The best thing to do in this time of quarantine is to nurture your reading habit, or to inculcate reading habit if you don’tread often. By “reading” we mean reading the real works of literature. Indulge in the classics and feel your mind wrapping around the intricate details of their plots and themes. Today, we are suggesting a few books for your reading list, if you haven’t got the time to read them yet, this is your chance to do so.
THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS
This book is written by Arundhati Roy, published in 1997. It can be called a family drama of Literary Fiction genre, set in Kerala. Its plot covers the themes like, Indian Politics, society, discrimination, cultural tensions and class structure; Family and social obligations; Forbidden Love and sexuality and of course, the ‘small things’ which actually are the ‘big things’ shaping ‘who we are’ and ‘what we will become’. Not to mention it’s a Booker-Prize winning jewel which explores casteism and gender-discrimination in India in its own unique way.
This is an adventure and fantasy novel by Paulo Coelho, published in 1988. Its main theme is about, “pursuing your personal legend” (your own/personal ideal goal). The novel also discusses the fear of death and all kinds of fears in general in order to prove why such fear is unimportant. This novel is a must read because it analyses psychological issues in a very interesting quest-like format which appeals to readers of all different generations and backgrounds. This book holds the world record for being ‘the most translated book by a living author’. And we would say, this book in itself is a ‘personal-quest’.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Written by Harper Lee, published in1960, this novel is still one the best pieces ever written. It is set in a fictional town of Alabama andtalks about many things like good and evil, not that people can be divided as bad or good ones but everyone is actually a mix of both these qualities. There are also incidents depicting hidden, in-built classism, sexism and racismin many people of the society, moral conflict and about how we change (physically and mentally) as we grow-up. The characters of the novel appeal to various generations, differently. According to the reader’s maturity, some identify themselves with Scout Finch while others with Atticus.
THE BELL JAR
This novel was written by Sylvia Plath, set in 1950’s America, a time when the society was predominantly structured by patriarchal and conservative values. It presents an in-depth analysis of female emotions, what womanhood represented in that period and the classic dilemma of purity and impurity of mind and body. It also depicts how the social expectations of ‘chastity and grace’ for a woman and their personal ambitions come face to face in real life, if a woman chooses to follow her desires.
We chose this one because it feels too real in the current scenario, when the world is struck by a pandemic. It is a philosophical, absurdist fiction novel by the ‘Noble Prize for literature’ winner, Albert Camus published in 1947. The plague in the plot is the bubonic plague which out broke during 1940’s. It’s interesting to note how the plague sieged town becomes a miniature model of the universe, in a sense that different characters demonstrate different ways of dealing with the plague. The plague signified the absurdum (meaninglessness) of universe, worst human conditions, mass sufferings and deaths. But still there were acts of heroism and attempts for defiance of the inevitable by many characters, which does not really give us hope but a strange sense of temporary relief.
Literature can prove to be a great source of knowledge as well as an amazing medium to escape the reality. Team ITVI understands how important books are for everyone, that’s why we provide free access to e-resources for our visually impaired students through ‘bookshare’.
Stay safe and keep reading!
Saumya Rani ( Team – ITVI )