Why We Read What We Read: The Books That Made Us Who We Are
Our love for books is what unites us as a team at Bound. We all have special memories attached to books and reading. In hard times, reading is what we fall back on. It shaped us in many ways, it changed the way we think and feel and in many ways made us who we are. Our choices of what we read are so different across the team. Read on as the Bound team gets personal and shares how reading shaped our identities.
Tara Khandelwal, Founder
We all know this is a strange year. Work has been more hectic than ever before and there is little mind-space to do much else, at least for me. In the first few months of the pandemic, I tried reading new books but failed miserably. So, I turned to books that I had already read for comfort. This way, I knew what I was going to get, the kinds of adventures I would go on, the emotions I would be privy to. That extra work of immersing yourself in a new world, allowing it to take over your attention is much easier when you have been through it before. Here are some of the books I re-read: ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khalid Hosseini, ‘Palace of Illusions’, ‘I Capture the Castle’, ‘Twentieth Wife’ and ‘The Feast of Roses’. Immersing myself in these fantastical, historical worlds that are so different from where I am currently placed geographically and socially, it helped me escape from the mundane!
Michelle D’costa, Managing Editor
I began my reading journey with R.L.Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’, I remember writing horror tales just like him that revolved around monsters, zombies and werewolves. I was fascinated by his talent to keep children hooked to books. Then ‘The Namesake’ by Jhumpa Lahiri made me aware of the power of literary fiction. It made me want to be a writer. My reading tastes have changed over the years. From reading Sidney Sheldon and Robin Cook, I’m now an avid reader of Indian writing. I read ‘The God Of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy this year, I’m glad I did because that book is not only well-written but the story haunts you for life. Another book that I read this year and absolutely loved is ‘The Peculiar Life Of A Lonely Postman’ by Denis Thériault. I had never heard of this book before but I picked it up on a reader’s recommendation and couldn’t put it down! This year has been difficult and I wasn’t able to read as much as I would have liked but I’m glad that from whatever I managed to read this year, some of them turned out to be life-changing books.
Megha Jha, Research and Brand Development Officer
As a teenager, I always felt a little lost. There was no single emotion or explanation behind it. I just felt different and lost. Almost like I didn’t fit in anywhere. In retrospect, I realise that it was a part of the whole teenage experience. Yet, back then, I was troubled by it. I often found myself spending more time in the school library than most of my classmates preferred. It escalated to a point where I would request my librarian to let me spend my lunch break locked up in there. Over time, I could read three books a week! I remember coming across the ‘Chicken Soup’ series when I was around 14 years old. The title, however, felt odd. Why would someone name a book ‘Chicken Soup?’ It wasn’t soon after I started reading it that I realised that it’s about the emotion. It was about warmth, comfort and familiarity. I particularly resonated with their ‘Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul’ series. It talked about love, friendship, families, self-discoveries and so much more. It had stories about every single thing that had ever troubled my young mind and every time I felt lost, I kept going back to it. In a big way, this book helped me sail through the awkwardness and conflict that comes with teenage years.
Rhea Pereira, Communications Officer
As a child, books were my escape. I got my reading habit when I was often alone for long periods as my mom had to spend time taking care of my father in the hospital. But, she would make it a point to read to us and then she got me hooked to Enid Blyton’s stories. I devoured the tales of boarding schools and the midnight feasts and it even made me beg my parents to send me to boarding school in the sixth grade. As I grew up, books shattered my bubble and my sheltered life. I began to almost exclusively read Indian fiction like ‘Baluta’ by Daya Pawar, translated by Jerry Pinto. It made me look at the city I live in in a whole new light and showed me the ways in which privilege work. ‘The Pakistani Bride’ by Bapsi Sidhwa got me interested in women’s experience of the Partition and I have been eagerly seeking out narratives like these ever since.
Aishwarya Javalgekar, Editor
As a child, I loved reading about adventures – ‘The Famous Five’ (by Enid Blyton) going on picnic lunches to their private island, ‘Nancy Drew’ (by Carolyn Keene) solving crimes as a teenager and Tom finding a secret garden in his backyard (Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce). I would wish my life was as exciting, but as I grew up I started reading about the problems of others, and that gave me pause. ‘Headscarves and Hymens’ by Mona Eltahawy, ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ by Ahmed Saadawi and ‘Chocolat’ by Joanne Harris are three books that have stayed with me over the years. They help me realize that everyone has problems, big and small, and reassure me that I can still overcome mine.