“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book” – J.K. Rowling
For every bibliophile, there is a moment in life when they discover a book or a series of books that unlocks the magical world of stories for them that traverse reality and initiate them into the world of reading. For Ruskin Bond, ‘It wasn’t a bookshop, or a library, or a great-aunt’s hoard of romantic novels that made me a reader; it was the week I spent in a forest rest house, in what is now the Rajaji sanctuary, between Hardwar and Dehradun’ where ‘…I discovered a wall cupboard with a couple of shelves full of books.’
In Love among the Bookshelves, Ruskin Bond pens down his tête-à-tête with books that turned him into a faithful lover.
Part memoir, part anthology, Ruskin Bond’s Love among the Bookshelves is a confession of a book lover about the ‘…books that gave me enjoyment; books that banished loneliness or depression; books that inspired me to become a writer’ and ‘…a tribute of sorts to some of my favourite authors.’ A book about books and reading, Bond begins with the first book he discovered among the bookshelf, P.G. Wodehouse’s Love among the Chickens, ‘…a romantic comedy about chicken farming…’ and moves on to reminisce his school days in Simla, at Bishop Cotton’s where he discovered Shakespeare, Emily Bronte along with comics and magazines in which he first encountered another one of his favorite writers, H.E. Bates.
Altering between Bond’s memories and recollection of old days, description of his favorite authors and his first encounter with them and short excerpts from his beloved author’s works, Love among the Bookshelves is a relish for book lovers. Not only the book gives the glimpse into the author’s world of reading and books, but also lets the reader discover some forgotten works.
From ‘antipathy to running races’ to musings over Bond’s first step into the world of writing with ‘observations on school life’, the book gives a peek into the adventure that ‘…would end only when the lights went out for ever.’
Encapsulating the journey from ‘…dreams crowded with a wonderful cast of characters’ to two eventful years in London where Bond published his first novel, The Room on the Roof; Bond’s part memoir, part anthology, part tribute in the form of Love among the Bookshelves is an experience in itself. Interspersed with anecdotes and brief excerpts chosen from the writings of some of Bond’s cherished authors, Love among the Bookshelves is written in a simple and lucid style which is the hallmark of Bond.
A treasure trove of stories that narrates Bond’s lifelong affair with books, the book is a delightful read that ends with the Bond’s list of favorite books by favorite authors.
Title: Love among the Bookshelves
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir
About the Author
Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent. He is considered to be an icon among Indian writers and children’s authors and a top novelist. He wrote his first novel, The Room on the Roof, when he was seventeen which won John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written several novellas, over 500 short stories, as well as various essays and poems, all of which have established him as one of the best-loved and most admired chroniclers of contemporary India. In 1992 he received the Sahitya Akademi award for English writing, for his short stories collection, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”, by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters in India. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children’s literature. He now lives with his adopted family in Landour near Mussoorie.
To quote Bond
“and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.”
“Book readers are special people, and they will always turn to books as the ultimate pleasure. Those who do not read are the unfortunate ones. There’s nothing wrong with them; but they are missing out on one of life’s compensations and rewards. A great book is a friend that never lets you down. You can return to it again and again and the joy first derived from it will still be there.”
“All glory comes from daring to begin.”
“On books and friends I spend my money;
For stones and bricks I haven’t any.”
“Happiness is a mysterious thing, to be found somewhere between too little and too much.”