Some books you read, some books you enjoy, but some books just swallow up your heart and soul.
Reading has not only been my hobby since as long as I can remember, but books have grown to be my very best friends. What’s more amazing than having so many worlds to explore, so many friends to meet, making the impossible, possible? All you need is a good book and some imagination, and you’re off to wherever you want to be at. I develop a relationship, a bond with every book I read and carry words from them that I engrave onto my heart.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was obviously one of the first books to leave an impact on me. Like every other Potterhead Harry’s journey was as much mine as it was his. The importance of friendship, standing up for what is right, facing your fears bravely, hoping even in despair, understanding loss, acceptance and above all, Love are some of the themes in this series that touched me.
“It is our choices that tell us who we really are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K.Rowling
Enid Blyton was another of my childhood favourites. She was one writer who could make skittles talk and trees walk like it was an everyday affair. Old and wise Big Ears, friendly little Noddy, naughty Amelia Jane, the playroom coming alive at night, sprites, pixies and fairies, enchanted woods have me believing to this day that maybe, perhaps, my bear is actually alive. (I think I saw him winking…) The Family at Red Roofs – a beautiful story about how important it is to stick together in tough times is one of Blyton’s books that I don’t mind reading again.
“I always felt there was a place for me in all the books I read because that’s what fantasy and fiction had taught me. That I could belong anywhere because everything was possible.” –Enid Blyton
Average, awkward, skinny green-eyed Molly Moon was an orphan baby found in a box of Moon’s Marshmallows. This little girl who grew up suffering, taught me that hitting rock bottom is not the end. She chooses to make the best of her situation and the result is simply enchanting.
Molly breathed in the fresh cold night air and grinned at the still, sleeping countryside. Tonight, life was almost too exciting. What had she thought when she’d first found the hypnotism book? That the possibilities were endless? Tonight Molly felt that was certainly true about her life. From the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Life felt completely magical. And once again, Molly thought how happy she was to be ordinary, plain old Molly Moon. Ahead, the road shone like a silver ribbon in the moonlight, all the way home to Happiness House.–Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism, Georgia Byng
One of the most popular philosophical books of all times, The Alchemist proved to me that the Universe will help me realize every dream I have if I never give up. Santiago learns to listen to the Soul of the World, the only thing that really matters.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting ”
― The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a tragic post colonial tale. Okonkwo the protagonist is a very strong character who’s inability to deal with conflict led to a very harsh downfall. His actions are a fine example of ignoring one’s conscience and letting the ego rule.
“Perhaps down in his heart, Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not extrovert, but lay deep within himself. “
-Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Although Pecola Breedlove is the highlight of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, I think Claudia Macteer’s rebellious nature towards the black community’s worshipping of white beauty definitely needs some light. Strong willed Claudia never succumbed to the racial stereotypes and did not try to become one of them to fit in.
“We were lesser. Nicer, brighter, but still lesser…what was the secret? What did we lack? Why was it important? And so what? Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness.”- Claudia Macteer, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Urmi from Shashi Deshpande’s Binding Vine learns that she can mend her pain by helping others cope with theirs and find their strengths. Through her resilience, she overcomes her depression and finds a sense of liberation.
“There can be no vaulting over time. We have to walk every step of the way, however difficult or painful it is; we can avoid nothing.” The Binding Vine, Shashi Deshpande
Happiness can be found in the darkest of times only if one remembers to turn on the light. These books and many more are garlands of gold around my neck (Attia Hosain). I, a reader, a traveller, have reached out to get a glimpse of the characters’ soul in every book, embracing them like they were my own; Finding a bit of myself each time, loving life a little more.
The journey never ends, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s never about the happy ending, but always about the story.