3 Books that Anchor My Life

There are many books that I love but there are only 3 that I keep a physical copy close to me so I can revisit at least a few times every year: The Little Prince, The Alchemist, and Eat, Pray, Love.

To know these 3 books well is to know the guiding compass and the governing principles of my life.

These 3 books have grown up with me since my twenties and despite having read them innumerable times, I continue to learn something about life and about myself from them.

The Little Prince

I must have first read The Little Prince when I was in my early twenties. It started off as a book I read to the kids, then it suddenly dawned on me how much childlike spirit I had lost when I caught glimpse of myself in all those absurd characters that the Little Prince had encountered in the story.

‘Grown-ups are very fond of numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask you the kind of questions that should be asked, such as: “What kind of voice does he have?” “What are his favourite games?” “Does he collect butterflies?”

Instead they ask: “How old is he? How much money does his father earn?”

They really do imagine this is the best way to discover what sort of person he is!’

The Little Prince

Since then, I made a point to frequently revisit the book, particularly in the month of May, to remind myself of the modest, humble, innocent essentials in life.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

The Alchemist

The first time I read The Alchemist, I didn’t understand most of its analogies. I didn’t understand the pursuit of the personal legend, I didn’t understand the desert, the wind, the oasis, the alchemy, the treasure, the sheep—the magic and the grandeur of life, of the world.

I was so young, so caught up in my own growing up and fear of being left behind that I had missed what was sacrosanct—the journey of life itself.

Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race.

Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.

The Alchemist

Over the years I have slowly gotten better at listening to the “soul of the world”, at living and letting live, at understanding my specklike existence against the immensity of the universe and the absurdity of trying to assert any semblance of control.

Eat, Pray, Love

Let go, and watch the stars come out—on the outside and on the inside.

Eat, Pray, Love

I resisted reading Eat, Pray, Love for the longest time because I abstinently refused to read “hype” books.

But life has a strange sense of humour and somehow Eat, Pray, Love found me when I most needed it—in a puddle of tears on my bathroom floor, where Elizabeth Gilbert was as well, when she first started writing the book.

Eat, Pray, Love was not like the previous two books from which I uncovered some blind spots and had a metamorphic experience. It did, however, offered great solace and hope while I healed and transformed.

The day is ending. It’s time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now, let go.

I still find myself reaching for it when I need a reminder of how resilient I am, of how strong my love is, of how to hold onto my romantic ideologies about people, about the world, when it hurt all too much to.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW STRONG MY LOVE IS!!!!!!!!!

Between all 3 books, I have the wisdom, the courage, and the solace to soldier on while loving fervently and fearlessly.

Tender is the Night—Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night

 

I couldn’t resist and started reading Tender is the Night. (It has been every bit as beautiful as you had described it to be—thanks, Tony!) As I catch myself sinking into the world of Fitzgerald and my heartbeat slowing to the cadence of his words, I wonder how I have become such a sucker for words? I hate to admit this because it sounds so stupid but if I have a natural ‘type’ (aka my kryptonite), it’d be those whose thoughts are nimble, whose craft is in wordsmithing.