"Books are such a source of magic"

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'Books are such a source of magic'
Reza Alavi, founder and managing director, Real Pilates

There is no excuse why books should not play an important role in everyone's life! They are such a source of magic, imagination and learning.

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Published: Thu 9 Jun 2016, 9:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Jun 2016, 11:12 PM

What book(s) are you reading now?
I finished The 14th Colony by Steve Berry a few days ago and I am now reading, or I should say listening to, the audiobook Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, an art-filled mystery set in Giverny, France, the home of Claude Monet. They are two very different books. Berry is a master of historical thrillers, so although he writes fiction, his books are largely inspired by historical facts, and so you learn a lot in his books. But the two books that I loved most in recent times are A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and Joel Dicker's The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair; two captivating stories where human psychology plays a pivotal role.
What are the books that changed your life and shaped your outlook?
As a teen growing up in France, books such as Alain Fournier's The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind, as well as classics like Andre Gide's Pastoral Symphony and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre had a big impact on me. But in recent years, inspirational books have started filling up my bookshelf. If I had to mention one that changed my life, it would Robin Sharma's The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. This fantastic fable triggered in me a transformation process that eventually led me to leave my corporate career and become an entrepreneur starting up my own wellness and fitness company, Real Pilates. It got me started on a new path and approach living with more balance, joy and courage. 
Which are the titles or who are the authors you can pick up and read any time?
There are so many - if only time permitted! On the more serious side, anything by Stefan Zweig, on the lighter side, any Agatha Christie novel. 
What are the books you would love to pass on to your children or any young person to read and treasure?
I would love for my kids to travel and laugh through classic comics like Tintin or Asterix. But I also wish for them to learn about, feel and explore their Persian and Middle Eastern roots through ageless stories like Alibaba, One Thousand and One Nights or The Adventures of Sinbad. 
Any other book related observation you may have.
As a book lover, I used to always identify myself as paper book fan, highlighting the pleasure I take in being in contact with good old paper, rather than electronic readers. I still feel the same, but I never suspected I would get addicted to yet another format: audio books. I never imagined that so many millions of titles had already been adapted to this format and in such brilliant style. Some of the narrators are simply so good that they elevate the level of the story you "read". So my advice to those whose busy Dubai lifestyles or long working hours do not permit them to find time to read, download any audio book app such as Audible on your smartphone today and start listening to books. You will be transported while you are having lunch or stuck in traffic. There is no excuse why books should not play an important role in everyone's life! They are such a source of magic, imagination and learning. On that note, I think His Highness Shaikh Mohammed's recent campaign to get one million children in the region to read 50 books each is absolutely brilliant!
- As told to staff reporter

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