I love the Urdu language and Urdu literature! Nothing like digging into a well-written book to immerse yourself into a different world. I also find the humour and wit of the Urdu language unmatched. Here is a list of Urdu book recommendations from my side along with resources and links on how to find them. I have also added a few books that I still haven’t read myself but are on my list of must read Urdu books.
Every time I visit Pakistan I bring back lots of Urdu books with me since I can not buy these in Canada. When Jaffar was going back to Canada after our Nikah, I was to join him a few months after the immigration paperwork. I could send back stuff with him to fill the two suitcases he was taking back. And guess what I chose? Yes Urdu books! My mother is always a little disappointed in me when I refuse to take another Khaadi bedcover set back with me to Canada from Pakistan and fill my suitcases with books instead.
Urdu Book Recommendations:
1. Patras Kay Mazameen:
Simple language, witty and hilarious! Patras Kay Mazameen is a series of short articles by Patras Bukhari that I absolutely love! This one definitely makes the list of must read Urdu books because it’s a classic!
2. Himaqatein aur Mazeed Himaqatein by Shafeeq-ur-Rahman:
These two books are also my absolute favourite and always refresh me with their simplicity, hilarious plots and unforgettable characters.
3. Bajang Amad by Col. Mohammad
I listened to the audio book of this one on audible and it’s one of my forever favourites for Urdu book recommendations. Col. Mohammad shares with us a diary of a solder from the Indian subcontinent in the British army fighting World War II. There is a unique combination of humour, history, irony, emotions and feelings in this book, that only a writer of his caliber can deliver. Read my detailed review of the book here.
4. Uljhay Suljhay Anwar by Imrana Anwar:
I wanted to include a recent book in this list and recently enjoyed the book Imrana Anwar wrote about her celebrity husband Anwar Maqsood. The language is simple and I love her honest narrative. Read my detailed review here.
5. Chaltay Ho to Cheen Ko Chaliay by Ibne Insha
How can I list must read Urdu books and not mention Ibne Insha? I love his travel diaries and seeing the world through his perspective.
6. Raja Gidh by Bano Qudsia
This book has multiple layers and needs a deep understanding of human nature and mysticism to understand this gem by Bano Qudsia.
7. Works of Manto
I love Saadat Hasan Manto for his commentary on social issues. While the language is simple, the topics can leave you depressed since Manto shows us the real face of society. I love his sketches of famous personalities of his times and especially “Mera Sahab” about Quaid-e-azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
8. Sitamgar Sitamber by Neelum Ahmed Bashir
Neelum Ahmed Bashir is the elder sister of Bushra Ansari and I love her conversational style of writing. In this book she has shared the events of September 11, 2001 and how they effected the residents of New York, the USA and eventually the whole world.
9. Angan by Khatija Mastoor
If you like the slow-paced world of British Raj in the Indian subcontinent and the subtle romance of those days you will enjoy Angan by Khatija Mastoor. This book is not for everyone though and you have to appreciate the slow pace. The novel was also converted into a major drama series by Hum TV staring Sajal Ali and Ahad Raza Mir.
10. Shahabnama by Qudrat ullah Shahab
I haven’t read this one yet but this gem has been on my list for a long time and I’m looking forward to spend the time at home due to COVID-19 to finally read it!
Honourable mentions for Urdu book recommendations:
I would like to mention a few more Urdu books here for you to read: Zargazisht by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousafi, the travel stories by Mustansir Hussain Tarrar, Hind Yatra by Mumtaz Mufti and Zawaiya by Ashwaq Ahmed.
How to find these Urdu books:
All these books are available in book stores in Pakistan. You can also get them delivered anywhere in Pakistan through Liberty Books. Do check your public libraries. Calgary Public Library has a great physical collection of Urdu books.
Rekhta has many books available on their site.
Adeeb-online is a new app with a big collection of Urdu books.
YouTube has many videos of Urdu books narrated by amateurs. You can search directly. I can not speak for their quality though since they are mostly done at home.
Hope you enjoyed my Urdu book recommendations. Which ones would you add to the list?
Do read this post about how to start an Urdu book club and enrich your love of the language!