100 books like The Forest Beneath the Mountains

By Ankush Saikia,

Here are 100 books that The Forest Beneath the Mountains fans have personally recommended if you like The Forest Beneath the Mountains. 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 Ib's Endless Search for Satisfaction

Anjum Hasan Author Of The Cosmopolitans

From my list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started writing fiction and writing about fiction at about the same time. My novels and stories tend to be about solitary characters pulled into the maelstrom that is contemporary Indian urban life and trying to make sense of it. I’ve always believed that to be an effective observer of your society you need to stay in tune with what your peers are doing and the last two decades in which I’ve been writing and publishing have been some of the most exciting for Indian fiction in general.  

Anjum's book list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of

Anjum Hasan Why did Anjum love this book?

I am always looking out for talented young writers and this debut really struck me for its narrator’s very distinctive voice, both stylish and sad. An Indian Catcher in the Rye but with a protagonist more hampered by family and circumstances, capable of greater angst, and looking for authenticity in the strangest and loneliest of places. 

By Roshan Ali,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ib's Endless Search for Satisfaction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"And then finally I felt sadness, aided perhaps by those futile notes, by the dust that keeps thickening, by the untouchable past, the inevitable future, and by everything else that pushes us around." 

Ib lives with his schizophrenic father and his "nice" mother negotiating life, not knowing what to do, steered by uncaring winds and pushy people. From his slimy, unmiraculous birth to the tragic death of a loved one, Ib wanders the city, from one thing to another, confused, lost, and alone, all the while reflecting on his predicament. He is searching for something - what he does not…


Book cover of A Patchwork Family

Anjum Hasan Author Of The Cosmopolitans

From my list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started writing fiction and writing about fiction at about the same time. My novels and stories tend to be about solitary characters pulled into the maelstrom that is contemporary Indian urban life and trying to make sense of it. I’ve always believed that to be an effective observer of your society you need to stay in tune with what your peers are doing and the last two decades in which I’ve been writing and publishing have been some of the most exciting for Indian fiction in general.  

Anjum's book list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of

Anjum Hasan Why did Anjum love this book?

Crimes again women are discussed ad nauseam in the media but this was the first time I read a novel that made the subject painfully uncomfortable for me by telling the story not in the voice of the victim but through the reflections of a witness who probes everyone’s culpability, including her own. This powerful debut shines a very revealing light on what it means to be a comfortably middle-class Indian. 

By Mukta Sathe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

‘In Mukta Sathe we have a new voice that displays a deep understanding of both the old and the young, of their complex relationships, and of how crime and punishment play out under our flawed judicial system. A Patchwork Family is a novel that I found difficult to put down.’ —Shanta Gokhale, author, columnist and translator

Young and idealistic, Janaki is eager to serve the cause of justice as a lawyer. Her only confidant is Ajoba, an elderly friend of her grandfather’s, who supported her throughout her childhood. They are unrelated by blood or marriage ties, but they have both…


Book cover of Into The Hidden Valley: A Novel

Anjum Hasan Author Of The Cosmopolitans

From my list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started writing fiction and writing about fiction at about the same time. My novels and stories tend to be about solitary characters pulled into the maelstrom that is contemporary Indian urban life and trying to make sense of it. I’ve always believed that to be an effective observer of your society you need to stay in tune with what your peers are doing and the last two decades in which I’ve been writing and publishing have been some of the most exciting for Indian fiction in general.  

Anjum's book list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of

Anjum Hasan Why did Anjum love this book?

A most affecting historical novel set in 19th century Assam as the British colonialists sought to push deeper into the country. I’ve read so many accounts of the early encounters between native and foreigner but what makes this one rare is Blackburn’s careful and tender individualising of his characters so that they can both be ranged against each other and yet in some human and mysterious and ultimately tragic way also be friends. 

By Stuart Blackburn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the British Raj begins its expansion towards Tibet, the remote Apatani valley on the Indo-Tibetan border becomes a flashpoint. George Taylor, an up-and-coming officer in the Indian Civil Service, leads the first expedition into the valley and recommends setting

up a base nearby, as the Apatanis are a ‘friendly tribe’. During the expedition, a tenuous bond is established between him and Gyati,

the Apatani shaman who has long been anxious about the halyang outsiders creeping closer and closer to the ordered world of the valley. But this bond cannot survive. The increased British presence and



their arrogance towards the…


Book cover of Legal Fiction: A Novel

Anjum Hasan Author Of The Cosmopolitans

From my list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started writing fiction and writing about fiction at about the same time. My novels and stories tend to be about solitary characters pulled into the maelstrom that is contemporary Indian urban life and trying to make sense of it. I’ve always believed that to be an effective observer of your society you need to stay in tune with what your peers are doing and the last two decades in which I’ve been writing and publishing have been some of the most exciting for Indian fiction in general.  

Anjum's book list on contemporary Indian novels you have never heard of

Anjum Hasan Why did Anjum love this book?

This slim novel I read in one sitting not because, in the way of conventional thrillers, one hopes for a decent resolution, but because the story is so devastating. Its very hopelessness somehow pulls one in. Pandey has written a very gentle account of the very brutal forces ranged against one couple who have committed what can be a crime in modern India – marrying outside one’s caste and religion. 

By Chandan Pandey, Bharatbhooshan Tiwari (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is like Kafka in Deoria. Or Camus in the cow belt. But more accurate to say that Legal Fiction is an urgent, literary report about how truth goes missing in our land. I read it with a racing heart.

-- Amitava Kumar, author of The Lovers

Chandan Pandey goes looking for the story that lurks just out of sight, getting under the skin of news headlines and extracting a story that is as compelling as it is devastating.

-- Annie Zaidi, author of Prelude to a Riot

Chandan Pandey has written a brilliant, gripping political novel. Legal Fiction is…


Book cover of Living with the Himalayan Masters

Gabriel Dee Author Of The Power of Death: A Radical Path to Personal Transformation and Spiritual Enlightenment

From my list on spiritual books only a few people read.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gabriel Dee is a mystic, author, spiritual teacher, and the founder of Immortology. At the age of 26, he became a seeker and became enlightened on the 11th of March, 2011. He experienced most of the spiritual methods of the world and traveled to India to learn more about healing, hypnosis, and meditation. His main teaching is making people face their own mortality, and then going beyond it to realize their immortality.

Gabriel's book list on spiritual books only a few people read

Gabriel Dee Why did Gabriel love this book?

The third book I would suggest is Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama. Written as an autobiography, this book follows the life of a famous spiritual teacher, and his many adventures on his path to becoming one. I personally love biographies, and this was one of the most interesting ones for me. I think you would get just as inspired by it as me, and you could even continue with The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda.

By Swami Rama,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I will tell you how I grew up and how I was trained, about the great sages with whom I lived and what they taught me, not through lectures and books but through experiences," writes Sri Swami Rama in the opening pages of this timeless saga.

These stories record his personal quest for truth and enlightenment. Inspiring, lluminating, entertaining, mystifying, and frequently droll and humorous, they bring you face-to-face with some great Himalayan Masters including Mataji of Assam, a ninety-six year old lady sage who never slept; Gudari Baba, who taught Swami Rama the value of direct experience; Yogi Sri…


Book cover of Where the Gods Dwell: Thirteen Temples and Their (Hi)stories

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From my list on India recovering its past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to access to a good community library, I developed an interest in history from the age of seven. My interest in India grew when I married Indian-born Atam Vetta. After teaching, I set up a business and was director of Oxford Antiques Centre. In 1998, while chair of the Thames Valley Art and Antique Dealers Association, I was invited to become the art and antiques writer for The Oxford Times. That was how my freelance writing career began but since 2016 I have concentrated on writing fiction and poetry but make occasional contributions to The Madras Courier.

Sylvia's book list on India recovering its past

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

If you already know a lot about India and are interested in an unusual insight into the role of temples in the history, culture, architecture, and myths of the subcontinent, then this is for you. It will also introduce you to thirteen writers who include journalists, academics, and authors. Each one was asked to write about one temple, recounting its origins and the mythology and history surrounding it. It’s beautifully illustrated by Mistunee Choudhury. You can enhance the experience by googling the locations. It has introduced me to some must-see places to go on my want to visit list. I visited the unforgettable temples of Khajuraho and they appear in my own book.

By Manu S. Pillai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Gods Dwell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The great temples of the Indian subcontinent are uniquely fascinating spaces. Steeped in mythology and history, they are windows into a complex, often contrary culture. Where the Gods Dwell delves into the ‘(hi)stories’—history and mythology—of thirteen architectural marvels that have inspired awe, and not only in the hearts of the faithful.

Every essay in this book is an intriguing mix of historical detail, mythological narrative and architectural commentary, supplementing and complementing each other to tell a story that is more than the sum of its parts. From Pashupatinath in Nepal to the Nallur Kandaswamy in Sri Lanka, the Kamakhya in…


Book cover of Teatime for the Firefly

Janet MacLeod Trotter Author Of The Emerald Affair

From my list on the British in India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historical novelist, my passion is world history and the story of my own family. Having survived the First World War, my Scottish grandfather went to India as a forester and my granny followed him out there; they married in Lahore. I was fascinated by their stories of trekking and camping in the remote Himalayas. They lived through momentous times: world war, Indian Independence and Partition. Grandfather Bob stayed on to work for the new country of Pakistan. Long after they’d died, I discovered their letters, diaries, and cine films from that era – a treasure-trove for a novelist! – which have helped enrich my novels set during the British Raj.

Janet's book list on the British in India

Janet MacLeod Trotter Why did Janet love this book?

Set in 1940s India in the lead up to Independence, the backdrop is the rarely written about North-East India. The protagonists; Layla, (well-educated and independently-minded) and Manik (a free-thinker with a sense of adventure) are an unusual couple for the core romance but his work takes them to the remote tea plantations of Assam. I have written about the tea gardens in my India Tea Series, but largely from a British and Anglo-Indian point of view. Patel’s vivid depiction of this way of life is informed by her own upbringing, as the daughter of tea planters. It’s rich in detail with wonderful descriptions of Assam and keen observations of the British managers and Indian workers. As it builds towards Partition, the drama and tension are brilliantly evoked through Layla’s eyes.

By Shona Patel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Teatime for the Firefly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Alka Joshi’s The Henna Artist, comes a compelling love story set against a culture grounded in tradition, about to be changed forever in the onslaught of WWII.

My name is Layla and I was born under an unlucky star. For a young girl growing up in India, this is bad news. But everything began to change for me one spring day in 1943, when three unconnected incidents, like tiny droplets on a lily leaf, tipped and rolled into one. It was that tiny shift in the cosmos, I believe, that tipped us together—me and Manik Deb.

Layla…


Book cover of The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag

Arefa Tehsin Author Of Iora and the Quest of Five

From my list on nature and forests that leave you bewitched.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a family of some of the earliest big-game hunters turned conservationists of India and grew up treading jungles with my naturalist father. As a child, I was often found trying to catch a snake or spin a yarn or reading from the collection of wildlife and natural history books at home. Jungles were as much a part of growing up as was going to school, and I learnt precious life lessons from them. To pursue the cause of conservation, I’ve written several fiction and non-fiction books, as well as articles in national dailies/magazines on wildlife and nature, and I was appointed the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur, India.

Arefa's book list on nature and forests that leave you bewitched

Arefa Tehsin Why did Arefa love this book?

500 square miles of terror. 125 deaths. One hunter. 

The Rudraprayag man-eater’s reign of terror went on from 1918 to 1926. 

The remarkable hunter cum conservation Jim Corbett’s inimitable style, simple language, and unadulterated love for the forests will keep you hooked to this gripping tale of true adventure as he follows the footsteps of the leopard in the wild mountains. What makes Corbett special is that he empathised with not just the plight of humans, but of animals too. “(The crime) of the leopard was not against the laws of nature, but against the laws of man,” the hunter wrote in his book. 

Corbett was a real-life hero and an inspiration for my father. And subsequently for me too.

By Jim Corbett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jim Corbett's books are usually collections of stories about how he tracked and shot man-eaters in the Indian Himalayas. The present volume consists of a single story, which is perhaps the most exciting of all Corbett's jungle tales.


Book cover of Himalaya: A Human History

David Zurick Author Of Illustrated Atlas of the Himalaya

From my list on the Himalaya for people who don’t climb mountains.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embarked as a teenager on an overland journey from Europe to Nepal, and have made a career out of returning to the Himalaya as often as possible. My research and photographic expeditions to the mountains over the many decades have led me into some of the most exquisite landscapes and cultures on the planet. In all cases, I seek to combine the physical experiences with aesthetic and spiritual ones, and the books I tend to read about the region also move me in those directions.

David's book list on the Himalaya for people who don’t climb mountains

David Zurick Why did David love this book?

Sometimes I’m looking for a book that contains it all—history, geology, nature, culture, and adventure, and this one comes very close to succeeding. It’s a dense book, filled with facts, but readable nonetheless. It also does what many accounts fail to do, which is to personalize the historical events by bringing to life the characters involved. It works as both a sit-down narrative and a reference volume for the library.

By Ed Douglas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE DUFF COOPER PRIZE 2021 / BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARDS SPECIAL JURY MENTION 2020
This is the first major history of the Himalaya: an epic story of peoples, cultures and adventures among the world's highest mountains.

Spanning millennia, from its earliest inhabitants to the present conflicts over Tibet and Everest, Himalaya is a soaring account of resilience and conquest, discovery and plunder, oppression and enlightenment at the 'roof of the world'.

From all around the globe, the unique and astonishing geography of the Himalaya has attracted those in search of spiritual and literal elevation: pilgrims, adventurers and mountaineers…


Book cover of Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

Karen Gershowitz Author Of Wanderlust: Extraordinary People, Quirky Places, and Curious Cuisine

From my list on making you want to travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been traveling since age seventeen when I boarded a plane and headed to Europe on my own. Over the next three years I lived in London, took weekend jaunts across the continent, and became completely bitten by the travel bug. Since then, I’ve traveled to more than 95 countries. I’ve lost and gained friends and lovers and made a radical career change so that I could afford my travel addiction. Like my readers, I am an ordinary person. Through travel I’ve learned courage and risk-taking and succeeded at things I didn’t know I could do. My goal in writing is to inspire others to take off and explore the world.

Karen's book list on making you want to travel

Karen Gershowitz Why did Karen love this book?

I think of myself as an adventurous traveler, but Dervla Murphy travels in a way that I would never even consider.

So, it’s a pleasure to sit in a comfortable chair and read about places I’ll never visit and people who I’d love to meet, but never will. Murphy writes so vividly I feel as though I am right beside her as she fends off wolves, struggles to drag a bicycle uphill through mountain snow, and shares tea with nomads.

This was her first book and every book that follows is equally compelling.

By Dervla Murphy,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Full Tilt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Braving hunger, heat exhaustion, unbearable terrain and cultures largely untouched by civilization, Dervla Murphy chronicles her determined trip through nine countries, through snow and ice in the mountains and miles of barren land in the scorching desert. Full Tilt is a highly individual account by a celebrated travel writer based on the daily diary Murphy kept while riding through Yugoslavia, Persia, Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and into India. Murphy's charm and gracious sensitivity as a writer and a traveler reveals not only civilizations of exotic people and places but the wonder of a woman alone on an extraordinary…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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