Interview: A home without books is a body without soul
Patrycja Hala-Sacan, founder, www.patrisyam.wordpress.com
The book that changed my life was Hitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens. One of the most outstanding erudite authors of modern times talks about his childhood, career, political views and religious beliefs. Hitchens' thought-provoking polemics encouraged (and still encourage) me to think for myself and to question the world around me.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
The Orchard Of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. In Somalia, unravelled by civil war, three self-empowered women from different social groups combine forces to survive. The author offers an unforgettable account of hardship and cruelty that women and young girls face during wartime. It is a powerful novel showing the triumph of the human spirit over the brutality and moral deprivation of war.
The book(s) that changed your life and shaped your outlook, and why?
The book that changed my life was Hitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens. One of the most outstanding erudite authors of modern times talks about his childhood, career, political views and religious beliefs. Hitchens' thought-provoking polemics encouraged (and still encourage) me to think for myself and to question the world around me. His aim was not to convince readers about the 'rightness' of his views but to challenge them. Last, but not the least, the book is about an unquenchable thirst for literature. I always thought I read a lot but this book made me realise that I am not as well-read as I should be. I understood how important it is to read and to discover new things.
Which titles or authors can you pick up and read any time, and why?
To be honest, I am a moody kind of reader and my "bookish" preferences change very often. Nevertheless, there are three authors that I can pick up and read any time. Christopher Hitchens, because he always provokes me to think; Charles Dickens, who is a literary genius; and Scandinavian writer Jo Nesbo, because a bit of mystery makes daily life more colourful.
Which books would you love to pass on to your children (or any young person) to read and treasure, and why?
There are two books that hold special meaning for me. Charles Dickens' autobiographical David Copperfield teaches that no matter where we come from, we can be successful, if we work hard. The book will also make kids appreciate the beauty of English language. The other book is Nelson Mandela: The Authorized Biography by Anthony Sampson. I want my children to know that mistakes of the past should be avoided in the future. The book highlights basic values that I hope will take root in their moral consciousness: equality, fairness and forgiveness.
What advice do you have for parents looking to inculcate a love of reading in their kids?
Both good and bad habits start at home, so read for yourself and read to your kids. When kids see your admiration for books, they will follow you. Have plenty of books around you because "a home without books is a body without soul" (Cicero). At my family home, I was surrounded by readers and books. That is how my love for reading started.