Books are magical beings. Each page turned pushes a breath of foreign life into you; each sentence is a thought seeded in the soil of your mind. These beings have the power to grow inside you—they creep into your soul; they change you!
That sounded a lot more morbid than I meant it to. Haha! But I stand by it. Every book does have magical powers and creates a relationship that stays with you long after it leaves you.
In the world before blogs and quick videos, you had to go through a complete book to get a sneak peek into another life, albeit a fictional one.
All things considered, you usually end up with a new perspective.
A Timeline of Books That Created Me
Like a mother cannot pick a favorite child, I am not capable of calling out any one name in the books that made me who I am today.
My favorite childhood memories are of afternoons spent lying around the bedroom with my cousins after a meal reading Archie Comics. For the longest time, I thought they were real people living life somewhere. An early eye-opener was seeing that simple, sweet Betty wasn’t an obvious choice for Archie to love when compared to vicious, entitled Veronica!
Famous Five, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew taught me to be inquisitive, brave, and above all, kind to my friends—that loyalty is an important value to nurture in yourself. I also learned that often, to solve a problem, you have to be observant.
Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle, Chandamama. These Indian mythological and folklore comics brought forth life lessons through history and stories with philosophy. My dad bought these at train stations whenever we visited India during our summer vacations. It has become so ingrained in me that even today, I just have to pack a book before travel of any kind.
Books from my college years
Books that influenced me deeply just before college are definitely As the Crow Flies and Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer and Fountainhead by Ann Rand. I often am left astounded by the ideas presented by people so far ahead of their times. Even today when I open a random page of these stories, I am taken back to that moment of adolescent eureka, and I still manage to find a new gem to ponder over.
As the Crow Flies/Kane and Able are about men with ambition. The characters go from nowhere to achieving everything they dreamed of with hard work and persistent efforts and in spite of countless hurdles coming their way.
Fountainhead (I call this my personal ethics book) is controversial in some circles, but I look up to it for my personal interpretation of it. The protagonists stand by their principles and do what they love best by being true to themselves: not succumbing to sheep mentality, not bowing down to societal pressures, and not giving up when things get hard. The did everything right and still failed due to their uniqueness. They persisted in dreaming of creating their own form of revolution—just by being themselves. That, to me is true heroism!
Books for today
These days, I am a big fan of the characters Jack Reacher and Myron Bolitar, creations of Lee Child and Haran Coben respectively. I do not say the series because the storylines have often disappointed. But the character arcs for the heroes remains consistent. These fictitious men are men of honor and truth who will not just stand by to watch something wrong happen.
I guess you can by now sense a pattern of me falling for idealism in every book I read. Ha!
In non-fiction, I love to go back to Tuesdays with Morrie, Eat Pray Love, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, 10 Mindful Minutes, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Why Not Me.
There is not one thing I could write about these books because it is a spiritual experience. You just have to read them to discover the many secrets these pages unfold. They have often been the oars helping me navigate through personal storms.
One of my favorite things about living in America is the libraries.
Barnes and Noble and county libraries are my Disneyland. I go, I browse, and I come home with a bag full of treats to devour over a month’s time. And now having OverDrive to access any title I want on my Kindle/iPad is just exhilarating, though nothing can ever replace the comfort of smells in old books and the rustling of turning pages.
Where books are concerned, I will always be a greedy little girl willing to pick up any comic, book, or magazine to discover the words that will forever transform me.