Reading has a way of impacting our lives and changing the way we think.
I have been actively reading for the past ten years but it has only been in the last one year that the time I spend on reading has increased.
There are so many wonderful books that I have read over time, which have not only been entertaining but have also influenced me in some way or other.
In today’s post, I share with you six such books that have inspired me a lot. Here they are.
1. Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl
Written by a 13-year-old girl named Anne Frank as diary entries while she was in hiding for two years (1942-44) with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, this a beautiful memoir.
While Anne became one of the victims of the Nazi concentration camps, her diary survived the test of times to keep her story and her memories alive for the rest of the world through the years.
This is a very emotional and a well-written book. One of the best quotes that I liked from the book reads –
Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
A girl who did not know whether she will be alive the next day or not wrote this, leaving us with an important lesson of being positive and happy even during the times of crises.
2. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Written by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, this is a collection of one-page biographies of the most inspirational women from around the world. Some of these women were painters, some were freedom fighters, some rockstars, and some were pirates.
I find this book very inspiring, as it showcases how women have excelled at so many professions over the years. One of my favourite stories from the book is that of former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. And the key lesson I drew out from her life was this –
Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.
3. Wings of Fire
This is the autobiography of A P J Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. It is the story of evolution of a little boy from the small town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu who dreamt of flying a plane, to a person who actually built rockets at the Indian Space Research Organisation.
The book contains the memorable experiences of his life worth knowing. My favourite quote from the book reads –
To live only for some unknown future is superficial. It is like climbing a mountain to reach the peak without experiencing its sides. The sides of the mountain sustain life, not the peak. This is where things grow, experience is gained and technologies are mastered. The importance of the peak lies only in the fact that it defines the sides.
This quote signifies the importance of enjoying the journeys that we take in life than just waiting for the destinations. Like, as a school student, it’s important to focus more on the learning that takes place throughout the year than just the exams that happen at the end.
4. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
This is a legendary comic strip created by Bill Watterson (who turned 62 yesterday). It is based on the adventures of a 6-year-old boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Calvin, being a very imaginative and mischievous boy, imagines Hobbes to be a real tiger and his best friend. This collection of comics about this lovable duo is just amazing.
The lesson I draw out from my reading of Calvin and Hobbes is that one should be imaginative and live life with utmost happiness without bothering about the future or regretting about the past.
Here is one of my favourite strips from the book –
5. Amar Chitra Katha – Complete Collection
A collection of 450+ titles written by various authors across India, these are among the best books to make us aware of India’s vibrant history, culture, and mythology. The books are beautifully illustrated and fun to read. These are the first books that I started reading when I was six years of age, and so they are close to my heart. These books have helped me build a deep interest in the subjects of Indian mythology and history.
The collection comprises of stories of bravehearts, mighty kings, freedom fighters, scientists, revolutionaries, historical places, lessons from the Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Upanishads, and Panchatantra.
6. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
Written by cartoonist Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, it is a wonderful book. In this humorous book, Mr. Adams writes about his many failures and what they eventually taught him about success.
One of the key lessons he wrote about in this book that I fond very valuable is that we should have systems in life, not goals. For an example, he writes that losing ten pounds is a goal, whereas learning to eat right is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower. If we are to succeed in anything over the long term, we must focus on building the right systems than having goals.
Here is the passage from the book where Mr. Adams writes about systems vs goals –
A goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.
Roald Dahl, the noted children’s book author, wrote in his wonderful book Charlie and The Chocolate Factory –
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray
Go throw your TV set away
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
And Dr. Seuss said in I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! –
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.
There could be no better advice than this for every child (and also adults!).
I have taken it seriously. What about you? 🙂
Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program, which simply means that if you purchase a book on Amazon from a link on this page, I receive a small commission. The book does not cost you any extra. I give away 100% of the commission for the betterment of the under-privileged.