What Makes You Pick Up a Book?

Some time back, I read a biography of Charlotte Brontë by Claire Harman and flooded this blog with articles about her. As a woman who aspires to be a writer and is familiar with the impecunious situation of a beginner, the life of Charlotte Brontë seemed as a fable created to instil hope in perseverance.

Quite recently, I also watched Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women (1868-69). Once again, I was intrigued by the determination of the character, Jo March, a feisty young woman with a desire to be a writer, growing up in a modest American family of four sisters living with their mother.

Listen to this article

What Makes You Pick Up a Book? Sahitye Jeevanam

We tend to pick up books to satisfy our curiosity, seek an answer, get entertained and even escape. Our reasons for reading a book serve to fulfil some kind of need within us. Listen to this podcast to check if you can relate to this idea.
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  3. Depressed women are hilarious

I remember being filled with awe when Emilie and Charlotte Brontë gave up the position of a tutor, even though their family lived in acute financial strain, because they steadfastly believed they were meant to be writers. Vivid passages describing Charlotte Brontë writing with her eyes closed, as if her imagination was directly filling up the pages of her book with powerfully emotive words, shook me. I was speechless because I have always struggled with translating my imagination to words.

Whereas, in Little Women, Jo worked as a governess, lived independently, was responsible for her family, made time to write, got rejected, persevered and then realised that all she had to do was write from her heart. Aspiring writers, struggling and working in a completely different profession before they could gain recognition as writers has been a common theme in every book and film I have been consuming. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a snippet from an autobiography of Anthony Trollope immediately filled me with excitement. It revealed, that every morning he would write for three hours producing two-fifty words every fifteen minutes before heading for a long day at work.

Each of these writers and character writers intrigued me. Why? Perhaps because, I was trying to find evidence that writers, especially women, had made it as successful writers in spite of having to pursue other professions in parallel.

I realised that the reason I loved their writing was because it too reflected their determination to write and express themselves. This makes me warm up to the idea that we tend to pick up books to satisfy our curiosity, seek an answer, get entertained and even escape. You see, each of these reasons for reading a book serves to fulfil some kind of need within us.

Now, it’s your turn to do some thinking. What makes you pick up a book? What is it that draws you to a book and makes it an interesting read?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Trishna



“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

-Maya Angelou

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