Fantastic Female Reader: Bhakti

What are 3 books you’ve read which have changed your life?  In what way(s) were they life changing?

Since the time I started reading and discovered such as my hobby, there have been many books which changed my life or forced me to think in different ways.

Some very early books in my reading journey which have stayed with me are:

without my daighter

  1. Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody.

I can still recall some of the paragraphs in this book, and am able still to feel her courage, fears and hope.

The story is about American wife, her Irani Husband and their Daughter.  A so called, well settled practicing doctor in the US who got to know the author and his wife-to-be, Betty, who fall in love, marry and have children.  Things are going well until one day, he receives a letter from Iran with news that his mother is unwell and then the story begins.  He goes to visit his parents in Iran with his daughter and wife.  Though days into their stay, he hasn’t planned a return journey and realizes suddenly that there is no way back home.

The story illustrates minute details about both cultures, business and lifestyle.

Of the author wanting to return to the US with her daughter but having to reconcile the fact that her husband doesn’t want to go, nor let his family go return either.  It is an extraordinary struggle of a mother for her daughter.

The story takes an exciting turn and left me awestruck by her courage.  This book, on remembering it, gives me as well as reminds me the indefinite power of determination and the human mind.

jonathan livingston

  1. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston is not an ordinary bird. He believes it is every gull’s right to fly, to reach the ultimate freedom of challenge and discovery, of finding his greatest reward in teaching younger gulls the joy of flight and the power of dreams.

This book is a distinguished motivational fable about seeking a higher purpose in life, even if the circumstances seem inconvenient. By not deserting his quest, Jonathan learns about the importance of love, respect, freedom, and forgiveness. It was practically the first spiritual book I read, which resulted in an internal pull toward the vast subject of spirituality.  This book has many lessons that are applicable to day to day living and is chock full of incredible spiritual teachings.


  1. The Story of My Experiment With Truth By M. K. Gandhi

Gandhiji (the respectful way to refer to him) is a very strange figure in Indian history. He is both more Indian and less Indian than anyone you will ever meet or read about. Indians love to celebrate him and simultaneously, love to distance themselves from him. His name lives on in a legacy of political leaders that he would likely not endorse.

What I like about this book is his honesty and candor.  His writing of each and every life sense with a complete truth, immaterial of his success or failure

He navigated many astonishing experiments in his personal life.  With regards to food, health, and relationships with himself and others.

This book taught me the real meaning of Ahimsa- non violence.


  1. Unposted Letters by Mahatria Ra

This book is another favorite.  With a bit of spiritual touch, and truly captivating.

A compilation of Manatrias articles from a magazine titled Frozen Thoughts.  The message from within, that there are no truly difficult situations in life but instead, that our thoughts make them frozen and then we find it hard to crack.

It is a very simple but elegant book, offering a new approach for every situation in our life.


–What are 2-3 fictional books that you’ve read which have continued whispering to you long since concluding them?  Books you were incredibly riveted and/or emotionally moved by, and which you have never forgotten?

To name a few: Little Women By Louisa May Alcott, Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat, The Invention of Wings By Sue Monk Kidd


–What is the best bookish place you’ve ever been?  (Library, bookstore, an event of some sort, a class, you name it related to books).

I still remember the university library in my home town, where I went for my Masters studies. It had the highest bookshelves, which I always used to look up to but never reached.  The smell of old books and pin drop silence.

Also, some cozy book stores in different cities of Europe.


–What is your ideal reading scenario?  Paint us a picture.  The locale, what you might be drinking or eating, etc

Freshly made Pina Colada and the balcony in my home on a warm summer afternoon.

Snowfall, a warm blanket, a glowing reading light, paired with my favorite book and hot chocolate.

A warm Sunday morning in the park, under the shade of a big tree, with my picnic basket, mango juice, and a book.


–What, in relation to books, fills you with the greatest joy or excitement?

Meeting friends, baking, and meditation.


–Which fictional character have you found to be most memorable or affecting?  Why?

There are many from adulthood, but I always remember one or two from childhood.  Maybe because these were my first experiences with books, so they left their mark in my brain. E.g. Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella etc…


–Why are you impassioned by and in love with reading?

Reading takes me to the different world, while seated at home.  It paints the entire canvas.  This can be science, art, nature, human relationships, cooking, or spirituality.

It never fails to inspire me

Stories of people, their struggles, motivations, passions, and dreams.  All wave a magic wand over me.


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