Ruskin Bond, the literary genius started writing at the age of seventeen and has not looked back ever since. At the tender age of seventeen, he went on to win mighty prizes with his book, A Room on The Roof. And presently, with a literary career spanning over more than five decades, this extraordinary man has won the Sahitya Akademi, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri Awards among the other prestigious awards in India. Right from short stories to novellas, novels to poems, there is nothing that Bond can’t do! From writing for children to young adults, Ruskin Bond has something to offer for every age group. Guess, that’s what makes him stand out from the crowd!
If you have always been fascinated by Bond’s writing, then we are sure you will love this article. We have curated a list of best books by Ruskin Bond just for you!
The Room on The Roof
The Room on The Roof is the first novel written by Ruskin Bond. He composed this story when he was only seventeen. To date, it is considered one of the best books by Ruskin Bond. This book is centered on the life of a 17-year boy called Rusty who is a lonely orphan Anglo-Indian. He resides with his strict guardians on the outskirts of Dehra. His guardians are so conservative that they have prohibited Rusty from even going out and enjoy with his friends.
Rusty decides to break free of all these shackles and runs away. He spends time with his friends, struggles to live on his own, and also experiences love for the first time. This book will take you down the memory lane and fill you with the sweet nostalgic feeling of your teenage.
The Blue Umbrella
First published in 1980, The Blue Umbrella is a novella by Ruskin Bond. The protagonist of this book is a little girl named Binya. Set in the backdrop of a village named Garhwal, this is an extraordinary story of plain and ordinary characters being heroic by their deeds while the other characters undergo a transformation within themselves for redemption. When Binya exchanges her lucky leopard’s claw for a bright blue umbrella, all the villagers start to envy her.
Though the book is written in a simple and rustic language, the values conveyed by it are layered and it is expected to read between the lines to fully understand a brilliant story as this. At the end of this, you are sure to learn about quite a several virtues!
Rusty, The Boy from The Hills
For several years now, Bond’s creation of a young boy Rusty residing in the pre-independent times has been really popular among the young as well as the old. It is one of the favorite characters in school-going children. More so, because it is relatable. This book is a collection of short stories that gives us a deep insight into Rusty’s childhood. Rusty resides with his grandparents on the outskirts of Dehra. The book captures all the adventures and anecdotes that take place during his childhood.
From incidents like falling for a lonely princess in a tower to meeting his father who is fighting a war, the stories are vivid and the writing lucid. You will feel lost in the world that Bond weaves through his words making this one of the best books by Ruskin Bond.
Time Stops at Shamli and Other Stories
Time Stops at Shamli is a short novella along with a collection of other short stories that make up the backbone of this book. Each story created by Bond stands out in its demeanor. The characters of each story are presently so beautifully that you can not help but fall in love with the magic that Ruskin Bond weaves through the mastery of his words. Time stops at Shamli not only narrates a picturesque story but also takes into account the grotesque theme that is carefully laced with the other elements.
The writing is so magnificent that you will feel like leaving the comfort of your urban lifestyle to live a serene life among the hills and experience the rural life in India in its purity!
Delhi is Not Far
Set in the backdrop of a small and dusty town named Pipalnagar, this is a story about a struggling writer who is desperately in need of an inspiration that will motivate him to write a blockbuster story. On this journey, he seeks help from a lot of people including a homeless orphan and even a prostitute. The intricacies captured by the author for every tiny detail of the people and surroundings that make up a small town is remarkable.
The underlying themes that make up a Bond story exist as well including nostalgia, wisdom, humor, and rustic lifestyle making it a part of the best books by Ruskin Bond.
A Flight Of Pigeons
This novella takes us back to the Colonial Rule in India. Dating back to the 1850s, the novella starts with an incident when the father of Ruth Labadoor dies in front of her eyes. A result of the locals’ protest against the Britishers in an attempt to free India. With the setting of a small town Shahjahanpur which roaring with the anger of the rebels against the government, the family of Labadoor finds shelter in Lala Ramjilal’s house.
As the story unfolds, we see a Pathan leader trying to marry Ruth and being rejected several times and the Britishers trying to regain their control over the Indians, and so on. This story is quite different from what Bond usually writes but it continues to maintain its charm and simplicity.
Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra
This is a collection of about fourteen vividly crafted short stories by Ruskin Bond. The stories vary from childhood to adulthood. He talks about every big or small detail that has molded his character and made him what he is today. The stories are semi-autobiographical and form a large part of Bond’s life in general. He also emphasizes various people who have greatly influenced his life including his family, friends, and acquaintances.
Whoever feels a strong connection with humans and nature alike will never get bored of reading Ruskin Bond’s books. With him, we take a walk through various phases of life.
Roads To Mussoorie
Roads to Mussoorie is a wonderfully crafted collection of stories or may I say, memories that Bond recollects of his time spent in this bewitching town. Back then, it was not as popular as it is today and was merely a picnic spot for all reasons. Ruskin Bond has lived some of his best time here and he makes everyone fall in love with Mussoorie with his writing. The book makes you appreciate the little things that bring the joy that we ought to ignore.
From butterflies and buttercups to pine trees, Bond gives an extremely detailed account of Mussoorie that will awaken the wanderlust in you! His unmatched humor and wit make this book one of the best books by Ruskin Bond.
The story revolves around the life of a little girl named Sita who lives with her grandparents on a small island. She has lost her parents at a very tender age and hence, her grandparents are her only guardian. On one unfaithful day, when heavy rains surround the island and the river roars with anger, the grandparents are forced to leave Sita alone since the grandmother is ill and needs medical assistance.
Sita’s undeniable courage and faith in God and her unquestionable efforts to survive over difficult times make this a must-read for all. Long after you have finished this story, the effect that it has on you will linger on. Not only a kid but even an adult has a lot to learn from this one.
The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories
This book is a collection of 30 short stories that take inspiration from the author’s life. Most of them are set in the beautiful town of Garhwal, the picture of which is painted by Ruskin Bond through his words. Years of observing people and places have made him an excellent storyteller. He talks about timid adolescence, the lonely old age, and people of all ages who long for love and belongingness.
The words carved by him are filled with so much ease that they will make you feel like home. Bond’s short stories are like a warm comforting hug after a long, tiresome day. Maybe that is why he is so different than the other authors. With several themes lining up in his book including pain, loss, love, longing, and struggle, Bond will make you feel them all intensely and all at once.
That sums up our list of best books of Ruskin Bond. If you have any more suggestions, feel free to drop a comment below.