Books find you when they do. There are books that have been lying on my shelves for years together and then suddenly one day I pick something up and start reading. As I am growing older, I have started believing that books call out to you when you are ready for them.
I am going to take this space to share the 5 books that I lose myself in, when I have an urge to find other parts of myself. Read that again.
1. The 40 Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.
This book helped me realise that we are all so innately powerful and that we are also very afraid of that power. We live our lives in near anonymity, mediocrity and safety, because we believe that we have others to keep us company. For years we continue in dysfunctional relationships, with toxic partners, parents and siblings. This fear keeps us where we are. While we may progress in a manner of speaking- with our studies or professionally, from the heart and soul we are never really free.
This story of a middle aged housewife and mom, and her courage to find love and meaning with a dying man is one for the stars. When someday we actually decide that we are all powerful ourselves and there’s no greater power in our life than us, that’s when karma comes full circle.
2. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
It’s not a love story. It starts out being a simple story where a family uproots itself to find their roots elsewhere. They learn to love and live with the land. It is also a story of violent love, and the extent to which parents can forgive and seek forgiveness.
Through the beginning you question love’s role in your life. Is so much suffering really worth it? When all that you want to is love, why do others make it so difficult to love them? Can there never be any love without any tribulations?
By the end of the book, the questions that cloud your mind get answered. To different readers there are different answers.
3. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Even if Mr. Gibran was placed upon this earth to only write this book as the outcome of it all, it would have been worth it. I have not read his other works, but each time that you read some bit of this particular book, it speaks to that bit of you that’s hurting the most.
This book has timeless wisdom for all your questions. Some questions you haven’t chanced upon yet, but you will. And this book will find you when you are there.
4. A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
I found this book on my shelf almost a year after having purchased it. The dry wit, cynicism, the moving with times of a Russian gentleman who lives a very full life in a tiny corner of a hotel is one that dreams are made of. Having been “confined” to one room in a hotel, not much bigger than a store cupboard, this gentleman who earlier had the wherewithal to run the entire hotel, never lives life as a misfit. In fact he doesn’t try to fit in, he lets others play a role in his life and forges friendships in the most unlikeliest of places.
He says “man is rarely if ever, wrong in his opinion, only in his sentiments”.
On days when you want something you lighten your mind, when you don’t want to go into deeper waters, this is what you must find.
5. The 5AM CLUB by Robin Sharma
This isn’t a self help book, though you will find it in that section. This book tells you a story to get your life into order, into making it one of the most productive versions of your life that you could have imagined. It tells you about keeping your health, heart, mind and soul in order. The book discusses a possibility with you, teaches you the fundamentals and then gives you all the space to make it your own!
It says “dedication and discipline beats brilliance and giftedness every day of the week”.
On days where you find yourself feeling stuck creatively, at work, with your craft, give this book a read.
Very often in life we are in the position of choosing what we want to suffer for.
Suffering is inevitable, growth is optional.
My mind, so formed by reading books, tells me to choose that suffering that leads to the greatest knowledge about our own self. There is a book or two or more for every growing pain that you put yourself through.
The books find you when you are ready to lose yourself in them.