Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B for Books (What Else?)

My love affair with books started when I was five.

We lived in Dubai at that time – seems eons ago – and one of my numerous aunts came to visit. And to me, visits were extremely welcome; they meant the arrival of at least a bar of chocolate. My aunt, however, chose to give me an enormous picture dictionary. My memories of it have mostly been obscured by the mist of time, but I do have fleeting impressions of very-glossy pages, large red fonts and some beautiful illustrations. The book is now god-knows-where: either lost in our journey from one house to another or gathering dust in some corner of the store room.

That dictionary told me that there were some things you cannot illustrate, taught me about abstract qualities before I even knew what the word meant. That book led me through little stories and poems, to bigger ones, and finally to Enid Blyton. And that's where my tryst with fiction begins.

I read my first 'Famous Five' book when I was in second/third standard and my fixation with the series and, indeed, other Enid Blyton works like the Secret Seven, lasted right up to sixth grade. That was when I discovered [or rather, re-discovered] Harry Potter.

Suffice to say, once a Potterhead, always a Potterhead.

As my love for reading grew, I discovered more fantastic authors: Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, Veronica Roth and Angie Sage. Jodi Picoult and John Green tore my heart apart. Khaled Hosseini's books captivated me with their breathtaking prose and made me sob unashamedly. Dan Brown taught me a thing or two about pacing; Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander is still the most complex character I've encountered.

Somewhere down the line, reading blossomed into a full-blown obsession, to the point where my day doesn't feel complete without reading the newspaper the first thing in the morning. Heck, I even read railway timetables when I've got nothing new. [What? It's informative!]

Over the last few years, I've amassed a large collection of books, the joy of which I've learned to share with my friends and classmates. In the past year alone, I encouraged several classmates to read, introduced them to some of my favourite books. Over this process of lending and recommending, of them reading and sharing their thoughts, I've bonded with them. And the pride I feel when I see them enjoying reading as much as I do is nothing short of a mother's pride as she watches her child take her first step.

The books I've read have taught me to think about the world around me, reevaluate my opinions, reflect on myself. They've been my best friends and have catalyzed the formation of most of my real-life friendships. They cemented my identity at my new school and earned me the fond title of 'class librarian'.

The books I've read made me who I am today and I wouldn't want it any other way.





Writing this was unexpectedly... therapeutic. I'm still wondering why I didn't do this earlier, being a professed bibliophile and all. #AtoZBloggingChallenge2013

18 comments:

  1. Snap! I did B for Books too. I'm really looking forward to following your A to Z journey!

    Rachael

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  2. This was lovely to read and brought back many memories :) Happy AtoZing!

    Jemima at Jemima's Blog

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    1. Thank you, Jemima. Have fun during the Challenge!

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  3. That was lovely! My first book (that started my obsession) was a Nancy Drew that I received for Christmas. I read it while alone and was freaked out when I heard animals on the roof etc. I was totally transported and have never looked back. :) Love affair is right, and I have been known to read cereal boxes, train time tables... :)

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    1. I forgot to mention Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys -facepalm-

      Well, this post's long enough. I'd probably need an entire page to list all my favourite books. And cereal boxes? *virtual hi-five* I like reading the ingredients :)

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  4. love this! I'm such a maniac book reader and I'm stunned when I meet people who wish to be writers who hardly read. Huh?
    I liked Famous Five and Trixi Belden and Anne of Green Gables and Girl of the Limberlost and Little Women and up and through the Bond books and on and on through The Last Temptation of Christ and into Margaret Drabble and then all of Dickens and all of Austen and so on and on I go. I'm 61 and there isn't enough time. When I'm in my car I listen to books on tape!
    Jan Morrison

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    1. Little Women is one of my favourites too!

      Yes, I know. So many books to read, so little time :(

      Thanks for visiting, Jan. Do come again :)

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  5. I was one of those kids who read under the covers with a flashlight long after lights out. Confounded by father by carrying boxes of my books off to college - and home again.

    I still have shelves and shelves full, despite also having an ereader full. I live to read. And write.

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    1. I totally get what you're saying. Reading and writing is as essential to me as breathing. It's who we are.

      Nice to meet you, Willa :)

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  6. Hi ya! New follower via the A2Z. I didn't start reading books until I was in 8th grade, I think. That's when I discovered The Outsiders and how exciting it was to live within a book. I still do! Only now, I write them, as well. That's even better!

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    1. Agree wholeheartedly :) Welcome to Metamorphosis, Nancy. Hope you have fun.

      And happy A-Zing!

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  7. Hi Zainab! Glad I found you while hopping around! Books - where I would be without them? If only children read more and allowed their imaginations to run riot! The Secret Seven, fairy tales ...

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    1. I wish more people would read, too.

      Glad you could visit! Thanks :)

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  8. Zainab....I love your passion for books. As I read this post I was getting all excited about reading again....it's a bit lost to me as I'm trying to juggle my kids and life but I can't wait to sit down - breathe and read. I'm a Potterhead too! In fact, we are heading to Harry Potter Land soon. :)

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    1. My mother complains about not getting time to read too! She loves travelogues.

      Fellow Potterhead? That's awesome! I'm sure your kids will love the books :)

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  9. You lived in Dubai when you were young? That sounds exciting! I too have a love for books, it's a love shared by many. It's so exciting just to think of ALL the books in the world and ALL the books I have yet to read. And I have to agree, once a 'potterhead' always a 'potterhead'.

    Have fun with a-z.

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    1. I know... my wishlist is too long for me [and my purse] to catch up with.

      I'm definitely having fun with A-Z so far!

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