6 Favorite Books for IndiaTravel: Shelley Seale


Shelly Seale
Shelly Seale

Destination: India

Books: Several Recommendations from Shelley Seale

When Shelley Seale and I talked about her book The Weight of Silence, Invisible Children of India, I naturally wanted to know what books she had read that attracted her to India, or helped her as a traveler.
Me:I read Three Cups of Tea and reviewed it on my TBR page. You said that you read it while you were writing this book.  Are there particular books that you would recommend to people who are traveling to India?

Shelley: I loved Three Cups of Tea! I read it toward the end of finishing my book. Very inspirational.

For nonfiction books to help a person prepare for traveling to India, there are two totally different ones I would recommend. The first is called Wanderlust and Lipstick, by my writer friend Beth Whitman in Seattle. She’s an India travel fanatic and very talented writer, and her book is an exceptional guide for women traveling to India.

The second is called Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald. This was passed around during my first trip to India, and it’s a memoir of an Australian woman who visits India once as a college student, vowing never to return (the classical tourist hate reaction) – only to move there with her boyfriend some years later. It’s a really hilarious account of how the country takes non-Indians and makes them Indian. It has a way of making you fall in love with it.

As far as fiction goes, I want to read Shantaram although I haven’t yet. On this last trip there I read The Splendor of Silence, set during World War II, and it was beautiful. But my all-time favorite novel set in India is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Set in Kerala, perhaps my favorite place in India, and tells the story of a brother and sister growing up, and the family secrets that won’t let them go. Lyrical, spellbinding, haunting and simply amazing.

Note: Holy Cow stirred up quite a bit of controversy, particularly among Parsis, but also some other Indians who felt it was insensitive. I like the review written by a Lehigh professor. If you visit there, be sure to read the comments.

Do you have comments on any of these five books? I hope you will join the conversation, but at least be sure to add a sixth book– Shelley Seale’s The Weight of Silence, to your traveler’s reading list.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “6 Favorite Books for IndiaTravel: Shelley Seale

  1. I listened to the audio version of Holy Cow when I was in India and loved it – couldn’t stop listening to it. Every once in a while I play it in my ipod, just to bring me back to India’s (lovely) insanity!

  2. what a great list! i’ve only read the kids book from three cups of tea, but i have read holy cow. i liked it so much better than eat, pray, love for the evocative writing of india. that said, i wasn’t sure that it was the most interculturally sensitive book, but i DID want to read more by her! thanks for sharing.

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