What would I do without books? I’m so glad that I was such a bookworm growing up and equally unhappy about the fact that I have turned into such a snail speed reader off late. There was a time when I used to read comics and then novels hidden inside textbooks and I have never regretted doing that. I am utterly and totally grateful to Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, Rabindranath Tagore, O Henry, Roald Dahl and many other great authors for making my childhood and growing up years so wonderfully colourful. I have enjoyed every bit of those summer vacations spent in a fantasy world of some silly but a fantastic European make-believe world where I could be a spy, a hostel boarder, a detective...whatever I wished to be. The best part was that it opened gates of my imagination!! I used to look forward to my bi-annual trips to Calcutta and the high point of the train journey used to be the stopover at the railway Wheeler bookstore. I would religiously buy books on every trip and also finish them in decent readable time window. Sigh! Those were the days. And I always used to think when I start earning I will invest loads and loads of money and buy all the books my heart desires. But, the sad part is, that now when I can afford to buy as many books as I want, I hardly have any time to read them. I do blame the internet and my diminishing concentration levels for the same. There is always so much to do!!!
There are so many books I would like to list down but cutting them down to four for the sake of this post. The ones listed here are for sheer nostalgia and the fact that these books made a big impact on me, they gave me perspective, helped me grow up and well taught me a lot. So here they are:
- To Sir With Love – This book was given to me by one of my favourite English teachers and almost like a challenge to finish it in a week. I loved the book and finished it in much less than a week. The smooth and simple portrayal of the complex social and racial issues in a school by E R Braithwaite left a deep impression on the school going teenager that I was.
- Wuthering Heights – And this was my introduction to romance in teenage. I loved the plot and can still vividly recall the description of the hero Heathcliff. Thanks a lot for the lovely introduction to romance Ms. Bronte. A confession here is that I have hardly read any Mills and Boon. My introduction to this trash romantic literature was during my PG days and that too one book and I was done with it. I feel proud of the fact that I never grew up on those lofty novels in the name of romance. (Apologies to all the M&B fans)
- The Shadow Lines – I fell in love with Mr. Ghosh with this book. One of my favourite novels and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from first to last page. I clearly remember the night I finished this book, I sat in my room pondering over the fact that what a genius of an author to pen down such complex issues of partition, belonging and home in such a simple lucid manner. Post this book I have read many other Amitav Ghosh novels and the love/respect for the author has just grown. Have often thought about writing to the author but recently when I met him in person, awestruck I did not know what to ask him :-/
- Only one slot left and I have so many more books to list. But I think I will list the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez with two exceptionally great books 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and 'Love in the Time of Cholera'. Love in the time of Cholera scores slightly more over the other, I loved the narrative and the plot. The book left me with an entirely new meaning of love, infatuation, patience and passion.