacy of gender-based violence against Black women
From Michelle Obama to Condoleezza Rice, Black women are uniquely scrutinized in the public eye. In Re-Imagining Black Women, Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd explores how Black women-and Blackness more broadly-are understood in our political imagination and often become the subjects of public controversy.
Drawing on politics, popular culture, psychoanalysis, and more, Alexander-Floyd examines our conflicting ideas, opinions, and narratives about Black women, showing how they…


Book cover of Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism

Leela Fernandes Author Of Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

From my list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent close to thirty years researching and teaching about questions of inequality and change. Most of my focus has been on the Global South, with a particular focus on India. I've written about intersecting class, gender, and caste inequalities. I've pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization, and the politics of economic reform in India. My interest stems from my background. I am originally from India and have lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I'm an author, public speaker, and consultant and have been a professor for three decades at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, The University of Washington, and Oberlin College.

Leela's book list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis

Leela Fernandes Why did Leela love this book?

In the post-9/11 period, we were inundated with images of veiled Muslim women in Afghanistan and elsewhere. However, there is a long and rich history of Muslim women’s feminism that many people don’t know about. This book is an accessible entry point to this history. It also illustrates the interaction between Western feminists and Muslim feminists and shows the limits and possibilities of transnational feminism.

By Elora Shehabuddin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A must read."-Choice
A crystal-clear account of the entangled history of Western and Muslim feminisms.

Western feminists, pundits, and policymakers tend to portray the Muslim world as the last and most difficult frontier of global feminism. Challenging this view, Elora Shehabuddin presents a unique and engaging history of feminism as a story of colonial and postcolonial interactions between Western and Muslim societies. Muslim women, like other women around the world, have been engaged in their own struggles for generations: as individuals and in groups that include but also extend beyond their religious identity and religious practices. The modern and globally…


Book cover of Water for Food Security, Nutrition and Social Justice

Leela Fernandes Author Of Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

From my list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent close to thirty years researching and teaching about questions of inequality and change. Most of my focus has been on the Global South, with a particular focus on India. I've written about intersecting class, gender, and caste inequalities. I've pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization, and the politics of economic reform in India. My interest stems from my background. I am originally from India and have lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I'm an author, public speaker, and consultant and have been a professor for three decades at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, The University of Washington, and Oberlin College.

Leela's book list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis

Leela Fernandes Why did Leela love this book?

Climate change will pose great challenges to people across the world – especially for poorer communities and less privileged nations. These challenges will require new policy approaches that address food security. This will be especially critical when the imbalances produced by economic growth and climate change intensify demands on water. This book makes us think about how we need to change agricultural practices. Land, water, and food are connected and we will need to grapple with these connections in new ways in the context of climate change.

By Lyla Mehta, Theib Oweis, Claudia Ringler , Barbara Schreiner , Shiney Varghese

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Water for Food Security, Nutrition and Social Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the first comprehensive effort to bring together Water, Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) in a way that goes beyond the traditional focus on irrigated agriculture. Apart from looking at the role of water and sanitation for human well-being, it proposes alternative and more locally appropriate ways to address complex water management and governance challenges from the local to global levels against a backdrop of growing uncertainties.

The authors challenge mainstream supply-oriented and neo-Malthusian visions that argue for the need to increase the land area under irrigation in order to feed the world's growing population. Instead, they argue…


Book cover of The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Author Of Gas Wars - Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis

From my list on crony capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

For over 44 years, I have been a writer, speaker, anchor, interviewer, teacher, analyst/commentator, publisher, producer, director, and consultant across different mass media: the written word, the spoken word, and the audio-visual medium – printed publications and websites, radio and podcasts, television, and documentary cinema. As a student of the political economy of India, I have sought to investigate the working of the nexus between business and politics. I am of the view that crony capitalism and oligarchy are at the roots of much that has gone wrong in the country of my birth and domicile which is often described as the “world’s largest democracy”.

Paranjoy's book list on crony capitalism

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Why did Paranjoy love this book?

American author Mark Twain had described the last decades of the 19th century as the Gilded Age in the United States, a period when on the surface everything appeared to be glittering like gold concealing the filth and ugliness that lay beneath. British journalist and academic James Crabtree, now based in Singapore, believes that the last few decades in India closely resembles the Gilded Age of the US. His 357-page book is filled with dozens of anecdotes about some of India’s most wealthy individuals such as Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, and Vijay Mallya. His meetings with them and his detailed descriptions of their lifestyles and demeanour make for racy reading. 

A disclaimer: Crabtree has described in flattering terms his meeting with this writer and referred to some of my articles and books.

By James Crabtree,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A colorful and revealing portrait of the rise of India’s new billionaire class in a radically unequal society

India is the world’s largest democracy, with more than one billion people and an economy expanding faster than China’s. But the rewards of this growth have been far from evenly shared, and the country’s top 1% now own nearly 60% of its wealth. In megacities like Mumbai, where half the population live in slums, the extraordinary riches of India’s new dynasties echo the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers of America's Gilded Age, funneling profits from huge conglomerates into lifestyles of conspicuous consumption.  

James Crabtree’s…


Book cover of Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India

Tanya Jakimow Author Of Susceptibility in Development: Micropolitics of Local Development in India and Indonesia

From my list on anthropology of development.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist of development who has conducted ethnographic research in India, Indonesia, and more recently, Australia. Throughout my career I have grappled with questions of how power works in development, particularly in and through processes of self-making. I seek new theoretical tools to examine these questions, but always grounded in the realities of the everyday. I came of age when post-development critiques were dominant, but both my idealism and cynicism have been tempered by working alongside local development actors. In my work I try to give readers a sympathetic portrait of their lives, beliefs, and hopes, and how these shape practices, relationships, and consequences of ‘development’. 

Tanya's book list on anthropology of development

Tanya Jakimow Why did Tanya love this book?

Akhil Gupta asks why so many people in India suffer extreme poverty, and yet invite so little reaction.

His answer is structural violence. State inaction, or ineffective action, are part of the conditions that let people die from poverty.

The brilliance in Akhil Gupta’s work is inviting us to look at the state not as a coherent and unified entity, but as operating through multiple levels, agencies, and departments.

As someone interested in local development actors, I find his ethnographic accounts of low-level government offices and officials particularly compelling.

By showing everyday practices in these offices, and fine-grained encounters between officials and welfare recipients, Gupta shows how state indifference is produced, and challenged, in ways that shape life and death. 

By Akhil Gupta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Red Tape presents a major new theory of the state developed by the renowned anthropologist Akhil Gupta. Seeking to understand the chronic and widespread poverty in India, the world's fourth largest economy, Gupta conceives of the relation between the state in India and the poor as one of structural violence. Every year this violence kills between two and three million people, especially women and girls, and lower-caste and indigenous peoples. Yet India's poor are not disenfranchised; they actively participate in the democratic project. Nor is the state indifferent to the plight of the poor; it sponsors many poverty amelioration programs.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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