Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Life in Transcription

Books are my passion, when I was at the 6th KIBF (Karachi International Book Fair) which concluded recently, it was just like finding oneself among friends, companions, teachers and guides.

It is often said that books change our perception, our way of thinking, our world view and hence the world around us. A book which is to be published in mid January 2010 “Promised Land: Thirteen Books” by Jay Parini is about those Thirteen Books that changed the way America is forever and helped to create the nation that it is.

Books are life and wisdom in transcription. The following passage from one of my favorite French Novelist Marcel Proust brilliantly describes what a Book means:

“In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have experienced in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity.”


  1. Thirteen Books and the way American is! Interesting! Wasim Bahi can you list 13 such books that chaged the way that Pakistan is or might have been if Pakistanis were reading! If this is difficult to answer can you tell the books that influenced you atleast?

  2. Most certainly we Americans need to read these 13 books to see where we've gone wrong? I love your comments on why books speak to you and can do so to all of us.

    The Proust quote is especially appropos - I don't remember reading this before:“In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self."

    Thanx as always - and I do so look forward to your response regarding Pakistan...

  3. Thanks Imtiaz and Connie. I will certainly try to list out Books in reference to Pakistan after consulting my learned friend Khurram Ali Shafique, who has a keen eye on Pakistan History. As far as the books that influnced me are concerned they would be listed in the next post.

    The List of 13 Books that changed the way America is according to Jay Parini in PROMISED LAND are as follows:

    01-Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
    02-Federalist Papers by Publius
    03-Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    04-Journals of Lewis & Clark
    05-Walden by Thoureau
    06-Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    07-Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    08-The Souls of Black Folk by WEB Debois
    09-The Promised Land by Mary Antin
    10-The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
    11-Onthe Road by Jack Kerouac
    12-The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
    13-How to win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  4. This is a great list and unexpected items included...I am quite familiar with most - not as academic and erudite as I expected...our library can easily be persuaded to order several copies.

    A longtime ago in Franklin Middle School (around 8th grade just before entering our High school) I was a runner-up in a contest on the life of Benjamin Franklin. I was so into reading his biographies (and probably the Autobiography as well) that I feigned being ill so that I could go to nurse's office to read.

    Some of these books demonstrate the best of US values - oh to restore these today!

    Thanx so much!

  5. hmmm...Dar Sahib..I think to read one must have the reading skill. Reading requires patience, calmness and understanding.Reading is far more difficult then writing.

    I can see that you are a great reader. And thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Yes Connie everybody needs to demonstrate their best values as all have got them.

    Thanks Thinking, Yes patience is the KEY.