My brother sent me a copy of 'Eat Pray Love' on my birthday and I was like "No.......! I read that more than a year ago." But how would he know? Well, agar maine blog par uska review likh diya hota to... khabar yoon hi pahunch jaati.
So, for all those of you who may be thinking of buying me a book :) or well, looking for a good book to read, here are some of my favourites reads over the past one year.
Each book probably deserves a dedicated blogpost but I shall be less ambitious and give you mini-reviews instead.
1) Eat Pray Love: I fell in love with the cover of this book and ten minutes into it, with the book itself. The writer - Elizabeth Gilbert - is obviously very 'pahunchi hui' - both in the way she writes and the way she's lived her life.
In a nutshell: Elizabeth is a thirty something woman with an almost perfect life. But on a cold November morning she finds herself sobbing on her bathroom floor and hearing a voice in her head:"I don't want to be married anymore. I don't want to live in this big house. I don't want to have a baby."
And so she walks out on the husband and the apartment in Manhattan with 8 phone lines, the friends and the picinics and the parties.
"I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life - so why did I feel like none of it resembled me?"... The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving...
But then, God spoke to Liz. And it was not an Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston voice but her own voice, speaking from within. A voice she had never heard before.
"This was what my voice would sound like if I'd only ever experienced love and certainty in my life". The voice said:"Go back to bed, Liz"... Go back to bed so that, when the tempest comes you'll be strong enough to deal with it. And the tempest is coming very soon. But not tonight.
The author describes this as the beginning of a religious conversation:
"The first words of an open and exploratory dialogue that would, ultimately, bring me very close to God, indeed."
Three years after this conversation, having been through a messy divorce and failed love affair, Liz sets off on her 'search for everything' across Italy, India and Indonesia.
It's important to quote the 'religious conversation' bit, because although the book follows Elizabeth's journey across three countries it's not a travelogue. This is essentially a journey within.
The Italy portion is about the pursuit of pleasure - good food, good wine, good company. Because the body needs as much nourishment as the soul.
The India portion is about the pursuit of devotion - self mastery, enlightenment, all those very Himalayan things.
And Indonesia is about the pursuit of Balance. It's also the most "geewhiz, can this really be true" part of the book where Liz finds the love of her life. (Incidentally, the two are now 'happily married').
Okay. You either absolutely and completely connect with this book, or you put it down after 5 minutes. Women, those on a spiritual trip and anyone who admires ease of expression will find 'Eat Pray Love' unputdownable.
And despite that 'God' element rest assured it is not in the least bit heavy. This is a very simply and beautifully written book with extremely tiny chapters (108 of them). The logic being that 108 is the number of beads in the traditional japa mala. Concept, isn't it?
The author also endows the book with a sharp sense of humour, pithy cultural observations and loads of colourful characters. Starting from the Italian twins Giovanni and Dario to 'Richard from Texas' and Ketut Liyer - the Balinese healer.
And yet, the string running through it all is scathing self introspection and constant 'notes to myself'. A chick-lit version of 'My experiments with truth'!
One final selling point - reading the innermost thoughts and reflections of another human being is always comforting. Because you realise - "I am not alone".
Whether we will find 'Felipe' in this lifetime or not - is another story.
Coming soon: more reviews of books I've read recently and loved. Mini review likhte likhte full blog hi ho gaya... Must do justice after all :)
Related reads: Eat Pray Love fan blog
Elizabeth Gilbert's official website
An interesting bit if trivia: Elizabeth Gilbert's GQ memoir about her bartending years became the movie Coyote Ugly. And Eat Pray Love is also being made into a major motion picture - with Julia Roberts in the lead role!