Talking Location With author David Gilman – Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral
Ten Great Books set in the Himalayas
23rd April 2021
The Himalayas is the latest location for us to visit in our Great Books series. Ten Great Books set in the Himalayas. The Himalayas is a mountain range in South and East Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many of Earth’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest, at the border between Nepal and China.
‘Climb the mountains and get their good tidings…’ Himalayan saying
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
One September, the writer and explorer Peter Matthiessen set out with field biologist George Schaller to journey 250 miles through the Himalayas to the Crystal Mountain on the Tibetan plateau. They wanted to study the wild blue sheep, the bharal, but also hoped to see the snow leopard, a creature so rarely spotted as to be nearly mythical. The Snow Leopard is not only an exquisite book of natural history but an extraordinary account of an inner journey ; a ‘true pilgrimage, a journey of the heart.’
With or Without You by Carole Mathews
When Jake tells Lyssa it’s not working, she knows he’s not talking about the toaster. What she doesn’t realise is that he has been seduced by another woman.Lyssa’s immediate reaction is to sob into her pillow and wait for Jake to come home with his tail between his legs. But slowly she understands that’s not an option. In a bid to escape, she embarks on a trekking holiday in Nepal. Her sister teases her that she’ll meet a hairy-arsed yak shepherd – but it never occurs to Lyssa that in the Himalayan foothills she might fall in love…
A Glimpse of Eternal Snows by Jane Wilson-Howarth
Set against the backdrop of one of the most colourful countries in the world, A Glimpse of Eternal Snows is an inspiring story of courage, love and a family’s determination to give their child the best life possible. In pulsating, polluted Kathmandu and an idyllic village at the foot of the Himalayas, ‘Doctor Jane’ and her engineer husband Simon hope to make a difference: Jane to fulfil her vision to heal and advocate for the poor, Simon to avert the floods that threaten to devastate the country every monsoon season. The Nepali people are accepting of whatever fate flings at them and here the family find sanity, compassion and joy with baby David, who in England was little more than an ‘interesting case’.
This is a tale of Himalayan highs and monsoon lows, of cultural complexities, unexpected wildlife and rugged terrain, of vivid colour, superstition and spicy smells.
Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan
Asha lives in the foothills of the Himalayas. Money is tight and she misses her papa who works in the city. When he suddenly stops sending his wages, a ruthless moneylender ransacks their home andher mother talks of leaving.
From her den in the mango tree, Asha makes a pact with her best friend, Jeevan, to find her father and make things right. But the journey is dangerous: they must cross the world’s highest mountains and face hunger, tiredness – even snow leopards.
And yet, Asha has the unshakeable sense that the spirit bird of her grandmother – her nanijee – will be watching over her.
Hillstation by Robin Mukherjee
Set in the fictional village – hill station – of Pushkara in the Himalayas
Dreaming of escape from his remote village in the Himalayan foothills, Rabindra entreats the gods to send him an English bride. When a saucy English dance troupe arrives on the run from a Bombay crime boss, Rabindra believes that his prayers have been answered. Except that they have no interest in marrying anyone. As the village begins to unravel in the presence of these scandalous foreigners, surprising secrets emerge from the depths of its past.
The Snow Line by Tessa McWatt
Old and young. White and brown. Male and female. British. Indian. Other.
Four strangers from around the world arrive in India for a wedding. Together, they climb a mountain ― but will they see the same thing from the top?
Londoner Reema, who left India before she could speak, is searching for a sign that will help her make a life-changing decision. In pensioner Jackson’s suitcase is something he must let go of, but is he strong enough?
Together with two unlikely companions, they take a road trip up a mountain deep in the Himalayas, heading for the snow line ― the place where the ice begins.
But even standing in the same place, surrounded by magnificent views, they see things differently. As they ascend higher and higher, they must learn to cross the lines that divide them.
Thin Air by Michelle Paver
The Himalayas, 1935.
Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.
Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.
As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried.
And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.
Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
Join 12-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam in a story of adventure, survival and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India. Filled with friendship, love and courage, this young girl’s thrilling journey to save her parents is an ideal read for children aged 9-12.
There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. ‘Dalai Lama.’
Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash’s parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet – and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India.
And so, with a backpack of Tash’s father’s mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.
Himalaya by Michael Palin
Michael Palin’s travel books have repeatedly topped the bestseller lists. In this book he is back at his adventurous best tie-ing in with a major BBC TV series. The book/series will travel through many countries little known to the West, providing opportunities for Palinesque adventures to please the large and loyal audience who followed 80 Days, Pole to Pole and Full Circle.
To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thurbon
This is about the trip from Nepal into Tibet – Thurbon has his usual eye for the wonderful detail and insight. His tales of seekers, refugees and mystics richly populate Tibetan history and Buddhist belief.
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