Books are gateways to different places, moments in time, lifetimes, records of events and more especially, into someone else’s mind. I’ve read a lot of books and with each of them, it’s a new perspective, a learning process, entertainment, a companion and above all, a guide and a collection of mistakes and theories. Books make us wonder, it grows our reasoning, teaches us new words and it guides.
I’ve seen Afghanistan in times of war, I’ve walked the marvellous school of Hogwarts (Proud Ravenclaw), I’ve seen the beauty of love and the pains and doubts that comes with it. I’ve understood the concept of rebirth and above all, I’ve learnt I’m not going through any experience alone. This year, I’ve read a total of seventeen books. They’ve made me cry, laugh, wonder, understand and see the fragility of humanity, see something from a different perspective and taught me something I didn’t consider learning.
Below are a few books that have made a great impression on me:
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini tells a story of Amir who grew up with his best friend Hassan. With the dynamic of Amir’s and Hassan’s relationship, Amir felt he had a higher hand in their relationship because Hassan was nothing more than the son of the servant in his father’s house. Even though the story was told from Amir’s POV, you could see how much Hassan loved Amir. For you, a thousand times over.
This book perfectly captures what regrets can do to a man and how war can reduce even the richest of us to nothing in a foreign land. I particularly loved Hassan’s loyalty to Amir and how during the Kite races, their roles were different, yet so similar. Amir flew the kite; Hassan ran for the kites. Honestly, I’m finding it very difficult not to tell you how amazing I find Hassan.
I feel that part of the problems Amir faced -if you don’t include the war- was he didn’t know all the truth. With all the guilt Amir had on his shoulder, the inadequacy he felt, he still had to escape the war and leave with his father to a foreign land. Where he met and married his wife, Soraya.
I want to go on and highlight all the marvellous scenes in this book, but I’m not going to spoil it for you, I’m just going to tell you what I learnt. Regret is the worst emotion to feel. It can make you feel like you don’t deserve anything, especially when the person you feel regret towards is someone dear to you. If you wrong someone or feel like they’re not going to forgive you for something you consider grave, you just need to ask for forgiveness first. If you never ask, the answer is always no. Be proud of your friends and be ready to stand up for them.
2. Have You Seen Luis Velez by Catherine Ryan Hyde tells the story of Raymond who feels like he doesn’t fit in anywhere. Raymond’s best friend leaves town the same time he befriends the blind old woman who lives in his apartment building. Raymond takes care of the lady while helping her look for Luiz Velez, the man who had been taking care of her before he suddenly stopped coming.
The old woman teaches Raymond a lot about life and helps him build his relationship with his family. Raymond goes searching for the Luis Velez without letting her know so as not to disappoint her if he doesn’t find him. During his search, Raymond meets a hand full of Luis Velez. The lawyer Luis Velez, the big family Luis Velez, the scary Luiz Velez, to mention a few. Eventually, he finds the Luis Velez he’s looking for.
One of the things I admire about this book is how human Raymond is. Raymond is me at some stage in my life. You can see his growth throughout the book and you’d come to love him. I particularly admire that he didn’t fall right in love and immediately stop being his awkward and amazing self. This book taught me I’m never going through any experience alone. I’m never alone.
3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of those books you can’t speak enough about. When I read this book and heard Stupid Deep by Jon Bellion, the one line from the song that has built a home in my heart is ‘What if who I hoped to be was always me?’ I’m the sort of person who asks one question and brings up quotes to back up the answer I give, more questions to contradict the answer I gave.
What if who I hoped to be was always me? gave rise to one of my favourite quotes. Fall in love with the process of becoming the best version of yourself.
In the book, Santiago gets a calling like all of us, and like many of us, Santiago gets side-tracked from his calling. Love and wealth were among Santiago’s hurdles in his journey. But Santiago was able to return to his part even after months, and after all the journey, he came back to where he began and he had laughed about it. What if who I hoped to be was always me? meets Fall in love with the process of becoming the best version of yourself.
If you don’t take anything away from this book, take away the knowledge that if you truly want something, the universe will conspire to help you get it. The universe is on your side.
4. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, what I’m not going to is to describe the entire thing to you. I’m just going to talk about the character I loved the most even though in a way, he was the villain. Prince Inan
Prince Inan represents the majority of us who have been brainwashed by society, our family, our parents to believe a particular truth. We’ve been made to see the right in the wrong. We’re blinded by the need to be accepted by our parents, family and society that we’re willing to suppress who we are to ensure we see their goal though.
There’s this conflict he goes through; what he’s been taught to know versus what he knows. You can’t help but feel this great sympathy for him. If there’s one thing you can learn from Prince Inan, you’re not the truth you’ve been thought to know. You’re the truth you know. Don’t suppress yourself to make space for someone else.
There are many others I love, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Neckline of Colors by Chiziterem Chijioke, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Let’s go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson, to mention a few. If you’ve read any book that made an impression on you, feel free to share it with me by leaving a comment.