The name Ruskin Bond needs no introduction. He is a household name, and every booklover has read his works during their book journey. The well-known author, who was born in 1934, had his first book, ‘The Room on the Roof’, published in 1956. Not only that, but the book also received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957.
The author of more than 500 short stories, essays, and novels has written more than 50 books for children.
He has received several awards, including The Sahitya Academy Award the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan.
Born to English parents, Ruskin Bond spent his childhood between Dehradun, Mussoorie and Simla. He was always inclined towards writing and won several writing competitions in school. After high school, he spent two years in London, where he wrote his first book.
Since 1963 he has lived in Mussorie with his adoptive family.
Most of his works are influenced by his time and experiences of living in the hills. He also talks about his experience of being an Anglo Indian in a country that has seen many cultural, social and political changes. He has lived through Pre-Colonial, Colonial and Post-Independence India and has seen the country in different stages.
Many of his books have been made into movies and TV shows, and in 2011 he appeared in the film 7 Khoon Maaf.
This article is an attempt to pick 21 well-known novels of Ruskin Bond.
1. Room On The Roof
Room On The Roof was his first book, published in 1956. It is the story of a 17-year old orphaned Anglo Indian boy who lives with his guardian but feels claustrophobic in the strict environment. He runs away from home to be with his Indian friends. The plight of the young boy is quite moving.
2. The Blue Umbrella
Written in 1980, The Blue Umbrella is the story of a little girl and her blue umbrella. Binya’s umbrella makes people envy her, who all want the umbrella. This includes the village shopkeeper, who is ready to try every trick to get hold of it.
In 2005 this book was adapted into a Hindi film by the same name by Vishal Bhardwaj. The movie won the National Film Award for the Best Children’s Film.
3. Rusty, The Boy From The Hills
Rusty, The Boy From The Hills, is the story of Rusty, who lives with his grandparents in Dehradun. Set in the pre-independence days, the book is an account of the strange and extraordinary things around him. These are stories based on Ruskin Bond’s past.
4. Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra
Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra is a set of fourteen stories from Ruskin’s past. They span the period from his childhood to the present. The stories tell us about his friends, family and other people who have left a lasting impression on his life. One of the stories, A Flight Of Pigeons, was made into a film, Junoon.
5. A Book Of Simple Living Life
A Book of Simple Living Life is a book that gives us a peek into Ruskin’s life, routine, and world. He talks about nature and how we should not undermine its importance and influence on our life. It is the simplest and purest form of beauty.
6. Funny Side Up
Funny Side Up is an excellent read for children and readers of all ages. It is a book with amusing and colourful characters- the wild boar, an eccentric cousin, an aunt with a phobia, monkeys and more; all making for some absorbing reading times. If you are looking for a book in the category Ruskin Bond short stories then you must not miss this one.
Maharani is a novella about life, death and relationships. It narrates the story of Neena, the spoilt, selfish widow of the Maharaja of Mastipur. She is a Ruskin’s classmate who disapproves of her wild lifestyle, excessive drinking and extravagant spending.
8. Susanna’s Seven Husbands
Susanna’s Seven Husbands is another one of Ruskin’s books that were made into a movie, 7 Khoon Maaf, by Vishal Bhardwaj. Susanna has this knack for falling in love with the wrong men. With time she acquires the notoriety of a merry widow who moves from one marriage to another with no regret or remorse.
9. Lone Fox Dancing
Lone Fox Dancing is Ruskin Bond’s autobiography, where he shares snippets from his life. These include some from his childhood in Jamnagar, where he composed his first poem, to others from his time in New Delhi, where he found the material for his first short story. The book is a great insight into his life.
10. Looking For The Rainbow: My Years With Daddy
Ruskin lost his father at a very young age and has probably missed him all his life. Looking For The Rainbow: My Years With Daddy talks about what a young boy would love to do with his father; spend time with him, go for walks, go to the cinema, read books and have conversations with him. With some beautiful illustrations, the book is the first-ever memoir for children.
11. Falling In Love Again
Falling In Love Again is a collection of all the short stories Ruskin has ever written. They are all about love, romance and heartbreak. ‘The Girl from Copenhagen’ and ‘The Eyes Have It’ are some of the stories found in the book.
12. Tales Of Fostergunj
Set in a fictitious suburb, Fostergunj on the outskirts of Mussourie, Tales of Fostergunj talks about a writer who finds himself in Fostergunj by chance. Though he wants to live the life of a recluse, fate has something else in store for him. His life takes on an adventurous and exciting turn with several experiences with leopards, hens, a blackbird and many more.
13. Love Among The Bookshelves
Love Among The Bookshelves is like a double bonanza for a book lover. In this book, Ruskin gives us a glimpse into the books that he has loved in his life, including some forgotten classics. Starting from the first book that he discovered on a bookshelf, P.G Wodehouse’s ‘Love Among the Chickens’, he moves on to his school days, where he discovered Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, and H.E.Bates.
14. The India I Love
Someone who made India his home, it is no wonder that he has written a book like that. The India I Love is a collection of nineteen heartfelt poems and essays full of nuggets of wisdom based on his experiences in the country.
15. The Hidden Pool
The Hidden Pool is Ruskin Bond’s first book for children. It is the story of three friends, Laurie, Anil and Kamal and their escapade to a glacier where no one from their town has ever gone before.
16. The Kitemaker
The Kitemaker is the story of Mehmood and his grandson, which begins when Ali asks his grandfather to help him when his kite gets stuck in the branches of an old banyan tree. This pulls a trigger, and Mehmood goes back to the days when he was a master kitemaker. He reminiscences the days when men had time to find joy in things like kiteflying.
17. No Man Is An Island; Stories Of Friendship And Bonding
No Man Is An Island; Stories Of Friendship And Bonding is a collection of stories and poems that talk about friendship and the joys it brings with it. We all want friends and companions in our lives. In the book, Ruskin, in his simple style, narrates tales of friendship between a stranger and a young boy, a writer and a hawker.
18. Tales And Legends From India
Tales And Legends From India is another one of his books based on India. The book is divided into three sections; Tales From the Epics, Tales from the Jatakas, and Regional Tales and Legends. This is an excellent read for children and adults as it helps the reader connect with our roots.
19. A Song Of Many Rivers
A Song of Many Rivers is a 100-page book which is a collection of 12 essays, short stories and anecdotes whose central theme is rivers. Ruskin Bond captures the essence of many rivers from Bhagirathi, Mandakini, to Suswa and captures the beauty of these rivers along with the lives of people who depend on them. This is an excellent collection of Ruskin Bond stories.
20. All Roads Lead To Ganga
All Roads Lead To Ganga is a travel memoir in which Ruskin Bond once again brings his love for the country that he chose to make his home. His account brims with nostalgia and affection for the places he has lived and the people he has spent his time with. He talks about the beauty of Dehradun, Mussoorie, Rudraprayag, Garhwal and other places.
21. Dust On The Mountain
Dust On The Mountain is the story of a young boy who loves nature and everything associated with it. He lives in the midst of hills but is forced to go to the city to look for work. He meets many interesting people there and has diverse experiences, but nature never loses its significance for him.
Pick these famous Ruskin Bond books for a light and enjoyable session of reading!