All you bibliotherapists out there, do tell us what is catching your fancy these days? Is it some swashbuckling romance that seems to exist only on paper? Or is it some highbrow intellectual feast that mere mortals may just skip? Whatever is on your shelf or bedside table, we are sure it is helping to ease the lockdown blues. And while we are big believers in Netflix and Chill, we also love curling up in our bed (and our comfy sheets) with a book to indulge in some good old escapism.
At BEDLAM we have compiled a list of things we are reading or read during the lockdown. Some are old, some are new. Some are columns, and some are Instagram feeds (yes you read that right). All have touched us in some way and reiterated our decades-spanning love affair with the written word. So for just a little while ditch Netflix for some reading because now you do actually have the time!
William Dalrymple - City Of Djinns
Going back to City Of Djinns every few years is almost an old habit. Like the lover, you cannot quit! The book captures the complexities of Delhi in an almost simple yet nuanced way. There are Pirs, Sufis and yes even Djinns. The book highlights Dalrymple's mastery over conveying history with culture. Interspersed with an account of the author's own experiences with the history of Delhi, City Of Djinns is an absolute classic!
Freddy Birdy - Instagram Musings
If there is one person who needs to write a book soon, it is the inimitable Freddy Birdy. A creative tour de force, Freddy Birdy’s Instagram feed has made us fall in love with the social media platform again which usually is inundated with “influencers” and all sorts of cringe. It's almost a paradox that Birdy’s authenticity is found on a factitious platform like Instagram. His one-liners are, legendary but it's his nostalgic and often poignant Sunday specials that will warm the cockles of even the most jaded heart.
Follow his Instagram here
This Is... Series
We came across this entire series at our favourite book store in Delhi, CMYK. Perfect for design and art connoisseurs, as you get to learn all about legendary artists etc in a fun way. Some of the books in the series are This is Dali, This is Warhol, This is Frank Llyod Right etc. Oh, they also double up as great coffee table books, so an added bonus.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri needs no introduction. There is an ethereal quality to both her and her writings and we would be hard-pressed to pick just one book. However, what we recommend is to read her interview with Shanaz Siganpora for a special digital-only May 2020 Vogue India issue. Her insights on the pandemic, personal experiences and observations about humanity will only make your day richer. Below are the lines she posted for the cover:
“Rather than interpret this malady, resist it.
Stay home, connect through conversations.
Let words become pathways to new spaces.
Let them prevail over our isolation.
Let them be the air we breathe.”
Read the article at Vogue's site here
Aatish Taseer - India Is No Longer India
A controversial and political pick you may say, but it does deserve to be on our list. Recently Aatish Taseer wrote an honest and balanced column on India and how it is changing or even changed. You can read the article on THE ATLANTIC here and below is an excerpt from it.
"As much as people in India bridle against the binary distinction of India and Bharat, it recurs again and again in the country’s discourse—Bharat as a pure, timeless country, unassailable and authentic; India as the embodiment of modernity and all its ills and dislocations."
Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen
Come on, we had to throw in a classic at some point! This Austin classic will remain a favourite and we are not surprised that even Austin called it her "her own darling child”. The clashes between the opinionated and feisty Elizabeth with the smouldering Mr Darcy is the stuff of legends. This classic will give you a Janeaustegasm and is an absolute glorious read.
It is fitting that we end our list with an appropriate Austin quote:
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice