Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield is a spiritual adventure that makes you think and re-think what we know about life and ourself. It also makes us ask questions that we never thought to ask ourselves.
If you are looking for your typical adventure that involves guns blazing, nerve recking chase sequence and the miraculous escape scenes, this is not the book for you, even though these scenes are present. This is an adventure of a mind. It will take you from the mountains of Peru to the beginning of creation to the evolution, circle around time and space and bring you back to the very ground you stand on and makes you question, quiet literally everything under the sun and beyond.
The speciality of this book is that, it gives you a point of view in the macro level and micro level simultaneously. It talks about total of “Nine Insights” or what I like to call theories, that takes you on a journey from one insight to the next explaining and questioning the existence of evolution: universal and personal, in that order.
It’s hard to say if this is a piece of fiction or philosophy. If seen from the point of view of philosophy, this is an exceptional piece of literature that everyone MUST read. But if it seen from a fictional point of view, it is a below average with a weak story line and flow of events. Luckily for us, Redfield intended this in a philosophical point of view that triggers the mind with a thirst for soul searching.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a story that takes place in France during WW2, about two sisters who became one of those lost in time and record war heroes: one by choice and one with no choice left.
We have read about stories where families estranged and ripped apart by the war that consumed the entire world, but this is the story about a family that was brought together by this war. A daughter finding the love she longs from her father and sister after the death of her mother and an elder sister who understands that her baby sister is more than just a stubborn rebel. Separated by
The other different thing about this story is, this is not the story of a war hero, not in a conventional way. It is a story of survivors of the ugliness of the war that wasn’t fought with guns or grenades but with fierce will and paid for with innocence.
The story starts with Vianne and Isabelle losing their mother to death and their father to the grief at the same time and longs for a love that validates and comforts the abandonment that they received from their father. While Vianne finds love with Antoine and companionship with Rachael, Isabelle is left to fend for herself in one boarding school after the other that her father shoves her to. This longing turns into a fire that makes her do the impossible in the war that ignored and overlooked her, which turned out to be to her advantage for the first time in her life.
The sisters just like they had their own way of coping with life, they also had their own way of saving people. While one saved the ones who can neither understand the war or save themselves, the other saved those who fought the war in the fronts.
It had pain, it had loss, it had struggle of two women who fought their own battles that has nothing to do with the war that rages outside their windows. They were forced to keep secrets that were bigger than themselves, fight their enemies with pure will of character and at stand tall at the other side of the war.
“Don’t think about who they are Think about who you are and what sacrifices you can live with and what will break you”
This is a great example of the battle they were fighting and sacrifices they were making everyday to survive for the family that they need to protect.
The only downside I personally felt about this is the reunion of Vianne and Antoine. For all the waiting Vianne did and all the emotions she held up for Antoine to come back, the emotions where not strong enough to feel the relief or the fear she feels when he comes back.
Other than that, it has everything that a WW2 story is to have and some more.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is a memoir like none other. Trevor Noah, well known for his wit and comedic way of saying things who put this best quality of his in stand up shows and the Daily Show gives us this amazing insight of his life of being Born a Crime in an apartheid South Africa. He begins to tell his story of how his mother threw him off a moving car when he was nine years old. Before we could gasp at a nine year old being thrown out of the car, he gets up dusts himself and runs with us in a tow, like he does it all the time.
The best thing about this is, it doesn’t feel for a reader that he is reading someone’s story. It is like, we go meet Trevor in a coffee shop and he tells us his story: the good, the bad, the worst and the best, in a way that one doesn’t get bored.
His way of telling his story and the way he makes us fall in love with his mother is extraordinary. He told the story in a way that he made us laugh when he told about his tough times like being lost in a place where he couldn’t belong and he made us sad for a simple thing as to being privileged owning a CD player, he also made us excited when he was running for his life and made us scared when almost got caught for shoplifting. He has the art of telling his story that keeps us turning the pages one after the other and left eager for more.
“My Mom did what school didn’t,
She taught me to think”
It’s a simple sentence, he told and proved over and over in his life story, that teaching a child to think is the best thing a mother can do. This is one of the many reasons, we were able to fall in Love with Patricia Noah.
A classic memoir will inspire you or give you an insight on a deeper level. Then again, it depends on who’s story it is and how they are saying it. In this case, when Trevor Noah told his story, he not only inspired, but he made us laugh, think, run, jump, dance for tunes from his Winamp and gave us a whole new meaning to “Go Hitler”.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is written in a dystopian society that is a nightmare for the bibliophiles. That sums up the entire plot of the story.
The story surrounds the fireman Guy Montag and his journey like any other, doubting the way of his life, his profession and everything he was taught and believed in. He is no ordinary fireman though. His job however is not to put out fire, but to start one. He lives in a society where books are illegal and scholars are criminals and are hunted down in literal sense, while the television takes up their entire life.
“You are not like others. I’ve seen a few. I know. When I talk, you look at me, when I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon last night. Others would never do that”
-Clarisse McLallen – Fahrenheit 451
This rendezvous with his neighbour Clarisse, change his view of himself and the entirety of his life and pave way for a journey he takes with a professor in hiding to find himself as one who enjoys a bit of curiosity and who realises he is the criminal who sets books on fire. This shows how much a society can fall in absence of books.
The story paints a scary picture of a world without books, a world where imagination and creativity is a crime and you get killed for it. The most scary part is, at some point, the story doesn’t feel like a piece of fiction anymore and feels more like a prediction for literary apocalypse. Which is a scary thought considering how most take books for granted in this modern “smart” world. The story, gives a great appreciation to the books and a ego boost to the bibliophiles as it practically says, ‘without books and imagination we are doomed’.
Is it a must read? – Yes.
Will you enjoy it? – It will probably be disturbing than amusing to you, as all dystopian stories go.
Should You read it anyway? – Yes.
Paths of Glory by Jefferey Archer is the Life story of George Herbert Leigh Mallory, an English mountaineer who lost his life in an attempt climb the Everest. The words of Archer take us on the cold and hard journey with Mallory.
The published story created a controversy in few places around the World, New Zealand in particular for major factual errors, which made the book less popular than Archer’s other works, but it didn’t stop to deliver the clichés of Archer. It had the overwhelming emotions spurting out of his words.
With Mallory in this book, we take many journeys through several summit including his historical journey to the top of Everest, the one that claimed his life and the one from which he never came back alive. Along with Mallory, we endured the cruel nights at the first base of the summit, breathless stumbles along the second base, gruelling days that were disappointing in more than one way and his final ascend and suffocated along with him in the thick layer of snow. The ending leaves us with the kind of emptiness that one will find when they fail at something that they have pushed their limits for. It didn’t make it any better to know that a living, breathing human being went through all those ordeals only to give it all up with his life. The fact also made the controversy much more understandable as the factual errors on Mallory’s life would tarnish the memory of him.
Keeping the factual errors aside, Archer didn’t disappoint in delivering an amazing story of an even amazing human being who died doing what he loved and creating history while doing so.
The Forty Rules of Love is a breathtaking piece by Elif Shafak, who took the reader on a memorable journey through love, religion, mysticism and many more through her beautiful words.
This book is a perfect example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. Some may think this book is about a kind of a guide book to be a success in love, well it is in a way, but in the most poetic and unexpected way possible.
The story starts with Ella having an existential crisis over a book she is reviewing. With Ella, we take up on a journey in search of love that is beyond the understanding of an average mind.
Does this book talk about love? Friendship? Companionship? Love of God? Self-Love? Religion? Meaning of life as a whole? Yes, yes and yes to all of the above. Shafak took us on a journey with Shams a Sufi in search of a companion who can mirror him and give a meaning to his solitude. When he finds Rumi, anyone who understands solitude will ache to have a companionship like Shams and Rumi.
“I have never been to a tavern before and have never consumed wine. I don’t think drinking is the right thing to do. But I trust you fully, because I trust the Love between us”
– Rumi to Shams
These beautiful words, as simple as it might be, revealed a prospect of the heights of trust and love a person could have for another. This level of trust as purely a concept of fiction as it can be in this modern times, it makes one think how much human beings are capable when it comes to love and ache for a time where it could be possible.
The forty rules that is spread across the entire story is not just a rule for just common kind of love between a man and a woman, but for forty kinds of love and more. None of the two rules address the same kind of love. As you explore the rules one by one, you fall in love with god, with life, with yourself, with your ability to love, with another person, with humans in general and the list goes on till it come to a point where you fall in love with love itself.
After reading this book, you will never see life and the rest of the world the same way again. It will take you apart and put you back piece by piece in the most poetic way possible.