There are some books I turn to regularly, like the memories of past lovers, drawing comfort in the simple fact that they exist in some immutable universe. My relationship with the writers and their work evolves as I age, sometimes shocking me with nuances I was too young to recognise, at other times reminding me that an ever-changing view of the world is what makes ageing such an interesting process.
What I choose to read depends upon a number of things – where a recommendation has come from, for example, or what work of art a title has influenced. I sometimes pick up books because my favourite singers mention them in songs, or wander through bookstores with no plan, in the hope of finding something marvellous. It’s a habit that’s stayed with me for as long as I can remember, a private ritual of self-discovery, like the ones we all have and so rarely think about.
My editor prompted this train of thought by asking what was on my bedside table. The assumption was that we are all readers, even though sometimes a majority of us pick up books for little other than entertainment during a long commute. It’s probably how 98 per cent of India’s writers make it to local bestseller lists. Reading continues to shape every aspect of our lives though. The books I read while working towards a university degree ought to have faded, for example, and yet I find Mrs Dalloway continuing to exert a pull, her creator’s shadow on my shoulder as I c