Saturday, September 5, 2009

Looking for books that capture a place

I am looking to read books in which the writer is able to capture the essence of a country or a city. These are travel books, but with a difference. Instead of moving to a set itinerary, the writer generally focuses on one region (or city or country) and brings it to life. The place (its people, their customs and their stories) creates the book.

Here are a few of the kind I am talking about:

Apples Are From Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins (Kazakhstan)
36 Views of Mt Fuji by Cathy Davidson (Japan)
Maximum City by Suketu Mehta (Bombay/Mumbai)
Hearing Birds Fly by Louisa Waugh (Western Mongolia)
Kowloon Tong by Paul Theroux (Hong Kong, fiction)
Alaska, Hawaii and several others by James Michener.

I am sure that there are dozens more. If you can think of any that you read and would like to recommend, please add them as comments below. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Though i have not read any of the above, i can suggest the following two to you.
    1.The Romantics - Pankaj Mishra. Here the protagonist talks about his stay in the following places - Benares, Pondicherry and Dharamsala.
    2. Chowringhee - by Sankar. Chowringhee is the neighbourhood in kolkata (the then Calcutta) and the book is mermerizing as it takes you to a different time.

    So, if you wish to know about these places in the slightly ancient times, they are good reads.