For the Love of Books

  1. “Walking into a good bookshop is like walking into another zone. These places are time machines, space ships, story makers, secret keepers. They are dragon-tamers, dream catchers, fact-finders and safe places. They are full of infinite possibilities, and tales worth taking home. Because whether we’re in the middle of the desert or in the heart of a city, on the top of a mountain or on an underground train: having good stories to keep us company can mean the whole world.” – The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
  2. “Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn frm the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilisation, the depth of our awareness about the underpinings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.” – Carl Sagan
  3. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”– Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  4. “Books may not change our suffering, books may not protect us from evil, books may not tell us what is good or what is beautiful, and they will certainly not shield us from the common fate of the grave. But books grant us myriad possibilities: the possibility of change, the possibility of illumination.” – Alberto Manguel
  5. The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another. The child I once was read constantly and hardly spoke, because she was ambivalent about the merits of communication, about the risks of being mocked or punished or exposed. The idea of being understood and encouraged, of recognizing herself in another, of affirmation, had hardly occurred to her and neither had the idea that she had something to give others. So she read, taking in words in huge quantities, a children’s and then an adult’s novel a day for many years, seven books a week or so, gorging on books, fasting on speech, carrying piles of books home from the library. – Rebecca Solnit
  6. “I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
    In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”– Tahereh Mafi
  7. “So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
    Go throw your TV set away,
    And in its place you can install
    A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
    Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”– Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  8. “I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.”– The New Life by Orhan Pamuk
  9. “And if I had a bookshop of my own? Well, it wouldn’t make any money. So I am no help to anyone. But I would set it somewhere with a garden, where light poured in through the windows. Sit in the sun, I’d tell my customers. Open this book. Try it. It won’t do any harm, after all, to sit a while and read.” – The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
  10. “A book can become your best companion in times of crisis.
    Not only do you learn in the journey of your pages, but rediscover yourself, with your virtues and defects … often makes you question everything, even life itself.
    The books are fantastic, as they not only transport you to other places and the awakening of sensations, curiosity, laughter, hilarity, sadness, etc. Other times, it can give you a quiet space in truculent moments, and lead you to a level of peace, acceptance, healthy optimism, that I will never tire of recommending it.
    Never stop reading, there are no excuses … there are always some minutes in any place, at any time and a huge universe for all tastes!”– Liz Hay
  11. “If you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you.”– Terry Pratchett
  12. “Books make great gifts because they have the whole world inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy someone a book than it is to buy them the whole world.” – Neil Gaiman
  13. “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  14. “Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.”– Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
  15. “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”– Alan Bennett

 

 

-Sarah Jafrani.

Aura.

Glass blown and sanded,
The feel of silk,
The smell of spring,
None can compare,
To the aura which you have ensnared,

The springs of Honduras fall short on all scales,
The suns radiance in your presence fails,
Your grace eludes even the black swan,
If you’re the queen, i’d happily play the pawn,

The wilderness flocks to your reside,
To the Olympians you are their pride,

None to your presence can compare,
To the aura which you have ensnared.

Even the Greek sculptors would fail to capture your beauty
The mystery, the allure all have their specific duty

How the clouds part to reveal the moon and stars,
Who are well aware that their spell has been cast,
Your arrival brings a similar magic,
To not stop and admire it would be tragic,

A sin I would not commit,
A whim to which I cannot submit,

None can compare,
To the aura which you have ensnared,

As flowers at the beginning of day
Like the moon beckoning the water astray

Crystal is my mind,
My feelings for you have me intertwined,
The epitome of excellence is you,
The model of all traits
It is true!

The conundrum now seems how to let go,
How to evade destiny’s call
How to turn away from my curtain call.

-Bilal A. Temuri.

Words Are Insufficient.

Natsume Takashi,

Truth be told, I avoided you for a long time. You seemed like an average teenager to me and I have been disappointed spending time getting to know people I have never been able to relate to. So, I want to start off by thanking you. Thank you for voicing all the feelings I have never been able to explain. Your calm, soothing presence helped me find a place where my sadness made sense.

We start molding our personality as children while our teenage years help cement them. Losing your parents and being forced to move from house-to-house because you were considered ‘unusual’ must have been hard. You were always by yourself, no place or people to call your own, always feeling like an outsider.

It was pretty sad wasn’t it? To watch all the other kids around you play and laugh while you sat in a corner and watched? Never being able to share your emotions or a lunchbox for that matter. Maybe in an alternative universe, we could have been friends. It would have been nice.

Our loneliness was never towering, for us, loneliness has always been like a drifting cloud, coming and going at its own whim, yet, never quite leaving us.

Things changed for you later though, you were taken in by a loving foster family who showed you kindness and, you said it yourself, didn’t you? That the more people try to be kind to you, the more terrified you become. Now that you have gotten a taste of what love actually feels like, you are terrified of losing it.

Our mutual anxiety is what makes you so relatable. I know what it feels like to be conscious of your every movement down to every single breath you draw from your lungs. To double-check every move because you are so scared that a single miscalculated step might shatter everything because that’s how fragile it all seems to you.

You never shared these anxieties with anyone because that would only serve to burden them and that’s the last thing you’d ever want to do. So, you stay quiet. You do not voice your feelings because you never know what could prompt them to leave you. So, you silently suffer and tell yourself that it’s all for the best.

Throughout the series you never gave any thought to your future because it was scary to imagine, wasn’t it? To imagine a future where you’re happy, loved, content; because deep down you cannot help but think that you are undeserving of it.

But Natsume, we are both beginning to change, aren’t we? We have found people we can fall back on, we are learning that it is okay to voice our feelings, to give them a name. We are both slowly beginning to heal. It is a long, painful process and the only reason we brave on is because of those fleeting moments of happiness. Moments where you are surrounded and bathed in love, days where you laugh till your insides cannot take anymore; treasured moments that make us want to stick around for a little while longer.

There will be a lot of sad days in the future as well and they might outnumber the happy ones but that’s all part of life’s unpredictability. Some days you will be able to ride out the waves, other days you might be left with salt-water lungs, gasping for air and that’s okay. You’re doing okay. We’re doing okay.

 

Regards,

Aasma Adnan.

 

A Hunter and I

,dean

To Dean Winchester,

Years and years ago a sudden emotion erupted within me, as I think long and hard about that day, I realize how much has changed, not only in me but in you too. My life only consisted of grief, loneliness and misery; and honestly I never thought I’d be standing here today. Seven years ago for the first time in my life I heard a life changing quote, and that was “Dad’s on a hunting trip, and he hasn’t been home in a few days”.

Dean Winchester, you have ruined me and saved me countless times and I have no words that can fully express how much I adore your existence. From the moments you cracked sarcastic jokes and made me laugh with your obvious movie references, and to the moments where you made me bawl and wail like the baby I am, everything has helped me become a better version of myself. In the beginning I worried for you and I used to constantly yell at you to ‘stop!’ before you ended up hurting yourself, in the end my screaming was all in vain and you still pulled off your disastrous stunts anyway. You’ve killed, murdered and slaughtered every monster and demon that came in your way, you lost absolutely everything because of them, even Sam. But somehow your strength always brought you back up and helped you survive, and I’m simply bewildered by that. Seeing you struggle and never lose hope helped me understand so many things and it made me root for you even more. I always wished for your happiness, even when you died (the very first time!) And were sent to hell I was in utter shock and I did not think I would recover, but even death couldn’t stop you from protecting the ones you love, especially Sam. Dean, even after all these years you have surprised me every time! You’re willing to sacrifice yourself with every breath you take and my God it amazes me! How? Just how can someone be so selfless and good?. I look up to you, it’s strange how much I connect to you but even I know that you are much more confident, braver, and strong willed than I can ever be, but because of you I’ve learned so many things that I should’ve appreciated a long while ago. I’ve learned to love music (‘Zeppelin rules!’), I’ve learned to adore and savor food even more, I’ve also learned to love and cherish my family even more, but most of all I’ve learned to finally accept myself the way I am. You and your brother have become demons, vampires and also vessels for the most powerful entities that could exist, but somehow you two have always remained true to yourselves and you never let anyone change who you are, and that my friend is a fine characteristic that I’ve applied on myself. You’ve helped me strive and polish my personality in the process too, simple words and gestures by you were enough to make me adore you even more! And words that seem normal to others have several different meanings to me; for example: bitch, pie, angel, brother, and last but not least, family. And its all because of you.

Staying with you for all these years has taken its toll on me, and a life without you just feels like a void where no source of life can ever exist, you’re family Dean, you’re my family! and all I know is I’m not going anywhere until you finally settle down and just CHILL for once!.

My Dear hunter, I thank you.

Sincerely,

Gul.

She Was Lost Between the Pages of a Good Book

She dipped her toes into the water, stretching the fabric of her leggings, a yellowed book cracked open on her lap. A cold breeze passed the dock area, rustling through her thick, dark curls and turning the pages, several at a time. The waves crashed into one another: a cacophony of the blue-green waters, white foam floating and curling around her feet like swirls of soap on the floor during a shower. The sun lowered into the horizon, concealing itself behind a blanket of blues and pinks and yellows. She nibbled on the tip of her thumb, teeth biting into the skin, her thoughts immersed in the characters between the pages and their struggles. This was the one place where she could come and sit by herself just to focus on how her breathing fell into a synchronised pattern, and enjoy how the early autumn wind danced delicately on her freckled skin, her half bare arms, and the nape of her neck that peeked through a bush of curls. She flipped another page, not worrying about the little sister who always found one excuse or another to come into her room and borrow something from her closet, or the mother who made it her life’s duty to teach her daughter how to work a stove and boil the rice to perfection. The characters in her books didn’t have to bother with such mundane tasks: they had to find sacred gems, go on road-trips with strangers, defeat an evil wizard, or go on a journey in search of their soulmate. How interesting their lives were, everyday a new found adventure, an exciting story to tell with plenty of hand gestures. The sun dipped lower, the sky changed colours, and she decided it was time to return to her world long, mundane days.

Sarah Jafrani

BS Biosciences