Love Among the Bookshelves by Ruskin Bond


Ruskin Bond would hands down top the list of most loved authors of India. His simple stories based on the surroundings of Dehradoon that he called Dehra and Mussourie take us to the quaint hills and its simple people. One is amazed at the sheer volume of work he has churned out. In this small book Love Among the Bookshelves, he talks about his love for books.

How he discovered books. And how they became his companion every time he felt lonely. The book is anecdotal, with small incidents from Bond’s life shared along with some pieces from his favorite books by his favorite authors. The book wraps up with a list of his favorite books.

Bond takes you through his childhood. His boarding school routine in Shimla and his holidays that he spent with his parents. He was born before Indian Independence. And his parents were fond of going on Shikaar. He brings out his disgust for Shikaar as a kid. And how he would stay back in the guesthouse in the jungle when his parents went out for hunting. This is when he discovered books that would become a lifelong love, passion, companion, and profession. He talks about the time he spent with his Aunt in Jersey. And then a couple of years in London as a young man.

He speaks about his solitude during this time – having grown up in India where everyone is a friend to living in a formal environment. This is when books became his friends, his escape from the loneliness. And this is when he developed a relationship with the books. Working on various jobs and then choosing to quit when he did not like is a trait that is probably quite common in writers or people who are more internally driven.

He talks about the process of writing his first novel when he was in the UK. And wanted to write about his last year in Dehra. He says he wrote everything that he wanted to and after writing was left with nothing else with him. I guess writers need to do that often to fill themselves with another subject or story and then pour that on paper some day. He talks about short stories and novels. And how the former has longer shelve life than later.

Anecdotes are interspersed with excerpts from Love Among the Chickens by P.G. Woodhouse, The Best of H.E. Bates, Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens and The Story of my Heart by Richard Jefferies. Before each of these excerpts, he talks about his relationship with the author and his works. For e.g. for Woodhouse, he says – whenever he wanted to shut the world and be lost in an imaginary world, he chose to read Woodhouse.

If you love books and if you love Ruskin Bond, you would love this quick read book Love Among the Bookshelves.

You may buy this book – Love Among the Bookshelves by Ruskin Bond at Amazon.

Recommend you read following book reviews of Ruskin Bonds books.

  1. A Gathering of Friends
  2. Delhi is not Far
  3. Maharani

Love Among the Bookshelves by Ruskin Bond

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  1. Ruskin Bond is a favorite of mine. He truly knows how to bring out the beauty in little things.

    I really must get this book. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for writing about it.

  2. This book was not great, ma’am. I love Rsukin – but the title suggested it is HIS love of books etc – that I would LOVE to do. but the excerpts from other writers was NOT what I expected. I like his writing, not others work. the title should have said so – I would not have bought it. So, I did not like what was done to me – felt cheated. Maam, did you not feel cheated reading others excerpts? If yes, why is not point blank in your review?

    I am saying this because I love your reviews and bought so many books. Is there a placebo effect that everything by dear old Ruskin has to be marked good? Pardon this query – no offense meant.

    • Arun, I would not deny some biases that must have crept in my reading and reviewing. When you like an author, you are positively biased towards them. I think most people of his generation like to quote from books, something that we in current times do not so because we have so much to consume, we have so many choices. I do not think we can so clearly say that these books or these passages from a book impacted me a lot.

      I would agree with you in one way that Mr. Bond is in hurry to churn out books every year. So, this may have been his way of bringing out a new one without putting in too much of writing. Remember Khushwant Singh was churning out books every year till he was alive. His last books were small and life lessons mostly – nothing that would take too much of his time. Some books he even co-authored with other writers.


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