It was thought that the gods blew on creative people, who would then inhale the god's breath and have an idea. This is the premise of "inspiration": inhaling divine breath and ideas.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The book that changed everything

#206 - The book that changed everything

Is there a book that you read at a particular time in your life that changed everything for you?  Is there a book you think should be written that would change everything? Words have an incredible power if they are read/ heard by the right person at the right time.  What collection of words has been powerful for you?

Books have defined the growing phases of my personality. Most of the time my hands have picked up the right books at the right time, my heart fell in love with some of the authors and I read and re-read their books to relive the joy of reading! There have been rare occasions when I fell for the book cover and loved the contents of the book (RARE). To name a few 'life changing authors and books':

  • R. K. Narayan's Bachelor of Arts. This was my first proper novel, I was fifteen when I read it. It changed my world because I was introduced to the simple writing of this great man who moved hearts. This creator of Malgudi had an excellent story telling style. Bachelor of arts was a simple love story of a student of Malgudi. Sitting on the banks of river Sarayu one day, he falls in love with a green sari clad woman. It follows the emotions of this young lad through a heart break and how he finally succeeds in life. 
  •  Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. The intensity with which I read this one is unforgettable and unforgivable. I was lost in a world of Nabokov's passion for words. To de-tangle myself and enter the mundane world seemed absurd to me. One of the best 7 days of my life. The dictionary was stuck to my hand, I must have noted a hundred words during the entire reading of this classic. It was  worth all the trouble. some of my favorite excerts from the novel:
Lolita, light of my life,fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
  • Salman Rushdie's 'Moor's last sigh'. This wasn't my first Rushdie novel, but it was my best one. I fell for the whole portuguese and jews concept and the spices, the fiery tongues, the chipkali paintings, the grey haired beuatiful woman and the young and lovely women! And the moor, of course! Wonderful. Complete. Humorous. Love. Hate. Passion. Jealousy. Name it, and you will find it in this one book. My favorite scene from the book:
So it was that Aurora da Gama got the idea of murdering her grandmother from the lips of the intended victim herself. Afer that she began making plans, but these increasingly macabre fantasies of poisons and clif-edges were invariably scuppered by pragmatic problems, such as the difculty of getting hold of a cobra and inserting it between Epifania’s bedsheets, or the fat refusal of the old harridan to walk on any terrain that, as she put it, ‘tiltoed up or down’. And although Aurora knew very well where to lay her hands on a good sharp kitchen knife, and was certain that her strength was already great enough to choke the life out of Epifania, she nevertheless ruled out these options, too, because she had no intention of being found out, and too obvious an assault might lead to the asking of uncomfortable questions. Te perfect crime having failed to make its nature known, Aurora continued to play the perfect granddaughter; but brooded on, privately, though it never occurred to her to notice that in her broodings there was more than a little of Epifania’s ruthlessness.

These are but to name a few, many others remain to be talked about like Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One hundered years of solitude, Peter Altenberg, Hermann Hesse! 


  1. Wow!You've got a great list here Medhini. R.K.Narayan is one of my favorites too. I love his, 'The English Teacher'.
    We'd Rushdie's 'Midnight Children' as part of our PG curriculum. Honestly it was then a very long story for me, but I admired his descriptive style that I ended up finishing the novel. Marquez' Love In The Time... and Hesse' Siddartha are 2 of my favorites.
    Have a great weekend.