I read Sea of Poppies  by Amitav Ghosh while travelling to Florida for Winter Solstice. Great language and exciting plot - it is set in the 1830s in Indian where many of the characters are involved in the (then legal) Opium Trade. We learn many details of how opium destroyed not only the consumers of it but also the producers. We also see the effects of rigid caste, class and racism among the different characters. I gained an interesting understanding of the times and how different people thought and felt back then.


The book contains a lot of authenic language of the period, and has an appendix which defines and gives the entomology of many of the words that have since come into the English language, such as bandanna and shampoo. This dictionary was written by one of the book's characters, Neel. a distance relative of the author who updated the word list and provides the author's connection to the story.