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Books imprinted on my soul

As far back as my memory goes, I have always sought the refuge of printed paper in the lonely moments. But it was not until teenage that I fell in love with the bound pages.

Being uprooted from one place and undergoing certain changes in living space is always difficult. More so in a child hovering on the edge of a milestone. An incomprehension of adjusting to drastic life changes introduced me to loneliness in a crowd.

My slight interest in reading turned to logomania. The library became my personal haven. I would devour anything I could get my hands on- fantasy, memoirs, fiction, folktales, encyclopedias, self-help, poetry, art, history.

The books filled a hole in my soul I never knew existed. I find myself pleased to confess my first love turned out to be books. They brought out emotions I never could express. They taught me about people, about the world, and more importantly about myself. They have taught me to love myself- just the way I am, to be selfish- to go after my heart’s wishes, to accept myself- broken pieces and all.

All the books I read have left their imprint on my soul. I am a result of the pieces they left behind, the wisdom they imparted, the smiles they bestowed, the grief they struck in my heart. I am made up of crumbling paper and spilled ink. All that holds me together is the binding of words.

This is my pick of the books that had a huge influence on me.


THE SECRET

-RHONDA BYRNE

One single law to govern the universe- the law of attraction. Your thoughts project vibrations in the universe and attract the things with similar vibrations. The Secret builds upon the importance of positive thought and meditation. It walks us through the steps to reach the stage of manifestation. Various spiritual and scientific minds come together to validate the central theory of like-attracts-like. What we can imagine, we can manifest in the plane of reality.

Sounds like a dream come true. The stories narrated by some in the book sure seem like something out of a fantasy. In my personal experience no miracles yet, but this is certainly a good book to get you started on the spiritual journey.


CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD

-NEALE DONALD WALSCH

A book revisited during the pandemic. The one book that pulled me through an existential crisis as a teenager. A trying time when I questioned every aspect of life and world. When I received no answers from anywhere, this book was an oasis in the scorching desert. The subjects are varied and went a long way in quenching the inferno of doubts blazing in my mind.

The book is termed as an uncommon dialogue referring to the word of God through the author. I am sure we all have thought of the questions he asked one time or another. The answers from God are things we might have known already. But our insecurities held us back. Our initiative to take control of our own lives is validated by Walsch as a conduit for God. As far as boosting confidence and morale goes, Walsch gets a 10/10.


PERCY JACKSON

-RICK RIORDAN

First line and I was hooked “I accidently vaporize my pre-algebra teacher”. I feel ya Percy. I swear the subject hated me with a passion. I, of course, returned the sentiment with equal fervor. The series delves in mythology, but contrary to the serious nature of the subject, the book is witty, sarcastic and outrageously hilarious. The struggles of an entire dyslexic community and their coping methods provide a beautiful feel to the narrative. The day-to-day squabbles of the godly family gives them traits of humanity.

The story and incidents are relatable to an extent, barring the godly interferences. A perfect pick me up after a long grueling day.


LIFE WITH GRANNY

-PETER HARTLING

Happened across my childhood stash of leisure readings and found this little nugget. This remains one book till date that had a great impact on turning my perspective into multi-dimensional as a child. For someone who had grown up in a family formed of three generations under the same roof, ‘Life with Granny’ was a tale of wonder and bemusement. As a child Karl’s tragedy and the upheaval of his life was like a glimpse into another world like a fairy tale. As a grown up, it strikes at the heart as a compelling journey of a beautiful relationship between two people worlds apart.

The rollercoaster ride of Karl and Granny’s adventures, enjoying the good days and weathering the bad ones together never fails at inducing a hopeful smile.


TRAIN TO PAKISTAN

-KHUSHWANT SINGH

War has long been a part of our world since life has existed. Fiction has often romanticized war for those who have not lived through the horrors of its inhumanity. Singh diverges from the norm of romanticization and the philosophy that history is written by winners. He paints the brutal face of war in all its gruesome glory. He does not differentiate between our side and their side. “The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped.”

A truly chilling tale of partition set in a border village between India and Pakistan, scarred by the atrocities of a religious war.


DREAM PSYCHOLOGY: PSYCHOANALYSIS FOR BEGINNERS

-SIGMUND FREUD

A recently sprouted fascination with delving into the human psyche has led me to exploring Sigmund Freud. Dream Psychology is the perfect compilation for dabblers. Not heavy on the scientific jargon, the text elucidates the impact of subconscious on not just our dreams, but also on our conscious brain. The dreams convey meaning from the unconscious through symbolism.

This book lays the foundation of the workings of our subconscious that is further explored in ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’.


LEARNING TO WALK IN THE DARK

-BARBARA BROWN TAYLOR

As someone who loves dark starry nights and long lonely walks, it was the title that reeled me in. the book turned out to be a surprising treasure trove of so much more than expected. Taylor takes us on a spiritual journey through the winding maze of our inner darkness simultaneously with the intimidating darkness of the night.

The fears, the anxiety and the worries take shape of monsters in the dark. Conquering those and the peace and serenity that follows makes the dark seem like a soothing cocoon of blankets, basking in the moonlight.


I'VE NEVER BEEN (UN)HAPPIER

-SHAHEEN BHATT

“I have no more poetry left in me”

Considering my recent interest in human psyche this was recommended by a friend. One of the most heart-wrenchingly honest narratives I have read. Bhatt has given voice to the darkness lurking inside us, silent, looming, just waiting for a chance to consume. The envy, the insecurity and the utter dejectedness in her words crawls under your skin and seeps into your very being.

As a person who has trouble voicing my darkness even in my head, the vulnerability she displays is truly inspiring. She bares her soul in these pages, and it strikes a chord with my own. The best part is her firm declaration to confront the reality and not be swept away in the fairy-tale hope of perpetual bliss. She is battered from the waves yet hopes to be strong enough to weather the storm.

“I remind myself even the worst storms pass.

I remind myself I’ve survived them all.”

Her words strengthen my belief that I am strong enough to weather my own storms, to leave the darkness behind me and gives me hope for the coming year.


TARKASH

-JAVED AKHTAR

All those soulful moments you can never string together in a comprehensible sentence, Akhtar imbibes into his verses. His poetry flows over and through you like a river and you feel cleansed and bereft when it is over. Tarkash is the quiver full of his sharpest memories. So sharp in fact, some of them could still draw blood, which he uses to breathe life and soul in his poetry.

My love for poetry was a prompt for this book- a gift from a dear friend, a memorable introduction to the elegance of Urdu poetry. There is no happy pill quite like poetry. No feeling comes close to the tranquility of losing yourself in the drifts of words.



FOR EACH ECSTATIC MOMENT

-EMILY DICKINSON

One could fill volumes explaining these scanty verses, and still have more to say. I would rather let them fill the jagged holes in my soul, rather than frame them within my words.


I plan to have a terrific to-be-read booklist for the coming months. Sign in to lose yourself in the lamenting world of swirling ink.




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