I’d Rather be Reading | The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life; Anne Bogel

“But I am still growing, changing—not the kind of growth you can measure against a door frame, but the kind you can see measured against the books I’ve read”

‘I’d Rather be Reading’ by Anne Bogel is a literary solitaire I found on my Kindle Unlimited. Chronicling her own journey of becoming a reader, it is a book that harmonizes with the thoughts of every reader.

From reflecting on one’s early bonding with books, to finding a sanctum in a library and to seeking nostalgic serendipity in the old books that a reader continually finds comfort in…the chapters of the book vividly cover the ardour around books, and reading.

There are so many phrases and lines that one feels like highlighting while reading this one, because so many of them are like a *literary hug* as they resonate so well.

It was a like a ‘mug-brownie’ read for me… sprightly, merry, delighting and full of warmth.

And having spilled my little share of thoughts, I would just say: Dear bookstagrammers and fellow readers, this book belongs to you and your lifelong friendship with reading…

“Just as I’m all the ages I have been, I’m all the readers I have been”

Learning to Read and Reading to Learn | Reading for Beginners

Reading is a learned skill unique to all humans, and that most of us are privileged to acquire in our early developmental years. Though, in those early years, we learn ‘how to read’, eventually, we reverse that process and ‘read’ in order to ‘learn’ academic concepts, fulfill educational requirements, understand the world we live in, etc.

Some of us continue to practice this life skill further in life and then come to identify ourselves as ‘Readers’

Despite being convinced of the benefits and wanting to give space to reading in our lives, many of us feel overwhelmed and confused as to where to start, and to find the right book. Here are a few pointers that I have summarized which may get you started to the magic of reading.

  1. Start Simple and Start Small: You don’t have to run for that ‘bestseller’ book, or a book that you know may be a little tough for you to start. Start with any genre, and any book you like. Pick up the smallest book or even a comic book. For me inculcating reading in my life has been like a series of thread, each connected to another. Often an end of a book, suggests midway or by the end, another book to me.
  2. Goal To Books, and not Books to Goals: For reading non-fiction or scientific books, may be try visualizing what is your goal? Like for example, my goal is to be more thorough with therapeutic interventions for my practice, so now that I have a goal in mind, I can just go in reverse and look for books around that. And there are always books waiting for you 🙂
  3. Inspiring Biographies: A good and engaging way to begin reading is to pick up a book written by or around a public figure who is your inspiration. It is a good way to know them up close, learn about their lifestyle, and what attributes they practiced to actually become your inspiration today.
  4. Ask Your Reader Friends: Your friends know you well. And if they know you well, a reader friend would be able to suggest a good book to get you started on the reading journey.

Prognosis, A Memoir of My Brain | Sarah Vallance | Book Thoughts

What happens when in your mid-to-late twenties, post an exhilarating adventure, you realise that you have damaged an important part of your brain? ⁣

⁣That, you are soon losing basic cognitive functions like memory, reading, comprehension, navigation—all the one’s you always took for granted because they were so automatic and natural.⁣

⁣And what feelings would follow, when, just in a span of days, you can’t decipher the meaning of your own Ph.D research topic, let alone accomplish it? ⁣

Prognosis, A Memoir of My Brain 💐 by Sarah Vallance is a story that explores loss, grief, post-traumatic growth not just in the ‘resilience’ sense but in the #neural and anatomical sense 🧠

⁣What especially interested me in this book was how our brain has the capacity to develop new neurons and neural connections when given the right stimulation, a concept I am deeply interested in- #neuroplasticity ⁣✨

And, though I’ve never been a lover of dogs (yet, admirer of dogs and dog lovers @teople_poo ), this book brought me closer to how they may be your truest companions; even when you fear that the world of humans may be mocking at you, and when you give yourself ‘labels’, the companionship and love of a dog can be, after all, a safe haven- of acceptance, and warmth ☀️

A book that was in my @goodreads TBR shelf for long, which I rediscovered in my #kindleunlimited catalogue. ⁣

Daughters of Destiny | Shanti Bhavan | Netflix Limited Series

This time it’s not a book that has inspired me, but a limited series on Netflix called ‘Daughters of Destiny’.

The series takes us to ‘Shanti Bhavan’, a philanthropic institution built by Abraham George, where children come from some of the most impoverished families, that are deprived from not only umpteen tangible reservoirs of life but also the substantial needs like social equality, justice, peace.

Shanti Bhavan as a residential school admits one child from such families. These children, from a very young age, although face separation from their brood and natural haven, live in SB where they gain access to competent education in English-medium, exposure to vocations and artistic pursuits-the potential of which may have gone untapped otherwise, awareness about social issues, alongside encouragement towards inculcating values and character strengths.

The hope behind taking on just one child per family is that, that ‘one child’ would conceivably become the bearer of light for the others in his/her family and community, and once educated and financially independent, would break the centuries old cycle of poverty, illiteracy, destitute living; by becoming the change maker of tomorrow.

The episodes of the series, through the longitudinal narrative of the life of five students presented over a span of 7 years, chronicles the significant transformation these children go through, the struggles they face while gearing between being the beneficiary of striking upbringing at the residential school, and coming to terms with their ancestral and social reality – only to ignite a will within to build an equitable, just, and worthwhile world.

Hence, it was only fulfilling to see how Karthikeya, a girl born into a community of miners, goes on to become a lawyer and aspires to work for human rights. And, how Shilpa, a daughter of an elephant chaser who is curious and inquisitive since her growing years, chooses journalism as her path towards upliftment… (also wrote a memoir which is in my TBR)

What touched and inspired me most was how all the SB students were so eloquent, deeply aware and grounded of the realities they have come from and yet aiming for the sky (a sky ‘just’ for all..)

Needless to say, Daughters of Destiny is a story of hope, the metamorphic power of education, bringing an inspiring promise for a better world.

Book Thoughts | Factfulness, Hans Rosling

I posted about picking up this book in a previous post and I was excited to dive into it. Rightly so. ⁣

The book, through the work of Hans Rosling and Gapminder Foundation, facilitates us a Fact-based world view of how things in the world are not as bad as they seem. ⁣

📊It begins with some statistical based questions about the world, like- ‘How many children in the world are vaccinated today’ or ‘How many women have the opportunity of continued education’, to questions like ‘Where does the majority of population live in-low, middle or high income countries?’

The answers to these questions are like a direct confrontation to our ‘dramatic instincts’ about the world. The instincts that are distorted, biased, deeply rooted and very much away from the facts. ⁣

Each chapter then picks up a Dramatic Instinct, like the ‘Gap Instinct’ or the ‘Fear Instinct’ and literally opens our eyes through updated, right facts, plunging right through our biases. ⁣


Being a CBT practitioner, I could not help but see so much similarity between the dramatic instincts shared in the book to the ‘cognitive distortions’ of the cognitive behavior theory. For instance ‘All or None’ thinking in Cognitive Behavior Therapy may be compared to the Generalisation Instinct or the Gap Instinct described.⁣

The book does justice in providing ‘Data as Therapy’ (so much so that this non-fiction, scientific fact-based book also became a bed-time read for me, a therapeutic read). ⁣

By presenting and promoting #Factfulness, it encourages the readers, and the people wishing to change the world to be hopeful, to be a ‘possibilist’, and to acknowledge that things may be bad now, but if looked from the right perspective, they are so much better. And this understanding then motivates us to keep making it better. Why? Because it’s working.. and how!

Anxiety (Overcome It and Live Without Fear), Sonali Gupta | Harper Collins

Being a mental health practitioner and a dedicated reader of self-improvement books, I have often been on the look out for books that facilitate understanding on ‘mental wellness’ that is, a ‘life above and beyond zero’.

Though there were quite a few impressive and competent books by Clinical Psychologists and mental health professionals around the world like the ‘Overcoming Series’ I have talked about previously. Yet, I think a part of me always looked for books written by Indian professionals with scenarios and experiences within that context. Because the experiences may be universal, however, the context within which they occur and the ‘triggers’ can be uniquely diverse.

At last, came up Anxiety (Overcome it And Live Without Fear). The book deftly does the job of advancing mental health awareness especially in times of unparalleled, never-seen-before stressors (hint: pandemic). It is probably what we need to understand anxiety holistically, to be able to differentiate between helpful routine stressors to what could be ‘unadaptive constant rumination’ where one just cannot get ‘that thought out of the mind’.

The book is easy to read, has a lot of insights through the client experiences that adds to the jargon-free, reader friendly vibe of the book. It is a tool for mass psycho-education of very common, yet widely ignored mental health concerns that hold the power to render so much of our life as incapacitated.

As a young professional myself, I would encourage anyone wanting to understand anxiety, or their mental health, to pick up this book; with as  much ease as they might pull up a book on nutrition or diet, or healthy habit formation.

Because as it is said by Clinical Psychologist Sonali Gupta, “..we can only learn to manage anxiety. It’s not going to go away completely.” And, I believe awareness is the first step towards acknowledging and managing a challenge.

Thank You Harper Collins India, for being so kind and sending in a review copy!

 

 

Book Thoughts | A Bit of Both, Richa Telang

“Time changes nothing. Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were”- Doctor House

Though its been years since I picked a light-heart fiction, when Richa Telang sent the blurb of her debut book to me, I was intrigued by the story line and wished to give it a read.

The debut book by the author is a warm, amiable, full of emotions ride into the journey of an independent young woman, Natasha, working and residing in Gurugram. Somewhat carrying the baggage of her years old heartbreak, her life comes to an amusing twist when her past re-enters her life concealing behind a new identity.

Each mini chapter engages you with amusement and surprises. At one point, it seemed like binge-watching a series where each episode lets you wondering what is going to happen next.

The character development is deft, despite it being the author’s debut. The creative narration of the story by the protagonist using retrospective is vivid, and artsy. How I wish the cover of the book to have some doodles or illustrations to subtly hint the comical yet ‘full of emotions’ vibe of the book.

If you’re looking for an exciting weekend-read and wishing to take a break from your hefty reads, this sure could be a pleasant choice.

All the best, author. Way to Go!

 

Book Thoughts: How To Change The World, John-Paul Flintoff

💡’How can I, one individual in a world of billions, hope to change anything?’⁣⁣
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I know we all get demotivated by this defeatist question, and then as good our intentions and thoughts may be, towards creating a better world; we give up in dismay. ⁣⁣
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This book is about that. It explains how one individual can change the world, not just through grand philanthropic endeavours, but just by the will of everyday ‘choices’. ⁣⁣
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(Because, we’re also changing the world, when we’re ‘choosing’ to not change it) ⁣⁣
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You need not establish an NGO, or turn your life upside down, to move towards the change you wish to see in the world. ⁣

⁣ 🌍 As the book says, “even the mundane can acquire grandeur if it is held in a wider perspective”.⁣⁣
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John-Paul Flintoff’s little book is a #WisdomWonder for me. It is a practical guide as to how one can shape one’s skills and inclinations to ‘steps’ in bringing rehabilitative turns in the world. ⁣⁣
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⁣One of the key insights for me is that you can change the world in two ways-either by decreasing suffering or by enhancing comfort/pleasure. ⁣⁣
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I picked this one randomly at the World Book Fair, 2020 and how glad am I. ⁣⁣
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⁣ ~Sometimes books choose us, and not the other way round may be…⁣⁣
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I totally recommend this inspiring treasure to all my reader friends who desperately look for answers around this.⁣⁣
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Series: The School of Life⁣⁣
Author: John-Paul Flintoff⁣⁣
Publisher: @panmacmillan

Book Thoughts: The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga

“The story of a poor man’s life is written on his body, in a sharp pen”⁣

The White Tiger by #AravindAdiga is a gripping, unputdownable satire of the contrasting lives of the rich and the poor India. ⁣

Stark distinctions of the ‘big-bellied’ and ‘small bellied’ narrated through the life of Balram (Munna), a village boy turned to a chauffeur for a wealthy landlord’s son, and later into a murderer and an entrepreneur.⁣

Through literary wit and irony, the book shows the same Delhi that has the shining, neon night clubs, lush cars and opulent malls with the rich gratifying their paunches, is the same Delhi where the poor-‘human spiders’ live on streets, in tarpaulin sheets amidst stench of the faeces and polluted air.⁣

The night after night unweaving of the story through the chandelier brings the ‘Lightness and Darkness’ of the city to life.⁣

A definite read that has got its much deserved praises including the #ManBookerPrize2008 ⁣

Read it before it comes to the screens! ⁣

Publisher: @harpercollinsin ⁣

Inspiring Books by Malala Yousafzai for the Youth

I recently finished reading my second book by Malala ‘We Are Displaced’⁣


We are Displaced is a book that chronicles the story of Malala and of so many young yet inspiring refugee girls around the world. ⁣


It is only after reading these books that I could open my eyes to what it means to be a ‘refugee’, to leave everything and the only things you have ever known-behind because you’ve to make a choice between life and death, between the fear of separation from your roots and the surge of war and violence. ⁣


And, it is only through these books that I can really open my eyes to what is true #resilience #fearlessness and #dream in the midst of everything paradoxically opposite.⁣

I often think a lot when my young cousins or little friends ask me for a book suggestion. This is for all of you, to realise the privilege of education and home and the safety we live in. This is for all of you to know that if these girls, forced into the toughest circumstances of human kind-disease, war, poverty, violence- could hope and dream for a better future, you could too. ⁣


This is for all of you to find in Malala and all these inspirational girls-a role model, to look for ways to create a better world. ⁣


✏️’One Child, One Teacher, One Book and One Pen Can Change the World’ ⁣💡

Publisher: @hachette_india ⁣