As far as I can remember, I have been surrounded by books of all kinds. After we moved from Delhi to Chennai in 1989, whenever I topped my class, I got gift coupons from school that could be exchanged for books at this famous bookstore called Higginbotham’s. I used to get two coupons – one for topping my section, and another for topping the entire class. The routine of topping and collecting gift coupons continued for many years.

Visiting Higginbotham’s was replete with joy and anticipation. My father would accompany me and my younger sister, and would patiently wait as we went around the bookstore searching for new titles that would fit into our budget. It is an inextricable memory link – I must make enough money to be able to afford all sorts of books. Years later, in 2017, when I borrowed and read ‘Yanni in Words’, I realised that I still find some books too expensive to buy.

My childhood is also full of memories of the nearby lending library – it was called Ramkumar lending library. My sister and I would cycle down to the library and pick up books. I have also spent much time in the libraries of all my education institutions.

Books are deeply tied to my health. To me, one of the biggest joys of life is to be able to read a book in full concentration, and then enjoy the aftermath. Mentioned below are a few books that I recommend for better mental health.

Search Inside Yourself

Written by Chande-Meng Tan, the book is based on his experiences at Google and offers methods for enhancing mindfulness at work and outside. You can read reviews here.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Written by Viktor E Frankl, the book was written after his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. You can read reviews here.

When Breath Becomes Air

Written by Paul Kalanithi, the book was written after his cancer diagnosis and shows how he raced against time to bring the poignant book out. The book was published posthumously. You can read reviews here.

The Consolations of Philosophy

Written by Alain de Botton, the book delves into the lives of 6 philosophers and associated learnings.  You can read reviews here.

Getting a Grip: On My Game, On My Body, On My Mind

Written by Monica Seles, this is an autobiography by the multiple time grand slam champion. You can read reviews here.