Sometimes you read a book and it offers something different, perhaps you may not normally have chosen it, but in some way it changes you.
Recently I was sent three books from India, from a colleague/friend of mine who works in our company offices out there and who like me shares a love of writing and reading.
I'm not lying when I say it was one of the nicest surprises and most genuine of gifts I've been given.
I've still got two books to read, but the first one to capture my attention was this one Wise & Otherwise.
When I saw it offered a selection of short stories I had mixed feelings. Often books filled with numerous short tales annoy me, I feel I can't get into them and as I'm enjoying the tale it ends. On the other hand I hadn't read anything from Indian authors, or in fact been to India, so I wondered if it would be a good start to give me more insight into the country/the writer.
Sudha Murty runs a foundation supporting those less fortunate financially and has a background in Computer Science. She was born in 1950 and has written many pieces and won a number of awards.
This book was actually first published in 2002 (why did I not discover it before??) and is split into 51 chapters (1 was added in a more recent edition) - each one only a few pages long and describing an incident experienced by the author, non fictional.
This lady has a great way with words, each chapter provides an interesting snippet and reflects Murty's views.
Showcasing people from all walks of life, good and bad behaviour, nice and sad stories, I found the book addictive reading. I started reading it Monday morning on my commute into work and by lunchtime today I had finished it (reading on the way to and from work, on my lunch break and before I went to sleep briefly).
I also found as with other books (say for instance Eat Pray Love), this book had a message - well many in fact - and I found it started to change my views in just these few short days.
I feel I have a better understanding of India, of human behaviour in general and ways to view my own approach on life/outlook.
Easy to read
Not so great
Sometimes I found there were references to India terms I did not understand (most of the time I just Googled them though)
At times Murty can come close to potentially appearing a tad self-righteous in some tales
Overall I throughly enjoyed this book and I know it's one I'll keep and refer back to throughout life, even moreso knowing the kindhearted way in which I came to be aware of it.