Ruskin Bond is one of the best Indian authors who has over 500 works to his credit. Most of his works are set in the backdrop of the Himalayas, Dehradun, and Mussoorie, where he spent much of his life. His literary alter ego, Rusty, is partially based on his childhood experiences, and many of his books feature Rusty as the main protagonist, exploring his life at various points.
Best Ruskin Bond Books To Read!
He is often acknowledged for his unique writing style. His stories have simple themes. All of his protagonists are people whom we see in our everyday life. Each of his stories could make us remember someone similar, who we had come past in a different situation in life. Addressed as the “Children’s writer” and “The Man of Imagination,” his books cater to all generations’ reading needs. Here is a list of his best books:
1. The Room on the Roof
The Room on the Roof is the first novel of Ruskin Bond. Written almost 70 years back, this novel still tops the charts and is considered one of the best novels of Ruskin Bond. This was written by him during his adolescence and remained an easy connection for almost all adults to date. Rusty, an orphan, lives with his Guardian, Mr. Harrison, in Dehra. His guardian is wary of the Indian culture and wants to groom Rusty into an English person.
Like every teenager, Rusty feels completely suffocated and craves freedom and a happy life. He befriends Somi and Ranbir and is forced to run away from his guardian after an unforeseen event. He gets the job of teaching Mr.Kapoor’s son Kishen through Somi. Mr.Kapoor is a drunkard with a wife, Meena, twenty years younger than him. Meena and Rusty fall in love, but Rusty’s happiness is short-lived when Meena dies in an accident. Mr.Kapoor remarries after this incident.
He again falls into the clutches of loneliness and pain after being abandoned again. What happens later? Did he find the love and freedom he was craving for? This novel describes the brutality of orphan life. This book also explains the pain a young and naive teenager had to face in his life and how he overcame everything. This novel also has a sequel, “Vagrants in the valley,” that focuses on the lives of Rusty and Kishen in the later years. You can get the book here! 📖
2. Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories
This book is a compilation of around 30 short stories by Ruskin Bond. The titular story revolves around a boy who travels from Dehradun to Delhi in a train that stops for a station named Deoli in between. On the platform, he meets a girl who sells baskets. He is immediately attracted to her. Having met her only twice, he searches for her the next day, and she is nowhere to be found. Did he find her at last?
All the book’s stories revolve around themes like unrequited love, yearning for childhood, the simple and carefree good old days, and the people we meet around us. These stories emphasize that everyone we see carries a story in them. This book offers a perfect break from the everyday rush and lets us settle and sink in with the stories. You can get the book here! 📖
3. The Cherry Tree
The titular character, the cherry tree, is the story’s main protagonist. This story describes the journey of the cherry tree through the years that Rakesh, a six-year-old boy, had planted. Rakesh and his grandfather are living in Mussoorie. One day, Rakesh eats a cherry and plants its seed. The tree faces many hurdles, like almost being cut off, grazed by animals, drastic climate changes, and so on.
What happens to the cherry tree later forms the ending of the story. This story, like many other Ruskin Bond books, emphasizes the importance of nature and nurturing it. This book, falling under fifty pages, is a sweet read for children and adults alike. You can get the book here! 📖
4. A Little Book of Friendship
This book is a collection of quotes, thoughts, and poems on Friendship. Ruskin Bond emphasizes the importance of Friendship and draws comparisons between friendships and many other things in life. One of the best portions of the book is when Ruskin Bond describes Friendship through the eyes of an old photo album and says that, after all, life wasn’t that waste.
Also, contrasting the world’s popular opinion today that friends must reach out to us, Ruskin Bond says that we can also lend our hand forward if we want good friends. Also, if we have mastered the art of Friendship, we can master anything in life. There are also little thoughts like looking at an old friend and mirroring ourselves, listening more than talking, and remembering the old times through hilarious incidents. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Angry River
Sita is a young girl living with her grandparents on an island. The island is located in the middle of the river. The river hasn’t flooded in many years, and the trio lives a simple yet peaceful life. Sita has a doll named Mamta with which she shares all her secrets with. When her grandmother falls ill, her grandfather takes her to the hospital in the nearby town. Suddenly it begins to rain, and there is a flood in the river. The river looks like it is in full-on angry mode, thus justifying the title.
She climbs into the tree nearby and seeks refuge from the heavy rain. The tree is also uprooted soon, and she is left afloat in the water. She meets a boy named Krishnan, who saves her from the tree and takes her on his boat. What happens later? Did she meet her grandfather? This tale is about hope, bravery, resilience, and turning over a new life despite life’s adversities. This story also is deeply rooted in village life and explores the simplicities and complexities of the same. A short and sweet read! You can get the book here! 📖
6. The Blue Umbrella
Binyadevi, aka Binya, and her brother Vijay, aka Bijju, live happily in the mountains. One day Binya trades her leopard-claw pendant for a blue umbrella from a few picnickers. Immediately after, her umbrella becomes the talk of the town. Ram Bharosa, a shopkeeper, is jealous of her umbrella. He even hires a boy to steal her umbrella. But the theft is stopped, and Ram Bharosa’s name is spoiled among the villagers. Ram Bharosa, his name that translates to Ram, the trustworthy becomes no longer trustworthy.
People stop buying things from him, and he is left all alone. Did he get the umbrella that he was longing for? What did Binya decide? This is a simple yet powerful story about how far people would go to get their desired things. Also, this story explains how greed and longing can completely change a person’s character. Being a very short read, this book can be completed in less than an hour or two. You can get the book here! 📖
7. Time Stops At Shamli & Other Stories
This book is a collection of short stories that center on various themes like the loss of a loved one, a love that can never succeed, a love that leaves oneself longing for more, beauty and ugliness from the perception of one’s eyes, mother nature, tigers, and so on. Falling a bit more on the heavier side, these stories reflect the realities of life. If you are looking forward to realistic stories with the touch of nativity, this book can be your perfect choice! You can get the book here! 📖
8. The Great Train Journey
Ruskin Bond shares his love for train journeys in this collection of short stories. All the stories in this book are connected to the trains and railway stations of the small towns in India. Ruskin Bond reminisces the days when we had children playing in the tracks, adults staring and watching at the train, and the joy each passing train gave us. Nowadays, tied to the hustle and bustle of the everyday world, we don’t find any such things.
He also addresses the people on the train as mysterious faces traveling to mysterious destinations. He calls so because people can only stare at or wave at them; they can’t understand their story. The titular story describes a boy named Suraj’s short yet memorable train journey. If you are a great fan of train journeys or have spent much time on the trains, this book is a must-read! You can get the book here! 📖
9. Roads to Mussoorie
As the title describes, this book is a collection of Ruskin Bond’s experiences in and around Mussoorie. One unique portion of the book is that the Foreword is written as the Backword, and he states that he does almost everything backward, like reading a book, walking, and so on. And in contrast, the Epilogue is called the Foreword. Ruskin Bond explains the difficulties of a writer’s life, like waiting for the payment and not living in a lavish and fully furnished house, as opposed to the thinking of many people.
He also adds that people have to climb nearly twenty steps to meet him, which is quite tedious. Postman and postal service, which are almost endangered today, served an inevitable role back then. He explains how they, apart from delivering letters, delivered gossip everywhere and carried weapons to protect themselves from the tigers. The most influential people of that place, like the courier guy and other similar people of the place, are also described in detail. A feel-good read on the whole! You can get the book here! 📖
10. Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra
This book is a collection of fourteen short stories that revolve around Ruskin Bond’s relationship with Dehra. He also introduces Maplewood in the first portion. He remains grateful for the place because he came there at age 35, willing to take the risk of being a freelancer and build a future and career for himself. He also expresses his regret because the forests and trees in the place are being taken down in the name of Modernization.
Other impactful stories in the book include “Untouchability,” a practice that prevents two children from entirely different classes from staying together, and “What’s your dream?” a story that emphasizes the value of focusing on our dream rather than trying to take away the dreams of others. You can get the book here! 📖
If you want to read feel-good stories with fresh greenery, simple people, and carefree times, these books can be your perfect choice. How many books have you read from the list? Let us know in the comments below! Happy reading!
I am a freelance content writer and book reviewer who loves unleashing creativity, one pen stroke at a time. I like reading and writing about what I read. In an attempt to explore and introduce Tamil and Indian literature. Welcome to my world!