South Asian Author Challenge

It is time to start picking challenges for next year and the first one I’m joining is S. Krishna’s South Asian Author Challenge.  I have always enjoyed the South Asian novels that I have read and I am embracing this opportunity to read some more.  The two requirements are: (1) The author must be of South Asian descent and (2) The book must be about South Asia in some way.   The rest of the rules can be found here and the sign up can be found here.  I am joining at the 5 book level and it runs throughout 2010.  Some of the books I’m considering are:

Books I’ve had lying around the house

  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

(Note: I cannot for the life of me get a good closeup with my camera. Anyone want to buy me a new one for Christmas?)

I also want to read something by Salman Rushdie and at this moment I’m thinking it might be Midnight’s Children.  So that leaves me with one more.  If you have a favorite South Asian author  or book, let me know in the comments.

I’m also trying to get Ben to join because he loves South Asian literature as well.  And I’m hoping he can guest blog for his reviews.

13 thoughts on “South Asian Author Challenge

  1. Jennifer, Snapshot November 18, 2009 / 10:33 am

    I’d love a new camera for Christmas too!!

    I may have to add White Tiger to my list if I get through the others. I’ve heard so many good things about it.


    • Michelle November 20, 2009 / 11:46 pm

      White Tiger has been on my TBR list for a long time. I’m glad this will force me to finally get to it.


  2. Bookaddict November 18, 2009 / 11:11 am

    I really enjoyed “White Tiger” and “Unaccustomed Earth.” I also joined at the 5 book level because I’m afraid I might join too many challenges next year.


    • Michelle November 20, 2009 / 11:45 pm

      I know. The challenges are fun and I could see myself joining way more than I could ever possibly do. I’m trying to be frugal.


  3. fruitflieslikeabanana November 18, 2009 / 11:54 am

    Oh, I want to join that challenge. I love South Asian lit, I mostly read authors that only have a south asian background though. I adore Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni´s novels, highly recommend The Mistress of Spices! Then there´s Hanif Kureishi, just read Mohammed Hanif´s A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Do you think books by South Asian writers about South Asians in other countries count? I´m confused by the rules 😀


    • Michelle November 20, 2009 / 11:47 pm

      That might count. I’m not entirely sure. I think it’s written by South Asians and having something to do with South Asia.


      • fruitflieslikeabanana November 22, 2009 / 8:44 am

        I think it counts:

        “2) The book must be about South Asia in some way. It doesn’t have to be set in South Asia, as long as it’s about the culture or history in some way. On the other hand, it can be set in South Asia and not be about South Asians.”

        Would have greatly reduced my list otherwise 😀


  4. Nicole November 20, 2009 / 5:32 am

    It might not be the camera. I find books to be hard to photograph too.


    • Michelle November 20, 2009 / 11:48 pm

      Yes, but I find everything hard to photograph so I think it’s the camera.


  5. Emily November 20, 2009 / 7:56 am

    Unaccustomed Earth is one of my favorite books of short stories. I love Jhumpa. 🙂

    Do you have a “Macro” setting on your camera? That should greatly help take close ups of your books. My mom was trying to take close ups with no success, and I helped her find the Macro setting and her pictures were a lot better. It was a fairly old camera too, so hopefully if you poke around a bit you’ll find that setting on yours. I use Macro exclusively for all book & baking photos. 🙂


    • Michelle November 20, 2009 / 11:49 pm

      That was taken with the macro setting. I tried all combinations of flash and macro and that is the best one (macro/no flash). I don’t know if it’s me or the camera.


  6. Vishy November 21, 2009 / 11:07 am

    This is an interesting challenge and quite tempting! I found all the books in your list quite wonderful! They are all there on my ‘TBR’ list, but I haven’t read them yet.

    Some of the books by South Asian authors that I have loved and can recommend are : ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth (good book but quite thick at around 1400 pages :)), ‘An Equal Music’ by Vikram Seth (Beautiful book and one of my favourites! But the story doesn’t have South Asian characters and is not set in South Asia. So I don’t know whether it will count for the challenge), ‘Swami and Friends’ by R.K.Narayan, ‘Azadi’ by Chaman Nahal and ‘Train to Pakistan’ by Khushwant Singh. Some of my friends have also recommended Salman Rushdie’s ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ in addition to his ‘Midnight’s Children’ though I haven’t read both of them. Rohinton Mistry, Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Nagarkar (especially his novel ‘Cuckold’) and the Desais (Kiran and her mom Anita) are some other South Asian writers you might want to explore. Michael Ondaatje is a wonderful writer too (he is of Srilankan origin), but I don’t know whether his best book ‘The English Patient’ will count for the challenge (though it has an Indian character in it :))

    One book I would like to explore (if I participate in the challenge) is ‘Basti’ by Intizar Husain. (You can read a chapter at and see whether you like it).

    The interesting thing I found at Krishna’s blog is that ‘Afghanistan’ doesn’t count as South Asia, but Pakistan seems to count 🙂


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