When I was little (and I mean very little) my mum used to read me stories every night before bedtime.
She wouldn’t miss a day (yes, even on gloomy Sundays and busy Mondays).
I loved her voice so much and I was in awe of the way she could change her voice to match the character’s dialog she was narrating. My mum is a typical bookworm – she keeps almost all the books she ever bought (plus some others she never returned to the library – but don’t tell the librarians).
Her passion for books soon transferred to me – we would spend every second weekend in our favorite bookstore just digging through hundreds of old and new books trying to find the book that felt closest to our hearts. And even though our tastes in genres differed immensely and we wouldn’t even look for books in the same sections – it was the best family activity from my childhood that I can recall.
Sadly, I lost this passion soon after I finished high school. The digital era hit me hard and I started spending more time on YouTube and Netflix than on books.
I started craving instant gratification and non-stop action, rather than enjoying the slow-paced and relaxing ritual of reading. I also discovered that university books are even dryer and more boring than the ones in high school and this only contributed to me not buying, or reading, a single book during 2019.
The truly sad part is that I remember being an avid reader of fiction – Eragon, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit – I would devour them like ice-cream and drink them like water like one does in the summertime after running around the park. I used to spend countless hours in my bedroom, in another world, in another universe, and I would even get the occasional hate comment that I am a nerd, and I don’t have a life.
I started the book without any expectations but soon came to realize that I was reading for more than 2 hours and I couldn’t put it down
When I went to university, I started consuming information from other sources, my life became way more fast paced and I created more and more new and urgent priorities. At one point, I even remember saying that books are a waste of my time because I could be doing other more productive stuff rather than sitting in bed all day staring at sheets of paper.
However, the more I accelerated my daily routines, the faster I would burn out. And when I burned out – I burned out big time. After a super busy and hectic work week, I would just lay in bed all day watching Netflix because I had no mental or physical energy to do anything else whatsoever.
Soon I began to discover that my world view was shrinking, I wasn’t as good a conversationalist as I used to be, and I was missing exploring new perspectives and paradigms. That’s when I decided to reconnect with my long-lost passion for books.
Ironically, I rediscovered my passion for books through a digital device – my Kindle. While I was on exchange in Paris, and while the whole country was on lockdown, I decided to finally pick up my Kindle and just give it a try – there was nothing better to do, and I had already prepared my homework for the next week.
I started the book without any expectations but soon came to realize that I was reading for more than 2 hours and I couldn’t put it down! The story, the characters, the worldbuilding was absolutely stunning and I felt such nostalgia for my long-lost passion for books – I even felt like I regained a lost a part of my mum in me when I opened my heart to a book again.
Soon after I finished the book on my Kindle, I asked myself: “What if there is a book out there that I would like even more?”.
So, there I was, spending countless hours in the CBS Library looking through the contemporary literature section trying to find a book close to my heart. My smile was a truly genuine one – I was finally connecting with my past self.
Sometimes I was the (second) greatest detective along with Sherlock Holmes, other times I was the personal assistant of Robert Langdon, trying to crack yet another code
2020 was a challenging year for us all, and I personally don’t think I would be as mentally sane if it wasn’t for books. After a whole day of hearing about the horrors of the pandemic, I felt the need to prepare myself a cup of hot tea, cuddle up on my bed, put my glasses on and transport myself to another world.
Sometimes I was the (second) greatest detective along with Sherlock Holmes, other times I was the personal assistant of Robert Langdon, trying to crack yet another code.
In a world consumed by toxic productivity culture and the need to always be doing something – reading a book peacefully felt like an act of revolution. I loved the way books made me feel – they calmed my mind, they expanded my worldview, they provoked strong emotions in me, and they taught me to love people I have never seen and never will.
The warmth and the calmness surrounding me when I read is, truly, to die for.
In conclusion, I would like to share the top 20 books that reminded me of who I truly was and rekindled my burning passion for books:
The books are not ranked in any way – just listed in the order I read them in 2020 and 2021. As you might have noticed, I have tried a lot of different genres and authors and I can guarantee that you will like at least half of them if you give them a try.
Now excuse me but I will go and make myself a nice cup of tea and continue reading so that I can add more books to my next recommendation for you.