1. THE ALCHEMIST- PAULO COELHO
For some reason this book has come by me twice and each time I was at odds with my wants and dreams- and it was just the book I needed. Do I believe in omens? Oh yes I do.
“Tell you heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it went in search of its dream”
2. THE COLOR PURPLE- ALICE WALKER
I especially loved the fact that the whole story is told through letters only. Fave quote:
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think that pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see he’s always trying to please us back.”
3. MY FRIEND MATT AND HENA THE WHORE – ADAM ZAMEENZAAD
Read this book in 2006 and again afterwards cuz I had not understood it the first time round. African strife, told through the eyes of a kid experiencing innocent village life then city life with friends and family and how civil war and starvation changes everything for them. It’s very heartbreaking and has always haunted me.
It’s one thing to see the photo of a vulture waiting to pounce on a dying child. It’s quite another for a writer to explain starvation and how such a starving child dies from it.
4. THE KITE RUNNER- KHALED HOSSEINI
A very beautiful novel that tells the story of two friends, friendship in general and of Afghanistan- as I never knew it before.
“For you a thousand times over” is one of the closing quotes which made me cry (AND WITH GOOD REASON!) read it and you’ll understand.
5. DANGEROUS LOVE- BEN OKRI
Read this during my final year high school examinations when I didn’t feel like reading for the exams. It depressed me greatly but also helped me deal with issues I had at that time. The most memorable quote;
“Bad things will happen, and good things too. Miracles happen only where there has been suffering…so taste your grief to the fullest…don’t hide from it…it is life too; it is truth. But it will pass and time will put a strange honey in the bitterness. That’s the way life goes.”
6. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA- ARTHUR GOLDEN
(spoiler alert!!!) There is a really well described painting in the novel that was so vivid and beautiful I had to Google to view it only to find out that the novel is a work of fiction and not a true bio as I thought. So no such painting exists!:-(
“I don’t think any of us can speak frankly of pin until we are no longer enduring it.”
7. THE POISONWOOD BIBLE- BARBARA KINGSOLVER
Explores Africa and especially the Congo before, during and after missionaries and colonialism. The interesting heartbreaking story is told through the eyes of a woman and her 4 daughters- my favorite persona being Adah. It also shares great African wisdom in the face of white supremacy and also nature’s way of balance; The butterfly effect- how people don’t see the magnitude of their “little” acts- and how one person’s luck is another’s downfall and vice versa.
Greatly helped me understand that my loss might have hurt me but it could help someone and that’s a good thing. Nothing is ever really lost even if I never know that. Nothing is ever really lost- it just transforms into something else.
“The forest eats itself and lives forever”