Distorted Dimensions and Warped Space: How Reading Dissolves Reality and Reconstructs Structures
by Snigdha Nautiyal
It is strange really, how easy it is to write on my own blog and how nail-bitingly nerve-wracking to think of something good when you’re writing a guest post! This is my first and for weeks now I’ve had absolutely no idea how to capture the elusive bird of an idea that was floating around in my head. So I decided to just dive in and pretend I was talking to myself (that’s what bloggers do, anyway).
The world of fiction, with all its truths and untruths, appeals to something ethereal within us. It is hard to call the love of books anything else but a worship of the written world. Sometimes, I wonder why there is a power in the universe that urges me to pick up the stories of other people, most of whom never even existed, and to cry real tears for them! Something triggered a thought process inside my head, compelling me to think about how books shape the ways in which we see the world. This makes it important to pick up the right kind of books. Whatever we perceive of reality, is ultimately a story we are writing in our own head. That is a horrifying thought: our life could be a novel! And when someone else would read it, how would they see it?
They would judge it subjectively. They would love us or hate us. Our truths would no longer be objective, the experiences that lead us in certain directions will be judged as fuzzy notions that made us do something ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. When we read an autobiography for example, we see an author’s life through his eyes. We see what he saw when he was living through a particular epoch but when we process what we read in our mind, we might draw an entirely different conclusion from the one he did! Since this is just one of the many things fiction has taught me, I decided to share a small reading list here. These books, with their sometimes exaggerated dimensions, are a great way to explore the space warping that makes us see hidden things in mundane, everyday life and to create out of them the most poignant, tragic, beautiful, inspiring and powerful stories that continue to shape our world:
- The Brothers Karamazov: This Russian epic by Fyodor Doestoyevsky is one of the most spectacular books I have ever read. It may be a long-winded read but it is resplendent with the perfect characterization, a suspenseful plot which unwinds into allegorical philosophy. It may not be for the faint-hearted but it is worthwhile the thirty-odd days it may take to read it (assuming you plan on keeping your day job/attending your classes).
- Kafka on the Shore: The first book on this list is a book by Haruki Murakami. This is the story of a boy and an old man, connected by a strange thread in contemporary Japan. It is a remarkably bizarre story infused with supernatural elements but reading this book was like floating through your own subconscious and confronting the blurry stuff that dreams are made of.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude: This book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is far more bizarre than the first one on this list, if that is even possible! I wouldn’t want to venture so far as to offer any sort of a synopsis of this book, with its strange descriptions of rather important topics such as peace, love, war, hatred, corruption, death. Mysticism is entrenched in every part of this book and the hardest part is getting through the family tree because every second person is addressed by a variation of the same name!
- Catch 22: Witty, dark and frustratingly humorous, this is a book that could make you cry and laugh at the same time. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is about the simple truth that there is no out! Everyone should read it at one point or the other during their lifetime and understand how truly common insanity really is.
So this is it: a small list of books that I think does a wonderful job at distorting reality and making us see a little something different through pure exaggeration and beautifully metaphorical prose. I’m not necessarily implying that you would like any or all of these books; they’re just great for learning. And finally, a big thank you to my fellow blogger Aman, for giving me this chance to guest-blog. Here’s to toasting that his voracious appetite for books may never diminish and he may keep consuming them at the speed of light!
Check out Snigdha’s Blog– Blue Loft