Call for Entries: The Type of Books I Like to Read
By Ananya Aloke, Class 9, Home-schooling, Virar, Mumbai
I like to read books that stay with me. Stay with me in an actual way. I am a sensitive person. I get angry, I scream, I cry. And I don't want to be ashamed of it.
There are books that will embarrass me by pointing out my weaknesses. But then I ask, is it a weakness if I cannot control each impulse that I have and hide all pain and tears? No, thank you. I will rather read something that connects to me. Which takes me to why I cannot bear Fairy Tales. They are like old photographs- black and white. The characters are extremes, either too good or too bad. Some are so selfless, brave and beautiful, they definitely don't belong to this world. Then comes the villain who is incredibly black-hearted and selfish.
There is the ugly notion towards beauty, which adds to all this creepiness. The noble valiant Prince is always charming. Cinderella, Ariel and Rapunzel are beautiful heroines. Those who torture them or separate them from their lovers are the ugly witches or horrid looking demons. How long are parents going to tell these stories to children at bed-time? They have to come out of it.
Fairy Tales, including those of our country, teach children to value 'beauty'. And then we go about complaining that the society is beauty-obsessed.
Fairy Tales don't find a place for people who are just like us. People who are allowed to be ugly, weak, disabled, vulnerable and to break down. Children need to know who they really are and what they should expect from friends and later, partners.
Real life Inspirational stories may be fine with many children. I also like them. But fantasy books, horror, murder mysteries, love stories and especially emotional books will always attract me most. I like to read about those who are like me. I was okay with the weak-strong Harry Potter at 11. Now, at 15, I have read the classic 'Crime and Punishment'. Many may call it too dark and murky for my age; but it didn't affect me much. I loved that book for its highly nuanced portrayal of the murderer Raskolnikov and will read it again some day.