What could be better than curling up and immersing yourself in a book?
How about reading a book about books!
That is exactly what Love among the Bookshelves by Bond, Ruskin Bond talks about!
Bond’s favourite books as a young boy.
The title of the book is itself inspired by Wodehouse’s Love Among the Chickens.
Love Among the Bookshelves begins with the most hilarious opening in the Introduction:
The book then goes on to an anecdote about how Bond picked up a reading habit in the first place at the age of eight at the most unusual of places: a forest rest house where he was a reluctant accompaniment to a hunting (shikari) party. Completely disinterested in the latter, one of the first books he picked up was Wodehouse’s Love Among the Chickens and perhaps that is why the title is fondly a tribute to that (My title fetish strikes again!).
Gradually, Mr. Bond takes the reader through his growing love for books over the years: from his school days to his two lonely years in London; from him reading comics during his holidays to how he “graduated to the world of literature.”
With different stages of his life represented, Love among the Bookshelves, makes for an interesting bildungsroman cum autobiography seen through the lens of books; of how one matures and so do our tastes or vice versa when books can shape the way we think as well.
Apart from the many anecdotes about Mr. Bond’s life and how each stage is associated with books, Love among the Bookshelves also has an extract from the novels that Mr. Bond especially cherished. So the bonus is that not only do we get to read about all the books Ruskin Bond loved, we get to read pieces of it as well.
This is a also a great way to decide if you want to pick up that book or add one to your ever expanding to-read list!
Among Bond’s lists, we read about the usual canonical English literature books such as The Complete Works of William Shakespeare or Wuthering Heights or Maugham’s Cakes and Ale or the works of Charles Dickens who Mr. Bond hails as “the greatest novelist in the English language.”
However, apart from the usual greats or classics of the English literature, there are a few others that also find mention such as And Gazelles Leaping by Sudhin Ghose or Rumer Godden’s novel, The River or others that are absolutely unknown to me such as William Saroyan’s stories or Richard Jefferies’ The Story of My Heart among many others.
Love among the Bookshelves ends with a list of all his favourite books that is attached.
So what are you waiting for? Take your pick from among them!
Which classic would you pick next? Or perhaps it would inspire you to pen about your own love for books or simply reminiscence about how you got the reading addiction as well? The last was what happened to me. I love musing over how I got into reading in the first place.
Whatever the case might be with you, after reading Love among the Bookshelves, the thought of your everlasting love for and your deep connection with books is sure to linger on for quite sometime.
P.S. Read my account of how I got Love among the Bookshelves signed by Mr. Bond himself!