The other day when I was arranging my book shelf I came upon the long lost yellowish dog-eared copy of Little Women-my first ever classic read on love,heartbreaks and such stuff.As I turned over the yellow pages of the book,there was a rush of memories-of the numerous times I had sneaked this book into my study room and read it instead of studying for tomorrow’s exams,how it landed in my bookshelf,of times when my mom had tried to keep it out of my hands during my exams in my middle school days( but with limited success).
I picked up this book from the book fair that comes to the city every year when I was in the 7th grade.Picking up this book was something like the hero-falls-for-heroine-@-first-sight scene .Just a small correction here-it was not love @ first sight here.That happened much later.I had not the least idea about this book the day I went to the book fair.I was looking for books to add to my sizeable Agatha Christie and Doyle collection-I was a huge fan of the suspense/detective fiction.I still am….I had picked up the books which I wanted to and as I was roaming among the stalls reading the plot-summary of some random book that looks somewhat interesting(not that I had any idea of buying the book-probably it would land in my list-of-books-to-read till I get to go to another book fair-my budget ) the cover of Little Women caught my attention.Reading the first 3 pages,I had to admit the story was pretty interesting plus the price was reasonable.(I had already finished my budget on Christie Books that day.)That’s how it got to my bookshelf.
“Chance encounters with people have an everlasting impact in our lives.They give us lessons,new ideas,new insights,new learnings,new experiences-the same holds true for books.”
I still remember my 12 year old self laughing herself silly/getting a lump in the throat and trying not to cry(but not managing it really) over something in this book This was the book that had me laughing out loud @ Jo’s gaffes and skirmishes with the dashing guy-next-door Laurie.(Not that Jo had any idea about such things).It had me in tears when Beth finally loses the battle with her illness.It had me feeling sorry for Laurie over Jo’s refusal(I so wanted the two of them to end up together)..A tomboy who fervently hates anything remotely girlish,a Miss.Malaprop in social scenarios,an outspoken person sometimes to the point of being too blunt,the bookworm who prefers the Romeos from her books while turning a blind eye to the loving glances and a deaf ear to the subtle hints of the next-door-Romeo-I loved Jo March and could identify myself with her big time(only there was no dashing next-door-neighbour :p…Peace!!)
Prior to Little Women,with the books in the suspense genre,there had been simply the narration of a case- solid facts with insights into workings of the human mind-the emotions were mostly anger,fear,guilt and others in the same line.If there was love,the author gets maybe one or two pairs married for a happily-ever-after ending in the last page.In suspense genre the emphasis had always been on the actions of the character and their outcomes but not the underlying influences like the emotions.Louisa May Alcott’s book showed me the power of words in vividly picturing a scenario.The words were not simply telling a story .They were able to beautifully bring before the eyes of the reader the dreams,the passion/the hopes/the angst/the heartbreaks of the characters so well that the reader laughed/cried/sympathized with them.
I have since then read several other books where the narrative is at a whole new level in terms of making the reader visualize what he/she reads.But Little Women will always have a special place on my bookshelf-because it introduced me to new ideas and motivated me to try out new things and helped me to grow as a reader.And it gave me one important lesson which I have come to realize in retrospect-Chance encounters with people have an everlasting impact in our lives.They give us lessons,new ideas,new insights,new learnings,new experiences-the same holds true for books.I don’t know how it would have been if I had not been open to trying out something new -probably,I would have found another book that would have shown me those things ,maybe a bit later.But now,I remember this everytime I when I go to the bookstore-I keep my eyes open for some new author/new genre that I have not tried and trust me-it has opened up my horizons to the extent that even I was not aware of in passing but have come to appreciate now.
So,planning a visit to the bookstore this weekend??Or ordering some book online??Or downloading any audio-books??Or just trying out some cool apps out there?Whatever,it is,go for something that you have not tried before-it may be a new genre/new author…You never know what you might find out there…..