A reader lives a thousand lives before he/she dies, and the person who never reads lives only one, these are the cherished words of the legendary author George R.R Martin, and for many bibliophiles out there, we know that he speaks nothing but the truth. Words are immortal and their teachings and values are priceless. Books inspire us, awe us, and better our perception by making us acceptable to many things in existence.
They have the ability to take us into a world that seems like just ours but better and more hopeful. They give us the strength to live in the cruel world and maybe this is why we read, so that in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know, to find words that confront us and to find words that assure us of a good future that we think we deserve.
We all have our favourites, but there are some books that have not only saved us, but have given us the strength to better our lives. Yes, there are books which have taught us lessons – lessons we still stand by and abide.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye exhibits the story of Holden Caulfield who recounts the days following his expulsion from Pencey Prep, a private school. J.D. Salinger’s classic, The Catcher in the Rye, illustrates a teenager’s dramatic struggle against death and growing up. This book helped me in the phase of alienation, it told me that it is okay to be lost, or to be without any motive, to be disaffected, disgruntled, alienated, isolated, directionless, or sarcastic. It told me that it’s okay to not give a care, and it’s okay to not do what our peers or society, or our families rather expect us to do.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on that gut instinct of right and wrong, and distinguishes it from just following the law. It fights racism in the most non-volatile manner, and emerges a winner. The book teaches not to be judgmental and not to believe in what is being societally said about something. It teaches us not to be limited to just one perception, and to have the strength to adhere to the viewpoint of others rather than keeping ours in a superlative manner. To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that really has changed my life and every time I get back to reading it, I find something new that I assimilate into my own code of ethics.
There is your truth and my truth, and as per the universal truth, it really doesn’t exist.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A gripping and emotional story of betrayal and redemption, The Kite Runner had me thrilled and moved, both at the same time, and even writing about this makes me tear up a little. Beautifully written, amalgamating human emotions with amazing virtually driven expressions, the book sets a mark like no other book has ever before. It educates about the value of true friendship, and how it can be upheld even after going through some troubled times. The best bit about the book is its sense of fate and justice, of good overcoming evil in the end, despite all odds, and of getting a chance to overcome the shame and truly exhibiting the friendship, as the author says, thousand times over.
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
It is the most ground breaking novel that I have ever read in my life, and something everyone should definitely read without any excuses. The author highlights the idea of ‘self’ in all her books. The book taught me how to put ‘I’ (myself) before everything else in the world. It taught me to take a self-sufficient drive to pursue a creative vision, independent of others’ needs or opinions, or judgments. It reinforces the idea of an individual before the rest, and urges us to love ourselves and believe more in ourselves than the collective mass. It teaches us that there is virtue in selfishness too.
Because whatever happens, these books will never stop being the best in their respective genre, and they will never stop inspiring people at large. Books, indeed, are the most ideal best friend to have; no complaints and no demands, just pure love and comfort.