100 books like Patriarchy and the Pangolin

By Aditi Patil,

Here are 100 books that Patriarchy and the Pangolin fans have personally recommended if you like Patriarchy and the Pangolin. 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 Nine Rupees an Hour: Disappearing Livelihoods of Tamil Nadu

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From my list on the environment by women writers from India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Seema Mundoli Why did Seema love this book?

We often grapple with the balance between the traditional and the modern in our lives. There are livelihoods we may perceive as primitive, and yet the products from these livelihoods find everyday use in our lives—palm jaggery to sweeten our desserts, flowers to adorn our hair, grass mats to rest on, wooden instruments that produce music and so many more. In our cocooned city lives, we forget about the millions in the villages engaged in these livelihoods doing “exceptional—yet perfectly ordinary—things to earn a living”.

Nine Rupees an Hour chronicles the struggles and aspirations of these extraordinary men and women. I remember being unable to put the book down. Everything in this book was at once familiar and at the same time unfamiliar. I have known, and used, many of the products described in the book, but how oblivious I had been about the grueling lives of those involved in…

By Aparna Karthikeyan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nine Rupees an Hour as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a rapidly urbanising nation, rural India is being erased from the popular imagination. Through her five years of travelling across the villages of Tamil Nadu, Aparna Karthikeyan gets to know men and women who do exceptional—yet perfectly ordinary—things to earn a living. She documents, through ten of these stories, the transformations, aspirations and disruptions of the last twenty-five years. The people she meets force these questions of her, and her reader: What is the culture we seek to preserve? What will become of food security without farmers? How can ‘development’ exclude 833 million people?

Including interviews with journalist P.…


Book cover of Rivers Remember: #ChennaiRains and The Shocking Truth of a Manmade Flood

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From my list on the environment by women writers from India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Seema Mundoli Why did Seema love this book?

How would you deal with surviving a disastrous flood that swallows your childhood home? Krupa Ge does this by channeling her rage and anguish into a book. Writing about the devastating floods that hit her hometown Chennai, in southern India, in 2015, she deftly weaves her own experience of being stranded in the flood, worrying about her family, into the larger narrative of state apathy and culpability. At the core, this is a book about environmental injustice. The poorest in the city were the worst affected, losing family and all their possessions. And yet it was also the poor who showed extraordinary resilience and compassion: the fishermen who rescued stranded and recovered bodies or sanitation workers themselves affected but who turned up to clean the city.

Through meticulous research, the book unravels the causes of this man-made disaster, mincing no words in holding the state responsible for what it was…

By Krupa Ge,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Walking is a Way of Knowing: In a Kadar Forest

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From my list on the environment by women writers from India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Seema Mundoli Why did Seema love this book?

This is a small book. But in its own way, it is rich and detailed when it comes to how profoundly it draws out the relationship between the forest and the Kadars, an indigenous community residing in South India. The authors visiting the forest are researchers from the city, but here in the forest their teachers are the Kadars whose very name means “people of the forest.” With a touch of humour the book, wonderfully illustrated, is an ode to the traditional ecological knowledge, powers of observation, and story-telling skills of the Kadars. The simple activity of walking on a forest path with the Kadars is a revelation of the wealth of knowledge they possess and their relationship with the plants, animals, and even spirits. This is knowledge no ecological textbook can provide, but this knowledge is immeasurable in its value.

By Madhuri Ramesh, Manish Chandi, Matthew Frame (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walking is a Way of Knowing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a Kadar elder who takes a young urban visitor through the tangled woods that make up his ancient home. The book captures an urban nature lover's experience of learning from a forestdweller - and is beautifully illustrated to bring alive the dark richness of an lndian tropical forest.


Book cover of Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From my list on the environment by women writers from India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Seema Mundoli Why did Seema love this book?

I have two pets cats, and my relationship with them is pretty straightforward—I care for them to the point of being obsessive about meeting their every need. Unlike me, the communities described in this book have a range of relationships with the non-human species they share space with. Care of course, and kinship, but also relationships of conflict and violence. Complex themes such as animal ethics, Hindu nationalism, the politics of exclusion, conservation, and even inter-species love are written about against the backdrop of the everyday lives of the villagers. The binary of domestic cow and the wild bear and the pigs that fall in between are all a part of this narrative of the tangled relationship between humans and animals. For those of us who balk at reading anthropological works, this book is a pleasure and easy read for the relatable style of writing.

By Radhika Govindrajan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What does -it mean to live and die in relation to other animals? Animal Intimacies posits this central question alongside the intimate--and intense--moments of care, kinship, violence, politics, indifference, and desire that occur between human and nonhuman animals. Built on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the mountain villages of India's Central Himalayas, Radhika Govindrajan's book explores the number of ways that human and animal interact to cultivate relationships as interconnected, related beings. Whether it is through the study of the affect and ethics of ritual animal sacrifice, analysis of the right-wing political project of cow-protection, or examination of villagers' talk about…


Book cover of The Technological Indian

Dinesh C. Sharma Author Of The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution

From my list on the history of modern India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist who has strayed into book writing with a particular interest in the history of post-independent and contemporary India. My interest in this subject developed as an offshoot of reporting on landmark changes during the period of economic liberalization in the 1990s. One of the astounding stories of this period was the rise of the technology industry and the outsourcing business. A deeper study of this took me back to the period of independence in 1947 and decades before it.  

Dinesh's book list on the history of modern India

Dinesh C. Sharma Why did Dinesh love this book?

Indian engineers and technologists are among the most sought-after globally, particularly from the elite Indian Institutes of Technology that were originally modeled after MIT. The book traces India’s engagement with MIT from the 1880s to 2000 through the story of Indians who went to MIT to study and their contributions to engineering and industry back in India. It is a fascinating account of a few elite engineers but woven into it is a social, political, economic, and cultural history of modern India. 

By Ross Bassett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the late 1800s, Indians seemed to be a people left behind by the Industrial Revolution, dismissed as "not a mechanical race." Today Indians are among the world's leaders in engineering and technology. In this international history spanning nearly 150 years, Ross Bassett-drawing on a unique database of every Indian to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between its founding and 2000-charts their ascent to the pinnacle of high-tech professions.

As a group of Indians sought a way forward for their country, they saw a future in technology. Bassett examines the tensions and surprising congruences between this technological vision…


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 Only the Good Die Young

Anurag Anand Author Of To Hell and Back: Not all Tragedies are Orchestrated by Fate

From my list on Indian crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anurag Anand is a keen observer of humankind. He believes that the diversity of human emotions, motivations, and actions offer him a rich palette of tones to paint his stories with. He is the author of thirteen books across genres like self-help, historical fiction, crime thrillers, and contemporary fiction. Anurag’s works have been lauded for their realism, simplicity, and sharp characterization by readers across the spectrum. Of course, he is an avid reader and likes to remain abreast with the developments in the Indian writing space. He is a familiar face (and voice) in literature festivals, television debates and other related forums across the country.  

Anurag's book list on Indian crime fiction

Anurag Anand Why did Anurag love this book?

There are times when we think that we have successfully buried something in our past and it suddenly resurfaces and shocks us. But what if this ‘thing’ wreaks havoc with our lives and turns it topsy turvy? Only the Good Die Young is a taut and gripping sequel to Akash Verma’s thriller, You Never Know. The book unravels beautifully, quite like a web series playing out between the craftily stitched words.

By Akash Verma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Only the Good Die Young as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sometimes when you're desperate to leave the past behind, the past is eager to catch up!
Anuradha leaves Gurgaon when Dhruv chooses his family over her. She thinks that chapter of her life has
ended, and starts afresh in Mumbai. But strangely, it seems her past is trying to catch up. Dhruv suddenly
comes back into her life. Even as they try to figure out their relationship, horrible things start happening
to people they know. Together, Anuradha and Dhruv need to find out who it is that cannot bear to see them together. Who is carrying out these shocking crimes?…


Book cover of The Silent Coup: A History of India's Deep State

Shivam Shankar Singh Author Of How to Win an Indian Election

From my list on understanding Indian politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated early from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to come back to my home country and work in Indian politics. Since then I’ve worked with a Member of Parliament, handled campaign design in states across India, and headed data analytics for India’s largest political party. This experience gave me an inside view of how politics operates and how elections are actually won. The fact that this was at a time when Indian politics was going through massive changes with micro-targeting, digital technologies and disinformation gaining ground made the experience even more unique. Based on this experience, my books detail how power is gained, (mis)used, and lost.

Shivam's book list on understanding Indian politics

Shivam Shankar Singh Why did Shivam love this book?

Although elections are dependent on how people choose to cast their ballot in the voting booth, politics is much larger than just elections. Political power isn’t just retained by convincing citizens to vote for you, it is sometimes also retained by crushing opposition voices and concocting fake narratives. This book shows how political parties in India have used organs of the state, including the police, investigative bodies, and intelligence agencies to consolidate power. It was a heartbreaking read, but it offered key insights into understanding how political power is actually wielded in the world’s largest democracy. 

By Josy Joseph,

Why should I read it?

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


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 Days and Nights in Calcutta

Peggy Payne Author Of Sister India

From my list on sensuous literature of India.

Why am I passionate about this?

About thirty years ago, I spent three months on an Indo-American Fellowship in Varanasi taking notes on daily life in this holy city where my novel Sister India is set. That winter felt like a separate life within my life, a bonus. Because all there was so new to me, and it was unmediated by cars, television, or computers, I felt while I was there so much more in touch with the physical world, what in any given moment I could see, hear, smell…. It was the way I had felt as a child, knowing close-up particular trees and shrubs, the pattern of cracks in a sidewalk.

Peggy's book list on sensuous literature of India

Peggy Payne Why did Peggy love this book?

Days and Nights in Calcutta is a fascinating dual view of the same time and place by a husband and wife, both highly esteemed writers. The couple has returned to her family home in the famously complex and crowded Indian city and this is the account-in-two-voices of their year there. His feels full of wonder and surprise; it has a sunlit quality. Hers feels full of intensity and concern; it is tightly wrought. The book shows me not just India, a place I love to see and feel, but the importance of everyone’s story and view.

By Clark Blaise, Bharati Mukherjee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Days and Nights in Calcutta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Blaise, Clark, Mukherjee, Bharati


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