Outcasted Life in Colors of Social Inequalities

Book Title: Two Leaves and A Bud

Author: Mulk Raj Anand

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: Amazon

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Mulk Raj Anand’s style of writing sets the reader to think deeply and it also evokes a reaction from the reader. I read this book as part of my Indian Writing in English course, in the second year of my BA (English Literature). It is a fact that English Writers of Indian origin spoke of highly serious topics such as caste and social discrimination. Or it could be that the choice of Writers were the ardent freedom struggle activists. Some Writers used humour while some believed in holding the note of deep contemplation in place during the course of their narratives about the British rule in India.

It was almost like Gangu’s the protagonist and his family’s troubles were never ending and the way out of the situation does not seem available anywhere. In that way, the plot’s moment of happiness was also colored by the protagonist’s non-achievable delusion of future happiness. While reading Anand’s work, I felt it, that it was a rather overload of sadness which kept lining the story from start to finish. It was never dropped even during those small happy moments in the life of the major characters. In this Anand reminded me of Charles Dicken’s writing keeps making things harder, especially to find even a moment of joy in any described situations in story.

The Story in a Nutshell

A Farmer of Amritsar who has lost his land to the moneylenders is forced to move out of his familiar hometown to an unfamiliar state in Assam where he struggles in the pathetic condition to just live one day after another with his family being safe. What happens to his family and to him in the new place and how the contractor just painted a life of prosperity which turned to nothing but a mirage of horror.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the intensity with which Anand wrote this story. There is no rest from the constant feeling of desperation and desire that something good would happen makes a refrain in the mind’s of the reader; but then, there were no breaks. The strength of a human’s mindset of hope that keeps ebbing and flowing through our being is reflected in Gangu and his family too. But eventually, reality strikes and everything is just darkness. I also liked the flow of words when I read it and it felt like I was living in the British rule era.

What I disliked was the few characters major evil ones, but they were the plot progressing villains who were the catalyst to moving ahead of the story. But I think if you can make some character to be hated by the reader, then the readers are invested in your story and the protagonist.

That way, this book had a lot of interesting paragraphs where the author’s ability to describe the scene and emotions of the characters comes out very well. This novel was very sad and at the end of it, you are happy because it was a definite tragedy and it is a little over the top with injustice hanging on the hinges. But then, it kind of opens up the mind’s eye towards what could possibly be the reason for the existence of such discrimination and why is that the fellow human beings do not have the basic rights in their life and working condition.

The human’s rights are violated in the working condition of the plantation at every given point. This leaves a sense of constant injustice which becomes a given fact of the contracted workers’ life. That sense of injustice and inequality really gets to you when you read this novel.

My Opinion

The fact that I had to read this novel as a compulsory novel of the Indian Writing in English paper, I felt a sense of dark brooding when I read it. I don’t pick books which are unhappy, but then being socially aware is also part of the deal to read up books that are written with sadness in it.

I do want to read up literary works of Indian Writers, but their grammar is so hard and that of the Wren and Martin variety. But then you have rare thoughts of progress and advancement from these Writers which moves one’s sense of right. But I was someone who enjoyed styles of varied kind. If I read for a specific time a specific style, then, I tend to be able to pick it up.

Like for instance, there was a time, when I kept reading Shakespeare’s plays and landed up being able to read like natural English. I side poetry more than prose. Anand’s prose was one such pleasure to read, but the subject left me depressed and a little disappointed about the inequalities in a society of that time.

The people who live in the delusion that all is well and continue life in stupor, sometimes need to get their jolt in novels such as these. The novel brings out the oppression in plain statements and in turn showing this mirror of society the reader is not given any space to escape. I believe if the book does that to you, then you are reading an exceptional writer’s work.

Image Source: Amazon Online

The Presiding Goddess of the River of Human Imagination

Book Title: Saraswati’s Secret River

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Devdutt Pattanaik is an excellent storyteller who brings back the magic of Indian myths and mythological stories. These stories are said in a conversational tone which makes it very appealing to read. The art of storytelling is at a matured state with this author, since he takes the various curves of the story with relative ease and making the story very appealing.

The Story in a Nutshell

A surprised school teacher meets the goddess of education, Goddess Saraswati and learns something new in history, geography, and literature. This is the most needed lesson for any aspiring students and teachers because it brings out the true essence of education. In the search of the River Saraswati, the readers come to terms with the actual river and how it can be saved.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the structure of the story. There were many facts which were imaginatively displayed and interlinked with the Saraswati River which has dried up. The best way to revive this river was provided in this book with an interesting twist.

I disliked the fact that the book was a very small one and ended very soon. I wished that I could spend more time with the River Saraswati and explore the true path towards being educated.

My Opinion

I found the take away from the book on what happens to be the true value of education. The mad rush for earning high scores, and somewhere down the lane, the joy of learning is totally lost. The idea is not to keep getting higher mark by mere replication of the text. I liked the idea of a day’s class was by following what made a student curious about on that particular day.

There is another thing that is equally interesting to note which is explained beautifully in this book. When one learns about a topic, the related subjects become interlinked, which then, enhances the student’s thought process. This thought I found it very interesting and innovative in this book. This is a great one time read but it is also something leaves you thinking about our education system and reviving River Saraswati in ourselves is an excellent thought.

Image Source:  Saraswatis Secret River

Antal’s Love for the Mãl

Book Title: Antal and Her Path of Love: Poems of a Woman Saint from South India

Author: Vidya Dehejia

Translation of:  Andal’s Thiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumozhi

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Translator:

Vidya Dehejia wears multiple caps in her profession as a passionate art historian. Much like a detailed investigator, Vidya probes deep into the past and pulls out the stories behind artifacts and monuments clearly listing the era of progress in Art history and social settings of the past.

Vidya Dehejia’s professional website provides interesting information about all her interest areas. She is Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University. and visiting professor to the Mario Miranda Visiting Research Professorship at the Goa University.

Her Exhibition show her in-depth knowledge of the South Asian Art History. She is also a Padma Bhushan awardee, whose passion for the Art world sparkles in every one of her books published so far.

In this book, she has picked the work of the Woman Saint Antal and her center-piece theme of her poems is Krishna one of Vishnu’s ten incarnation. The Southern milieu works of the Alwars are great inspiration for sustaining the growth of Vaishnavite religion.

Vidya has done a clean translation and has been very detailed to a ‘T’ about various aspects of the poems. The translation is clean and the author had done a wonderful job of looking at the text from various perspectives, thus providing a rounded view of the age and time.

Poems in a Nutshell:

Antal is one of the 12 Alwars and the only woman alwar who is recognized and worshipped in the Temples of Srivaishanava Hindu religion. Her work in praise of the Lord Vishnu is used as text to churn the spirit of worship from within to any who reads or recites her poems.

Antal has written two poems, Thiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumozhi. The shorter poem Thiruppavai, consisting of 30 verses, is popular and is recited during the month of Marghzi (Period: between Mid-Dec-Mid-Jan) in the Srivaishanava temples even today.

Both the poems are focused on the central theme, the love of Mãl or Vishnu or Krishna. Andal pours forth her love for Krishna in her two works with such passion that the enthusiasm of her love gets transferred into the hearer of the pasuram or verses.

Between the two works Thiruppavai is mellower than the Nacciyar Tirumozhi, which is an outcry of a young maid longing for her lover. The vastness of the poem’s angle can be seen in the approach that Antal had on the verses that she rendered in praise of the lord Vishnu.

Nacciyar Tirumozhi is more erotic and speaks of a lamenting lover grievance to be with her love. But the second work Antal is more herself and unrestricted. Where Thiruppavai is restrictive to proprietary behavior in a social settings, the Nacciyar Tirumozhi breaks those boundaries. Her second work is more a personal and private conversation between her and her lover Mãl.

Vidya does a beautiful work of bringing out the huge difference in the works and Antal cannot be better represented textually. The translated text flows beautifully and there is an unique understanding of the poetess which brings out her inherent fragrance of spirituality.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the way the words flowed into each other. The translator has done a wonderful work of almost replicating the musical quality from the source language to targeted language of translation, English. Even though both the languages have a huge difference; but Vidya had done justice to both the languages.

There were places where the flavors of South Indian scenario comes out beautifully. The rustic life and Antal’s love in translation didn’t lose its quality and intensity.

My Opinion

This book opened many of my sensitive points of thoughts in my mind as I read it. I also understood that the conversation of spiritual nature when based on emotional attachment to spiritual head, it removes almost all barrier of expression. When love becomes the expression, then the rules of social life just vanishes.

Image Source:  Amazon

If I Can Read, So Can You!

Reading habit is only for the book lovers! – is definitely a false notion! People who start out to cultivate the habit of reading fall prey to this hurdle. This hurdle hinders the progress of taking up reading habit among beginners.

Let me remove this mental hurdle by stating that, anyone who wish to start reading can do so, in small baby steps and with achievable goals.

People with different levels of reading ability can still learn the habit of reading. Try with a few pages every day before bedtime. It is an excellent way to relax after a stressful day as explained by Reading Partners.

Reading is slowly built through regular practice of picking a book at a fixed time. Reading skill leads to enriching experiences in life.

Anyone who is familiar with the Three R’s of reading would understand the joy one can derive from it.

And the Three R’s are pretty simple too!

To take in reading as an habit, it is necessary to bring about a change in your habits. You know well that change is ‘hard in the beginning’, ‘messy in the middle’ and ‘gorgeous in the end’.

I am not saying that you would become a prolific reader who finishes a book every day. No, but what I am saying is that you may be able to read at the very least two pages a day of your favourite author’s work.

The idea is to start in small baby steps and progress towards improving your reading skills with assured confidence.

Reading can be enriching to all who practice it!

Reading activity engages the mind at various levels and improves the chances of opening up venues to connect with the current language skills and present-day socio-lingual interpretations.

Language is a dynamic element in a human life. The fact that Human are the only species given the capability to produce meaningful bunch of sounds and effect a communication through it.

But the surprising things about current day methods of communication are that, the return of the hieroglyph styled graphics are replacing the actual words. The speed at which people scroll through information in the form of words, images and sounds in their electronic gadgets can be very interesting study; but then, it could be challenging too.

Though the mind is built to handle large scale of data and process it much more efficiently than a super computer, it is necessary to slow down and actually read a book that has structured syntax.

A book allows you to slow down and read through each and every word, to get the complete picture of what the writer wishes to explore with the readers.

So what are these three R’s?!

Reforming, Recollecting and Rewarding! The benefits of reading make for an experientially richer person and grander personality.

Since with each book read, the reader undergoes pseudo-experience through the fiction or non-fiction presented to them!

Reforming is an outcome of varied reading

The first R or Reforming is the basic benefit of the reading habit cultivation.

When the reader’s perceptions begin to expand through the act of reading, then the outcome will result in better human understanding.

A book is a form of having a personal conversation that is at an intellectual level with another person without the restriction of social interaction.

There are times when the thoughts represented in the book might run parallel or converges with the belief system of the reader.

This experience with the book leads to new understanding of varying perspectives. The varied experience in the world of books actually enables a reader to be better fitted for taking a studied approach to problems.

As a way to problem-solving ability building, the reading habit helps with multiple views, which are given exposure through wide reading or pseudo-experiential knowledge.

Since one may not be able to experience everything in life, the books become a source of gaining experience by reimagining the written words.

Recollecting with impressive remembrance

The second R or Recollecting is the after effect of the reading habit.

For every reader, there is a special bonding with their specific favourite books. While reading it, the reader can discover and later cement the shared concepts in their reflective memory.

The best way to appreciate a thought placed in a book is, when it becomes etched as a memory in the reader’s mind!

There have been innumerable moments when people have been so impressed with the writer’s thought that they would happily reproduce it as their own. Ownership feeling that comes from the experience of reading is truly ecstatic!

The beauty of the words arrangement and the in-built naturalness becomes a new understanding through the act of reading.

It is not rare to see people recite it with equal flair of competent, which the writer aimed to showcase for the world to experience.

Reading is a reward by itself!

The third R or Rewarding is a very subjective matter. It is as diverse as Science and Arts subjects!

In this mechanized life, everybody is seeking to reach the high scales of self and social based expectations. The act of reading is a reward by itself and joy gained from the act is fulfilling by itself.

Sometimes, the current century’s outlook of being successful and a winner who beats all the games to reach the top can be very restrictive. One cannot place the definition of success in life by mere social recognition standards.

Sometimes, the rewards of reading a book are not an immediately recognized change in the socio-economic condition of a person.

Let say, you pick a book about making more money. You will not become rich the very next day! Surprisingly, that is not a factual truth and is an illusion.

The actual rewards of reading are intrinsic and internal growth which may or may not be visible for all to see.

Reading books will allow you to explore various thought systems which are available among our human thinking minds.

Reward of reading is not just the similarity in the readership experiences; but differences too are rewarding! The aim should be to expand one’s knowledge base not just within our comfort zones; but also, based outside of our comfort zones.

So then, pick a book to Reform, Recollect and Reward yourself, even if, you disagree with the writer for the most parts of their book!

Touched and Stirred by Magical Realism

Book Title: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Translator:  Spanish to English

Rating:  4. 5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

My mentor recommended reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez to get an understanding of magical realism genre. This was the first story in this genre which unconsciously reflected in the works that I submitted to mentor for one-on-one mentorship. The storyteller was so fabulous with his words and his storytelling methods were so clear, that it was such an easy story to read. Within the space of the format short story the writer created a world which passed through months while creating lovable illusion of the old man.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story revolves around the strange looking old man with huge wings landing at Pelayo and Elisenda’s doorstep. The stranger arrives unexpectedly and leaves as unexpectedly from their house. The whole mystery behind the stranger visit is fresh and full of intrigue for just a short duration. Strange man is popular figure to be looked at and provoked. Pelayo and Elisenda make the most of the situation and make a small fortune from charging for seeing the strange man. The stranger’s uniqueness is overshadowed by another unusual person and people flock up to see that, instead of the strange man, who was getting to be boring to watch. The author played around the stranger walking into the house and how he leaves eventually without making any recognizable difference.

 

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

This story was my first exposure to magical realism and it felt really different from all the other stories. I liked the idea of getting a really supernatural element into the ordinary existence, and then, let it play out its course. This technique was done with great efficiency by the writer. I liked the way the story goes and there was much to explore within that space and the author made full use of that unique space.

There was nothing to dislike about this story and I felt a little disappointed that the people though they declared the stranger to an angel and lost interest on him after a duration. But then, I believe it is exactly the way human being react. Something remains novel and interesting until it satisfies the unique curiosity. The minute the novelty of newness had replaced with over familiarity, it then takes away the novelty. But this is also a fact of life and the author played with it gracefully.

My Opinion

I would recommend reading this short story because it didn’t have a moment when the mind was not turned inside-out in self-questioning. There were such great passages to read in a sitting, that it creates great joy to the reader. People who are looking for complex plots with fine-tuned sensitivity would enjoy Marquez’s stories.

 

Image Source:  http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?507702

 

 

My Lifetime’s Spiritual Reading List

I read anything and everything. I just try to stay away from judging any of the reading lists that explored. But then I find my thought somehow gets structured by what I read. Though, it would always be subjected to a huge debate in my head.

I’m a lifelong loner and started my long standing relationship with reading since my 3rd grade. So I kept reading a lot of British classics during those visits to library around the corner of Headmistress room corridor. I would skip my lunch sometime or stuff myself to rush to the library.

My first book on Self-help was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It was the first book which was close to spiritual that I read during that time. I was very confused and couldn’t understand the content. But somehow, I kept thinking, that I could change my thoughts to positive as easily as turning the pages of the book.

But nothing happened within me, I still felt bereft. I was also enrolled in the local lending library, that is when, I came to know of T. S. Lobsang Rampa. I was totally taken at the time with occult material such as astral travel and other related topics. I even imagined having such an astral experience, the power of auto-suggestion.

One of my troubles has been that I get taken in by whatever book I am reading. These books are during the time when my personality was getting set into a groove. The confusion pot of thoughts that kept going within me was so difficult to be ordered to behave. The Tibetan phase was during my eleventh standard, and by 12th grade, I got busy with my board exams. After that I kind of lost track with Rampa’s materials.

So when I reached College, then everything opened up. From that point, my reading shifted to Jiddu Krishnamurti and at last I had found something close to my thoughts. The material made sense to me because I loved word confusion. But I was equally not ready to give up my householder position. Even now I am not ready to give up and become a monk. I prefer monk over saint, I don’t qualify really for the other.

So for every spiritual inquiry book that I got interested, then, I will read two Romance novels to balance it. See it takes two romance novels to even out one spiritual query book for me. That was my way of saying that I will not just vanish into thin air of unidentified state of commonality. Even with the advanced thinker such as JK’s work; I used to read a combo sections where he would describe a scene and gave the lesson behind it.

It was such fun period to read all the various spiritual books and self-help books. I was like reading at least one book per week during that phase of my life. Around my post-college years when I was having trouble finding something different. Around then, I took a Pranic Healing class as per my cousin’s advice. That kind of linked me back to Rampa’s astral reading days.

During that time my cousin who is from Kashi and was a great Vedic Pandit shared a book with me and my life took another turn. It was titled “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. Synchronicity in which everything is happens for a reason got so much resonance with me that I was grabbed by my childish inquiry scruff and shaken.

Then, life became so interesting because I began noticing people and thought that they had a message for me. Of course, every interaction is a message for being a better person in real-life. Even these days I do read books by Robin Sharma and others to cheer myself up to find motivation.

Right now I am almost become someone who is very balanced but occasionally I lose it but only to gain it back with self-debate. I have read books by Deepak Chopra, Stephen R Covey, Thich Nhat Hanh, Robin Sharma’s “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” the first among the many series of self-help books.

Super Soul Sunday of Oprah Winfrey, Talk shows on motivation by Solomon Pappaiah on Tirukkural, Suki Sivam’s talks and all those Santana dharma by Velukkudi Krishnan and Harikatha discourses by Vishaka Hari and lot of others happened once I shifted from reading to listening.

Then came the days when I would practice meditation at least for 30 minutes every day which I would religiously follow. These days I can find meditative state by merely being. I still have a long way to go spiritually; but the journey was one of many wrong turns and twists. In all this, I still feel a connection with everything in this world.

I have truly forgiven everyone who hurt me during my growing years and I don’t get hurt that fast these days. Even if I do, there are many ways to find peace from within. There are actually no sadness in my life since peace from within resides inside which is such a pleasant feeling. I live my life in Mindfulness these days and find God at every turn welcoming my life with zest.

Image Source: Pexels.com

 

Tagore’s Package of Unforgettable Characters

Book Title:  The Very Best Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore

Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  4.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Tagore was always a fascination for me. In the very early formative years, I had read the Kabuliwahal piece from a borrowed and dog-eared copy of the short stories by this author. His way of telling a story is really appealing for two main reasons.

One is that he takes his time narrating; while ensuring to maintain the reader’s interest in the plot. Another reason is that, I found ancient voices talk to me with familiarity which was endearing to me in my mind.

Every story seemed well contemplated and effortlessly wrote. Be it The Postmaster, Kabuliwahal, Subha, or The Castaway every single story left a feeling of satisfaction; while encouraging being a creative thinker who is progressive.   Tagore was change-maker using one word at a time fitted in neat concepts.

Story in a Nutshell:

These are collection of stories about people in and around Kolkata and West Bengal. These stories are set in late days when the British Government was replaced with self-governance of India. The entire psyche of the Bengalis and of the immigrants makes an impact on the story plot; while providing a beautiful canopy of experiences for the readers. It is wonderful cosy blanket weaved into short plots that carried human emotions and feeling with great precision.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I really love the idea of short stories. Short pieces are hard to write; but great to read. The workmanship of Tagore in these pieces is really worth more than one reading. I am still trying to learn from the style that Tagore used for his short stories. There is never a moment of boredom in these stories; which happily amble their way to the finish. I didn’t have any dislike about the pieces but maybe I wanted to read more stories by Tagore.

My Opinion

I feel that this is a great book for beginning readers because it is reflective and simple at the same time. I would recommend it to students of 6th grade without any fear of censorship for some of the stories. But there are some adult stories too in the collection. The stories are euphemistically done with an eye-for-perfection.

Image Source: Embassy Book

Prequel to Jane Eyre | A Compelling Read

Book Title:  Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Jean Rhys as a storyteller was rather complicated for me. But the scenes that she created in the story were really compelling to read for me. Her writing style kind of awakened in a sense of despair that comes from the fact that darker side of life has prominent place.

The narration took on a self-obsessed shade of dark things which appealed to my sensitivity. But then the energy expands to the spaces given importance. I felt even her happy moments in the story were colored by deep-rooted sadness. There was no hope anywhere in the narration and that felt a little sad.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Story is about the mysterious character in the novel Jane Eyre. The imprisoned person kept in hiding mentally unstable and Wide Sargasso Sea explores her journey to that state. The journey of the character from her life as a child to her marriage gets explored in this novel.

The fact that the novel is beautifully dark and intense, I was able to finish the book in two sittings in the cold of Fall. I have never felt so connected with the story as I did with this novel.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the pace of the story very much. The point is some writers’ narrative is easy to capture than a few others. With this particular novel I had no trouble with the style and narration. The fact that it explored the dark side of human life and disappointments of many forms, it felt like spinning in a vortex of confusion. The viewpoint of the narrative took turns with different characters gave it an unique quality of storyline that I liked a lot.

One thing that I disliked was the fact that Rhys should have kept to a singular narrator which would have given it the power. But then, that could be my quirk for specific preferences in books that I read with care.

My Opinion

I would recommend this book for serious reading with open-mindedness towards the starkness that you will find the story. This book opened up my understanding so many dark sides of my character too. Great read for once.

Image Source: https://thebookexperience.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/mad-women-wide-sargasso-sea-by-jean-rhys/

Libraries Are My Soul Healers

My childhood, youth and womanhood have been spent in various libraries. I love things being arranged even though I lacked the talent to arrange things. But my life has such wonderful moments that are pure communion of my spirits with higher spirits.

Places and spaces influence me and it is after a while that I notice people. Usually I’m in my own world when I am in a library. The library has always been the answer to calming down my emotions which get haywire at the drop of the hat.

My First Library | West Mambalam, Chennai

My brother took both my sister and me to the library. It was pretty trick stuff for him. But both of us are good followers. We were well warned not to run amok on the main road. So I remember spending time sifting all the comic books. We were given a budget of one book each. But eventually my brother got two more books for us.

That way I must say my sibling and I sport affections that are almost similar to each other, in the cases of comic books. My sister loved less wordy more graphics. I still remember how both of us would giggle uncontrollably when we saw the Roman’s flying in the air in Asterix and Obelix series. The humor that is so apparent in the comic is really a “vera level” (a different level).

School Library | T’nagar, Chennai

I was in my eighth grade, when my school started having the library open for students during the lunch hour. I would always rush to get my share of all those young reader books. I picked innumerable Agatha Christie mystery novel. My favorites were Hercule Poirot, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I usually solve the mystery before it gets over. I used to enjoy myself immensely.

British Council Library & American Council Library | Chennai

I was so far only familiar with a dusty local library and maybe organized small area library books in school; but then, heck man, I love books whether dusty or clean or clustered or spaced-out. My first spacious library was British Council Library during my college days and I loved reading all the classics that I could lay my hand on.

G K Chesterton was my all-time favorite. I loved P G Wodehouse and Jeeves series was simply superb to read and enjoy. Later I also joined American Council Library and mind you that place was so calm and silent.

Yishun Community Library | Singapore

One of my needs was to be in a place close to the Library. My ex-husband found a place close to the Yishun Community Library and even to this day I am most thankful for that one kind deed. Library would be where I would be after lunch and I totally enjoyed myself.

I was able to find volunteering jobs with the Library and I was most happy. I would volunteer to arrange the books and tell stories in the library storytelling room.

I have this wonderful story from Yishun Library that it is etched in my memory forever. I was on my fourth Thursday of story reciting stage when it was close to Christmas and I wanted to pick a story about Jesus and the manger. But found a Santa Claus story which I happily recited to my little group of young listening minds.

When I finished the book one little Chinese boy got up and said can we hear the music attached to the book. There was a button in the book which when pressed gives out music. The boy showed it to me and I was totally unaware of it. I was doubtful whether the music will play; but still went along with his suggestion. We found out that it worked and the group of six children all took turns to press the button. That day I felt I owned the world.

Woodland Public Library | Singapore

The Woodland Public Library was a sight for my sore eyes. Whenever I felt emotionally empty I would go to the library traveling by SMRT and sneakily enjoying an egg puff.

There was huge water fountain in the library which blended with the ambiance completely. I would spend hours with a book in my hand in front of the fountain. It was almost like Zen meditation for me.

I picked some really wonderful adult graphic books and the children section was divine. I loved sitting in the short chair watching all the children run around and quiet ones with a book in a hand under the artificial tree that was kept in the middle.

There could be any amount of discomfort in my life; but it would all melt when I am in the library. Life is filled up with moments such as these in plenty. These moments are all surrounded by good book read or emoted with in the course of my reading it.

Mission Library | San Francisco, Calif.

I was not really checking out for places near a Library to stay, but then magically, I found that Bartlett Street had a library and I would ever so often, walk down the street and pick some books from the Mission library. Library is the best place for me emotionally and spiritually. I always found my balance when I visit a library.

These days I don’t visit Libraries as often as I used to; but keep finding new things to read by actually creating my own little library at home