Can books change people?

People acquainted with my ideas ask me to pinpoint books that had definitive influence on my thought-process. This they ask to understand the roots of my offbeat opinions that carry a special imprint of my inner uniqueness.

But the guts to embrace one’s true self doesn’t come easy, for the treading the path less traveled translates to a solitary journey. From the childhood, any unconventional idea is aborted in the mind before giving it a chance at life, any effort trespassing the arbitrarily laid boundaries is policed, and any achievement outside of the pre-screened list becomes an object of ridicule rather than celebration.

And in that rare chance that a drop of creativity escapes the vast ocean of mediocrity and makes its way into a hard shelled oyster, the result is pure pearl.

No man is an island; his perspective is shaped by his personal characteristics and adventures in the context of his socio-politico-economic environment. Books, therefore, are only catalysts of one’s mental evolution, they don’t replace the seed of original thinking.

Many would have read the books that I did, without imbuing their essence. Many would have consumed ideas contained therein without digesting them. It’s not just the readers who discover books, even books find their audience.

Of the many readers of Edgar Allan Poe’s accounts of C. Auguste Dupin, it was only the genius of Arthur Conan Doyle that could transform the spark to a wildfire of Sherlock Holmes. Giving her own twist to the tale was Agatha Christie, whose Hercule Poirot remains a hot favorite among detective genre lovers. Schopenhauer’s works, barely understood or acknowledged by his contemporaries, became the fountainhead of Nietzsche’s revolutionary philosophical ideas.

Responding to one of the more intimate friends who enquired about my reading interests, I told him that the very fact that certain books inspired me reflects my inner congruence with their theme; the book simply provided full form and articulation to what was already latent inside me.

A man has no ears for that to which experience has given him no access.If he agrees, he knows it already. — Friedrich Nietzsche

A book can only be a creative fuel to one’s thought-process, it cannot and will not replace the engine of original, acquired thought.

Happy International Book Day!

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