Five great reads to feed your soul today

How long has it been since you have read a really good book? The kind that makes you want more from the writer? When you can’t get enough of the story and actually dig up every single book the writer has ever written just to feel his voice in your head again?

It’s not easy to connect with every single book I have ever read but whenever I have felt that connection with a book, it has been rather intense. Today, I am going to tell you about my five favorite stories. A book isn’t just about the story you know, it’s so much more. A book makes you take a closer look at your own life, your dreams and aspirations, your sorrows and fears.

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  1. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

I read this book last year. Hosseini captivates you right from the first page to the very end. His storytelling is impeccable and although the story has been told in a “fluid form”, you find it easy to keep up and tour his fictional land rather comfortably, feeling what the characters feel, feeling empathetic and anxious about the events. What I loved the most about Hosseini’s storytelling was his sense of making a story melt into another so smoothly, the way waves touch the sands on a beach. It makes you wonder how many lives we touch during our lifetime without knowing, that there is always a larger picture that we are unaware of.

Pari and Abdullah are separated at a very young age. The brother-sister duo who couldn’t live without each other are suddenly separated and made to go by fate that takes them so far in time and distance that there is no coming back. Abdullah, who doted on his little sister Pari goes to the United States from Afghanistan, grieving the loss of his little angel. Pari is too young to comprehend Abdullah’s loss but in the back of her mind, she always felt an empty space for someone she can’t remember. How does it feel to miss someone you can’t recall? How do you live with the loss when you have no idea what you have lost? And how do you deal with the fact that the one you finally remember after ages has somehow forgotten you after waiting for you for a lifetime?

And the Mountains Echoed is an emotional roller coaster for anyone who loves, laughs and believes that life has much more to offer than what we expect from it. Khaled Hosseini brings about the best when it comes to sibling relationship, and it is worth a read!

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  1. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Roy is one of those contemporary Indian writers I am absolutely in love with!The God of Small Things has so much to offer for your heart and soul. If there’s one book you are going to read to connect with yourself, read this book. What sets this book apart from the rest is its narrative. Roy’s fearless depiction of the world around her is unique. No doubt this book went on to be the winner of the Booker Prize in 1997!

Set in Kerala, the story follows a pair of mono-zygotic twins Estha and Rahel, and their encounter with the world and its hypocrisy. A world where adults manipulate to get their way through anything; hate, love, crime, and murder. A world where power and money speak for itself and everything else is pushed aside to give in way to the selfish nature of those who can afford both money and power. The God of Small Things gives you a glimpse into the eccentric world of rural India, the rich culture and the political, moral, cultural scenario of the country. In a country like India, where love and sex are considered taboo topics to discuss liberally, what do you do when you fall for someone who isn’t right for you according to the society? What do you do when you fall for someone who doesn’t belong to the same caste as you do but you fall for them anyway because love doesn’t recognize boundaries.

This is a story about survival, boundaries, scarred childhood and death. If you believe you can take it all at one go, give this book a shot.

  1. No Lipstick in Lebanon by Paul Timblick

This is the story of Meron Lemma, a Ethiopian teenager who lives in the dark and dingy slums of Addis Ababa. She dreams of a comfortable future, a nice home and a way out of the place fate has forced her to live in. But as fate would have it, the only way she can manage to get out of her low life is to leave her country and work as a maid in Lebanon. What does a starry-eyed teenager do when she finds a slum dweller friend of hers living the life she always dreamed of by taking up a job in Beirut? She decides to follow her friend’s footsteps and pulls strings to make her way to Lebanon.

But if the world was all about comfort and lavishness, life would be a fairy tale. Meron lands in Beirut only to discover the ugly truth of being stuck in a foreign land. She is starved, made to work day and night and often made sexual advances at by a male member of the family she works for. There’s no dreams or opportunities for her here. She finds herself struggling through the days in the meagre food thrown at her by her Madame, her spirits crushed. But she vows to not lose hope in these times and make her way out of the mess she has gotten herself into.

While many of us would like to believe that slavery has no place in this modern world we call our home, it still persists and those who fall victim to it can only tell the tales of horror. Meron lived through her ordeal and comes out victorious. What sets this book apart is the fact that it is a real life story. Paul Timblick wrote the story with input from his lovely Eithopean wife Fasika Sorssa, who inspired him to write her story.

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  1. God Help The Child by Toni Morrison

God Help The Child is Toni Morrison’s first book. It speaks of the things we often do not speak of. What does it feel like to be an adult with a broken childhood? What does it feel like to be the odd one out in a world that’s proud of its hypocrisy and vanity?

Bride, a young woman who has lived her entire life aware of the fact that her father left her when he saw her the very first time. Her mother was ashamed of her skin-tone. Her blue-black skin, which she managed to make a part of her personality and confidence had been the reason her parents despised her and made her suffer for. Her mother made her call Sweetness just so people wouldn’t know she was Bride’s mother, in public. Such was life for little Bride.

Bride had known from a very early age that love, care, concern, were gestures and emotions that weren’t meant for her. She never felt her mother’s love or protection for her. All she was laden with were instructions to draw as less attention to herself as possible. The darkness of her skin became an abomination for her mother until she managed to make it  boon for herself. This book is a must read for you if you are feeling down and dejected, because Bride’s zeal for life and inspiration are something you can do with.

Fierce, independent, and in control of her life, Bride represents the woman every girl dreams to be.

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  1. Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody

I picked this book at a bookstore out of chance and when I look back to that day two years ago, I wonder what would have happened had I not cared to look at it! This is perhaps one of the finest, gripping tales I have read in a very long time.

The story follows Betty Mahmoody, an American national who marries an Iranian called Mahmoody and accompanies him on a two-weeks trip to Iran to visit his family. Little does she know that she would be held against her will at a strange land where the law doesn’t favor women at all. But Betty isn’t alone here, she has her little daughter Mahtob with her. When Betty realizes her husband has lied to her to get her in Iran and now he doesn’t wish to go back to the United States where Betty has two sons from a previous marriage and her family, she is bewildered and confronts her husband about it. But instead of giving her an explanation, he simply tells her that she has to deal with it and be a part of the new land that’s their home now.

Mahmoody becomes rather dominating and abusive with time, and torments Betty to no end. Betty secretly starts to hatch a plan to escape Iran with her daughter. The story deals with how she goes about it and finally reaches the United States and reunites with her friends and family.

A great story written beautifully. If you are going to read one book this weekend, make sure you pick this!

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