When I think back, I can’t remember a time I didn’t love books. As a kid, I was lucky to have access to well-stocked libraries at the Air Force stations wherever my father was posted. I recollect devouring books with unconstrained thirst. My siblings were just like me. I think we got it from our parents, two devoted book worms if there ever were any.
As I came into High School and University, reading needed to take a second priority to academics and while I did read, it wasn’t as much as I would have liked to. Some of my friends from my Business school still remember me saying, “When I’m pregnant, I will read so many books!” I always imagined having a lot of time on hands while expecting a baby. I would picture myself sitting on a rocking chair by a window and losing myself in a world of books.
Then came my life in the corporate. I hated driving in mind-boggling traffic to work, until I discovered the joy of being able to read in the metro. It didn’t matter that I didn’t get a seat. I could stand on one leg and get absorbed in my book. I would arrive in Gurgaon, get off the metro with my book still clutched in one hand, hop into a rickshaw and continue reading. My colleagues have seen me many-a-times with my nose deep inside a book even as the elevator ascended to the 18th floor. It was only when I finally arrived at my desk that I released a deep sigh and put my book down with regret.
So when my husband tentatively proposed the idea of moving to Africa, I grabbed it. I wanted out! I wanted time to read and write. I wanted to do all those things I have loved doing and not had the time to do.
I moved to Ivory Coast in December 2014 equipped with a new Kindle, because I was aware I wouldn’t find many English books in a Francophone country. I joined a book reading group soon after. And though I published one book and wrote another in that year, I found the time to read 85 books in a single year!! It was a dream come true!
I conceived by the end of 2015 and spent another happy couple of months in 2016 reading and writing. When my son was born in August, writing got completely shelved. There was barely time to bathe or brush. While I struggled to learn the ropes of the new role I had taken on and battled with mental health issues, the only sanity I had in my crazy days was the moments when I read.
In those early days, I had to sit up forty five minutes at a time to feed my son. It was painful after delivery to sit up on stitches. Barely an hour later, he would need to feed again. It was agonizing, but I got through those days by reading while he nursed. I would lose myself in the story I was reading and forget, for a few moments, about the realities that surrounded me.
As the years have passed, life has brought us other ups and downs. We moved from Ivory Coast to Canada and a tough life awaited us here. We work hard and get exhausted, but at the end of the day, my heaven is my book and blanket. Through these past few years, I have read between thirty five and forty books every year (thanks to Goodreads for helping me track that).
Of these, I like to put together a collection of the ten best books I read each year. If you are looking for book recommendations, you may find my lists helpful. Check out my favourite books in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
And the latest… The Ten Best Books I Read in 2019!
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.