Decolonising The Self One Radical Book At A Time

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Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

Our bookshelves are a good reflection of who we are as individuals.

Each book we read transforms us in subtle yet radical ways. Leaving a small imprint on us, our thinking and perceptions of the world shift and grow with reach read. It’s like finding something new in a familiar picture, something you cannot unsee. Or like adding a new lens to your perspective glasses. Whether you agree with this new perspective or not, it inevitably becomes a part of you.

Without a doubt, books help us to evolve.

Think of the last five books you read and you’ll see just how much your thinking has grown prior to reading those books. …


So Many Books, So Little Time

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Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

We all wish that we finished more books.

When I hear people say they wish they read more, I believe what they actually mean is that they wish they finished more books.

But doesn’t reading more and finishing more books mean the same thing? No, and that’s our problem.

Most of us love to read and read on a somewhat daily basis, yet we find that at the end of each month we have hardly completed a book. We spend hours per week reading but still are not able to get through more books.

We might be reading but that doesn’t mean we are effect readers. …


‘My silence had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.’

Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals, Penguin Modern Classics
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals, Penguin Modern Classics
Image courtesy of Penguin Classics

In The Cancer Journals, self-described ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,’ Audre Lorde recounts her transformative battle with breast cancer. Weaving between intimately vulnerable journal entries and critical essays, Lorde’s memoir radically defies both socially enforced and self-imposed silences of breast cancer. For Lorde, the journey of survival and self-acceptance is ‘a war against the tyrannies of silence.’

From biopsy to mastectomy, Lorde takes the reader through her most personal and terrifying life experience where death became a formidable and foreseeable future. Initially diagnosed with a benign lump, she shortly after faces the reality of having her right breast removed in a mastectomy. Lorde continuously questions her course of action, leaving her in a spiral of fear and uncertainty. This painful encounter with death and loss casts a shadow of despair and silence over Lorde. She not only mourns her physical loss but begins to question if this loss also took her feminity and identity. …


Graphic novels are the windows to the world

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Photo by Start Digital on Unsplash

Graphic novels are the forgotten treasures of the literary world. Not many people gravitate towards them. Most consider it a minor literary form. And pretty much everyone who thinks this says it without ever having read one. Stories and ideas expressed in a comic strip format are just as compelling and moving as any other form of literature.

During university, I decided to take a class on global graphic narratives having no prior knowledge or even interest in them. I guess, the ‘global’ part intrigued me since I wanted my degree to encompass as much political, historical and cultural literature from across the world. …


‘The arts are not the poor relation of the economic world. On the contrary, they are at the very source of its vitality.’

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More than any other discipline, literature is too often criticised as a minor field of study. Dismissed as the outcast, whimsical child of the disciplines, overshadowed by its illustrious scientific and technological siblings, the need and significance of literature is disregarded by many. However, despite its criticisms literature endures as a substantial study that continues to elucidate our understanding of the human experience.

In his pivotal essay, What Has Literature Got To Do With It?, Chinua Achebe argues that literature plays an integral and fundamental role in the process of modernisation. Literature not only gives us a second handle on reality but ‘offers the kinetic energy necessary for social transition and change.’ …

About

Shaheen Hashmi

Passionate about Literature: Stories create people create stories

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