“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, but the man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
Books are a true gift. They give us a chance to escape reality and to be a part of a different world, to be in someone else’s life, a life which teaches us lessons and gives us an opportunity to experience a plethora of emotions right from bringing a smile to our faces to leaving us teary-eyed, but above all, teaches us to live our lives to the fullest. Books are undoubtedly a storehouse of knowledge that can definitely satisfy the insatiable quest for learning about varying aspects of life and often leaves us with either new profound wisdom or a question!
Let’s explore some snippets written by the bibliophiles of Brown Magazine straight from their hearts.
The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak
“When I was a child, I saw God, I saw angels; I watched the mysteries of the higher and lower worlds. I thought all men saw the same. At last, I realized that they did not ‘SEE’… ! ” – Shams of Tabriz
Commencing with this highly profound note, The Forty Rules Of Love supremely composed by Elif Shafak is the unimaginable book, with intense depth. On reading this book, I could feel a sense of liberation; it caused me to see life in a more beautiful way. It sends an altogether different vibe that is hard to express in words. It has a story running alongside another story. It largely encompasses the life of Rumi and his companion Shams Tabrizi. The book bears great spiritual and aesthetic essence, with beautiful messages. Right from the start, steadily yet with great composure, it begins to unfold the forty rules of love and life, that Shams of Tabriz carries in his cauldron of wisdom. The book unveils the surmises and drapes the reader’s mind in such a cloak of thoughts that are unimaginable. It compelled me to read every line of it at least two times, to absorb the profusely deep thoughts. From the day I got this book in my hands, I have fallen in love with it more and more every day. I have decided to read this book over and over again, and I would never be bored with it. One could draw the meaning of this vast life from the 350 pages of this book.
The Fault in our Stars – John Green
”Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever between the numbered days, and I am grateful.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars is a precious, warm novel about two teenagers’ love story, written by John Green. It was the first novel I ever read, and I would be lying if I denied that it made me become smitten with books. The beautiful novel is not age-specific. From teenagers to the elderly, anyone can enjoy it. It beautifully explains that it is not essential to live a long life but live in the moment and make the most of it. It also illustrates how one can totally and utterly fall in love with someone; how someone can enter your life and change it in ways you never foresaw. The Fault in Our Stars deals with a sensitive topic – cancer – in a subtle way, adding more value to the book. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are two characters that will always give the readers a mixed feeling of pleasure and pain.
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
Pack your travelling bags and get ready to join Liz on her journey across the three I’s- Italy, India and Indonesia. Struggling to fight the demons of despair chasing hard behind her, she escapes from the hard reality of her life on a journey to immerse herself in the joie de vivre of mouth-watering cuisines, mystical rejuvenation and exhilarating passion. Read across three hundred and fifty-two pages of heartfelt emotions and thoughts on depression, motherhood, marriage, love and the choices we make in life. I was really drawn by the three common, everyday verbs stringed together in the title and the pleasures brought by indulging in these simple acts of life that we often take for granted. The book inspires us to catch hold of our dreams and not let disappointments or other people’s expectations get in the way. “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort”, she says. Indeed, the book makes us ponder over our true feelings and encourages us to live a content life free of all inhibitions.
A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom – John Boyne
I have loved the works of John Boyne ever since I got my hands on A Boy in Stripped Pajamas, and then years later devoured The Heart’s Invisible Furies. So when the new book came out, I knew it would be a masterpiece and I was not mistaken. It definitely takes the idea that stories do not change over time or around cultures; they are universal. A story that stretches over almost 2 millennia, across lands and seas, across cultures and their people, but joined by the thin thread of a single family, the novel was a thrilling read. It has everything – bloodshed, romance, queerness, a very broken family – everything that I truly love. I must admit, I had trouble at first following the subtle changes throughout the book, but once I got the hang of it, I undeniably could not put the book down.
The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling
The first book I ever read was the Great Stories for Children by Ruskin Bond. The stories were simple yet meaningful. However, I found my “Great Story” because of a woman in Scotland. J.K. Rowling created a magical world in a coffee shop, stressed with financial issues. Harry Potter may not be the most critically acclaimed novel series or maybe even the best one. But for me, when I think about reading and escaping reality, it is what comes to mind. I have always been one who loved stories more than reality. In the sixth standard, when I got my first Harry Potter book from the school library and started reading, I was sure that this story is my dream reality. The books are not only about a fantasy or magic; for me, it is learning the importance of courage, knowledge and empathy. I may have read the book series over seven times now, but to this day whenever I am looking for an escape or inspiration, I go back to Hogwarts!
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life – Hector Garcia and Albert Liebermann
Inspiration and motivation are the two most important driving forces of one’s life. One source of inspiration which often compels me to jump out of my bed is my passion which gives my life a purpose, a reason for my being which in other words, is called Ikigai. The book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life written by Hector Garcia and Albert Liebermann is a true eye-opener with many amazing lessons, right from helping us to discover our passions to telling us the secrets of longevity as evident in the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is the home of the largest centenarians in the world and most importantly acting as the perfect guide for living a healthy life. Apart from this, two amazing concepts from the book which redefined my life were: the philosophy of Stoicism which taught me to enjoy my life’s pleasure to the fullest but only to an extent where they don’t control us. This was followed by the ideology of “Ichi-go ichi-e “which encourages me to be conscious of the present as it exists only once and would never come again. These rules have definitely provided a different direction to my life! Ikigai will help you to find the true purpose of your life and will teach you to live for it. Go and grab this book and be a part of an incredible journey.
The Secret – Rhonde Byrne
Preranna P. Bagrecha
The book introduced many people to the concept that their thoughts may influence not only their actions but the experiences that they bring into their lives as well. This book answers questions like why are we asked to build good and healthy feelings right from our childhood. As a matter of fact, these are the things that decide the course our lives take. The importance and need of feelings and emotions, the need to sometimes give in to something that our hearts desire for, the need to naturally ‘feel’ the things we want to happen, the need to take good care of our health, the need to treat ourselves with love and respect, the ways to make our relationships with others work, the condition and ways of expressing our gratitude to our makers as well as everyone and everything that have touched our lives – all these have been discussed intricately in a detailed manner in the book. The book is a guiding line for all those seeking mental and physical growth. Although it’s an old book, it has still proved its marketability with its constant updating. There is always negative and positive feedback. Some people have reviewed this book as a fraud because of the failure of the principles of the law of attraction. We don’t know whether it’s the book’s failure or their failure in applying the law.
My Journey: Transforming Dreams Into Actions – A.B.J. Abdul Kalam
As far as I can recall, this was my first book which I read that was not a part of the school curriculum. Reading was not my cup of tea. I was 13 or 14 years old when a really special person gifted it to me. So, I read it, and I remember that I finished the whole book in two days. I was awestruck by the story of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. I couldn’t understand how a six or seven-year-old child could wake up at four-o-clock in the morning, go to the Railway Station to collect newspapers and then attend his regular school. The story defines the true dedication and passion for chasing dreams; the story teaches you the importance of patience, and most importantly, it tells you how to be vulnerable in front of the harsh world. It is my first favourite book and the one which I will definitely recommend to the next generation.
These are some of the pieces which allowed us to be a part of different lives by unravelling other worlds and it definitely made us fall in love with reading again!