The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an international bestseller. Having sold more than 30 million copies, it has also been translated into over 60 languages. It has been identified as a life-changing piece of literature that moves and touches the lives of anybody that reads it. This not only heightens one’s expectations of the book but also prompts one with an urgency to read it.
Every now and then, I come across a book that resonates deeply within my bones. A book made up of words that do not truly leave my blood, pages that turn themselves in my dreams, characters that I pass on the street, a subtext that reverberates into the universe. The echo of literature is a global phenomenon; it runs through the streams, rests amid the grass and pervades the air until everything is whole.
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is one of the most profound pieces of work that I have ever come across. It is an amalgamation of philosophy entwined with accounts of Frankl’s survival in four different concentration camps during World War Two. It not only explicates his daily life in the horrific concentration camps, but also the way in which he found a means of coping.
I sat gazing at the zealous raindrops on the window of the train. There were millions of them in a horizontal race with time, some marking their territory, leaving trails until they reached the finishing line that was the window pane, others reticent, disappearing just as quickly as they had come. Some hesitated; others drew a consecutive line until the end, obscuring the glass with the resilience of capacity. They resembled fervent tadpoles, fading into the nothingness of the sea with every current. My eyes followed them until they became nothing more than a memento of what had been, bewildering the eyes of the beholder. The glass became speckles of reminiscence; I blinked, until the lens cleared.
(Image Source: here)
You wonder how you reached this point; stuck with a person that is destroying you. You sit beneath a tree that was planted in memory of a courageous soldier. You wish that you were courageous enough to leave her, that humiliation would not consume you every single time you contemplated it. You drown in your thoughts like a coin sinks in water. An elderly man cycles by, smiling at you as if he can sense your predicament. You nod in response, as men do. The phone in your pocket begins to ring; you know it’s her without even checking. You ignore it, humming to the rhythm of the ringtone until it stops. A few seconds later, it rings again. You pick at the grass beneath you, tearing away its life while the ringtone plays in the background for what seems like hours.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This is a detailed account of the time her family spent in hiding during World War Two. This book will make you value your freedom and appreciate the luxury of being able to walk in the street without being captured. It is a wonderful piece of work and her positivity emanates through her words. There are some excerpts that make you feel as if you are reading an ordinary teenage girls diary and some that demonstrate the atrocity of living during such a horrific time. Towards the end of the book, it is evident that Anne is becoming more hopeful, which makes it even more heartbreaking when she suddenly stops writing. She is brutally honest, but also makes you realise just how powerful hope can be. There is a two-part series based on her diary available on YouTube, which I would recommend watching called ‘Anne Frank: The Whole Story.’ Here is Part One and Part Two. Miep’s account of events is also available in a book called ‘Anne Frank Remembered,’ where she details how she helped the family hide. I have yet to read this but she was living on the outside, and will have a different story to tell.
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