Hi everyone! My name is Aïcha, I have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember so I decided to create my own blog on “all things books” by writing reviews, making reading lists by themes, documenting bookshop crawls and just generally, sharing my thoughts on subjects pertaining to literature. Since I read in different languages, I have chosen to divide the book reviews page in different sections according to language. I aspire to also share my passion for Arabic literature by writing on various Middle Eastern and North African authors, exploring both classic and contemporary works. Apart from reading, I enjoy painting, playing the piano,travelling,writing,spending time with my family and friends and much more!
My interest in books has not developed randomly but was rather the outcome of many influences and events in my life, my grandfather being the most important one of them. A few years ago, I wrote a story to describe our relationship and how his own interest in books has left an eternal treasure to my path.
When it all started
He was the first person I would run to. Always sitting in the small,cozy corner of his living room, his hands flipping through the pages of the third gripping page-turner book our eyes devoured in a day. And like every time I eagerly visited him, I would sit on his lap while thoroughly following the sequence of sentences, his thumb underlining the words he was now reading out-loud to make sure my small children eyes would never, ever, get lost in the abundance of tiny complicated words. I did not want to leave my grandfather. I was too thrilled to understand the meaning of each word he pronounced with so much care and a heartwarming love of his own. I remember annoyingly insisting on having different synonyms for each new word I heard, that I would later try to give him when he was explaining the meaning of another one, to show him how attentive I was to what he said. I could spend no days at my grandparents’ without asking to stay in his iconic library room where I would sit on a pile of books I stacked to imagine my own « library in progress ». My eyes would stop at each book title as my mind imagined the content. « Where the Sea Breaks Its Back », what could this book be about ? Was it truly linked to the sea ? Or is it this thing my grandfather calls metaphor he would later explain to me ?
« Bassidi » once said: « Aïcha, these books represent all my life and if one day I am not here,I want you to take care of it ».
At that time, I did not truly understand what he meant but I happily nodded for I felt I was considered capable of taking such a responsibility.
It was not a perfectly expectable sunday. My mother received a call that meant there would be no more exciting reading sessions. I remember innocently asking her : « Does God have a phone so I can continue reading with « Bassidi »? My naivety granted me a heartwarming hug but a bittersweet feeling reminded me that I was now alone in the immensity of that intriguing library room. The more I was able to reach the books on the higher shelves, the more I was eager to discover all the fascinating stories my « Bassidi» had told me about. As time went by, the improvement in my reading abilities along my everlasting will of discovery had removed the mystery from the books’ titles as I had overly decorticated their content.
Many frustrations came from emptying his own shelves as I realized how far I still was from reaching his unique level of comprehension of the world from all the ideas and stories he read about. The shared reading experiences I had with my grandfather and the unique treasure of knowledge he left me shaped the person I am today. I learned to take responsibility in my own learning and to seek the answers to my own questions. I came to understand that accepting the fact that I did not know about everything was the first step to continuously question the world. His books were not there to nourish all my curiosity but rather to plant the seeds of wonder and inquiry. I had finally understood, what « Bassidi » told me.