Hey Bookworms! In today’s post, I’m going to share with you some books that completely changed my perspective. These books have not only revealed to me my ignorance on certain issues of great societal and political importance, but also perfectly exemplify the fact that reading isn’t just a means of escape but rather a means by which we become enlightened.
1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – This book also holds the record for making me cry; a difficult feat to accomplish and indeed one that has never been accomplished since. A Thousand Splendid Suns is the epitome of loss and heart-rending tragedy. It exposes the brutality of a harsh regime that particularly effected the women and young girls of its time, but also carries overtures of something infinitely more hopeful.
The Afghani author, who also wrote the award-winning The Kite Runner, set up his charity, The Khaled Hosseini Foundation in 2008 with the aim of providing humanitarian relief, more economic opportunities for women and healthcare and education for children who need it most. His latest novel, Sea Prayer, published in 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing is a novel about the fear and uncertainty of being forced to flee one’s country and seek refuge, in light of the Syrian war. Hosseini perfectly uses the medium of writing to raise awareness about the suffering and political tensions affecting mostly Middle Eastern regions and the reading of his novels is sure to change one’s perspective.
2. Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda – I had the pleasure of meeting the charming Ivy earlier this year, albeit for a passing moment at a book signing, celebrating the release of her latest novel in the U.K. But it was enough to glean the vivacity of her personality.
Wonder Valley is irresistible in the way it explores the central theme of redemption. It delves into the muti-faceted nature of criminality. This is perfectly personified through the characterisation of Ren, who can’t seem to escape a life of drugs and crime, no matter how much he tries to seek change. Wonder Valley is extremely raw and unfiltered in the way it paints a true depiction of L.A. by commenting on life in Skid Row, which is something that has been expertly airbrushed out of recognizance in most representations of L.A. what I would normally associate with A-list celebrities and pristine neighbourhoods.
Ivy Pochoda is another author who has used the medium of books to raise awareness of the overlooked hardships of people who live in less fortunate neighbourhoods. It also goes into captivating detail about the psychology of sects by means of the desert dwellers of Twentynine Palms and the complex psyche of crime. All these elements perfectly marry to create a story that had a profound effect on me.
3. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Interestingly, Gone With The Wind is a classical epic that is said to have been written on the foundations of ‘boredom,’ which I find very intriguing given the monumental scope of this book. Stripped back to its core, this life-changing novel is about the enthralling romance between headstrong Scarlet O’Hara and the snide, coy and cool character that is Rhett Butler. However, Gone With The Wind possesses so much more depth. It comments on the politics of its day, the social norms, it analyses the double-edged sword of slavery and the crippling fear of war.
It symbolises beautifully the romanticism and redundancy of the Old South, with its followers of self-assured arrogance that have been left utterly displaced in the rising of a New South. It develops its main character seamlessly, who grows more ruthless in the face of the many brutal realities that befall her. And it sheds an interesting light on slavery, a perspective where slaves are somehow left feeling bereft and disorientated with their newfound emancipation. In short, Gone With The Wind is a life-changing book that has ultimately become one of my all-time favourites.
Thank you for reading! I hope I’ve encouraged you to give on of these three books a go and that if you do, you enjoy it as much as I did.
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