The written word has the power to make you travel
Read my recommendations and you will give your mind a well-deserved escape
When things seem to be blocked around us, it’s normal to want to find a way to unblock them. When we faced the harsh reality that traveling to other destinations or enjoying the company of friends was no longer something that we could simply do, forced us to reflect. While introspection is something I highly recommend, sometimes we just want to find a escape, even if only for our mind, confined to a rut within the same four walls. For me, the answer is quite simple: books.
That wonderful compilation of one word after another, page after page, that in some way I can only attribute to magic, takes us to other worlds, time periods, and realities. If you need to make your mind and your imagination fly away for a while, I offer you a list of some of the books that helped me achieve this goal.
How far can we go? The universe is the limit
If you are one of those people who like to travel to different cities and new continents, you will find distance as a limitation. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for the most remote corner on Earth, there will come a point where you can no longer advance. Books don’t have that boundary, because, with them, you only need to direct your imagination upwards and focus on discovering the infinite universe found in outer space.
For this, my recommendation is Martian Chronicles by American writer Ray Bradbury. Within his works we can find stories and novels that cover different genres, however, to date he is known as one of the classic writers of science fiction. Such is the case for Martian Chronicles, a series of stories that take the reader through the arrival and colonization of Mars by humans as a kind of expedition log.
The work, aside from giving you a one-way ticket to the Martian atmosphere, leads us to reflect on the imposition of one species over another instead of being guided by respect and care for the unknown. While these are fictional tales with aliens and huge silver ships, it touches on themes closer to home than one might first think. Also, I think it is particularly interesting to see the vision that our ancestors had about what the future would be, since the work, despite being published in 1950, takes place between 1999 and 2026.
If you have the opportunity, I recommend you read other works by Ray Bradbury such as the famous Fahrenheit 451, a heartbreaking dystopian novel that puts literature in a tough spot, or The Illustrated Man, an anthology of short stories that come to life from the moving tattoos in the skin of a mysterious man.
By reading, even escaping death is possible
It’s common to hear how people fervently desire immortality, isn’t it? At least that’s what the search for the elixir of life or the fountain of youth indicates. However, would it be as amazing as it seems to one day wake up and realize that death is simply no longer part of human nature?
This subject is touched by the Nobel Prize in Literature (1998) José Saramago in his work Death with Interruptions. In advance, I ask you for a little patience, especially if you have not read this Portuguese author before, as his writing style stands out for a curious characteristic. Here, the traditional grammar laws do not apply (the full stop punctuation mark has left the chat). However, if you overlook that and quickly pick up the thread of the narrative, an adventure like no other awaits you.
As I well said, in this anonymous country, at dawn on New Year’s Eve, Death abandons her duties, causing people to stop dying. Consequently, instead of finding a utopian world that all those alchemists and explorers in search of eternal life paint us, we come across an important reflection about what it means to live and die with dignity. Besides, it unmasks the reality of a society that does not always seek to help its neighbor guided only by abnegation.
A book within a book?
Make no mistake, this is not Inception applied to books, but what is certain is that the protagonist of this book… is a book! Who has not dreamed of bringing the fictional world of our favorite books to reality, meeting their characters and asking them everything that is not read in between lines?
German author Cornelia Funke plays with this possibility in her book Ink Heart. A novel that takes a father and his daughter on an adventure where they will have to face the world of a book that, letter by letter, invades the real world. The problem is that not all the characters in the book have good intentions.
This fantasy story hits differently if you’re an avid reader like me and you have a special fondness for books. The work is the first of what would later become a trilogy, although rumor has it, it will soon become a saga, with the fourth installment being published in 2021.
Finding company with ghosts?
Sometimes, after long periods of being alone, any kind of company is welcome. Would you think the same if one day you realized that those you were talking to were already dead? Something similar happens to Juan Preciado in the novel Pedro Páramo, by the Mexican writer Juan Rulfo.
As is typical of the magical realism of this influential author of Latin American literature, the story told within Pedro Páramo takes us through the protagonist’s journey to Comala, the town of his seemingly negligent father. Without knowing what awaits him there, he faces inexplicable things told in the most normal way possible. As if talking to ghosts is an everyday occurrence.
The work touches on social issues with unique features of the Mexican people, as well as love and the relationships that are so important between humans, as well as bringing to light their relevance as they go through our lives, no matter how brief the interaction may have been. The work also emphasizes the loneliness that every human being can go through. So, it even seems ironic that sometimes those in whom we find the company is just our ghosts.
Juan Rulfo did not become one of the classic authors of the time just by coincidence. Besides Pedro Páramo, he has other writings that are jewels that you cannot simply ignore. Therefore, another recommendation that I share with you from the same author is El Llano en Llamas (The Burning Plain and Other Stories), an anthology of short stories that appeal to nostalgia about the past and the historical symbolism of important events such as the Mexican Revolution and its effect on rural society.
There is no doubt that books are the best escape for the imagination, even when doing so physically is impossible. My recommendations today cover a variety of topics, from authors from different parts of the world with different ways of thinking. Well, knowing other cultures, other influences and other ideologies is also a very interesting way to expand your mind. I hope that in them you find something to your liking and that helps you spend those moments of monotony more pleasantly, or even turn them into exciting ones!
What books would you recommend to me to make my imagination fly away? Leave them in the comments!
A great companion for any book is a good coffee, read: How to prepare café de olla, a traditional Mexican coffee
Avid reader and creative writer who enjoys sharing what she is passionate about.