The Snow Leopard and the Goat: Politics of Conservation in the Western Himalayas by Shafqat Hussain

One of those obscure books that I can’t tell you why I picked up, but I can assure you I’m glad I read it.

We (urban animal-loving folk) tend to talk about conservation in black and white terms devoid of socio-political content. The book questions this tendency. It reminded me of a quote from Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide. 

“Who are these people, I wondered, who love animals so much that they are willing to kill us for them? …This whole world had become a place of animals, and our fault, our crime, was that we were just human beings, trying to live as human beings always have, from the water and the soil.”

The author goes a step further in The Snow Leopard and the Goat. He says that the conversationist spectacle of free wild animals roaming in vast stretches of wild forest presumes that animals cannot coexist with humans. However, historical data and years of research states otherwise. He points out that the real conflict is not between animals and humans encroaching on their habitat, but urban conservationists and farmers settled near wildlife zones. He writes, 

“In Baltistan I have encountered numerous situations in which villagers openly demanded that since people in New York and London want to protect the snow leopards, they should take the animals away with them.” 

A key takeaway is that we cannot generalise the behaviour of all animals in the wild. The reasons for tiger endangerment may be different from snow leopard endangerment, depending on the ecological roles, habitats, preferences of that species. The writer argues that the primary reason for the declining number of wild snow leopards is not human encroachment, but hunting and the sale of exotic products like pelts. Snow leopards used to destroy local game animals, and therefore were seen as vermin. These practices were carried out by the same class of social elites that are now proponents of conservation. 

Furthermore, there is no use denying that farming has encroached upon habitats. But even here, why does subsistence farming by villagers bear the brunt of the blame? In fact, the majority of habitat degradation is a direct effect of the increased consumption by industrial societies. Yet, we don’t bat an eyelid when entire rural settlements are cleared and rehabilitated to create safe wildlife zones. Either way, villagers bear the costs of our conservation effort. The author discusses how working with the farmers, through schemes like insurance of their livestock, has a better chance of success than “raising awareness.” 

The Snow Leopard and the Goat forces you to reconsider assumptions. How are conservation projects marketed? Who are the major donors? When countries work together for conservation, are they really working together? What information do the donors get of the difference they make? Would conservation groups benefit from under-reporting wild animal population numbers? Why not?  Why is our idea of the wilderness devoid of humans?

The book douses your conservationist’s passion with some layered facts and references. Not everything the author says rings palatable or unbiased. It’s also a little tedious for someone who isn’t an expert in snow leopards or conservation. But it gives what it promises: a glimpse into the politics of animal conservation. The larger lesson here is: question what information you are fed and whose interest it serves.

Bookish Things I Am Thankful For

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, here are some bookish things I’m grateful for. Reading really does define a better part of my life and these are the things that make it happen!

0. Coffee. I don’t know if this counts as a ‘bookish thing’ in your world, but it certainly does in mine! My Instagram will show you just how!

  1. This blog. It’s over ten years old, so it has basically seen me grow up! But a lot of my reading and interaction has been influenced by the book blogging world; and always in a good way.
  2. Book clubs – and the ability to get together and kind of disconnect from the real world and dive headfirst into book-talk, no questions asked.
  3. The Goodreads annual challenges; they keep me on my toes, reading-wise. I can see why the number of books you read in the year doesn’t matter to many, but it serves as a great reminder to read when life starts to get in the way!
  4. Real places described in books, that I can actually visit and feel that much closer to the fictional lands that my mind regularly travels to! A lot of my travel-for-fun is me going off to places I’ve read about in fiction…
  5. Bookish friends I can drop a random text to, asking for recommendations and be sure to get a list in return! Also bookish friends I can rant/recommend to..
  6. Scribd – now I’ve heard mixed reviews, but so far, SO good.
  7. Used-book sales, book hauls, books-by-the-kilo sales; basically anything that fuels my reading addiction.
  8. Libraries. Nothing like stumbling upon a book that grows into your favourite…
  9. Ebooks, because, let’s face it, convenience beats all other preferences… can’t imagine all the books I’d never have discovered had it not been for ebooks!
  10. THE WRITERS who give us parts of their soul.

How to Find a Book to Read for Your Kid

(It’s way past midnight and a stray thought brought this post on. I’m just going with the flow.)
In my last few years of teaching, I have noticed that
parents often ask me to recommend books for their children. I don’t know if
they realise how difficult it is to recommend a book to someone you know only
on the surface – I do try to get to know my students as well as I can, but it’s
hardly possible to remember their every interest and taste. Let’s face it: the
parents themselves are more likely to have a deep understanding of what their
child likes. So how does the choice go to the English teacher? It’s the
assumption that there is something mechanical about choosing a new book.
One of my favourite linguists, Stephen Krashen, oversaw a
study on what he called a “home run book.” That is, a single book that makes a
reader. In a study titled, “Can one positive reading experience create a reader?”
researchers Debra Von Sprecken and Jiyoung Kim along with Stephen Krashen
present findings from a survey of over two hundred Grade 4 students in L.A. Students
were asked just two questions: 1. Do you like to read? 2. Is there one book or
experience that interested you in reading?
The findings were interesting. Nearly all those who said they liked reading admitted that one book had ‘sparked’
their interest. Furthermore, they could name it. However, the book varied across the students, even for those with
similar backgrounds. This led the researchers to conclude that while there is
such a thing as a home run book, the selection differs for every child. The
recommendation the study ended on was this: to spark an interest in
reading in children, the sure-shot way is to expose them to many, different
kinds of books, hoping to get a home run.
Of course, this answer would not satisfy most demanding
parents. And yet, I won’t simply give arbitrary recommendations. I do rant a
lot about books in class, and I see children note down the names of books that
they think they might like. Children also catch recommendations from peers and
usually, once a book is bought by a kid, it doesn’t rest till it has made the
rounds through the entire class. Reading spreads faster than wildfire – I quite
like that. Apart from word of mouth, though, there are other ways to look for
First: Goodreads
. Goodreads has many faults as a social media platform, but it
does offer reading lists curated by thousands of average readers. This makes
them far more accessible and reliable than say the New York Times Bestseller’s
List. Not to mention, you don’t have to be a Goodreads member to view these
lists. It helps that there are Goodreads lists of recommendation for the most
ridiculous things. To illustrate this, I went to the Listopia page on Goodreads
and searched for the tag, “grass.” Three relevant categories (just to name a
few): 1. Books about Plants 2. Meadows and Fields, Savannahs and Steppes 3.
Young Adult books with grass on the cover. So, even if you have a weird kid
with odd demands on your hands, Goodreads would be your friend.
Second: Movies. This
sounds counter-productive. But there are so many great movies out there today
which have been adapted from books that are better. Wonder, Life of Pi, IT, The
Perks of Being a Wallflower, About  a
Boy, To Kill A Mockingbird, Ready Player One – all of these are suitable, if
not excellent, reads for your teen or preteen. But the problem is, once you’ve
watched the film adaptation; the interest in the book is gone. So if you ever
see your kid begging to watch a movie, check if there’s a book version and make them experience it first as a kind of challenge/reward scheme. I’d also
suggest scouring the internet for adaptation trailers to find book
Third: Bookstores
/ Libraries.
An astounding number of kids in my school have Kindles.
The reading rate should then be predictably high. Am I right? Wrong. Kindles
are great, amazing even, for readers; handy, convenient, sleek and shiny (are
they?)… But, here’s the thing – they probably won’t create great readers. I
couldn’t stress this enough, the best way to introduce your kid to a lifelong
bookworminess would be to take them to a bookstore or even better, a library. Once
a month, at least. These establishments, especially bookstores, go to great
lengths to create an attractive ambience. And whether we like it or not, we do
judge a book by its cover.
Make a picnic out of it, spend some time together, let them
take a stroll through the store and find what they like. Model the behaviour
yourself. Read. Your child sees you nose deep in a book often enough, trust me,
they’ll want to do it themselves. Don’t tell them they should read to improve
their language or expression or writing or thinking. Don’t make a medicine out
of it. Tell them it’s FUN. It’s like a mental adventure park. The benefits are
simply a by-product. They need not read a Charles Dickens, even a comic book
would work, or a picture book! You must always remember: a good book is far
more important than great literature. Expose them to a lot of different books
and hope that they find that one book that hits the right chord. There’s no
stopping them then.

London’s Book Shaped Benches – Why am I not there?!?

The title says it all. I don’t think I’ve ever wished harder I lived in London. Books About Town is a project launched by the National Literacy Trust where 50 literary themed benches illustrated by local artists have been strewn across the city for summer, to be auctioned later in the autumn. These are my favourites:
The Librarian bench (Discworld by Terry Pratchett)

Earnest bench (The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde)

Peter Pan bench (Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe bench (The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis)

The Jeeves and Wooster Bench (the Jeeves series by P.G. Wodehouse)
Aren’t they delightful? I borrowed these pictures from the official Books about Town website, where you’ll find the pictures of all the benches. Of course, there are these pictures submitted by people who stumbled across the benches throughout the city, which are way more fun as long as you can keep yourself from turning green. 
It gets more fun: Guardian lets you vote for the book to feature on the next bench, the 51st. The choices range from the 101 Dalmatians to Adrian Mole, and Harry Potter, who needless to say is in the lead – you can change that with your vote, though I will have you know, I didn’t! Anyway, are you thinking what I’m thinking? I know, this has brought me whole new ideas about bookish furniture. 

Guest Post: Paulette Mahurin (The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap)

I have had a chance to interact with some really great people in the blogging world and author Paulette Mahurin is one of those.

Paulette Mahurin is a nurse practitioner, specializing in
women’s health in a rural clinic in where she lives with her husband and two
rescued dogs. She also taught in several college level nursing programs,
including UCLA, where she had a Master’s Degree in Nursing from their nurse
practitioner program. Her two passions are writing and rescuing dogs.While in
college she wrote and published two award winning non-fiction short stories.

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is set in a small Nevada town which has just received the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is the story of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating
consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

All profits go Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center,
Ventura County, CA. (the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura
County). For more info contact the author through Facebook. Buy a book; save a

Paulette has agreed to feature here her wonderful article on tolerance.
Go ahead and read it!

First let me give a big heartfelt thank you to Priya, for
asking me back to your great blog site. I’m thrilled to be here with you, my
friend, thousands of miles away in geography but close at heart. When I mention
this heart connection I think of all the distance that exists between neighbors
living next door to each other, or perhaps even in the same home, when they
don’t possess this openness of spirit. So Priya, I dedicate this to you, in
India, and all our good friends who might stop by to comment, or share, in the
name of tolerance, in the name of our hearts opening, that we may know a more
harmony in this world.

I write so much about tolerance, the theme of my book, The
Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, but when I look at it, I don’t even know that I
fully understand what it is. Do I really understand the mechanism of bullying
another, putting another down because of their nature, the color of their skin,
their sexual preference, their religious beliefs, how they dress, you name it,
so many possibilities, so many differences that one could pick apart in the
other? Am I above all of it because I can talk about tolerance, write about it,
or am I just like Jose, the evil antagonist in my story, who finds fault with
everything Mildred Dunlap does? I think there’s a little, maybe even a lot, of
Josie in all of us. Reminds me of a quote from Jesus, he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone… (John
8:7, New American Standard Bible).
Carl Jung wrote about our dark side, he called it our
shadow. Rumi, the poet, wrote that when
the totality that I am and my humanness meld, and then I am whole
. Sri
Nisargadatta Maharaj wrote in his epic spiritual prose on non-dualistic existence
I Am That, and I paraphrase, “I am the space in which my mind and body
Then there’s Krishnamurti who wrote, the thought is not the thing, which is reminiscent of Descartes, I think therefore I am. One of the most
fundamental spiritual questions, when in a deep introspective meditation is, who am I?  Masters through the ages have pondered these
questions. Joseph Campbell in his famous talks on religion with Bill Moyer,
brings up a fundamental fact that what all religions have in common is their
mysticism, what Einstein called that point when reality becomes philosophy, the
point where nothing can be known.
From the perspective of these brilliant thinkers, past
leaders of all religious faiths, people of Letters, of education, and the
common man or woman who ponders life and the mysteries that abound; when I look
at anything from this perspective I can say for sure that the only truth I can
claim for certain is change, that nothing else seems certain but change. What
does all this have to do with hatred, intolerance?
If the greatest thinkers, who ever lived, are still alive,
and who have yet to be born, can’t answer any of these questions, then how the
hell can say we understand a thing about our very nature? If everything is a
mystery, from the mystery of the source that creates it all, than how can one
thing be bad and another good? How can something different be anything other
than simply different? Why is the fact that Mildred Dunlap is a lesbian a bad
thing, in the eyes of a homophobic? How come she isn’t just someone different
than the person judging? When do we stop seeing differences and see judgments?
And, why do we human beings robotically buy into what our parents said, what
their parents said, and not learn to use our minds to think things through,
instead of our minds dictating irrationality, based on belief, programmed
learning, conditioning?
I’m not knocking conditioning; it’s another human facet,
trait, but then why can’t I just see it for what it is? Underneath all my
thoughts, my thinking, my monkey crazy 
mind that goes on automatic habitual thinking, my belief systems, under
all this, in that quiet God space where life finds harmony, what is? There’s
that quiet ,and yet all the other. Both existing together, both interweaving,
erupting, without provocation or cause, just doing its thing.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m human. We all are and we all
do this. We judge yet come out with ridiculous statements like, I don’t judge, I’m not judgmental, then
we spew out, okay I spew out, things that are so judgmental and when I’m called
on it, I defend why I’m not doing it. In writing this book, I saw a lot of this
in myself, especially while writing about Josie, the hate filled rumor
mongering bitch, who can’t keep her mouth shut, and what comes out of it is
ignorant babble. I also see myself in Gus, the voice of tolerance and wisdom, I
see how I want to open more, be more accepting, love more, and I also see how
that is selfish because in opening I feel better, more alive.
When I started researching my book, the inspiration for the
driving force of the story line, Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, was always near at
heart. He was my reminder, my metaphor, of the injustice of intolerance, all
housed in beliefs, in laws, in narrow mindedness, all with roots of hatred for
what is, another’s nature, that can no more change than a dog can not wag its
tail. If we are to believe that God created all under the heavens and sun, then
how could it be that there are creations that just aren’t right, not okay, less
than human? Seems to me, this has to stem from some culturally based false
belief, that gets passed down lifetimes after lifetimes, so by the time I’m
into that belief, it feels real to me. Reality is created by thoughts, beliefs,
and world viewpoints. If I think that guy likes me and fantasize over how I
know he wants me, a reality is created inside of me. The brain doesn’t really
know the difference between a thought and what’s actually happening, it
secretes its chemicals, creating emotions, and man that is real. I believe I’m being
rejected and it feels bad. That’s real and I’m feeling it.
If I believed Oscar Wilde was evil, or wrong, or acting
illegally because he was a Gay man, then my mind is going to work it out to
make it seems so. But what about what is accurate? Who among us would
want to be prevented from loving? From intimacy, from the one we love? No one.
It’s one of the most basic human needs from time and memorial, right along with
our need to eat, drink, breathe, and if we had a switch or choice why would we
chose devastation, humiliation, labeling that puts us in
jail and kills? This has been the debate over sexual preference for decades, is
it nature or nurture? The abundant view is nature. And, with this I agree. I
agree and feel that Oscar Wilde did what came naturally, and in doing so,
acting through what he could no more prevent than can a leaf from taking in
carbon dioxide to survive, an ice cube melting in the sun, a fire’s warmth, all
things of nature, and so what’s left is my fundamental question, can I tolerate
it? Can I accept what is, see my insides resisting and wanting to change it,
and breathe in a new possibility, that it is different, and I’m okay with
different, because different is not bad, it’s just different. After all, aren’t
we all different? | Amazon UK | Goodreads | Shelfari | FacebookTwitter |

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Does the beginning matter?

This is something that has been on my mind, ever since that Writer’s Workshop. We discussed some of the best book beginnings and how important it is to start off the book on the right note. According to me, though, you don’t always have to shock or surprise or jolt the reader in the very first paragraph. Sometimes, slow beginnings do work as well. A beginning, for me, is just as important as any other part of the book (the ending may even be slightly more important!) Going through my makeshift bookshelf, I can say with certainty, that the books I really love have both good and bad, not to mention, only okay beginnings.

That being said, I decided to list down some random “good” book beginnings: to make this post longer than one tiny paragraph. (Also, you know how I love making lists.)

1. “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy
in its own way.”
– Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
2. “To the murder of Professor Grimaud, and later the equally
incredible crime in Cagliostro Street, many fantastic terms could be applied –
with reason. Those of Dr Fell’s friends who like impossible situations will not
find in his case-book any puzzle more baffling or more terrifying. Thus: two
murders were committed, in such fashion that the murderer must have been not
only invisible, but lighter than air.”
– The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr

3.  “No live organism can
continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even
larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood
by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for
eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright,
bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay
steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there,
walked alone.”
– The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

4. “YOU don’t know about me without you have read a book by the
name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. That book was
made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which
he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.”
– The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 
5. “Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists
But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with
the start of things. They wonder aloud how the snowplough driver gets to work,
or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of the words. Yet there
is the constant desire to find some point in the twisting, knotting, ravelling
nets of space-time on which a metaphorical finger can be put to indicate that
here, here, is the point where it all began…”
– Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (Discworld series)

And another beginning I like is that of The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (about how the narrator visits the Cemetery of Forgotten Books!) I can think of two other authors, who, in their own very different ways, start their books with a bang and they are John Le Carre and well, H. P. Lovecraft. 
What do you think? Does it matter to you how a book kicks off? Do you have any favourite books with slow beginnings? And what are your favourite book beginnings?

Do you lend your books?

I am unnaturally possessive about all the things I own as it is, and more so about my growing book collection. Which is why I am increasingly reluctant to lend my books to other people.

My mom used to tell me that sharing my books with other people ought to make me happier than keeping them forever enclosed in a bookcase. Reading is what books are meant for, after all. Which is true, but you can imagine my reaction, when a brand new book that I really love is returned to me with dog-eared pages; or fingerprints and coffee stains on the cover; or a very battered spine. It’s just very irritating, how carelessly people handle books. I am finally beginning to understand, why my sister never let me anywhere near her books, back when I was a very clumsy kid. Not to mention, there are those people who just simply forget to return your books.

The only thing stopping me from making this huge bookshelf in our living room, which I have wanted for years, is the fact that everyone who comes over will ask for books they could borrow. I am hesitant when it comes to lending books, but you really can’t say “no” if a person asks, can you! I have always wondered, how rude it would sound if I told the person to not dog-ear or write in it and not use anything but a bookmark as the bookmark; never tried it, though.
Do you lend your books without any of these concerns? And… do you borrow books from other people?

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The title of the novel The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett made me want to read it. When I started reading the novel, I hadn’t read any reviews or synopses and had no idea what to expect.

It is the story of a notorious book thief and a clever rare-book dealer who tracks him down. It provides a glimpse into the quite magical world of rare book collectors.

There is not much to say about the writing style. I found it a bit pompous, too literary; but it’s one of the things you learn to overlook when only the plot/ideas get you so involved in the book.
The author’s opinion about the fact that many collectors don’t actually read the books they collect was first surprising, then convincing. It is the love for the physical beauty of books that drives people to collect them. The yellowed pages, the delicate spine and that old smell, I’d be lying if I said never I loved books for all of that.
“Much of the fondness avid readers, and certainly collectors, have for their books is related to the books’ physical bodies. As much as they are vessels for stories (and poetry, reference information, etc.), books are historical artifacts and repositories for memories—we like to recall who gave books to us, where we were when we read them, how old we were, and so on.”
Don’t you completely agree? There are so many books that I do judge by their covers. So many books I don’t like but can’t manage to give away, because they have that special meaning, beauty attached to them. I have fond memories to associate with every book I owned as a kid; serious discussions along with bookish games and crazy fan-girl obsessions.
I still remember reading the first few pages of The Diary of a Young Girl in my school library. It was the first hardcover novel I read, and that edition carried pictures of the girl and her family and a map of the place she lived in; along with a few copies of the original diary entries scribbled in her own handwriting. The fact that I didn’t like the book as much as I thought, doesn’t remove the memory. The excitement it caused me to think that the book was actually someone’s life, gave me sort of a new perspective on reading. Like the author says, even physical artifacts (like books or paintings) carry memory and meaning.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves reading or loves to hold a book in their hands or loves, much like the author, to spend time in libraries, surrounded by books. It is one of the best books about books.
“Sitting in any library, surrounded by high shelves of books, I sense the profoundly rich history of scholarship as something real, and it’s both humbling and inspiring. This manifestation of reality is true of other artifacts as well. We can read about the Holocaust or where Emily Dickinson wrote her “letter to the world” or where Jim Morrison is buried. We can view online photos of all these places. Still, each year, thousands of people visit Auschwitz, The Homestead, and Père Lachaise. I suppose our desire to be near books rises from a similar impulse; they root us in something larger than ourselves, something real.”

Why I like to read Horror Fiction

Don’t roll your eyes, answer, “…because people like to be scared… it excites us… blah blah.” and convince yourself that this is one of those articles. Believe me, I don’t like to be scared. In fact, I never dared to read the horror genre until very recently, when I read my first Stephen King book. That too, only because some idiot told me it’s not as scary on paper as it is on screen..
For someone who got scared even by the obviously fake white faced, black eyed ghosts in most run-of-the-mill horror movies; and whose only experience with horror fiction involved pathetic childhood encounters with R. L. Stine, King’s book was something else. I am, what you call, a classic “scaredy-cat.” And this post is about why I love to read horror fiction.
“At last he crept back into bed and pulled the blankets up and watched the shadows thrown by the alien streetlight turn into a sinuous jungle filled with flesheating plants that wanted only to slip around him, squeeze the life out of him, and drag him down into a blackness where one sinister word flashed in red: REDRUM.” – Stephen King (The Shining)
It’s not like I’ve ever actually come across the word “Redrum” splattered somewhere in blood, like Danny here. But at night, when I read this, I’ll pull the blankets up to my chin and focus my eyes completely on the book, trying to ignore the shadowy trees outside my window. And I’ll be just as terrified as Danny is. And you know what I’ll tell myself… Such things don’t exist? Not really. Something like… “Calm down. It’s not like it’s happening over here!”
Horror fiction, according to me, anyway, is not about how gory you can be; but, how convincing. The story can star vampires or zombies, spirits and ghouls or just plain crazy people – a horror novel works when the reader believes in it, if only for a second. I mean, I can never be completely sure that there isn’t a ghost standing in the next room as I type, wondering what is making the tapping noise. And it’s this paranoia that a horror writer gets to play with.

Movies are too definite. When you watch a horror movie, you are watching someone else’s nightmare. But yours is always the worst. For instance, spiders or snakes or dark jungle scenes only creep me out – but add a white faced ghost to the equation and bam! I’m scared. In a movie, you’ll only see what you’re shown. In a book, though, the writer just lays the groundwork; the imagery is up to you. It is up to you to fill in the blanks, and like I said, nothing is scarier than your worst nightmare.

I still maintain, though, that I don’t like the fear. But the fear is intriguing. I find it fascinating, that a bunch of words can completely convince me that there is someone standing behind me, watching me read. How they can make me quickly glance back and make sure there isn’t. It’s horrible, that I can’t sleep well for days after I read a particularly scary novel. It’s wonderful, that a writer can so effectively do his job.

My bookish story

Do you remember that one book that really turned you into a bookworm? I can’t say that I do. But one book always stands out in my memory – it was one of the few good novels in my school library. It was a book by Robert Ludlum and I loved it. It might have been the book that turned me from the ‘likes-to-read girl’ to the ‘never-stops-reading girl’! But the story neither starts nor ends there!

I was always sort of a bookworm; but I was never too eager to get out of my comfort zone. I always read the same genres and even the same old authors. So, when I randomly borrowed this book from the school library, I didn’t read even a single page for two entire weeks. On the last night, for God knows what reason, I started reading the book. I read late into the night and woke up with the book next to me. I read throughout the morning, thoroughly enjoying the experience. I never finished it, though. And I had to return it the same day.
Here comes the crazy part. All I could somehow remember about that book was that it was written by Robert Ludlum. How I could have forgotten the book title, I don’t know! Or the plot, for that matter. I read many Robert Ludlum books after that, bought and borrowed, and I liked them. But I never did find that one. That is, until now.

You know that feeling, when you are trying hard to remember something and it constantly keeps nudging the insides of your brain making sure you are unable to concentrate on anything else? The battered old book has been doing that to me for the past… about six years. No kidding. When I somehow ended up on Robert Ludlum’s Wikipedia page today, it got me wondering how long it would take to skim through the summaries of Ludlum’s 23 thriller novels and find out that mystery book, once and for all. Well, it takes two hours and a bout of scolding from your mother for staying up too late.

As it turns out, it is a spy-thriller novel called The Scorpio Illusion (the name sounds strangely familiar now; you know, as if I had known it all along.) I can’t wait to buy it and read the whole book and you know, re-discover why I fell in love with reading in the first place! So, do you have a bookish story of your own?