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5 recent books I read that helped me grow a bit wiser

Posted: March 5, 2020

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunders.” ~Rumi

Words have immense power. Words can heal. That’s why writers possess the incredible ability to change someone’s life.

And if these powerful words are woven in the form of a good book, then it’s surely the icing on the cake. The year 2019, got a lot of sweet surprises for me – one of which was reading some great books.

I always believe that you don’t choose a book, but a book chooses you. There have been several instances where I faced repeated failures in reading a book. And then one fine day, I get up, look at its cover and boom! I pick up the little wonder…my eyes scanning through every word, my mind tasting the emotions and my heart immersed in the magical wonderland – impeccably crafted by the author.

I am fortunate and thankful that I could find a few invaluable gold nuggets this year too. Here is the list of some of the incredible books that I read in 2019, a brief introduction of each, and my takeaways.

1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Whenever I think of this one, I am practically lost for words. The tranquillity with which the story flows in the reader’s mind is hard to explain. The story, set in the 1930s, talks about the life of Chiyo Sakamoto who is a victim of the painful circumstances in her life at a small fishing village called Yoroido. The story revolves around Chiyo, who is sold-off by her father, her new life at Kyoto, and how she becomes one of the most famous Geishas of Japan to get a new identity as Sayuri. It’s a heart-wrenching story swirling in myriad emotions of greed, anger, fear, sadness, and love.

My take

The Memoirs of a Geisha has been one of the best books I have read this year. Despite it being a tragic story, the book gives a subtle ray of hope and encourages us to leap of faith, just as the little Chiyo did. It is amazing to witness the connecting dots and the incredible patience exhibited by the protagonist to make her life enviable for many.

2. Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss

Based on the arguable theory of past life regression therapy, the book talks about the experiences of Dr Weiss, a traditional psychotherapist, and one of his patients named Catherine. Suffering from chronic anxiety attacks and nightmares, Catherine was going through a traumatic experience until she met Dr Brian Weiss. And as Dr Weiss starts with hypnosis on her, both of them are astonished to learn about the past-life encounters that Catherine recalls.

My take

While Catherine undergoes the treatment only for 18-months, the insights shared during her regressive state are shockingly fascinating for the reader. In this vast universe, certain things are beyond our understanding and beyond our control. Happiness lies in its simplicity and there is nothing to be fearful for – because we can never run out of time.

3. Only Love is Real by Dr Brian Weiss

This is another gem by Dr Weiss and talks about his patients – Elizabeth and Pedro. While Elizabeth, a beautiful young woman, is going through deep pain in her relationships; Pedro has all the worldly pleasures, but struggling to get over the death of his brother. The mind-blowing narratives around the lives of two strangers, who discover each other as soulmates, is a beautiful experience for the readers. The book flawlessly travels through real experiences culminating in a fairy-tale rendezvous.

My take

The book talks about the cosmic union but also registered some pearls of wisdom. This book has been a treat to my romantic and spiritual self. It’s a strange feeling of liberation when the author mentions the ‘soul families’ travelling together. We are worried about today or tomorrow and often forget that we are a part of the timeless journey of souls, destined to find the special one sooner or later. Our voyage to find soul mate not necessarily in the form of romantic relations, and sometimes we may meet only for a brief period. Nevertheless, there is always a purpose behind it.

4. Think and Win Like Dhoni by Sfurti Sahare

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s personality has always been an inspiration for many and this book validates the fact. The book chronicles not only the career of the cricketing legend but gives an account of his extraordinarily positive mindset. Sfurti has meticulously explained the personality traits that explain why Dhoni truly justifies his image of ‘Captain Cool’.

I am not a die-hard cricket fan and honestly, would have never picked up this book if not suggested by a friend. And I am so glad that I read it – to understand what makes M S Dhoni stand out in the crowd and why he deserves to be titled the hero in the world of cricket.

My take

One thing that has strongly registered on my mind through this book is the emphasis on the right ‘process’. While we may choose to think that Dhoni is lucky to be bestowed upon with some divine calmness and focus, he busts all these myths. His rock-solid determination to ‘stay in the process’ is such a simple mantra, yet hard to implement.

5. The Magic by Rhonda Byrne

I loved the famous book The Secret by Rhonda and therefore was sure that I’ll pretty much like this one too. While The Secret remains my favourite, The Magic brings a greater focus on the power of gratitude.

The book had been lying on my shelf for years and yet I never thought of flipping through the pages. However, a few weeks back it suddenly caught my attention, and I finished it in a single go! The chapters are easy to read and give the reader a light, yet interesting tips on embracing the joys we’ve been showered upon.

My take

I simply fell in love with the book. One may feel that the practices mentioned in there are pretty generic. However, I had not been using the power of gratitude consciously and this book has served as a reminder to me. I strongly believe in gratitude. There is always so much to complain about in our day-to-day lives that we often forget the simple joys. This book has taught me to look at life differently and be thankful for little pleasures, rather than constantly worrying over situations that are mostly beyond our control.

As Mark Twain said, “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Well, I am not convinced with the sleepy conscience but the first two make one’s life worth living.

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I write for a living and I read to live… A proud mom who loves

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