6 books that changed my life, by Vogue India editor Priya Tanna
The lifelong bibliophile would like you to meet her literary gurus
For all the sequinned dresses and designer stilettos that crowd the Vogue India office, an equally high priority item in the workplace is a respectable reading list. Fronted by editor Priya Tanna, many lunch hours are spent discussing the latest book and buzzy authors about to make it big. Tanna’s recommendations have reinvigorated many a lazy reading habit, so there’s no reason why yours should be an exception.
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9 women, 2 men and 10 years of celebrating 1 extra ordinary brand! Our biggest , fattest and heaviest issue ever is also our most special one! 2.1 kg never looked this good! @vogueindia #myinstalife #vogueworld #myvoguelife #vogueturns10 #vogueatten #anniversary #milestone #gettingemo
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Find your favourites among the 6 books that changed her life.
1. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
For any reader, it’s impossible not to have a favourite Marquez. I didn’t really read this book during my days as a student, which I should have! I came to it much later in my twenties, after I had already fallen in love with Marquez’s writing and vision in books like One Hundred Years Of Solitude. When I did read it, it blew me away. It is hope eternal. It gave me faith that you can love and be loved anywhere and at any stage. That love is truly age-agnostic. It is intimate and intense and real, no matter how unbelievable the circumstances. He elevated romance from girl-meets-boy into the human condition, creating an incredible emotional experience, that even thinking about still tugs at my heart.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I didn’t fall in love with this book for the idea of a Mr. Darcy (I still don’t think he exists, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing!), it was all Elizabeth Bennet. I grew up in a confusing culture, where we were educated women living in a seemingly liberal world, and yet, everyday sexism was the norm. There was a fettering of our minds, of the things we could and couldn’t do and the qualities that were attractive and not. And this was the book that I read in my formative years that first introduced me to the kind of woman I imagined myself to be. It was about who Lizzy Bennet was, her gumption, her sass, her wit, her loyalty to her sisters, and how no matter her situation, she takes charge and owns her agency in a way that is truly inspiring. Plus, her relationship with her dad, reminded me a lot of my own and that was just the clincher!
3. The Gift by Hafiz
Love, knowledge, healing and the sort of counsel that I’ve never found in any other book. This is my 4 am friend, my magic 8 ball and my agony aunt, all rolled into one beautiful read. It’s almost the perfect seduction, of words and wisdom and definitely the most beautiful poetry I’ve ever read. I remember reading it for the first time and buying five copies for five of the most important people in my life.
4. Harry Potter by JK Rowling (all of them!)
I have to confess, I’m a Potterhead! I have read and reread the books as they released, then in 2014 when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter launched and now again, I’m reading them with my son. I’ve seen all the movies, own a Quidditch set, have a tonne of merchandise, can recite Potter dialogue in my sleep and my phone still has every Harry Potter app and game, ever. Why? Because, all the wisdom of the world is in this series, and I feel privileged that I live in a day and age where people can write books like Harry Potter. From the bond of true and strong friendships (which I’ve been generously blessed with) to the vulnerability of life, whether you’re muggle, witch or wizard. I remain in awe of JK Rowling, she has truly created magic.
5. The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur/ At Wit’s End by Erma Bombeck
I’m going to cheat a bit here, because I cannot pick one between these two. I love humour and comedy, I think it’s one of the hardest things to get right, especially in writing, and to do it well, is a prodigious accomplishment. Anurag had me in splits from the word go, even as you’re rolling in laughter, you can’t not appreciate his astute observations. And Erma Bombeck, who put the funny woman on the map by chronicling the life and times of a midwestern suburban housewife. She was witty, sharp and madly funny, the superlative mommy blogger even before mommy blogging existed as a concept.
6. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh is an absolute and complete genius, who transforms words into worlds, that you don’t just read his books, you experience them, you live them! There’s not a single book of his I haven’t loved, from Shadow Lines to In an Antique Land, but The Calcutta Chromosome remains my favourite. The way he uses silence and nails our post-colonial world, his foresight was incredible, making this book even more relevant today, just as good science fiction does.