Books That Turned My Life

Books have their charm. The print is something that will always remain with you until death. No wonder books are called a man’s best friend. Books influence thoughts, ideas and they can shape your entire life. 

Each book that I have read, holds a special place in my heart! Ask any bibliophile (a name given to book lovers) if a book altered his or her life. The answer will always be in the affirmative because a true book lover not only reads a book for pleasure but also imbibes the values of the book and applies it in real life – probably follows the book’s lead character for life. 

Simple storybooks have the power to inspire you to do anything – traveling, choosing a career or job, learning an art form, mastering life skills, and much more. Kudos to the storytellers who have inspired us to do something different, take unconventional paths.

Freedom movements across the globe have been inspired by books and literature written by passionate authors. Causes have been fought for and various important missions implemented thanks to the print. One of the most famous quotes says, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Indeed, words are quite powerful in influencing minds. The list of book genres that have inspired the human race is endless.

Historically Speaking…

One of the earliest books that came into existence is the “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. It was a poem written on a stone tablet during the Mesopotamian era. Later, the Romans and Greeks invented wax tablets (wood layered with wax). In the 600 A.D., parchments came to the fore. The word parchment originated from the ancient Greek city called Pergamum. 

Parchments were nothing but processed skins of the calves of sheep and goats that were used to write. People wrote on parchments to deliver messages to people or royal announcements. Later, the printed hardcover and softcover counterparts came into being in the 19th century. Hardcover books were generally published for the elite and softcover books were for the lower classes. There came to be a class distinction in terms of books published at the time. Publishing houses came into existence. The rest as they say is history!

Inspiring the UN-inspired

I simply loved this quote. It sums up human beings’ earliest love for books: “Old books exert a strange fascination for me — their smell, their feel, their history; wondering who might have owned them, how they lived, what they felt.”

I so resonate with this because I still love taking my old books and smelling them, turning pages, and smelling them. Now, of course, thanks to digital distractions, the moments spent with my beloved books have shortened. There was hardly any book that did not inspire me to start a new adventure! I am sure most of you would reminisce about the books they read in your childhood. Authors possessed the magic of interweaving words in such a way you will remain engaged. Binge reading vis-a-vis a movie or series binge was more of the trend then. Nights would be spent hooked to that novel you were forbidden to read in the day! Each character of the book came alive at night. Fictional conversations with them in their cities were a timeline transfer and double treat! 

Back then, books were also suggested to those who needed a direction to begin something new. Books of philosophers were suggested to reignite tired minds. Now e-books, TEDx talks, and podcasts have taken over. Even then, a true-blue bibliophile like me will not let the beloved print be replaced with its digital version. 

The “Un-inspired” can still browse through the non-fiction section of book shops. Non-fiction has myriad genres. Coined the self-help section, it is still the busiest and most sought-after section in all bookshops for years. It includes myriad topics from love, sex, gardening, pets, career, biographies, money, spirituality, astrology, public speaking, and more. You name the topic and you are sure to find it.

At the end of this blog, readers are requested to list your favourite book/books that turned your life and let me know why, how... 
Here are the Top 10 Books that inspired me
1. To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
A growing-up tale of a young girl’s angst amidst racial conflicts and rape.

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
The life of a 13-year-old girl takes a wrench as Hitler begins mass extermination of Jews. Her writings in a diary reflect her vulnerabilities, fears, her first love, and hopes for a better future which she penned in her secret attic.

3. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
The life of two fraternal twins and their scarred childhoods amidst caste conflicts, misogyny, betrayals, and so-called love laws in 1960s Kerala. 

4. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Written by an Afghan-American author, it is the tale of a young Afghan boy who grapples with conflicts in Afghanistan that are undergoing a transition from monarchy to democracy.

5. Messages from the Masters – Dr Brian Weiss
A beautiful book where Dr Weiss helps you learn about the power of love in the universe and how to tap it.

6. The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak
A Turkish author who traces the story of a Jewish author’s journey into the life of Rumi and his lover Shams, and love in spiritual form. 

7. Persian Mirrors – The Elusive Face of Iran - Elaine Sciolino 
The author’s journey as a woman reporter in Iran, covers three decades of political reign, conflicts in leadership, and the life of women behind the iron veils.

8. Burned Alive – Souad
The real story of a woman who survives a failed honour killing and beats all odds to survive and narrates her own story.

9. Martina – George Vecsey (autobiography of tennis star Martina Navratilova)
The story of a super inspiring sports legend and tennis star of her time who still shines bright. Her name still brings a smile to our faces.

10. Darlingji – Kishwar Desai (Love story of Sunil Dutt and Nargis)
A tale of two legends – their reel and real-life love story, struggles, and journey together as soulmates.

Happy Reading!!

Comment below the books that turned your life around. Tell me all bout it…

Follow Priya Rajendran

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