Juxtapositioning the genres keeps away the boredom.
So far, I’ve mentioned at least two book genres; the biography and the short story anthology. I also mentioned one of the greatest writers of all time, Ms Jane Austen. Or, at least I consider her to be one of the greats since the time prophetic words of wisdom were being transcribed by studious and attentive scribes and the work of the Greek philosophers and classicists. The Prophet Mohamed, Peace Be upon Him, even had his own scholars to put down in writing what he experienced by way of Revelations from the great Almighty.
Jesus Christ, some creative playwrights and song writers were audacious enough to brand Him as a Superstar, had His own scribes too. And it’s nice to know that the ties that bind us all together is the literature that takes us all the way back to the Father Abraham. I’m supposed to be chatting to you about books I’m reading, but let me get this off of my chest right now before I never have another chance to do so.
I mention them in alphabetical order just to be fair. What do Christianity, Judaism and Islam have in common? Among the many things to do with faith, religion and human and spiritual love, devout Christians, Jews and Muslims recognize that Abraham is a father to us all. It was from him that a long line of ascendants followed. Judaism is the ancient religion. After Christ was Crucified, the seeds He planted grew into Christianity.
Islam is still the new religion. As we speak, it continues to grow. And long may it. In the present I dismiss out of hand the ignorance that manifests itself among any men and women who profess themselves to be from one of the three faiths just mentioned. Those of you with spiritual leanings of your own can come up with numerous examples of such ignorance which in many cases has resulted in tragedies of epic proportions.
As I seem to recall, it took a great Muslim Emperor to put the corrupt Crusaders in their place in the Middle East. But many centuries later the entire world’s people, no matter what their religion, man and especially woman, or where they are from is dealing with the scourge of the deranged men who call themselves the true harbingers of the Prophet Muhammad – PBUH. A true scholar will tell you that
It helps even if you only read just one page a day.
Courtney Love spent a part of her life hanging on the coat-tails of one Kurt Cobain. Many fans of his heart-rending music and lyrics chose to compare him with the late Jim Morris of the classic rock band The Doors. I can see why. These folk-rock icons had something tragic in common. Both of them committed suicide. Somewhere in France, the country where Morris took his life, a shrine stands above where his maimed body lies.
But, oh dear me, I was going to talk to you about my love of reading books. But perhaps mentioning these two cult personalities wasn’t such a bad idea, after all. Because that’s the one literary genre that utterly fascinates me. I love reading biographies of famous men and women throughout the history of humanity. I don’t think I’ve even covered fifty famous men and women, so you can imagine, I have quite a way to go.
I do, at the moment, have books on Mandela, Gandhi and, would you believe, Winston Churchill, on my shelves. I also have a book or two on Myanmar’s First Lady and Mother Teresa of Kolkata. Poetry is another genre that fascinates me. At the moment, I’m exploring the tragic love affairs of Sylvia Plath and her husband, British laureate and teacher, Ted Hughes. I also have some books of poetry from South African icon, Ingrid Jonker. Ingrid and Sylvia have much in common with Morris and Cobain as well.
They led tragic, traumatized and hectic lives by our own ordinary standards. They also had their hearts broken. Where love is concerned, I’ve been fortunate. Yes, I have been let down and disappointed on a few occasions, but my heart was never broken. Yes, I cried some rivers here and there, and yes, I can even admit to thinking the dreadful thought of just wanting to curl up and die.
I’m not fond of saying this, but this is how human nature works. This is the dark side as they say. Ladies, let’s always try and look on the bright side of life and all the curve balls that it throws at us. Consider for a moment when a man breaks off what you thought was a fabulous relationship. Be rational and try to believe that perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. Especially pertinent for the poorest among us is
Jane Austen. Period.
I stopped short of labeling this young lady the goddess of literature. That would have been a blasphemous thing to say, wouldn’t it? But now that I’ve mentioned this rotten thought of mine, I feel quite pleased. I feel reassured in the thought that I am being open and honest with my own thoughts on life and love, and now, my love for books and such things. Perhaps I should confess this too.
I covet the books on my shelves. It happened years ago and I dare not part with them again. I remember an old man visiting me once upon a time and, after looking over my shelves quite longingly, he asked if he could borrow a book or two to read. Something to keep his mind busy, and yes, he loved books as much as you and me. The book I let him have at the time was a collection of the great American writer, Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.
Several other books left my shelves as time went by. It was just as well because I was running out of space. Now, I recently said good-bye to one of two full Penguin anthologies of Jane Austen’s literary works, including letters she wrote to one of her friends. I held the departed book together for so long for sentimental reasons. It became a sorry state of affairs because, having been read over and over again a number of times, it became quite tatty.
Pages were falling out of the old book. The jacket had long since been discarded. This is the bane of a thick paperback volume well over a thousand pages long that has been read over and over again for more than ten years. I bought the book at one of our local bookshops all those years ago from a gift voucher given to me by one of my family members, I cannot remember which.
I had to buy the newer version years later. What would I do without my Jane Austen? The thing about returning to the classics and its narratives’ complex structures is that you always discover something new about a story you’ve covered before. Such is the case reading Jane Austen’s timeless classics every other year. And I do this deliberately, not so much because I love the work that Ms Austen produced, but more to do with how much it helps my own development