Books I have read and Lived.
Notice I include lived , not because each book I am going to include here is my actual story but because each book I shall talk about I actually stepped into the author’s boots and became so engrossed that my surroundings would change in my mind to what was described in the book.
I remember reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in November an apt month for the book I think ,my surroundings were delightful, tall trees and plenty of open green spaces for me to amble in . As I hurried from one place to the other wearing my long black coat; yes I did own a long black coat then, and I had clutched under my arm my book. I was totally immersed in this drama , this tale of despair of horror and hope and would gladly sit down now and discuss the questions raised in that great philosophical work.
My surroundings became St PETERSBURG and I was more than delighted with being alone just like Raskolnikov.
No one to disturb the deep philosophical debate going on in my head . Of course he was wrong to murder the old lady nothing could exempt him from exercising this evil act . However his conscience, his despair and the emerging hope for him totally absorbed me for the week or so I spent reading that book .I felt as bewildered, as cold, as sad, as hungry and as enlightened in the end as Raskolnikov had and for me it was one of the greatest books I had ever read. I still have a great longing to visit St Petersburg and walk the walk so to speak.
Another book that I lived as I read was The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir how I envied her ability to live the life she made for herself the way she transcended and grew through her work were qualities that I wanted so much; to be fully authentic and never succumb to bad faith became my goal as I devoured this book page by page and grew excited by all the theories she laid in front of me.
I imagined her engaging in wonderful conversations with Sartre examining philosophical theories.I was amazed that she could know me and millions of others like me ; she told us not to settle for less because of our patriarchal society and she warned us that if we did we were committing the greatest sin of all the sin bad faith. She acknowledged that we had achieved much in our stance for equality but warned us against becoming complacent when some small victory was won; she envisaged a growing and living movement would help us to achieve our transcendence from other to authentic self.
She mentions how woman can become the actors of bad faith when they exchange their power for an easier life; she is aware that to be sufficient as a woman has been nearly impossible in times past and this is a good enough reason to keep searching in my mind for better childcare for better education for acknowledgement from governments of what is needed in society to enable women to take an active and real role in their chosen field of work . As I read this book I asked myself many questions which de Beauvoir had raised ; was I narcissist ? I was in love , had I forgotten my own dreams for the sake of this love? Would I ever become totally obsessed by religion ? If I became lost in any of the above would I be deluded into thinking I could be authentic as well . .
It startled me to think I could ever lose sight of my dreams or my own destiny because I truly wanted to be real and be myself and I was so grateful for this book and the questions it raised. I came to many conclusions reading this book and some similar to the author herself. I think it is good to educate ourselves and to realize that we are wonderfully different to man we are the ones with the womb and we must find ways to cherish this difference by developing good childcare and healthy environments that fully respect this difference. The idea of child care and nurturing must not be left without its merits. Some do find that DE Beauvoir is . rather neglectful of the merits of mother I on the other hand read her at her time in history and feel that she would have been more than pleased to see wonderful women today acting in good faith and realizing their potential because of their ability to educate themselves.Some women today follow their dreams and also nurture their children, would De Beauvoir see this as full of merit and also a sign that women had indeed continued their growth and not stood still or would she be aghast that we have become complacent in denying that millions of women today who live perhaps in different geographies are still unable to be themselves or to realize their true self because they are still oppressed.