This week we’re introducing GOOD Morning Wilton‘s new book reviewer, Gayathri Kaimal. Gayathri is a rising sophomore at Wilton High School who is insightful beyond her years in both her choice of books and the way she interprets them for others. Consider her statement: “Reading becomes far more gratifying when it is a shared experience.” We’re excited at the prospect of turning a solitary activity into something that engages the community, and love that our guide will be someone with such a fresh, thoughtful perspective. You can learn more about Gayathri on GMW‘s “Our Team” page.
We experience the world differently every time we close a book. When we read, we embark on a journey. We explore the ideas, lessons, and knowledge that others have shared with the world. We immerse ourselves in someone else’s story, and we emerge both wiser and more compassionate. Our perspective can’t help but be shaped by the things we read. Reality becomes rich and vibrant when we seek to understand the people around us; reading brings our world into sharper focus.
There are more great books in the world than a lifetime of reading can cover. Choosing the right books can seem extremely daunting. I find that the best books balance the known and the unknown. Fiction or nonfiction, reading should push you out of your comfort zone and expose you to something new. It should help you grow without alienating you. Above all, reading should be an enjoyable experience.
My favorite books are the ones that both challenge me and resonate with me. I read Purple Hibiscus because I had heard a TED Talk by the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her voice and style were familiar, but the setting and the story were unlike anything else I have read. I read Circe by Madeline Miller because I have always loved Greek mythology. While the characters were recognizable, the in-depth look into their motivations and desires was out of the ordinary. I read War on Peace by Ronan Farrow after I heard an interview with him on NPR. I had gone in not knowing much about American diplomacy, and it changed the way I read the news.
Yes, my reading list may seem a little eclectic, but I do not pick books randomly. There are two ways I stumble across my next read. I find a topic I want to explore, read a summary and the first few pages of a book in order to discern whether it covers that topic, and then dive in. However, sometimes I work backward. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who love to read. They may have interests that are completely different from mine, but their recommendations help me find a diverse assortment of books. There are so many different genres, topics, and ideas to read about and understand. Why limit yourself to one or two types?
Reading becomes far more gratifying when it is a shared experience. Book reviews serve two purposes: to recommend and to spark conversation. Recommendations are a great way to find books that may not otherwise cross your path. As someone who has depended on recommendations to find some of my favorite books, I would like to pay it forward. In addition, reviews don’t lose their value after you finish a book. I often read reviews of books I have finished; reading another point of view raises my level of understanding and helps me recognize subtle nuances I may have missed. Even after we close a book, reviews enrich the experience by encouraging us to think about what we’ve read.