Earlier this year, I had the extremely transformative experience of reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. I didn’t think it would affect me the way it did, especially since Woolf’s To the Lighthouse was a disappointing one for me. But as I progressed with A Room of One’s Own, I was consumed by it. I read in awe as Woolf detailed the sexism that women writers face in a time when women didn’t have the freedom to do as they wanted. So many scathing points written sometimes with detached politeness, other times with undisguised annoyance, and at yet others narrated stoically – they sit with you for all of eternity, like they’ve settled down in my mind.
And what a way to condense the book into one sentence:
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
When I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s memoir, In Other Words, in which she shares her journey of learning Italian, it was as if she was echoing my deepest, darkest fears. With the themes she tackles throughout the book, of immigration, of even sexism and colorism, she brings so many relatable concepts to the fore. Because when you start learning a new language, you not only discover how the different parts of the world are different. You also learn more about yourself, the grit and determination that constitute you, what your actual goals are, what you want to do with life, where you want to be at any given moment in time, and why you want to do whatever it is you want to do.
Religion can be a tricky path to navigate, because the more you discover, the more you tend to become confused as to which is the right one. But there is no right one. Just one that you feel most comfortable and at home in, which helps you grow and makes you a better person as much as it pulls devotion out of you. So what do we do when we are this confused? Should we flit from religion to religion? Or should we randomly choose a religion based on how many tenets of it we like? Or can we get the best of all worlds?
Ishwar Joshi Awalgaonkar answers these questions in his second book, ‘Nectar of all World Religions’.
I had heard about this non-fiction book and that it was simply amazing but I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks before. When I hadn’t read this, I went, “What is this book?” And when I finished it, I went, “Why didn’t I know about Henrietta Lacks when the whole world knows about her now?”
The thing about today’s world is that it is lost in a haze of mindless competitions and artificial nourishments. What if we actually do something to rectify this situation? With this, too, there is a problem. We have the right intent to do something that will make our lives easier, but most importantly, as the author says in this book, the lives of those around us easier. Because isn’t that what a good life is all about? Keep your comforts but make sure they don’t cause any discomfort to those around you.
I bought Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods in March 2018 and read it in August 2018, which is a miracle, to be honest. I usually don’t get excited about nonfiction books. But somehow, A Walk in the Woods inexplicably pulled me towards it. Maybe because it is travel-related that I was so excited to start reading this book. It is saying something when just 2 pages in, I fell in awe with the man called Bill Bryson. In just one paragraph, he explains what the problem with the modern world is without actually putting a finger on it.
Ashraf Haggag is a senior executive with nearly three decades of experience in close proximity to the corporate market. His more recent experience has also taken him to every facet of the hospitality industry.