Reading Corner – Fatima Arif


“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” – Joseph Addison

While 2016 in general has not been a very upbeat sort of a year, coming across some great books has surely been a high point of this year. I will be highlighting my best picks in this post.

However, this is not a typical end of year ‘best books’ recommendation post. Consider this the launch post for a new chapter, Reading Corner that we at My Voice Unheard are introducing, influenced by our nerd and proud side. Through this section our team will be talking books with you guys and we will try to bring some interesting stories related to different people’s reading habits. We believe that everyone has a story to tell, so let’s tap in people’s association with one of the key medium of storytelling, the written word!

Coming back to my reading list, as mentioned at the start reading was the high point of this year and I came across some great books. The following six are my must read recommendations.

The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria
Though it is a work of fiction, but it is rightly defined as a personalized memoir of the city of Karachi through the eyes of its women. The macro storyline covering the history and politics of the country gel smoothly with the micro storyline that revolves around a family’s three generations that migrated to Pakistan along with many others to Pakistan at the time of sub-continent’s partition.
At no point the story feels dragged and you will have a hard time putting it down.

Salt by Nayyirah Waheed
My poetry reading is a bit limited but now I swear by Nayyirah Waheed. What she does with words is just magic. Salt is one of those books that I keep going back to since I have read it and I don’t see this practice fading away anytime soon.

you were a writer
you ever
word to paper.
just because you were not writing
does not mean you were not writing
– stories

Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman
This is a compilation of twenty interviews with the world’s leading thinkers in branding and some of the world’s leading designers. People who are the de facto opinion leaders in the world of branding. These interviews are discussion sessions with very interesting ideas and research based insights on why humans have made brands such an intrinsic part of their lives.

It is not just an interesting read for the marketing professionals but anyone interested in understanding a key aspect of our life style, irrespective of the socioeconomic segments.

There is a revelation about how the Santa Claus became the chubby red fellow, hint it has something to do with a leading soft drink.

Honorary Tiger, the Life of Billy Arjan Singh by Duff Hart-Davis
Billy Arjan Singh is a hunter turned renowned conservationist from India. He spent some fifty years of his life living among tigers and leopards. He started an experiment by hand rearing tiger and leopard cubs around their natural habitat and then introducing them back in the jungle. Despite showing results, he faced bureaucratic red-tape and corruption.

In the process of raising the cubs, Billy never made the attempt to domesticate the big cats and it is amazing to read about the fine balance that he was able to maintain between the laws of nature and his emotions.

Dozakhnama by Rabisankar Bal, Arunava Sinha
This is one of the best novels that I have read. It serves as a biography of two literary legends, Manto and Ghalib along with the cultural graph of the Indian sub-continent. It is going to prove to be a gripping read even for those who are familiar with the three topics covered.

‘Stories are unpredictable, you may have chosen a particular direction for it, but soon you’ll discover the dastan taking you down a completely different path.’

Oblivion by Hector Abad
This is one of my all-time favorite memoirs and I have read it at least seven times since I have found this gem. The memoir is written to the author’s father; a doctor, teacher and activist. It covers the darkest period of Latin America. A man who stood by what he believed in and ended up paying with his life.

Hector Abad worships his father and admits to it, while at the same time is capable of highlighting the flaws in his personality with honesty, without offering excuses for them. Not many memoirs are able to do this. You will be emotionally attached to this one forever, I certainly am.

Happy reading! Keep checking this space for more interesting stuff from the Reading Corner.

By Fatima Arif 


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