Friday, 29 August 2014

Books that have shaken me

The word ‘shaken’ in the title is probably a little too dramatic, but I had to introduce a little drama to this topic. Today I want to share with you my personal experience after reading a few books. At different times in our lives we can be found with different books in our hand. Usually, they’re there because of the recommendation of a good friend. Anyway, I have discovered that certain kinds of stories or poems can change our thinking about the world and also later, they can even change our character. It was like that with me, but let’s start at the beginning.

The first book I had in my hands I got for my second birthday from my favourite aunt and I ate it. Of course, I’m referring to the book, not my aunt. My mom was telling me that afterwards I got really sick and had stomach problems for a few days. This experience taught me a lot. First of all, that books are not good to eat. Of course, I took this new lesson to heart and like a good two-year-old girl, I decided that it would be better to read them.

Unfortunately at the time I didn’t know how to read so I drove everybody around me to distraction asking them to read to me. Usually, my favourite aunt was the person I picked on. Maybe it was because she felt bad after I got sick on the first book she bought me, or maybe she just enjoyed it. Anyway, almost every evening she read me a story about a bunny that jumps out of a mirror. After a few months, when I knew the story intimately, I had a dream about the bunny. He was really scary. He had huge teeth, dirty fur and the face of my aunt. It was my first nightmare and after that I was scared of mirrors, bunnies and unfortunately, my aunt. After that I didn’t ask anyone to read to me and I started to listen to stories on the gramaphone.

After a few years I learned how to read and probably discovered the difference between fiction and fantasy. I write ‘probably’ because I’m not sure. When I was 15, my friend recommended that I read ‘White Knights’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This book really shook me. I remember the story very well. It was about unrequited love and the story has really stayed with me. After that, for a long time, instead of being a normal teenager dreaming about a beautiful prince, I was waiting for a handsome, older Russian man who would break my heart and I would be unhappy forever. It took me a long time to get over this weird obsession and I probably missed out on a lot of important stuff because instead of dancing with boys at the disco, I was sitting alone in the forest with Russian poetry, waiting … and no one came.

Later, I had a fascination with crime, especially the stories of Hercule Poirot. In this case my fascination helped me a lot. I didn’t solve any crimes but a few of the detective’s methods have been used by me in the intervening years to find my keys or mobile phone.

Now we are in different times. Before our lives were changed by reading books, now our personality is shaped by films. But this is a completely different story. One conclusion from my writing is that it is a fact that some of the books should come with a huge warning, ‘Don’t eat’ and others should be branded ‘Not for naïve teenagers’.

PS. Argentina won their first game and I’m deeply in love with Diego Maradona, who promised that if his team wins the World Cup, he would appear naked in a public place!