Swapan's Picks: 5 Riveting Non-Fiction Reads

14/06/2015 7:11 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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I read almost one book a day. And I read books on all kinds of subjects. The only rule that I have is that I do not read fiction. Never have. Never will. So here is my pick of five great books to read if you haven't already. Each of them is riveting and rewarding.

And Then One Dayby Naseeruddin Shah

I had the singular honour of reading the manuscript. Naseer is amongst our finest actors ever, and I daresay a fabulous writer as well. Heart-wrenchingly honest, these essays capture moments of his life from birth to his mid-30s. We travel from his early childhood in Meerut, through to his schooldays in Nainital, and then on to his time at the National School Of Drama and the Film and Television Institute of India. Steeped in honesty, it is arguably amongst the finest memoirs I have ever read.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

This is the saddest story that I have ever read. It is about a lady who loses her family in the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Her style of writing is captivating. Her emotions, engulfing. Parts of the book are dark and daunting as well. But it is a magical read.

The Road To Character by David Brooks

His column in The New York Times has been philosophical pollen for years. But this book by him is an absolute clincher. It reflects on the values that must form our life's compass. Brooks does not, however, pontificate or lead. He merely shows the roads available for this wonderful journey called life.

Tiny Beautiful Thingsby Cheryl Strayed

For years, she was an anonymous agony aunt, but in this book - a collection of her columns - Cheryl Strayed heroically reveals herself. Each of us, in some way, is lost in life, or defeated under some circumstances. Strayed transforms her ink into sunshine for your soul. Written with great humour, yet dripping with perfect poignancy, this is a wretchedly remarkable book.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

I rarely distribute a book among all my friends. But I did buy several copies of this and sent it out to my near and dear ones. For years, I have been reading Arianna Huffington's Third Metric column in The Huff Post, and Thrive is a stunning summary. It defines wealth. It looks at success from a wider, meaningful lens. It recontextualises life. A staggering read.

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