If there is one thing I will be remembered for, let it be the fact that I always had my nose in a book. Here lies Shivali, my grave will proclaim, may she read all the books in Heaven that she couldn’t on Earth.

Considering my ever-growing to-read list, this inscription seems more and more likely. From treacherous mysteries with unreliable narrators to mind-boggling fantasy worlds that suck me in completely, there is always a book for me to read and enjoy. Sometimes a book is better than any pair of noise-cancelling headphones – the world automatically tunes out when the pages smile up at me with lines of ebony text, and if you try to talk to me during that time… well, it’s a waste of your energy.

Allow me to make a clichéd confession here – the first series that I fell in love with was Harry Potter. Although I have very little respect for the author now, I have to admit that Hogwarts will always have a special place in my heart. I must confess something else, too… the only reason I started reading this series was that I saw a Harry Potter movie marathon on TV and needed to see what the hype was all about. To be fair, it is quite possibly the best decision I have ever made. I am not saying this lightly, but I do believe that was the major turning point of my life.

Oh my, you might say, that’s a bit too dramatic, isn’t it? Not at all! It is no secret that books have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love them, but they have also played a major role in shaping me into the person I am today. As a writer and reader, I am a strong believer in the fact that words are magic. The enchantments of the stories that lie hidden in books are what allowed me to conjure up stories of my own – and today, I have universes and tales springing from my mind, dripping from my fingers onto the paper.

Books have given me a sense of self. They have allowed – and encouraged – me to see worlds beyond my own and step into the lives of characters that I could never hope to experience in real life (and often, that I do not hope to experience in real life – yes, YA dystopian and horror characters, I am looking at you).

Shivali Yadav feels that books let her into worlds that she never thought she would explore

It is always astonishing to me that people pass up one of the most immersive, wonderful and engaging experiences gifted to humanity by choosing not to read. My imagination has not only grown but thrived by reading books. It has helped me develop my thoughts, conversational skills, mindset, and personality. Sometimes I feel like books have turned me into a 3D character, in stark contrast to my previous 2D version.

Let me be honest here – I am quite probably a nerd. Okay, I am a nerd. I love learning new things, even if it is the most trivial piece of information. Did you know that there are no country flags in which purple is a major constituent because the purple dye used to be crazy expensive? Well, now you do. Books feed my innate thirst for knowledge, giving me things to ponder about.

If someone asked me why I love books, and I had ten seconds to answer, I would simply say it is because they keep my sense of wonder alive. And what is life without wonder?

No, what is life without books?


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