Have You Ever Wondered About The World's First Novel?
There is a first for everything and so there also exists the world’s first novel. As human civilisation progressed, so did the ways of expressing our stories. We started with crude cave paintings and folktales finally reaching the written and printed words. The first novel ever to be recorded is “The tale of Genji”, written sometime in the beginning of the 11th century by a noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu. She also happened to be a lady-in-waiting and so had regular access to royal quarters. She had put her knowledge of it in the novel which essentially speaks about the lives of royal officials and courtiers during the Heian period of Japanese history. The content is expressed in a unique style and the protagonist is Hikaru Genji, the son of a Japanese emperor and one of his concubines. The story depicts the ups and downs of his exciting life in the ancient Japanese society.
Why Reading is the Most Essential Habit?
Reading has always attracted both praise and contempt. It has been praised for increasing depth of knowledge and understanding, but has also been looked down upon for making people introverts and unable to develop effective social skills. But one must remember that the positives of reading are confirmed whereas its alleged negatives are still debatable. Anyways, the positives of reading habits far outweigh the negative ones and hence we find that all successful people around the world are avid readers. Let us see why we must all develop the habit of reading.
Complete Intellectual Development
The most remarkable characteristic of a book is that you can find a piece of the world in each of them. Thus, an avid reader gets to know most of the facts and knowledge pertaining to our world. On top of it, fiction showcases an issue from a new perspective. This not only deepens your understanding of the issue but also broadens your mind. What might seem as negative from your perspective might not seem that evil from an others point of view. Hence, books can literally erase misunderstandings between opposing parties. Books are also great teachers of human psychology. The characters in the stories are nothing but reflections of real people in this world. Studying them in such detail in a book will surely increase your knowledge of the people around you.
A Constant Friend
People as friends are like sitting on a live grenade. This sentence is a pill that is bitter and hard to swallow but most probably true. There are very few people in the world that you can call as your true friends. These are the people that stand beside you through thick and thin. You can always trust them no matter the situation. But such people are rare in this world and you are never sure whether the ones you call friends belong to this category. This, though, is not the case with books. A book will always be your friend and there is no doubt about it. It will be the best companion when you are lonely or when you want to relax in leisure. Sometimes, a book is so captivating, it feels like you are the part of the story and the characters are having a conversation with you. Physically you might be alone then but in your mind you have been transported to a whole new world.
Makes You Peaceful
Knowledge leads to understanding. The more knowledge you have the more you would understand the world around you. This will remove frustrations from your life, which are bred in lack of understanding and you will experience peaceful living. It has already been stated how books increase knowledge and leads to complete intellectual development. So, we know that books lead to a peaceful mind. Also, when you are immersed in a book, you are mentally transported to another world. You can escape from anything that is troubling your mind; sorrow, pain etc. In the happiness and sorrows of your favourite characters, you achieve your own peace of mind.
You Are Less Judgemental
We judge when we have a conservative disposition of mind. We judge when we are not aware of other people's ways of living and doing things so are unable to accept them. We judge when we are oblivious to what must be known by us. Reading books allow you to know and understand about various cultures across the world. You get to know what they do, why they do it and how they do it. You understand the good and the bad of those cultures and hence are not judgemental of them. You have studied their customs and traditions, read about their histories, and felt their emotions through the beauty of well written sentences. You, of all people, know that below all the variety in cultures, everyone is the same. The same events happen all across the world in different ways. Then, with such understanding, how can you judge?
Read the Classics: 10 Best Books of All Time
Ideally speaking all books that have been written so far must be read. Yes, even mediocre literature too, which is a must in order to truly appreciate the great ones. Even then, we have “must read” lists of books that give the true essence of literature to the readers. Now there are millions of books and it is like finding needle in a haystack if you embark upon finding for yourself a set of books that you must read. Follow this BP Guide to get an idea about the best you must read in your lifetime.
To Kill A Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern classic written by Harper Lee. It was published in 1960 and became an instant hit, so much so that it became a part of the middle school and high school curriculum in the schools of the United States. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the year 1961. The author drew inspiration from her own experiences growing up in a small town Monroeville, Alabama and a particular incident that took place near her hometown in 1936. The novel is a marvellous mixture of humour and social ills, where sensitive topics like racial prejudice in the “Deep South” of United States and rape are expressed with light and innocent humour involving the six year old protagonist, Jean Louise Finch.
The Diary Of A Young Girl, By Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl, By Anne Frank is a non-fictional account of events in the life of a 13 year old Jewish girl, named Anne Frank, living under Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. Anne Frank was gifted that diary on her 13th birthday and she had been putting entries in it ever since. Originally written in Dutch language, the diary has entries spanning over 2 years. It gives first -hand insight into life of the Jews under the Nazi regime, first amidst society and later in hiding. In 1944, the Frank family and another family were found out and apprehended. They were then sent to concentration camps. Anne Frank died of typhus in 1945, in the concentration camps. Miep Gies retrieved the diary and gave it to Anne’s father, Otto Frank who gave permission to publish it. Since then it has been done so in over 60 languages.
1984 is a dystopian novel written by George Orwell. It presents a fictional political scenario where the people are in absolute control of the government. The totalitarian regime has implemented systems that destroy individuality and free thought resulting in dull, routine existence, injustice and not even a whiff of spirited living. Caught in never ending war, propaganda and government surveillance, the people of the regime, devoid of love and passion, die a slow death. This book is a must read, especially for the younger generations, who are the future of this world. You might not take an interest in politics but that doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you and the youth must be prepared in order to prevent a dystopian outcome, as imagined in 1984.
Science fiction has revolutionised the cinema experience. The audience never fails to get awed by the mind blowing effects, actions and concepts playing out on the screen. No wonder that the majority of the most successful movie franchises are sci-fi ones. But where did this marvellous idea of amalgamating science and fiction come from? It comes from Frankenstein, a classic book authored by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein is the cornerstone of science fiction. In it, a scientist creates a monster from a science experiment and now has to face the consequences of creating a whole new creature altogether.
Little Women is a coming of age novel written by Louisa May Alcott. It is a story of four sisters; Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. It chronicles their journey from childhood to womanhood. It is a wonderful tale that portrays the life of girls and women in 19th century American society. Some readers and critics suspect that Little Women is an autobiographical or semi- autobiographical novel depicting the author and her three sisters.
The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale has entered the popular culture with a TV series based on this classic novel by Margaret Atwood. It is a dystopian novel that showcases a terrifying future where women are mere tools in the hands of men. Their identities are stripped off, so much so that their names reflect the men they belong to rather than their own individual names. The protagonist, a woman named Offred( Of Fred) chronicles this society where violence and injustice against women are a norm. Despite such macabre content, The Handmaid’s Tale is a tale of hope for women of today and tomorrow.
Maus is a groundbreaking piece of literature penned by Art Spiegelman. Art is a second hand Holocaust survivor and the novel is his autobiography. It is a graphic novel that represents the horrors of the Holocaust in comic book format, where the characters are drawn as mice. Needless to say, this is a subtext to the content of the book. What is remarkable about this novel is that it portrays the Holocaust with the required sympathy and sensitivity but does not resort to victim playing. Maus is without a doubt the novel all must read to get in depth knowledge about modern history's worst genocide.
Things Fall Apart
You cannot compile a list of must-read books without including a Chinua Achebe composition. Chinua Achebe is one of the most prominent writers from the African continent and his novels are indispensable. They usually deal with humans, civilisations, power dynamics in the society and the likes. Things Fall Apart gives the reader a glimpse into African culture, while the society is transitioning in colonised Africa. It follows the protagonist, Okonkwo, who finds it hard to accept the laws and norms his community has to follow. This book is recommended by many readers across the world for the timeless characteristic of its content. As long as there are people, there will be communities. The actions and events of these communities over a considerable period of time will lead to civilisations. This book gives you a strengthened perspective of both community and civilisation.
A Brief History Of Time
It is ignorance to think that only humans have histories; our natural world, with its natural forces and elements, has histories too. This is explored in Stephen Hawking’s: A Brief History of Time. Unlike other books on science, this book does not resort to heavy academic writing style and use of scientific jargons, which are incomprehensible to the common public. Stephen Hawking asks some of the world’s most important questions relating to the beginning of the universe and its end in his book. Despite such heavy cosmological and physics related content, the author manages to make it a captivating read.
Love In The Time Of Cholera
Love in the Time of Cholera is authored by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It cannot be termed as a romantic novel, but a novel depicting worthwhile love. The story speaks about two lovers, Florentino and Fermina who had to be separated because of certain unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. Fermina was obligated to get married to a wealthy doctor while a heartbroken Florentino worked hard and became a successful businessman. Florentino had only one wish that he be united with his beloved. That opportunity comes 50 years, 9 months and 4 days later. The books talks about both their journeys in life.
There's always something new in an old book
The great thing about classics is not only how they stand the test of time, but how they offer new layers each time you revisit them. The same book read several years later can reveal something new, about the story, and about you. Experiences, learning new things, world view and changing opinions over the years can also affect how you perceive the narrative and understand its contents. Revisit some of your old favourites that may or may not have featured above and you will discover something new.