Most readers have that one book that touched their hearts and continues to influence how they look at themselves and life in general.
This World Book Day, we thought we’d share some of the books that have had a lasting effect on some of the fabulous ladies in the office.
It’s amazing to note how – for many of us – the relationships we have with literature were sparked by our nearest and dearest, making these books even more precious.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
When did you read this book? I read it during my varsity days, when I studied American literature.
What were your key takeaways from the book? It made me more aware of how much racial segregation has influenced us emotionally – and how we’ve never really recovered from this. It inspired me to focus on loving myself more as a black woman.
Who inspired you to read? My dad! I would read the Supa Strikas football-themed comic books that came as a supplement to the newspaper he’d buy.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
When did you read this book? I read it during my matric year – 2014.
What were your key takeaways from the book? It is well-written and too complex to describe in simple terms. It taught me that you need to be able to see the silver lining in every dark cloud, and a lot about mother-daughter bonds and our mothers’ sacrifices.
Who inspired you to read? My siblings.
Indaba My Children by Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa
When did you read this book? I read it during my late teens. I grew up in Soweto and Mutwa lived a few minutes from my home. We would gather as children to listen to his storytelling, and I’ve been following his literature ever since.
What were your key takeaways from the book? It helped me gain a better understanding of myself as an African child: understanding my culture and the real meaning of iziduko zami (my clan names). That has inspired my creativity, helping me appreciate and value African culture.
Who inspired you to read? My English teacher, Mr Fakude.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Who encouraged you to start reading? My father. His belief was that knowledge is power. He changed his life as a child by reading and gaining knowledge.
What were your key takeaways from the book? I learnt that in life, failure is inevitable. You have to roll with the punches and learn from each failure.
I also learnt that fear is the biggest obstacle holding us back from success. These are the two big takeaways that I carry with me in my day-to-day life.
When did you read this book? I’ve read it a couple of times. I first read it in the early 2000s.
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés
When did you read this book? I first read it back in 2009, but decided I’d revisit it last year – in a bid to really examine myself as a maturing young woman. I am still busy with it. It’s really dense and complex, but so necessary!
What were your key takeaways from the book? Estés continues to remind me that it’s going to take work and intention to become my most woke, courageous and “in-touch” self. Learning to trust my intuition and “wild woman nature”, instead of conforming to society’s laws is a major one for me.
Who inspired you to read? “My late paternal grandmother, Adelaide Mdhladhla-Tsekiso.