Ruskin Bond is a standout amongst the most well-known writers and authors of India. His first novel was The Room on the Roof, which he composed at an age of seventeen and earned the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in the year 1957. His works can likewise be found in reading material of relatively every school. With a writing career spreading over more than 50 years, he has explored different avenues regarding an assortment of types – apart from novels, he has composed a few expositions, short stories, novellas, children’s books and poems. In 1992, he got the Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri in the year 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
Bond has been composing for his Indian fans since the 1950s, yet pundits have tended to give careful consideration to expatriate Indian writers as opposed to the indigenous ones. With this rundown, we mean to convey to our readers a list of 35 of the best Ruskin Bond Books out of the more than 500 books, expositions and short stories composed by him.
A collection of some of the best Ruskin Bond books
|1. The Room on the Roof|
Room on the Roof is about an orphaned seventeen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy named Rusty who has no real family after his parents’ death. Even though he lives with his guardian Mr. John Harrison, he doesn’t feel at home and due to his guardian's strict ways, he runs away from his home to live with his Indian friends. While seeing many things about India such as customs, bazaars and diversity, he feels good about being in India. Soon, he gets a job teaching English to a boy named Kishen, in return for a tiny room on the roof. This book won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957.
|2. The Blue Umbrella|
The Blue Umbrella is a 1980 Indian novel written by Ruskin Bond. In a small village of Himachal Pradesh, a little girl Binya trades her lucky leopard’s claw pendant for a pretty, frilly blue umbrella. There were many who envied Binya her treasured possession, and the most envious of them all was old Ram Bharosa, the shopkeeper, who decided that he must own the blue umbrella, by means fair or foul.
In 2005 it was adapted into a Hindi film by the same name, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, which later won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film.
|3. The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories|
The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories is a collection of 30 beautiful short-stories from Ruskin Bond. The collection of simple, heart-warming and thought-provoking stories will take you to the heavenly grounds of Dehradun and Mussoorie. ‘The Night Train at Deoli’ is the story of a boy who sees a girl on the platform of Deoli station. He gets an urge to meet her but will he ever find her again? ‘A Guardian Angel’ is the story of a boy who is raised by a sex worker. Unlike others who look down on the guardian, the boy considers her a true guardian angel. ‘The Monkey’ is typical Ruskin Bond story with a mixture of horror and humour. Filled with small doses of heart melting stories, this book offers you a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
|4. Delhi Is Not Far|
Delhi Is Not Far is set in the dull and dusty small town of Pipalnagar. The protagonist Arun is a struggling writer of cheap thrillers who seeks inspiration from the unlikeliest of characters - the orphan Suraj, homeless and an epileptic, yet surprisingly optimistic about the future and the young prostitute Kamla, resigned to the fact that both she and Pipalnagar would never change. This is a memorable story about small lives, with all the hallmarks of classic Ruskin Bond prose.
|5. Rusty, The Boy From The Hills|
Ruskin Bond created Rusty to spin stories about his own past; Rusty's adventures are Ruskin's own. Rusty, the Boy from the Hills narrates the stories of Rusty, a quiet, imaginative and sensitive boy who lives in his grandparents’ custody in pre-Independence Dehradun. Though he is not the adventurous sort himself, the strangest and most extraordinary things keep happening around him, and so the stories he has to tell are simply fascinating. This book follows the most exciting years in Rusty's life - early childhood to early teens.
|6. Time Stops at Shamli and Other Stories|
Time Stops at Shamli and Other Stories is an enchanting collection of stories from the little-known heartland of India. Shamli is a small place where Ruskin Bond's train stopped every time he travelled to Delhi. Bond narrates how this nondescript place became very important for him as he met his first love there. The characters are simple people who live for the most part in Himalayas's small towns and villages are not the sort who make the headlines but are, nonetheless, remarkable for their quiet heroism, their grace under pressure and the manner in which they continue to cleave to the old values
|7. Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra|
Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra is a collection of fourteen engaging stories from Ruskin Bond's life. Semi-autobiographical in nature, these stories span the period from the author's childhood to the present. Starting from Java, he journeys to India where he first lands up in Bombay then to Delhi before finally reaching the Himalayas and here begins a nostalgic tale of writer’s stay in the Himalayas. We get to know the author's family, friends, and various other people who left a lasting impression on him. A story in this collection - A Flight of Pigeons, was made into the film Junoon.
|8. Roads To Mussoorie|
Roads to Mussoorie is Ruskin Bond's ode to his home for more than forty years – his dear city Mussoorie. He starts the book with a backward (instead of a foreword) urging the reader to read the last chapter first before deciding to go ahead with the book. Ruskin vividly writes about his many journeys to, from and around Mussoorie and then delves into the daily scandals surrounding his life and friends in the (not so) sleepy hill town.
|9. The Ruskin Bond Children's Omnibus|
A vividly illustrated book for children and adults alike, Ruskin Bond's Children's Omnibus is a collection of some of the author's best-loved stories. Most of these stories are set in the hills, but their appeal is universal. This volume includes the ever-popular Grandfather's Private Zoo written over twenty-five years ago. Other stories included are Angry River, The Blue Umbrella, The Road to the Bazaar, Ghost Trouble, Cricket for the Crocodile and Dust on the Mountain. Witty, charming and quietly evocative, these stories highlight the charm of simple living.
|10. Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas|
Rain in the Mountains is a collection of stories, snippets, essays and poems penned by Ruskin Bond after having lived in many small towns across the Himalayas. It touches a raw nerve for an urban dweller when it describes the beauty of Himalaya's wilderness, surrounded by chirping birds, clear blue skies and sparkling streams. Some of the stories featured in the book are Once Upon A Mountain Time, Sounds I Like To Hear, How Far Is The River and After The Monsoon. This book is an excellent companion for contemplation and quiet reading.
|11. A Book of Simple Living|
A Book of Simple Living is a personal diary in which Ruskin Bond records the many small moments that constitute a life of harmony with the self, the natural world, friends, family and passersby. He offers a sneak peek into his routine, letting one see the beauty in simplicity. The book tries to convey one message very subtly – Don’t let the beauty of Nature pass by unnoticed, unacknowledged and unregistered because it is the simplest and purest form of beauty. Let it tickle every sensory nerve of one’s being.
|12. A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings: Collected Stories of the Supernatural|
Ruskin Bond once famously remarked that while he does not believe in ghosts, he sees them all the time—in the woods, in a bar, in a crowd outside a cinema. Not surprising, then, that in A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings, a collection of paranormal tales, he makes the supernatural appear entirely natural, and therefore harder to ignore. This book opens with the unforgettable, A Face in the Dark, set in a pine forest outside Simla, and ends with Night of the Millennium, where the scene of the action is an abandoned cemetery. If you love reading ghost stories, this anthology by Ruskin Bond is definitely a treat.
|13. Funny Side Up|
Funny Side Up offers a fascinating read not only for children but readers of all ages. With a unique ability to look at the most regular circumstances with exceptional wit and acuity, Ruskin Bond takes his readers to his home, his countryside, his life. Filled with amusing and colourful characters - monkeys, wild boars, an aunt with a phobia of flowers, an eccentric cousin who thinks he is the great cricket player Ranji, the wise seven-year-old Gautam, this collection is an absorbing read.
Maharani is the story of Neena, the spoilt, selfish, beautiful and ageing widow of the Maharaja of Mastipur. She has inherited a considerable amount of wealth from her deceased husband, and the narrative focuses on her lavish life in the 60s and 70s. She lives in an enormous old house in Mussoorie with her dogs and her caretaker. She is also a classmate of Ruskin Bond, who disapproves of her antics - taking lovers and discarding them, drinking too much. It is a delightful novella about love, death and friendship.
|15. Susanna's Seven Husbands|
Initially written as a 5-page short story, Ruskin Bond expanded Susanna's Seven Husbands into a full-fledged novella meant to be made as a film, 7 Khoon Maaf, by Vishal Bhardwaj. It is the story of Susanna who has a weakness for falling in love with the wrong men. Over the years, Susanna becomes notorious as the merry widow who moves from one marriage to another leaving behind a trail of dead husbands. This book includes the original short story, the novella that it was expanded into, and the screenplay of 7 Khoon Maaf that was based on the novella.
|16. Angry River|
In the middle of a big a river, on a small island, lived Sita with her Grandparents. Their only possessions were 3 goats, some hens and a small vegetable garden which provided with food enough to carry on, and there was their only tree, a Peepal tree. Once, due to unforeseen circumstances, Sita is left alone on the Island. This is when the river gets angry and slowly the island begins to drown itself in the river. How Sita survives the anger of rain and river forms the crux of Angry River.
|17. Vagrants in the Valley|
Vagrants in the Valley is a sequel to Ruskin Bond's masterpiece, A Room on the Roof. Coming back to the city with Kishen, Rusty discovers that his beloved room is no longer his. Undaunted, he forges new homes and new friendships as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that spans the beautiful hillsides of the Himalayas. He meets new people, revisits his past, finds out more about his real parents, and continues to wander looking for answers. Striking, evocative, witty and wise - this book is an ode to youth and all its complexities.
|18. A Season Of Ghosts|
Ruskin Bond’s anthology of ghost stories, aptly titled A Season Of Ghosts, is set in the majestic mountains of the Himalayas and includes nine short stories and one novella like On Fairy Hill, The Prize, The Black Cat, Wilson's Bridge, The Rakshasas, The Night of the Millennium etc. With this book Ruskin Bond shows that ghost stories are not only horrifying but there may be different shades to these which can at times give goose bumps and at others also bring a smile to the readers’ lips.
|19. Lone Fox Dancing|
In this brilliantly readable autobiography, Lone Fox Dancing, one of India’s greatest writers shows us the roots of everything he has written. He begins with a dream and a gentle haunting, before taking us to an idyllic childhood in Jamnagar by the Arabian Sea, where he composed his first poem, and New Delhi in the early 1940s, where he found material for his first short story.
|20. Looking for the Rainbow: My Years with Daddy|
As the title suggests, Looking for the Rainbow focusses on the two years that Ruskin spent with his father in Delhi during the early 1940s. His time in the capital is filled with books, visits to the cinema, music, and walks and conversations with his father — a dream life for a curious and wildly imaginative boy. Coupled with endearing illustrations, Looking for the Rainbow marks Bond’s first ever memoir for children.
|21. Falling in Love Again|
Featuring classic stories such as The Eyes Have It and The Girl from Copenhagen, Falling in Love Again is a collection of all the love stories, Ruskin Bond has written in his career. Filled with warmth and passion, each story showcases the myriad variations of romance and heartbreak.
|22. Death Under the Deodars|
Set in the Mussoorie of a bygone era, Death Under the Deodars is a collection of stories which recount the mysterious cases of a murdered priest, an adulterous couple, a man who is born evil, the body in the box bed, a mysterious black dog, and the Daryaganj strangler. Though a mystery, this book contains flashes of gentle humour in trademark Bond style.
|23. Tales of Fosterganj|
Tales of Fosterganj is set in a fictional suburb on the outskirts of Mussourie. This book traces the journey of a writer from Delhi, who lands up in Fosterganj by chance. The writer hopes to live like a recluse in this sleepy town, and maybe finish a book or two but fate wills otherwise. He is soon caught up in a series of astonishing and hilarious adventures - encounters with a leopard and a sinister black bird; a drunken evening in the company of several hens and a penurious prince; and a long night locked inside a haunted palace.
|24. Dust on the Mountain|
Dust On The Mountain tells the story of a young boy, Bisnu, who lives in the hills, right in the lap of nature working hard on his farmland. But a certain year, the lack of monsoon forces him to travel to the big city for work. On this journey, he meets many interesting characters that flit in and out of the pages but Nature remains the most important character throughout the story.
|25. Love Among the Bookshelves|
Love Among the Bookshelves is a glimpse into Ruskin Bond’s life through the books he has loved and an introduction to some forgotten classics. A book about books and reading, Bond begins with the first book he discovered among the bookshelf, P.G. Wodehouse’s Love among the Chickens, and moves on to reminisce his school days in Simla, where he discovered Shakespeare, Emily Bronte and H.E. Bates.
|26. The Sensualist|
The Sensualist is the story of a man enslaved by his libido and spiralling towards self-destruction. Gripping, erotic, even brutal, the book explores the demons that its protagonist must grapple with before he is able to come to term with himself. A compelling read, The Sensualist is a must-have for all Ruskin Bond fans.
|27. The India I Love|
The India I Love is a collection of nineteen heartfelt poems and essays. Ruskin Bond has filled the chapters with some nuggets of wisdom that he has processed over the years by observing people and his surroundings keenly.
|28. Tigers for Dinner: Tall Tales by Jim Corbett's Khansama|
Tigers for Dinner is the collection of stories narrated by Mehmoud, the khansama, or cook, for the great shikari Jim Corbett to a young Ruskin Bond. As deft with his stories as he is with koftas, lamb chops, pies and milkshakes, Mehmoud has a tall tale for every occasion - from wrestling with a cobra in his bed, being carried away into the river by a muggermuch, to when a tiger came looking for the cook.
|29. The Hidden Pool|
The Hidden Pool was Ruskin Bond's first novel for children. It is the story of three friends - Laurie, an English boy who moved to a hill town with his parents, Anil, the son of a local cloth merchant, and Kamal, who lost his parents during Partition and now sells buttons and shoelaces. One day the three discover a secret pool on the mountainside, and it is there that they plan their greatest escapade yet — a trek to the Pindari Glacier, where no one from their town has gone before.
|30. The Perfect Murder|
This book is a collection of 8 short-stories from various acclaimed authors like Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allen Poe, WW Jacobs and a story by Ruskin Bond with the title - The Perfect Murder which is the story of two brothers, Paul and Henry who wait for an opportunity to kill their aunt, so that they can inherit the property left by their uncle. Can they plan the murder without violence, without clues and without a trace? Can they plan the perfect murder?
|31. The Kitemaker: Stories|
The Kitemaker begins with Mehmood’s grandson Ali, bringing his grandfather, the old kite maker, out of his reverie as the boy’s kite gets stuck in the branches of the ancient banyan tree. Mehmood sits under the banyan tree and thinks about his former profession as a master kitemaker; about his good old days and laments the loss of those days of leisure and gay as men today are caught up in the maze of time and have no time and interest for such pastimes like kite flying.
|32. All Roads Lead To Ganga|
All Roads Lead to Ganga is a travel memoir in which Ruskin Bond captures the astonishing beauty of the magical landscape of the Himalayas, describing with nostalgia and affection the places and people he has lived with for over forty years. He writes about the quaint charm of Dehradoon, about Manjari village in Garhwal where a tributary of Ganga flows; he writes about Mussoorie, Rudraprayag, Agastamuni, Guptakashi, etc.
|33. No Man is an Island: Stories of Friendship and Bonding|
Told in Ruskin Bond's simple yet poignant style, the stories and poems in No Man is an Island thoughtfully explores the many shades of friendship and camaraderie. Each story shows that man is a social animal and is always in need of companionship. Featuring classic tales such as 'The Woman on Platform No. 8', in which a mysterious stranger befriends a young boy, and 'The Crooked Tree', in which a writer and a hawker form an unlikely bond, this heart-warming collection is a must-read.
|34. Tales And Legends Of India|
Tales and Legends from India is divided into three sections – Tales from the Epics, Tales from the Jataka and Regional Tales and Legends. All the sections have between five to twelve stories in them. The book is an ideal read for children and adults equally as it helps connects Indians to their roots.
|35. A Song of Many Rivers|
Just a little over 100 pages, A Song of Many Rivers is a collection of 12 essays, anecdotes and short stories whose central theme is rivers. Along with their waters, these rivers are also a source of folklore, legends and stories which are more than centuries old. From Bhagirathi and Alaknanda to Mandakini and Suswa, Ruskin Bond quite beautifully captures the essence of these rivers and the people who thrive on its waters.
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