Intercultural reading

Who else out there is a book worm?

I thought I would start a post on some of my favourite books about Nepal; intercultural relationships; hardship and some general books about culture for those wishing to expand their book case and their knowledge!

I find reading a book is a way to escape into another world, a chance to see through someone else’s eyes and walk beside them on their journey.

I tend to enjoy non-fiction and biographies over fiction however I am still trying different styles of reading.

I am one of those people who say “this is my favourite book”, then the next minute, “no actually this is my fave”, “oh wait, this is my real number 1”.

There are still a lack of books about intercultural relationships out there and I am yet to find a book about an intercultural relationship with a Nepali man so please let me know if you know of any!

I am also on the lookout for a good book about the Maoist war in Nepal and what the ordinary people went through at the time (after all Rabindra lived through this war). Let me know if you know of any.

So I am not going to give you my favourite book but I’ll give you a list of some of my best books as well as what books are on my “to do” list.

If you are not much of a reader, may be start with one of the books below and see what you think! Get ready for your mind to open and your heart to melt 🙂

Please feel free to share your reviews of any of the books below and add some of your favourite books so the rest of us can see what you are reading.

Thanks and Happy Reading!

Best reads

“Not without my Daughter” by Betty Mahmoody.

Whilst some might say this book is biased, I found it to be a very interesting read from the perspective of a Westerner married to an Iranian Muslim man. Betty’s true story was made into a movie. It made me think a lot about my relationship in the future. What if Rabindra wanted to go back to Nepal and no longer live in Australia. What would I do? Would I let our children go? Although her situation is very different and her story is dark and dangerous, it is a great read, I loved it!

“Little Princes” by Connor Grennan.

This book inspired me to do more volunteering in Nepal and to never give up on the people. I will always be grateful for this book because no matter what happens in my life, helping people like he did, will always be what I truly love. I cried nearly every single page because I could relate to the Nepalese children. This book is not for everyone but because it’s almost wholly based in Nepal, I couldn’t put it down.

“The Thirty Six” by Siegmund Siegreich

This book has nothing to do with Nepal, culture or intercultural relationships but it is a book that really resonated with me. This man’s true story shows how people from privileged, good families can have their lives uprooted all because of greed, war and corruption. This book really inspired me to learn more about history and wars. I really want to travel to Poland and visit the Nazi concentration camps when I go to Europe. This book is a heart-starter from start to finish!

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.
I am very close to saying this book is my absolute favourite book but I won’t! It is so amazing and has been read by millions of people around the world and also been made into a film. I am interested in reading about Afghanistan so that’s what drew me to this book but the basic threads of life- friendship and family- are actually what this book boils down to. Please read it!!!

“The People Smuggler” by Robyn deCrespigny.

This is the true story an Ali Ali Jenabi, an Iraqi asylum seeker who came to Australia by boat. He told the story of living under Sadam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and the tragic life his family faced as a result. You can’t help but feel his pain and suffering. The story has some bad parts and I don’t like how it ends with no real conclusion (I guess because his story is still ongoing) but this is certainly a powerful read.

What I am reading now

“Henna for the Broken Hearted” by Sharelle Cook.

Sharelle also runs a popular blog “Diary of an Indian Housewife”. You can find her blog in my blogroll to the right. I have just started reading this book about Sharelle, a Melbourne woman who moves to India and finds love. Only a chapter in and I am feeling very connected to her story and how material things in life just do not bring happiness like many think it does. I have also become friends on Facebook with Sharelle and I hope we can continue to share our different stories! I will update everyone on this book once I’ve finished!

Books to read next

The Gurkha’s Daughter by Prajwal Parajuly.
I cannot wait to read this book! First of all Rabindra is the from the Chettri caste in Nepal and many of his family members have served in the British and Indian armies as Gurkha soldiers so I have a bit of a connection there to the Gurkhas. This story is about Nepali people, their identities and their origins. Will be buying this very soon!!!

A Black Englishman by Carolyn Slaughter
The blurb states “India, 1920: exotic, glamorous, and violent, as the country begins to resist England’s colonial grip. In the midst of this turmoil, Isabel, a young British military wife, begins a passionate liaison with Sam, an Indian doctor and Oxford graduate who insists, against all odds, on the right to be both black and British. Their secret devotion to each other takes them across India in a terrifying, deadly race against time and tradition.” Looks like a good one!

The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi
This story is about an Indian man falling in love with a European girl and his family don’t accept. I have heard really good reviews about this book!

Shiva’s Arms by Cheryl Snell
Another story about an intercultural relationship with an Indian woman and the girl’s struggle to be accepted by the family. The blurb says it “evolves into an exploration of cultural identity, the power of reconciliation, and the meaning of home.” Can’t wait to read it.

Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse: The True Story of a Woman Who Risked Everything to Bring Hope to Afghanistan by Suraya Sadeed, Damien Lewis.

I want to read this because of my interest in Afghanistan. This woman is quite remarkable!

The other books I have heard decent reviews about are these:

Calcutta Exile by Bunny Suraiya
The Magic of Saida by M G Vassanji
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Rug Merchant by Meg Mullins
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Saffron Dreams Shaila Abdullah
Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India by Miranda Kennedy

This entry was posted in Cross-cultural, Culture, Intercultural, Intercultural Relationship, Nepal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Intercultural reading

  1. KC says:

    Oh I love posts like this 🙂 Reading is one of my favorite things to do and I love intercultural reading. I haven’t come across any books about relationships between a “white girl” (be in American, Aussie, European, whatever…) and a Nepali either. Maybe one of us should write one? That being said….I absolutely loved the book “The Disappeared” by Kim Echlin. It’s not for everyone so I sometimes hesitate to recommend it….the prose is very different than most books and it almost reads like poetry (which isn’t usually my style). But it’s about a relationship between an American girl and a guy from Cambodia. I think it’s a lovely yet heartbreaking story.

    I have read the Pleasure Seekers (I see you have it on your list) and I enjoyed it. I also loved Little Princes and I also found it very inspiring. I read alot of books set in middle eastern countries because I have always been fascinated by that culture. Some intercultural books (but not necessarily about intercultural relationships) I recommend are the following:

    Dates in Basra
    Rooftops of Tehran
    Septembers of Shiraz
    A Thousand Spendid Suns
    Born Under a Million Shadows (this one does have an intercultural relationship and is a fantastic book set in Kabul so I suspect you’d enjoy it)
    A Good Indian Wife
    The Twentieth Wife (very educational and interesting)

    Goodness I could go on forever 🙂 I haven’t blogged in a very long time but maybe I’ll write one about my favorite books. Loved your suggestions and I’ll be checking out some of the ones you posted that you’ll be reading soon. Thanks! I use Shelfari to keep track of my books and it is where I get alot of suggestions for new books to read. Do you read any books from Nepali authors? I have read most of Samrat Upadhyay’s books in an attempt to soak up everything Nepal.

  2. Sharell says:

    Thank you so much for mentioning my book. And I’m really happy to be in touch with you. 😀

  3. tashsn says:

    The Ghurkha’s Daughter is written by one of my dear friends who was in Oxford with me. Can’t wait to write the review 🙂 If you read it before I do please review it too! I am being obstinate to only read once I receive the signed copy but I’m so happy its been talking about so much! 🙂

    • wow really? can’t believe he is one of your friends. he is indian and nepali because his mother is from nepal and his father is indian, is that right?

      • tashsn says:

        Yes that’s right his father is Sikkimese. We became friends while studying at Oxford and he’s my momo buddy and also a friend a childhood friend of A’s didi. Its a small world. He’s the one who encouraged me to start this blog, long before his writer days. 🙂

  4. Helene says:

    I am looking very much forward to read your suggestions, especially “henna for the broken hearted” and “little princes”. I also have an addition to your list: (Book about intercultural relationships): “White masai” by Corinne Hoffman. I love your blog by the way, even though I am not so far in my own intercultural relationship with a nepalese man yet….(But my ex boyfriend was also nepalese, as my current one, so I am reading your blog with a lot of interest)
    By the way, “The god of small things” is among my favourite books. Very beautiful..

  5. lb says:

    Hiya have u read a beard in Nepal 1 &2 i really enjoyed those books,, a def good read for you 🙂

  6. eloise says:

    HI Casey
    You should check out “Forget Kathmandu: An Elegy for Democracy” its a very readable book on the crazy Nepali political situation. You will have to get someone to bring you a copy from Nepal, she aslo written a follow up “The Lives we have Lost” I not read it yet, havent been able to convince someone to stop into a bookshop to pick up a copy, despite the fact thathe walks past several twice a day. Much like he hangs out in his friends tea shop everyday but diesnt bring back any Illam tea.

  7. eloise says:

    Oh I forgot to mention the author Manjushree Thapa

  8. Diana says:

    Manjushree Thapa is a very good read. She has also written a novel: The tutor of history. Another must-read from Nepal is Narayan Wagle. He has two books out so far, ‘Palpasa Café’ and ‘Mayur times’. I found this non-fiction book eye-opening, too: Dangerous Wives and Sacred Sisters: Social and Symbolic Roles of High-Caste Women in Nepal. (by Lynn Bennett).
    Have you read Kiran Desai’s ‘Inheritance of loss’? It is great. Zadie Smith: ‘White teeth’. Hanif Kureshi: ‘Buddha of Suburbia’. The last three books are about immigrants from South Asia living in the US or the UK. Oh, and ‘The namesake’ by Jhumpa Lahiri, of course! And some of Amitav Ghosh’s books are good too. A definite must-read to understand society in South Asia is ‘ The white tiger’ by Aravind Adiga. Hope this is useful! Keep up your interesting blog, cheers!

  9. Nepali Laurey says:

    (Gora) Fair-faced-Rabindra Nath Tagore,
    Have your husband read “Basai” to you. Written by Lil Bahadur Chhetri..

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