The best conversations are bookish. If you are stuck in a party (uh, what’s that, asks my post-pandemic brain) and know no one there, a good thing to do would be share what you are reading. All readers worth their salt would jump in with their own observations, opinions and recommendations.
Talking of recommendations, they are easy to listen to but difficult to digest. What if the other person recommends a genre that you dislike? What if it’s a book you are sure you wouldn’t like? Worse, you may not even like the cover (of course we judge a book by its cover but that’s another blog post in the making).
I am rather wary of others telling me what to read. Somehow, somewhere I feel that the other reader Must be my exact personality type for me to even think of listening to them. However, sometimes I let my judgement slip and do pick up books that others recommend and surprise, I like the book!
Midnight’s Library by Matt Haig is one such book. Left to my devices, I wouldn’t have picked it for a read even though I really like the author, his balanced and positive approach to all things life and universe. Alas, a lot of people on my TL had read it and done the requisite raving. In a soft moment, I started reading this story of infinite possibilities and infinite choices available to us through other lifetimes. And the best part? It’s all through a huge library, a sympathetic librarian and shelves of books that rush past you in a blur. It’s a lovely book, and now I am sure I wouldn’t want any other life than my own.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka was another such book. I wouldn’t have read it, but for the prodding of The Creative Soul Club. Upon reading it, I was baffled. Why was a person changing to a bug? Why was I reading about a maybe cockroach lying flat beneath the sofa? What was the point of it all? Also, what’s life? I also happened to like the book very much, in all honesty. It has stayed with me all this time and while every weird and repulsive bug brings the name Gregor Samsa to my mind, I can appreciate, even if a teeny bit, and mostly because of my book discussion gang, the ahem, underlying themes.
Coming up next is The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond. I am aware he’s much loved and I have read a few of his short stories but that’s about it. I did like to stare at the gate of the school he was supposed to have attended for a few years. It was on my short route to the market, hidden away and accessible on one side by a mud track. Anyway, I liked to know about his life but not his books. Till I was stuck on letter ‘U’ for Blogchatter A2Z and anyone who’s participated in it knows what a pain the last few letters of the alphabet are. So, my kids had the book and all I had to do was to flip through the pages and write a blog post. Simple? Yes, the book is endearing in its simplicity. And having lived in the hills I know the innocence of the hill folks, their slow partaking of life and the contentment of a simple world. Boy, was I glad I read the book! The story feels like a comforting hug.
And the last one so far this year (again, I know which year it is because of the TBR Challenge, talking of which, have you checked it out yet?) Ok, the last book was a bunch of beautiful illustrations of The Horse, the Fox and the Mole. Wait, there’s a boy in it too. All the wisdom of the animals who mysteriously seem to talk, comfort, encourage the little boy is endearing. If you like to look at bold lines, both in drawings and in writing, this is the book for you.
Do you step out of your reading comfort zone often?
This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.