Books are a man's best friend, and also the best wingman when it comes to forging a new relationship. Walking into a restaurant with your favourite book and having someone stop to tell you that that's their favourite too is stuff that dreams are made of, or maybe a romantic drama.
So when we heard about a sip-and-swap party being held this weekend, we got curious. The party has a dress code, something straight out of the Upper East Side life in Gossip Girl. But in this case, it's a mandatory plus one — books. All you have to do is bring a title and swap it with a stranger, hopefully starting a new story of your own.
With the plot almost ready to develop into a romantic read, we were reminded of the works of Chetan Bhagat, Ravinder Singh, Anuja Chauhan, Durjoy Datta, Nikita Singh and others who have themselves done a fascinating job in the genre. So, we decided to ask four of them one question: Which is that one book from your personal collection that you would like to give to a stranger, and why? Here's what they had to say:
Kirpalani may have become the author of three novels — Written in the Stars, Never Say Never and 19 Till I Die — but deep down she still crushes on Mr Darcy. So, if there's one book that she has to give away, it's going to be Pride and Prejudice, even though it is "very difficult to part with". "I absolutely love the book. So many years later, Jane Austen's work is still relevant. Even today we are so quick to judge people based on our prejudices. Only after we actually get to know them, we realise how wrong we were. And, to my surprise, there are still so many people who tell me that they haven't read the book yet. But it's a must," Kirpalani insists.
When he launched his debut book You Are The Best Wife, Pandey beat the likes of JK Rowling and Devdutt Pattanaik to go to the top of the bestselling list in India. When it's his turn to give away a book to a stranger, his choice is simple and quick — Kushwant Singh's The Company of Women. "The book is about a man and his undiminished desire for women. Each and every relationship has a different significance in this man's life and Singh has portrayed them beautifully. It reads more likeâÂÂÂÂpoetry than prose, and is a wonderful read," Pandey explains.
Chauhan came into our lives with PepsiCo's Yeh dil maange more, and the girl-meets-cricketer-and-both-fall-head-over-heels-in-love story in The Zoya Factor. She's also written Battle for Bittora, Those Pricey Thakur Girls, The House That BJ Built and Baaz, all bestselling novels in their own right. At 47, however, Chauhan is a bit irked, especially because of "the current scenario in our country". "I would definitely give George Orwell's Animal Farm to a stranger. It's pretty self-explanatory. I think it's a great lesson for anybody right now," she says.
Kazi's debut novel Truly, Madly Deeply became so popular that he was soon dubbed the Nicholas Sparks of India. His book was largely about dealing with loss. So when it comes to him, his reply is as high in feelings as he is. "If I were to give a book to a stranger, I'd like to believe that it would lead to something more, maybe a friendship. So, my pick would be Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. It's a very important part of my childhood. The story is basically about how two strangers meet, become friends and create an imaginary kingdom of their own. It teaches the values of friendship and trust. It's a book I hold dear," Kazi explains.
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