On My Bookshelf
I'm a ferocious reader and always have been. I often read more than one book at a time, and switch between anything from Greek Mythology to biographies of celebrities. I have a lot of art books, but I wanted to share some of the books that have changed, challenged and inspired me.
The first book I ever really LOVED
The Good Earth - Peal S Buck
I discovered this book as a teenager, I got it from a local charity shop, always intrigued by Asian culture, I immediately picked it up.
It tells the epic story of O-lan, a servant girl in the village’s greatest house, chosen as a wife for Wang Lung, a simple farmer. The story navigates their toils of the earth, pregnancies and their family’s survival during a great famine.
Hope and O-lan’s will to survive allow the family to return to their home and achieve unimaginable wealth. What I loved about this book is that it is told in the point of view of Wang Lung, but is so obviously about the strength and sacrifice of O-lan. This is a book I will never ever give away.
The book that changed me
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
This was probably my first hard read. Again, I picked it out from a charity shop. I don’t know what it was that drew me to it, but when I finished it I just felt so impressed.
It tells the story of Howard Roark, a man struggling for individualism in himself and his architecture, detailing his twenty-year struggle against his rivals.
The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
This was a book I wanted to read for a long time. I loved the film by Sofia Coppola and when I finally got my hands on a copy of the book I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve read this around four times now. The shocking and mesmerising tale of the five Lisbon sisters, all having committed suicide, leaving behind them unanswered questions and dreams in the minds of the boys who worshiped them.
The book that surprised me
White Fang – Jack London
Whenever anyone mentioned White Fang to me I thought it was a joke. So when I started to read it I wasn’t prepared for how GRIPPING it would be. I became so invested in the character of White Fang I didn’t want the book to end. I would recommend this to anyone.
The book that challenged me
Elvis After Life – Raymond A. Moody JR
I’m a lover of books and will happily give anything a try. I’m also a lover of Elvis. So when I spotted this I just couldn’t not buy it. What I wasn’t expecting was just how much this book would challenge me. I thought it would make me laugh, but instead it made me think about things I would have originally dismissed.
The author Raymond A Moody began to research near death experiences, and began to come across numerous accounts of patients seeing Elvis ‘on the other side.’ He decided to pull together these accounts into a book, asa fan of the King, but also as a psychiatrist interested in the study of these collective experiences from the brink of death.
I’m aware this seems bazaar, and I was expecting it to be myself, but I found this read fascinating. It made me questions how so many people could have the same collective and similar experience. So much so that I read his previous work Life After Life. If your up for something new, this one is for you.
Words and images by Jasmine Farram